Food for Thought: Should I go to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

It’s time to think about planning for Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, and if you’re like a lot of Walt Disney World guests, you’re trying to decide if you want to brave the crowds in order to graze the grub. We get it: Food and Wine isn’t for everyone.

Here is some food for thought about Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival to help you decide if it’s right for you! 

2017 Epcot Food and Wine

2017 Epcot Food and Wine

1. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival draws big crowds.

If you love swimming upstream (both ways) in a sea of human beings, we have good news! Food and Wine draws huge crowds to Epcot’s World Showcase (in particular) and the rest of the park. This can create an energetic and festive atmosphere that’s tailor made for those who thrive on being around other like-minded foodies and celebrants.

Prepare to line up for fun!

Prepare to line up for fun!

But if you’re like some of us and the idea of being elbow-to-elbow with every Tom, Dick, and Harry in Epcot makes your stomach turn, Food and Wine might seem, let’s say, uncomfortable.

And the truth is, even the quiet times at Food and Wine are busier than the quiet times just about any other season of the year (save for the holidays).

Epcot Food and Wine draws the crowds.

Epcot Food and Wine draws the crowds.

But if you’re jonesing to try Food and Wine despite your crowd aversion, we’ve got a couple of tips for ya. First, avoid the weekends. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are especially busy at Food and Wine, with locals and visitors mingling at the food booths and jockeying for position all over the park.

You also want to try to hit the food booths as soon as they open at 11AM. This way you can beat the crowds to your favorite booths. And that brings us to tip #3: plan ahead. Know which booths you want to visit, which foods you want to eat, and where to find them. This way you can avoid any excessive wandering and keep your Food and Wine visit efficient (and your contact with the crowds minimal!).

Check out our pages with Menus and Reviews — and Photos of all the food — as we update them!

2. There are loads of demonstrations and experiences to add to your Food and Wine visit!

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival isn’t just about the food and wine booths. There are tons of extra experiences to enjoy — and some are even free! Low cost and free seminars and demonstrations include such fun opportunities as the Mix It! Make It! Celebrate It! Hands-On Workshops where guests can roll up their sleeves and learn from a professional chef! We checked it out, and it was loads of fun!

Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Perfectly Paired Speakers

Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Perfectly Paired Speakers

Seminars and experiences that have been included with park admission in the past include The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to Bar; Back to Basics Seminars; Book Signings; Meet and Greets with celebrity chefs; Bottle Signings; Seasons of Vine wine making documentary; and the Marketplace Discovery Passport, in which you can check off all the food and drink you’ve enjoyed!

2017's Passport

2017’s Passport

In addition to the low cost and no cost options, Food and Wine offers several add-on seminars and demonstrations that can seriously amp up your overall experience of the Festival.

Beverage seminars cover everything from craft beers to fine wines, while cheese seminars tantalize the taste buds. What’s Cooking With… is a demo and conversation with a celebrity chef.

Place Setting for Beer Demonstration

Place Setting for Beer Demonstration

So whether you’re totally into the food booths and want to learn more about what goes into the eats or you’re not into the food booths but like to learn a new thing or two, there’s something for everyone!

Check out the DFB Guide to the 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival for more on how to book these fun experiences!

3. Food and Wine celebrates some spectacular food and wine!

This one seems like a no-brainer. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is a celebration of food and wine (really beverages) from around the world — which can be exciting for guests who want to try some fantastic eats and drinks! Adventurous eaters and non-adventurous alike can find something interesting and expertly crafted.

Paella from Spain's 2017 booth

Paella from Spain’s 2017 booth

We give you the low-down on all the food booths, including menus and pics as soon as they’re released!

That said, not every dish or glass served up at Food and Wine will excite every guest, so it’s key to read reviews and menus before you head to the World Showcase. That’s why we hit the booths hard on day one to make sure we can give you informed reviews.

Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions

Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon is a yes!

But even with countless reviews, it’s important to keep in mind that food and wine can be totally subjective; what’s appealing to one guest might repulse another. So unless you’re one of the lucky few with an unlimited food budget (ahem, can we travel with you or no?), we recommend being cautiously adventurous.

Sometimes foods that we thought would be a little dicey have turned out to be some of our favorites (and vice versa…). So we say: if it sounds good, try it! If you’re not really sure, read the DFB review to see if it sounds good! If it sounds terrible, we’ll leave it up to you! ;)

Zesty Cheeseburger and Cheddar Cheese Macaroni Handwich

Try the Zesty Cheeseburger and Cheddar Cheese Macaroni Handwich!

