September and October are my favorite months of the year to visit Walt Disney World. There are a few reasons, some of which are still to be revealed later, but #11 is certainly high on my list because of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. My husband and I have mentioned before in tweets, and in my blog about the Baseline Tap House – we do not drink alcohol – so we jokingly call this the “Food and Food Festival”. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a foodie or drink wine – there is so much more than just food and wine to enjoy during this event at Epcot!
For those of you who have never experienced it, during the Food and Wine Festival the entire park (especially the World Showcase area) is transformed. There are special decorations, events, and booths everywhere providing small tastings of food originating from all around the world. There are demonstrations, seminars, tasting events, music, merchandise, and oh yes…the food. Most of these experiences are not included in the price of your admission ticket, so you will want to do your research before you head to the park, and plan for some extra money to spend once you start noshing.
Quite honestly, there are too many things happening to event begin to list here – you can check out all the offerings in multiple locations on Disney’s website. I am just going to share a few things that I am really excited about, along with some tips that might help you navigate the festival on your visit.
The restaurants in Epcot’s World Showcase are so great all year round– it is difficult for us to pick which ones we are going to visit. Le’Cellier in the Canada Pavilion has a Filet with Risotto that I believe is the best meal I have ever had in my life. The Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup with some pretzel bread – oh my goodness – I can’t even. I love that during the festival I can enjoy small portions of the filet and soup at the Canada booth. That booth is the first place I will be going when we hit the World Showcase!! The Food and Wine Festival gives you an opportunity to enjoy many foods from around the world without having to fight for a reservation!
Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt is a fun activity that is designed for kids, but we have enjoyed it in past years (The Disney Food Blog ensures us it will be back again this year here). Hidden around the World Showcase are small statues of Remy with different food items. Find the item, place the matching sticker on the special map (you can get one for around $7), and after you find them all…pick up a special prize. It is a great way to explore each of the pavilions!
Here are a few tips and suggestions…
- It is a very popular event, especially with the locals. We have found that it is best to visit the Food and Wine Festival during weekdays if possible. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays feel much more crowded, especially as you get closer to the night.
- Pick up a Festival Guide when you enter the park and review the offerings before you jump in too quickly. There is more to see than you can see in a day, so focus in on what you find to be the most interesting events. Unless you have a major appetite, you will want to get an idea of the food offerings. If you plan to just snack around the world – the food is small, but not inconsequential – you could end up full before you reach the third country. There may be some items that want to save room for that look better than what those first booths have to offer.
- Don’t carry a lot of things with you – it can be difficult to find a place to sit with your snacks. Often you will just have to find a place to lean or a garbage can top to set you items on. If you think you will be purchasing a lot of food, they have a convenient gift card that you can load that is connected to a bracelet you can wear. You don’t have to worry about losing a card out of your pocket or keep pulling your wallet out of a backpack.
- Consider eating around the world early in the afternoon/evening – especially if you have young children. There are a lot more people in the World Showcase at night, it gets very crowded, and the lines at the food carts can be incredibly long. Also, during the evening we have experienced more than a few guests who have enjoyed the wine portion of this festival a little too much.
A few years ago, one very inebriated woman was rather upset with me because she felt there were too many families with children in the queue – she didn’t think it was appropriate for them to be in line for a beer cart. I had to politely explain that my granddaughters and I were actually in line to sign in for the Disney Princess Dinner at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. She then realized she was in the wrong line. Fun times!
Epcot’s festivals are highlights for our WDW vacations, and even if they do need a little planning (especially the first time) – it is well worth the effort!