As an Orlando local, I get to visit the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival several times throughout the year. That’s really the only way to get a chance to taste everything because there are so many great options. Some people only get to come once, while others visit multiple times over the course of a several day vacation. Some even literally stay at Walt Disney World for the entire length of the festival.
I’ve already experienced all three of the first festival days, and I have some insider tips to share to help you make your visit more enjoyable. They’re handy whether you can only come once or whether you’re a local who can visit several times between now and the November 11 end date. You’ll find the tips in the list accompanying this article.
One of the tips I mention is to book a premium experience. Jump to this article to read more about those experiences. I’ve enjoyed three of them this year, and I highly recommend booking at least one.
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Get to the park at opening time
Even though World Showcase doesn’t open until 11 a.m., you can stop in the Festival Center in Future World or enjoy rides until then. When you come early, you enjoy low crowds and almost non-existent lines at the food kiosks. By late afternoon and early evening, the waits explode, especially on the weekends. You’ll be glad you were an early bird.
Grab your free passport
The free passports serve two purposes. First, they’re a fun souvenir because you can get stamps at all the food locations to document your culinary journey around the world. Second, they’re a good planning tool so you can make a list of must-tries and stick to it when you’re tempted by other goodies as you walk through World Showcase.
Bugget with a gift card
It’s easy to go over budget with all the tempting food and drink at the festival. If you need to control your spending, buy a handy gift card. Not only does it let you load it with the amount you want to spend, but you can wear it on your wrist for easy access. No more fumbling through your purse or pockets.
Step out of your comfort zone at the festival and try something new. Granted, there’s plenty for the meat and potatoes types, but it’s more fun to be adventurous. This is Disney, so there’s nothing too wild, and you might discover a new favorite. If not, the portion is small enough that you don’t have to feel bad not finishing it. This year’s tasty discovery for me is the vegetable haggis.
Stay until closing time
Stick it out until the park closes for the fullest experience. You can catch an Eat to the Beat concert as a nice evening interlude. Staying late lets you try more food because you can do lunch on your first round, then enjoy the park for a few hours and start all over again at dinner time. If you have a park hopper ticket, pop over to the Magic Kingdom via monorail for a little while.
Book a special event
Hate crowds and craziness? Book one of the many extra-cost special events that happen throughout the festival. They tend to sell out, do book as early as possible. From Grand Marnier tastings to food and wine pairing lunches and dinners to all-out parties, there’s something to appeal to everyone. The price is well worth the delicious food and the relaxed atmosphere.