You’re going to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Hooray!
Ok. Now what?
In 2017, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival will take place August 31 through November 13. That’s 75 days of discovering new dishes, enjoying interesting wines, and learning about exciting cocktails and craft beers.
But unless you’re independently wealthy, you probably won’t be enjoying the entire two and a half month stretch.
Luckily, we know a thing or two about planning a GREAT Epcot Food and Wine Festival trip. We’ve even compiled our best tips in our DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival, available right now for pre-order.
To get you started on everything from choosing your dates, to what to pack, and how you pay for it all, let’s check out our best tips for Preparing for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, From Start to Finish.
1) Schedule Your Dates
It may seem basic, but get the calendar out and decide when you’d like to visit.
But really, it’s not so basic, right? There are all kinds of things to consider: When are crowds the largest? What’s the weather like? And OMG is Hanson going to be there this year??? (Spoiler Alert: Yep. They are.)
Unfortunately, with respect to schedules, if you have to plan in advance, you’re going to have to do so with some unknowns. Disney always puts out the final schedule of events, for everything from Special Events to Demonstrations and Seminars, pretty much at the last minute. Even Eat to the Beat is coming later and later (although we do have that full lineup — see it here!)
Our suggestion? Plan as much as you can based upon weather, crowds, and a general idea of when Special Events have taken place historically. For a look back at all of the details of previous Festivals, check out our Disney Food and Wine Festivals Page.
Of course, if you have the luxury of waiting until the last minute, stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog and join the DFB Newsletter. We’ll have every date you need as soon as they’re all available.
I know. It’s like, “Hmmmm, DFB. Do I really need to buy your book?” But yeah. Ya kinda do.
We take our work here at DFB very seriously. We know you guys look to us to provide all of the latest Disney food news and information you need to plan your visits and trips. And that goes double for Food and Wine!
So our work on the festival never really stops, as we offer you the most comprehensive coverage you can find on the festival anywhere. And here’s the thing: it doesn’t all fit on Disney Food Blog. So we dive deep in the DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
Want to know when and where and how many times your favorite chef appears? We can tell you. How about a complete schedule of every event happening every day of the festival? No problem. Wait, will your favorite beer be at the Hops & Barley Booth in 2017? We can tell you that. How about pictures of nearly every food item that will be served at the booths? You betcha. And what about extra fun and helpful stuff, like touring strategies and crawls? Yep, we have that too.
There’s no better source out there for festival coverage. No. Better. Source. Believe me, we’ve looked! So for the price of one visit to the Canada Booth (less actually!), get your pre-order of the 2017 DFB Guide to the Food and Wine Festival, and have everything you need at your fingertips. And even better — pre-order now, and the 2016 version is yours for FREE as an immediate download! Use code ENJOY for a 20% discount.
3) Look at Disney Food Blog’s Food and Wine Festival Pages For All the Details
I can’t say this enough: check out our full list of Epcot Food and Wine pages, starting with our Main Festival Page. We cover it all. Every event, every menu item, every detail of the Food and Wine Festival from start to finish.
So when you’re planning for your trip, be sure to visit our Main Festival Page, where you’ll find links to everything — Booth Menus, Special Events, Low Cost Seminars and Demos — even the Eat to the Beat Concert Schedule. Bookmark the Main Page and check back frequently for updates.
We’ll be bringing them to you right up to the beginning of the festival — and beyond!
4) Ready — Set — Call!
Booking dates for Epcot Food and Wine Festival events are some of the most highly anticipated pieces of info we await each year. The reason for this is that some special events and even low cost seminars will sell out on the first day of booking. So if there are particular events or personalities you’re especially keen to experience or see, you’d best be on the horn early on opening day.
Do keep in mind that certain groups — Annual Passholders, DVC Owners, Golden Oak Residents, and Disney Chase Visa Cardholders — have been able to take advantage of early booking windows for some events (mostly seminars and demos) during previous years. If you belong to one of these groups, pay close attention. We’ll be telling you the day that phone lines will open so you can book before the general public gets access.
