We’ve been to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival a couple of times. This year it runs from September 14 through November 14, giving you plenty of time to get out there. Now’s a great time to start planning your trip. Let me share a few of our insights and highlights.
With so many options to choose from, it’s really hard to narrow it down. On our last visit, I think we ended up tasting 20 different foods and wines. My husband and I try to be strategic, studying the menu options and sharing plates. Sometimes, though, you just go for what’s close and/or what has a short line, because trekking through and around the park in the heat is tiring.
It’s fun tasting the different wines, beers, and frozen or mixed drinks offered at each of the stations. We discovered one of our favorites at a previous F&W–the Lindeman’s Moscato.
Aside from the food and wine, don’t miss:
We saw Richard Marx on our first visit and it was so much fun! I felt like I had been transported back to the ’80s. He played lots of crowd pleasers we could all sing along to. And surprisingly enough Richard Marx was pretty funny, and has quite the self-deprecating sense of humor. So entertaining!
On another visit we got to see Howard Jones and man, he was rockin’ some tight, shiny pants.
Located in Germany – take my word for it – you don’t want to miss it! Fresh popcorn, slathered in still-warm Werther’s Caramel – it is SO delicious!
I was looking forward to having breakfast, lunch and dinner, at the F&W Fest. If you go for the whole day, it’s a long day, and usually very warm/hot. We tried to manage this by spending time in air-conditioned areas, like rides, and we also happened upon the Chase lounge (see below). I might even suggest actively trying to minimize your walking. I didn’t think crisscrossing the park was such a big deal until we had done it 4 times. There are some times when you just need to sit down. We did this at least a couple of times. Once inside near the Coca Cola store and once in the Chase lounge. Both areas are pretty devoid of entertainment, so it might be boring, but at least it’s cool.
Yeah, yeah, yeah–this goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway.
I tried, but failed, so wear shoes you know will be comfortable for walking around a lot all day or bring a change of shoes. For example, I wore my Converse and they were pinching my toes by the end of the day, due to my feet swelling, I would assume. If I could’ve slipped into some flip flops, I would’ve been much happier.
The lounge was sort of hidden away, on the third floor of the American Pavilion. Inside the Lounge there were lots of free drinks, and a few free snacks. You also get access to Chase VIP areas for fireworks viewing. Just show your Chase Visa card and you’re in!
Disney gives you a couple of ways to make it easier to spend your money. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, you can just use your fancy-pants wristband to charge everything to your room. Otherwise, you can actually buy a mini debit card that you can wear on your wrist. To start the day, we found our way to the expo hall to purchase a debit card, so we wouldn’t have to fish money out of our pockets while juggling our food and wine. It was nice to be hands free, but when you get into the park, find the closest place you can to buy this card if you’re going to, because the visit to the expo hall was not worth it. As with many places, things on the map appear closer than they actually are.
One way to think about it is “Hey, this only comes once a year, so I’m going to buy everything I want.” If that’s your philosophy, be prepared to spend a fair amount of money. I think the hubby and I spent around $150 for the whole day and tasted about 20 items. Truth of the matter is, though, you can only eat and drink so much. So, while you may want to try everything, be prepared to not be able to eat/drink everything you think you want to.
In short, be prepared to spend, be prepared to walk, be prepared to find air conditioning, be prepared to have fun!
We plan to return to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival again this year and will provide a more detailed experience of the trip. Let us know if you have any questions or tips you want us to cover on our next trip!