The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival may still be going on, but in just over a month it’ll be time for the International Food & Wine Festival to take over!
We’re getting ready for this festival (and trying to help you get ready too) in a number of ways. We’ve shared our top tips for budgeting for the festival, a look at some things Disney won’t tell you about the festival that we will, and more! Today we’re taking a look at some BIG mistakes people make during the festival and how to avoid them. Have you made any of these mistakes? What things should you NOT be doing if you want to get the most out of your festival days? Here’s what we think!
1. Not Having a Strategy
One big mistake that many people make at the Food & Wine Festival is that they go into it without any plan or strategy at all.
Now, we’re not saying that winging a festival can’t be fun. Just walking into the festival and eating whatever you want whenever you happen to stumble upon it can be an adventure in and of itself, so we’re not saying you shouldn’t do that at all.
But, here are some huge risks you take if you attend the festival without any plan. First, you might be tempted by a bunch of items at the first few booths you encounter in EPCOT, grab those, and fill up before you find the other booths spread throughout the park.
Some of those other booths tucked further into the park might have items you would have 100% bought and loved even MORE than the ones you got at the first few booths. But, by the time you get there, you may be too full to even give them a try.
You might also entirely miss out on booths with amazing items you would have loved to try. You probably know that many festival booths are located in World Showcase, but there are also other booths in Future World. If you don’t plan ahead and take a look at the maps before you arrive (or even just as you enter the park) you might miss those entirely!
If you don’t strategize for your trip, you could also blow your budget WAY out of the water by just buying anything you want to try as you find it (only to keep finding more things at more booths that you want to try). Taking a look at the menus and picking what you really want to eat can help you limit the spending in the park.
Our DFB Guide to the Food & Wine Festival contains a FULL breakdown of all of the food items that will be available at the festival as well as pictures of most of the items too, so you can actually see what they look like. That can help you plan out your festival strategy.
You can also check out our past reviews and/or keep an eye out for our updated reviews of EVERY booth once the festival is open. In those reviews, we’ll give you all the details you need to know — was this dish good? Did it taste terrible? Is it something we’d recommend or something we’d never get again? What’s the BEST of the fest? We share ALL of these details with you to help you plan.
And if you grab our DFB Guide you’ll also get things like a list of what’s new at the festival, the most popular items, customized touring strategies, and more.
We’ve even got touring strategies laid out for you depending on whether you’re planning on spending 1 or 2 days at the festival, a budget strategy, a strategy for those going with their kids, and more. Basically, we’re trying to make your planning as easy as possible!
2. Not Sharing
You know what they say, “sharing is caring,” right? Well, when it comes to the Food & Wine Festival we definitely think that’s right!! If you’re traveling with friends and/or family, sharing items that you buy throughout the festival can help you try so many more dishes than you could have eaten just on your own.
Yes, you’ll get less of each dish. But, you’ll likely get to try much more before getting full. If you find that you really love something and you want a portion all to yourself, then you can always hop back in line and get one to devour on your own!
But, if you’re just there to sample your way through the booths, sharing can help you explore more options!
3. Not Setting a Budget
If you’re diving into a vault of money at home like Scrooge McDuck, then this advice might not be for you. But, if you aren’t literally swimming in gold coins, then you probably know that sampling the treats at the Food & Wine Festival can get very expensive!!
One drink here, one snack there, a few more in this country, ‘oh wait…we gotta get that! — before you know it, you’ve spent a LOT of cash in EPCOT in just a few hours.
Setting a budget can be really helpful to mastering the festival (and not regretting all of your purchases later). One particularly great thing you can do is buy a Food & Wine Festival gift card (particularly the ones that come on a little wristband) with your set budget amount. Every member of the family can even get their own.
Then, you can easily use the wristband to pay for your food without having to fumble for your wallet every time. And when the gift card runs own, that’s your sign that it’s time to call it quits!! And it even makes a fun, little souvenir.
Another important thing here is to set a realistic budget. Don’t set a budget of $25 if you know you’re going to want to try a whole bunch of food and drinks. Be realistic about what you really want to get. If that means you need to adjust your plans to make things work, then do it! You could consider switching to a value resort if you were planning on staying in a more expensive spot, skipping a table service meal, or not getting that extra souvenir to give yourself a bigger spending budget for festival items.
Our DFB Guide has a strategy section dedicated to those on a budget, and we’ve even got an entire chapter dedicated to budgeting money AND time for the festival. There are also lots of festival tips in there and all kinds of answers to your questions about whether there are enough things for vegetarians to eat to make it worth the admission ticket, and more.
4. Eating at a Table Service Restaurant During a Festival Day
Many of EPCOT’s regular table service restaurants are fantastic, well worth the cash, and have dishes you’ll want to get again and again. But, those restaurants will generally be available all year long (unless something unexpected or unannounced happens).
When the Food & Wine Festival is going on, eating at a table service restaurant can be a mistake! When you’re at the Food & Wine Festival, our advice is to focus first and foremost on the festival items.
If you eat a big meal at a table service restaurant that day (whether it be for breakfast or lunch), you could get too full to really enjoy many of the items from the festival. Or, if you fill up on festival food during the day and eat at a table service location for dinner, you could be so full from the festival that you won’t really be able to truly enjoy and order as much as you want to try at the table service location!
Since the Food & Wine Festival will only last for a certain time (though the 2021 festival will be around for quite a while — all the way until November 20th!!!), we think it’s best to focus your energy, stomachs, and cash on the Festival-specific booths and items when you’re there to really get the most out of your time.
5. Only Focusing on the Food and Wine
Yes, it’s literally called the “Food and Wine Festival,” we get it, but focusing just on the food and wine can be another big mistake. There are so many other things to see and enjoy in EPCOT during the festival besides eating and drinking items from the festival booths!
This year, the Remy Scavenger Hunt is coming back! You can search for little Remy figures all around EPCOT and get a prize. Some fun entertainment will also be available during the festival.
There’s also lots of unique festival merchandise to check out. And, in the past, a ton of special events, culinary demonstrations, and beverage seminars have been available for guests to book and enjoy. We’re still waiting for details about whether some of those events will return this year due to health and safety restrictions.
Disney also hasn’t announced whether the Eat to the Beat Concert series will be returning, but we’re on the lookout for more details about that.
The point is there’s a lot more to this festival than the food and wine you see at the booths!
And that’s our list of 5 of the mistakes people make during the Food & Wine Festival. We hope this list helps you avoid some of those mistakes during your future trips to the Food & Wine Festival.
And if you’re looking for a resource to turn to when trying to plan your next trip to the festival, you may want to consider checking out our Food & Wine Festival Guide which is full of helpful tips, tricks, answers to your questions, and more! You can see more about getting the guide below!
We’ll continue to look for more information that can help you plan your trips to Disney World and share that all with you. Stay tuned for more updates from us here at DFB!
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What mistakes do you think people make in the Food & Wine Festival? Tell us in the comments!