With the upcoming annual International Epcot Food & Wine Festival set to begin September 27 and running through November 11, 2013, there are lots of things to plan, see, and do while you visit Epcot this fall. The festival features special events, the festival marketplace and the Eat to the Beat concert series. If you’re planning on attending the Food & Wine Festival (F&W), here are some tips and tricks to help make your touring experience even more magical.
Tip: Plan ahead for special events: With newly added and popular events that are a Food & Wine Festival Tradition, it’s hard to choose which events should be on your list of must-do’s. Popular events sell out quickly, so planning for the F&W is extremely important, so you don’t miss out. Take a look at the entire special events calendar and decide which ones are your highest priorities. Are you looking for a big event? Several small ones? After you make your list, check out reviews from previous year’s events. Party for the Senses & “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery are two previously held F&W events, and you’ll easily find reviews on them. You’ll also want to make a list of back-up events, should your preferred events be sold out.
Trick: Book in advance with discounts: If you are an annual passholder, DVC member, or Tables in Wonderland cardholder, you can ask for discounts on special events. Often the discounts have some restrictions, such as being allowed to get discounts on weekday only events, but it’s well worth calling ahead of time and asking. In addition, if you are a DVC member or Tables in Wonderland cardholder, you can book many events in advance during pre-sale. This will help ensure you’ll get many of the culinary demonstrations and mixology sessions that you want.
Trick: Map out the marketplace: One of the most helpful tips when navigating the marketplace is to map it out ahead of time. Print out a park map or make an itinerary of all the booths you want to visit organized geographically through the World Showcase. This will help maximize your time and marketplace experience without feeling overwhelmed in the park. It can be very busy, especially on the weekends, and having a game plan is especially important.
Tip: Pace yourself: The Food & Wine Festival can be overwhelming and trying to do everything is next to impossible. Try to pick and choose the most important things to you, spacing them out over the course of your vacation. I’ve made the mistake of over indulging and ending up with a wicked stomach ache. Nothing makes your F&W experience and vacation less magical than being sick! A little bit of indulgence goes a long way.
Trick: Get in line early for premium concert seats: If you want to be front and center to see your favorite bands at the Eat to the Beat concert series, make sure to get in line at least 30 minutes prior to the show. This will help ensure you’ll get a nice spot up front and perhaps even some shade in the covered sections of the American Gardens Theater.
Tip: Check out the nighttime events: The “3D” Disney Dessert Discovery is just one of several nighttime events. These offer really great experiences and any event at Disney during the evening/nighttime is extra magical.
Trick: Invest in Disney wristband gift cards: Purchase one of these handy gift cards at the Festival Welcome Center or at any one of the marketplace kiosks. These are a life-saver and so much handier than using cash or even a credit card. It will save you time and be extremely handy as you navigate the booths. These cards can be used for most food (and all of the marketplace kiosks), refreshments and merchandise.
Tip: Utilize the Festival Welcome Center: This is a terrific spot to get information, rest, recharge and enjoy special events. If you have a question, this is the place to go during F&W. Guest Relations is located there to assist you with any questions you might have, and you can also score some F&W merchandise and even a glass of wine or a snack.
What are your tips & tricks for the Food & Wine Festival?
When Sarah isn’t sharing planning tips about the Walt Disney World Resort, you can find her at the Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW where she writes dining reviews and shares tips and tricks about dining at Disney with a special diet.
If you have a special diet, join Sarah at the 2nd Annual Special Diets Dessert Party held on October 13, 2013 during the Food & Wine Festival. It’s a must-do for guests with special diets!
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