We have been spending the last couple weeks going over the Food and Wine Festival details and highlights. Check out Epcot’s 2016 International Food and Wine Festival for the schedule of events, and Top Food Items at the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival for a list of our families favorites over the past couple years and a glimpse at some exciting new offerings for 2016. This week we will talk basic tips for conquering the festival. If you plan on going this year, or any year, these tips will help you manage you day. I also offer personal touring plans that could come in handy for an event like this if you have a trip planned and are feeling overwhelmed email me, I can help you.
Start at the Welcome Center
The Welcome Center–located near Mission Space is the best place to start your day. It opens at 9 AM and stays open until park close. Here you will be able to get acclimated with the festival.
- Pick up your complimentary Marketplace Discovery Passport, each kiosk you visit they will stamp your passport, and this makes for a memorable keepsake.
- Purchase gift card wristbands so you can stay on a budget, and don’t have to fumble for cash or cards.
- Sign each child up for the Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt where they will use their map to search for little Remy statue’s and receive prizes.
- Adults have the opportunity to experience some culinary demonstrations and seminars, book and wine signings as well throughout the day. Kids would lose interest in these.
- Check out the Stockpot Shop for all the festival logo merchandise.
Visiting with kids
After doing the festival a couple of years in a row, I have learned that touring the World Showcase with children is far less stressful during the day than 6 PM or later for many reasons.
- Kids will be in a better mood.
- You can break up the day with character meet-and-greets throughout the World Showcase, or watch other live entertainment throughout the daylight hours.
- They can participate easily in the Remy’s Ratatouille scavenger hunt for a collectors pin.
You won’t have to trek a stroller through as large of a crowd. Many locals meet at the Festival after work, so it tends to be very crowded each night.
- After 6 PM it is evident that some park guests have had way too much to drink, and that only gets worse as the evening progresses. The night before our last visit to Epcot Food and Wine a drunk man scaled the side of the pyramid in the Mexico pavilion before being arrested.
Don’t eat a big meal
- If you are a foodie and plan to do the Food and Wine Festival all day make sure not to book any table service dining meals, you will fill up on small plates and drinks.
- If you go later in the day or evening, eat a light meal maybe a quick-service option to get you through the day. You will eat so many items at the festival that aren’t available the rest of the year you will want to make sure not to be full, and you’ll want to stay comfortable.
- If you plan to do a character meal with your children and experience the festival, I would suggest visiting Epcot two days during your stay, if that’s not possible schedule a character dinner rather than breakfast or lunch. The character meals at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and The Garden Grill are enormous you will be full for hours. Enjoy the festival during the day then when it gets crowded and rowdy, you can take the kids to the character dinner reservation and have a fun and relaxing evening.
Share with friends and family
There are so many delicious options to try that it is impossible to do it yourself. You will be able to experience so much more if you all plan to share your small plates. Prep your kids for the adventure, to get them excited to try all the new foods from around the world with you and share as a family.
Even in the fall, it is brutally hot in Florida. We have been there the past two years in both mid-September and November and experienced upper 90’s with high humidity both times. Be sure to bring bottled water especially if you plan to be drinking most of the day, and it will be a welcomed relief for some of the spicier dishes offered at the kiosks.
If you are not staying on property, and your hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle, you will want to plan on taking a cab back to your hotel; it is better to be safe than sorry.
Dining Plan tip
If you have purchased the dining plan this trip, it is a good idea to save your snack credits for this day. The biggest complaint of guests who have bought the dining plan is that they didn’t use all the snack credits they paid for, this is an excellent way to use them up, and the dishes are appetizer-size, so you get a better value and they more exciting options than your typical snack item.
I hope you find these tips to be helpful for your visit to Food and Wine. If you haven’t already booked a trip, there is a 20% off room discount offered for fall 2016. Be sure to contact me for no-obligation estimated quote and we can get you and your family there to take part in the festivities.
“See you real soon!”