So, just what can you expect the day the lines open? It can be a little crazy. Expect long waits and Cast Members who don’t necessarily have all the information (although many are totes awesome and try their very best to assist you however they can.) For more details, check out this helpful post on what to expect on peak booking days.
REMEMBER: You will be able to book some events online at epcotfoodfestival.com on booking day! We suggest having two phones on hold with the Disney dining line, and trying to book online as well.
5) Essentials for Your Packing List
So you’ve made your reservations and you’re ready to pack — hooray! You’ll be strolling the World Showcase Promenade, enjoying a Le Passion Martini in no time.
But what should you take? We’ve got a couple of suggestions to make your trip even more awesome! (You knew we would.)
Comfortable Shoes. Well, this goes for any visit to Disney, but especially when you’re walking hither and yon in Epcot.
You’re going to be doing a lot of walking as you cover all the booths. And if you plan to do Special Events, Culinary Demos, or Beverage Seminars, that’s even more steps on your Fitbit as you hit the booths in World Showcase, and then walk allllllll the way back to Festival Center for your scheduled events. Be sure that you’ve chosen wisely when it comes to footwear. Sorry, but leave the Louboutins at home.
Elastic Waistbands. We always figure that a Disney Day will involve lots of eating, but that’s even more true at the Food and Wine Festival. So pace yourself, get in an extra workout (or two) — and pack those stretchy pants. Or even better — this Haunted Mansion Skirt. (Hey — comfortable can be cute too, ya know.)
A Tray. One of the best tips that we can give you is to bring a tray and plan to use it when you’re at the festival. Buying one of everything at the Marketplace Booths is no joke, you guys. It’s not easy to carry multiple paper boats full of food without spilling something (and you can forget about the drinks). Do what the Disney pros do — us! — and pack a tray.
Sunscreen and a Poncho. Make no mistake — October in Florida is definitely different than in other parts of the country, and sunscreen is still a must. But the weather can also be a little unpredictable, as Florida is going through that weird time of year where the afternoon thunderstorms are a little less sporadic — but can still totally happen.
So pack a poncho or umbrella as well as your SPF 50 so that you’re prepared rain or shine.
6) Going Cashless: Gift Cards and Magic Bands
There are a couple super cool fun ways to go cashless at the festival’s marketplace booths. What you decide to use all comes down to preference, but there are definitely some reasons you might want to consider it. Let’s look at gift cards first.
Prepaid gift cards are a great way to budget. Know you want to spend only a certain amount on festival goodies? Load the card with that amount, keep track on your receipts, and when you’re done, you’re done!
Second, festival gift cards are easy to use. They’re small and come attached to a little bracelet that makes them wearable, which makes your transactions at each booth a breeze, and way easier than fumbling with cash or pulling out a credit card at every stop.
But if you’d like to simplify your life even further, don’t forget that you can pay for purchases at booths with a tap of your Magic Band.
Again, this makes life a whole lot easier as you cruise the booths. And did we mention you can use your Disney Dining Plan snack credits to pay for many of the booth items!?
Just keep in mind that it’s mighty easy to rack up a giant bill if you aren’t keeping track. 😉
7) Leave Room to Be Spontaneous
There is a lot happening at the festival every single day. While we strongly suggest that you plan ahead for which booths you’d like to visit, and schedule any demos or special events that you’d like to attend, we’d also advise you to leave a little wiggle room for some spontaneity.
Check in at Festival Center to see what events might still be available the day you attend. Or find out which celebrity chefs are appearing, and see if you can get a wristband for a meet and greet. Sometimes, those impromtu opportunities turn out to be our most memorable experiences.
Wanna Know More?
Here’s everything we know so far about the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Keep checking back. We’ll bring you all the latest Food and Wine Festival News First!
Pin it for later!
But we’ve talked long enough! Now we’d love to hear from you: what are your top tips for preparing to attend the Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Leave a comment and share your advice with us below!