We recently attended the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for our first time with our family. There’s so much to enjoy at Epcot during this festival, but for newbies it can be overwhelming. Not to worry as we have some great money & time saving tips to help newbies enjoy everything that Food & Wine has to offer!
While we have been to Epcot many, many times before, this was our first time attending this beloved festival! We cannot make it to WDW during the festivals due to school schedules. But this year we were able to make it to Epcot for a few days and partake in the festivities.
So, what did we learn from our first time to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? We’ll share helpful tips so you can be better prepared for your visit to Epcot!
Get a Gift Card!
At many gift shops located throughout Epcot you will find little gift cards featuring Chef Remy near the registers! They are attached to a stretchy plastic band that fits easily around your wrist and are much more convenient than reaching for your wallet at every booth!
The prices for each item range from $5 to $8 and it can quickly hurt your pocket. So, if you’re on a budget or want to make sure you do not overspend then a Disney gift card is the way to go. They can be loaded with any amount of money and you can get one for each member in your family. Plus, at the end of the trip it makes for a super adorable souvenir!
What’s great about the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the portion size of the foods and drinks. You can try a little of everything. Disney considers these portions to be a “snack size”. So, if you are on the Disney Dining Plan you can redeem snack credits on anything that is a non-alcoholic item.
Some of the items we tried, like the Pollo (Chicken with Marinara Sauce) at the Italy booth, were a bigger than snack-size portion. We split it between 3 people – one chicken strip per person! However, the Steakhouse Blended Burger at the Flavors From Fire booth was so tiny that it could be eaten in just one bite!
The same goes for the beverages. We got an Italian Margarita from the Italy booth that was a very large portion. The Key Lime Hard Sparkling Water from the Active Eats booth that was so small that I drank it in one large gulp!
My point is, if you are planning on not having a table/quick-service meal and instead eating and drinking your way around the World Showcase then beware that the portions vary. Some of the portions are so small that you will still be hungry even after eating several snacks.
Food & Wine Is Better During Weekdays!
We visited Epcot a few different days (Thursday and Saturday). Our first visit was on a Thursday afternoon and we stayed until Epcot Forever, the new fireworks show that replaced IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The crowds were a relatively manageable size. We never had to wait longer than 10 minutes at any booth to order or get our food. So, we were able to visit many booths in a short amount of time and try lots of yummy things!
The second day we visited Epcot was Saturday afternoon and into the evening again, but we left around 7 PM! The size of the crowds at the booths doubled if not tripled and we could only try about 4 booths at the World Showcase. Some of the lines, especially in Mexico and Germany, were so long, you probably could have ridden Test Track before you could get a bite and drink!
The crowds were also much more rambunctious on Saturday evening. There were many large groups of bachelor and bachelorette parties as well as some very inebriated “frat boys”. We quickly realized that Epcot during Food & Wine on a Saturday night was just too “lit” for our liking and decided it was time for us to call it a night (we had an early flight the next day).
Daylight Saving Time
The weekend we attended Food & Wine was the weekend right after Daylight Saving Time ended in the U.S. meaning it began to get dark in Epcot around 6:00 P.M. While it made for some epic pictures of Spaceship Earth, it also meant that toward the back of the World Showcase it got very dark very quickly.
It was very hard to see where you were going and not bump into people, especially on that very crowded Saturday night. The lower light levels made it very difficult to walk around the park. For this reason we recommend visiting earlier in the day and into the early evening, then maybe ride some of the attractions like Living With The Land, Soarin’ or Spaceship Earth or even take in a concert show!
Take a Stand, Literally!
One of the things we think could be improved for Epcot International Food & Wine and other festivals is the table situation. The tables are about 4 feet high off the ground and the perfect height for a teenagers and grownups, but not so much for little Mickey’s and Minnie’s.
There are no chairs for these tables either so little kids might have a hard time eating their snacks. Some areas have benches nearby, but often it was hard for us to cross large crowds with our food and drinks in hand to get to the benches with the whole family.
It might be best for one or two people to go find a table or bench while others get the food! Also, you can improvise and use the top of the trash can as a table. It’s practically a Food & Wine tradition we found out, and bonus, you don’t have to go anywhere to throw out your trash!
Make Time For Entertainment!
There is so much more to the Food & Wine Festival than just the food and wine! From mini concerts around the World Showcase in Germany, The U.K. and Mexico, to entertainment like Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in China and Voices of Liberty at the American Pavilion, there is always great entertainment to see!
Don’t forget the Eat To The Beat Concert Series! It features various artists from around the world playing at the America Gardens Theatre. You can see some of your favorite artists playing some of their greatest hits 3 times a night. We highly recommend taking in some of the great world class entertainment that Epcot has to offer!
Do Your Research!
Chances are not everyone in your family or group is going to want to try the same foods and beverages at Food & Wine Festival. We researched and wrote down all of the items that each person wanted to try which saved us a lot of time. So review the food items, narrow down the items, prioritize the list and enjoy the bites and drinks!
At night many of the menu boards at the booths were not very well lit and a lot of people were crowded around trying to see the items listed. We just pulled out our list to see what we wanted to try which was so much easier! And on that note, if you don’t have the time to do research before you go then make sure you…
Pick Up A Festival Guide
At almost every booth, merchandise shop, and at both entrances to Epcot are little pocket size Festival Guides! These list all of the foods and beverages at each booth as well as boxes for you to check off after you’ve tried an item. They even came with little stickers that were fun for our kids to mark off an item after we visited the different booths. They also make the perfect souvenir for you to remember all of the wonderful things you tried on your trip to Epcot!
All in all we had a wonderful time at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2019. We hope these tips help you prepare and have an amazing time at Food & Wine!
You may also like:
- Food Menu for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2019!
- Eat to the Beat Concert Series Musical Lineup for 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
- Our Bucket List Foods for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2019!