Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival kicks off on August 29, 2019, and continues until November 23, 2019. That’s 87 days of food, wine, demos, seminars, and more! With the Festival getting bigger and more complex with each passing year, we figure it’s time to get back to the simple truths — seven, in fact — about Food & Wine.
1. It’s big. Really big.
Food & Wine at Epcot has reached epic proportions, with more than thirty booths in 2017 and 2018 — and over 30 again in 2019!With each booth serving up three or more dishes, that’s over 100 possible things to eat (and nearly as many things to drink)! If you ate and drank one of everything at the 2018 Festival, the Orlando Sentinel figured the cost to be over $1700.
Food booths span real estate not just around World Showcase but also in Future World. That’s almost three miles if you do a simple walk around the park that begins and ends at the gate — and that’s not including back-tracking, those extra steps to find a table for all your food, going to special events, etc.
Yeah: it’s big. Really big.
2. There’s more than food and wine at Food & Wine.
If you think everything you need to know about Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is in the name, you might be shocked to discover that Food & Wine is also Music & Demos & Seminars & Pairings & Merchandise & So Much More!
In 2018, the Festival offered no fewer than 16 special events (scheduled repeatedly throughout the festival) and hundreds of low-cost or free demonstrations, displays, seminars, and chef encounters. And in 2019, Eat to the Beat brings the musical heat with 34 performers!
Food and Wine should probably be called Food and Everything.
Don’t forget: there are lots of low-cost and free Food and Wine experiences, too! Click here to learn more about these seminars and demonstrations!
3. You don’t have to do it all at once.
Unless you absolutely only have one day at Epcot during the Festival, know that you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, you can’t do it all at once — period. It’s just too big. But if you’ve done some advance planning and know what you want to eat, which Special Events you want to experience, and what extras you want to tack on, you can accomplish everything you MUST do and WANT to do.
That said, if you can spread your Food & Wine fun over multiple days — say, 2 or more half-days — you’ll be in a much better position to enjoy yourself. For starters, you’ll need to pace your eating. And then, of course, there’s the stress of dealing with higher-than-normal crowds. The truth is, Food & Wine is best enjoyed at a relaxed pace, and that’s a whole lot easier to accomplish if you don’t try to do it all at once.
4. The crowds can be overwhelming.
We just touched on this, but it goes without saying, really: the crowds at Food & Wine can be overwhelming. Add to that exhaustion, seemingly endless lines, a little booze, and the heat and you’ve got a recipe for some potentially icky interactions. But you can mitigate the stress of crowds by aiming to visit the Festival when there are typically fewer people attending. That means hitting the booths right when they open (usually 11AM), avoiding the first and last weeks of the Festival, and sticking to weekdays rather than weekends.
But if you can’t avoid the crowds, be mindful of your own needs. Take a break in the shade somewhere, or retreat to Future World for some air conditioning and a cup of water. Don’t underestimate the simple things that can give you a second wind.
5. There’s something for everyone.
Because Food & Wine is so big and because it attracts guests of all types, Festival planners have included something for everyone. Not a foodie but still love watching chefs do their thing? Reserve your spot at a cooking demo! Dealing with a food allergy or choosing to eat vegetarian or vegan? The Festival will have allergen binders (and on-menu notations) to help you find what works for you. Love chocolate? Wine? Epcot-themed purses and tee shirts? There’s plenty for you, too!
6. It’s fun for the whole family.
And when we say everyone, we mean kiddos, too! This year’s Festival has lots to do for pint-sized chefs and Festival-goers (and their grown-ups)! The Disney Du Jour Dance Party lets kids boogie with their favorite characters, and the Candy Sushi demo is tailor-made for anyone who needs a sugar rush!
The Festival will also have a Family Play Zone and a Ratatouille-themed scavenger hunt (it’s called Hide & Squeak!) to help kids run off some energy and get in on the fun!
7. The DFB Guide can help you manage it all!
The DFB Guide to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is simply a must for everyone from casual to hardcore Festival attendees. We pack the Guide with everything you need to know — literally everything — including full indexes of Festival offerings (including food, wine, cocktails, beer, and chef appearances) and the DFB Guide exclusive FULL daily schedule!
Seriously, you can do Food & Wine without the DFB Guide, but why would you? We’ll help you plan ahead, maintain a budget, and ensure you get the best of the festival experiences!
What’s your favorite simple truth about Food & Wine? Are you a casual Festival attendee, or do you go all out? Let us know in the comments!