4. Food and Wine can be expensive.

This might be the biggest factor in your decision whether or not to attend Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival — and we understand. With dishes coming in anywhere from $3 to $8 (and drinks sometimes chiming in for even more!), sampling a ton of stuff can break the bank.

One of each!

One of each!

But with a little advance planning and preparation, you can still make the most of your visit and try everything on your wish list! For starters, if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, know that you can apply snack credits (or a quick service meal credit for three snack credits) at the food booths. You can also use your Target RedCard to buy Disney gift cards at Target for 5% off — thus saving 5% on everything you buy with them at the Festival!

The DFB Guide to the 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has lots more tips to save you money on your visit!

Maple Popcorn Shake

Maple Popcorn Shake

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is a really fun way to experience the worlds of food and drink, including some unique eats and learning opportunities. Even those who think it might not be their cup of tea can find ways to enjoy the Festival — whether it’s by using our tips for saving time and money and avoiding the crowds or by taking advantage of some awesome demonstrations and seminars, Food and Wine is a big festival with the benefit of diverse offerings and fun for everyone!

Learn more about Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival with our Festival 101! 

Ready to Plan for Your 2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trip?

Pre-Order the DFB Guide to the 2018 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book today, and get the 2017 edition free as an immediate download! Two guides for the price of one! This 250+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever.

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Pre-Order your 2018 edition today and get the 2017 edition for FREE! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a 20% off the cover price!

Will you be joining the fun at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival this year? Tell us about your favorite part of the festival in the comments below! 

Comments

  1. Essie says

    I will def go to this on a Fall trip someday, but only on a weekday. I would love some of the food, but have heard enoug h stories of drunks tripping over strollers, wheelchair people, vomiting, falling into the lagoon, etc. Sad, Disney needs to Police it better, and not with young kids.

  2. Pam says

    Ughhh…why must you tease me like this…I’ve been waiting for food and wine menus all week. I even went back and checked and saw that we got them this time last year.

  3. Mark says

    My tip would be to check out DFB’s photos of the actual food from the booths. Usually posted after the first day. Never trust a photo from Disney when it comes to food.

  4. Theresa says

    We’ve been going every year since 2004 and I have never seen anyone fall in a lagoon vomit or trip over a baby stroller/wheelchair! It’s a GREAT time. Crowds are well behaved! Give it a go I’m sure you will ENJOY!

  5. Barry says

    I’ve been going to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival almost every year since 2000, but I’m cutting back this year. The loss of the signature dining events in addition to a big reduction in the wine seminars has really hit the value of the festival for someone like me. I’m still coming out to WDW this fall, but I’m making it a shorter trip and I’m making a 4 day trip to Sonoma and Napa instead. Yes, wine tasting in Napa/Sonoma does cost more than Disney’s seminars, but I know that I’ll be able to get to taste the premium wines I’m really interested in. (And a lot of the wineries comp your tasting if you buy some wine). We’re also going to the Vancouver Int’l Wine Festival in February for a day or two as well. It was the Epcot festival that got me serious into wines all those years ago and helped elevate my palate. But now it seems like the Festival is in a race to the bottom. Now most people’s experience with the Festival is centred around the booths around the World Showcase, and that hasn’t changed much, in fact it’s got better. But the wine side of the festival has really suffered the last 4-5 years and continues to be in decline. No more wine schools or vertical tastings. No more signature dinners with a host winery. The small wine tasting seminars have really been deduced. The Party for the Senses has OK wine, but rarely has fantastic wine (despite a 300% increase in the price over the last 15 years). The Epcot F&W festival used to be known for great wine (if you were willing to pay for the premium events) but it really pales to other wine festival events now. I still love Disney, I’ll still come to WDW, but more of my vacation, dining and especially wine dollars will be going elsewhere. I do hope that something changes around at Epcot F&W, but the slow decline seems to have really accelerated this year.

  6. says

    We go each year, sometimes twice, for the past 13 years. We are traveling from CA, so no short trip. Seriously, Disney for Adults. The best vacation we do. Been to California Adventure (SoCal) Food and Wine, no comparison to WDW Epcot.

  7. Chris says

    Essie.
    Don’t believe everything people put out there .
    Me & my wife went last year and had a Great time.
    We are going back this year because it was so much fun trying so many new foods & drinks.
    I would tell you that going on the weekend you will have bigger crowds
    because a lot of locals go on their days off.
    Now we do not have children so we could move around very easy.
    But after all it is Disney so it will always be somewhat crowded .
    We also plan on going back next year with our daughter and son in law.
    I hope this helps.

  8. Mark says

    Agree with Barry completely. Booths have gotten a lot better and the rest has gone down hill. It is a decent food festival, still fun.

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