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Last Updated on April 30, 2020 by Allyson
The 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is happening at Walt Disney World. The event is currently running with the final day on Nov. 23.
In early November, I attended the festival for the very first time and learned a lot. So, I gathered some Food & Wine Festival tips for first-timers. If you’ve never attended the event, then these are the tips you should definitely keep in mind during your first visit.
1. Go Through Each Marketplace Menu
Planning is so important anytime you visit Disney parks, especially when it comes to special events like Food & Wine. Before you even get to the festival, you should go through each marketplace menu and figure out what you want to try. This way you don’t have to stop at every single booth and read the menus, all while figuring out if you should spend money when you’re unsure if there’s something else that you might want to try more
2. Study A Map
You should always look at a map before visiting the parks. In addition to learning the ropes of Epcot, you should check out a Food & Wine map (you can usually find one online) so you know where each marketplace is located. This will save you so much time once you’re inside the park. Plus, the map also lists every other Food & Wine item and their locations, including dance parties, merchandise, and shows.
3. Make A Plan
In addition to studying a map and researching menus, you should also make a plan. When do you want to eat? When should you schedule FastPasses? When does a show start and is there a booth close that you want to try? When should you tour Future World — before or after the World Showcase? There’s a lot to think about, so have somewhat of a plan prior to your arrival.
4. Grab A Passport
Like the maps and times guides available, there’s also a Festival Passport (shown above) that you can grab. It lists festival details, including each global marketplace and what’s offered. There are also stickers inside that you can place next to each booth in the passport, so you can keep track of every marketplace you’ve visited.
5. Activate A Gift Card
This is actually something I forgot to do and I wish I would have. Be sure you activate a gift card to pay with for when you visit booths. There are even special festival-themed ones that can be found at Port of Entry and select festival markets.
Using a gift card makes paying so much easier. This way, you don’t want to worry about receipts, handing over your credit card (and misplacing it/losing it), or digging for cash. Plus, when you use a gift card, you can set a spending limit. Gift cards serve as a great way to keep you on a budget.
6. Try More Than Just The Food & Wine
Food & Wine is of course about food and beverages, but there is so much more to do than drink and eat. There are special experiences, including festival merchandise, cooking seminars and demonstrations, celebrity chefs, and even shows, like the Eat to the Beat concert series that features a lineup of famous musicians. This festival isn’t year-round, so make sure you’re trying everything offered.
7. Avoid Weekends & Special Events
Food & Wine is known for being a busy festival, but the crowds can be even more overwhelming on the weekends or if there is a special event happening. For example, I not only went on a Saturday, but during the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. It was PACKED.
I’m used to visiting Walt Disney World when it’s busy, but when you’re trying something for the first time, you don’t want crowds to overwhelm you or get in the way of your fun. If you can’t avoid busier times, well, that’s fine, because it’s all about what you make of a situation. That said, if you can visit when it’s not as busy, definitely do so.
Food & Wine is a great event with so many tasty treats. I definitely recommend it — and following my tips to make your visit even more successful.
If you’re interested in heading to the festival, but would like a helping hand in booking your trip, CJ Ayd is the one to contact. He’s a travel agent with Magical Vacation Planner and specializes in Disney vacations. And guess what? His services are FREE. You read that right — FREE. You can contact him by requesting a free quote here, via email, or calling: (443) 610-2773. Also, be sure to mention my name. Full disclosure: if you book a trip via my recommendation, I receive commission.