Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

From September 30 through November 13, 2011, the 16th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be the place to be in Central Florida!  We are going to find a little time to get to this event before it ends since we couldn’t make it last year.  While I was reviewing the festival booklet, it occurred to me that this would be a good topic for a blog.  Not everyone has been there before or knows some tips to making it a more enjoyable experience (not that food or wine is not enjoyable, just to enjoy more!).

Top Ten Tips for Enjoying the Food & Wine Festival

10.  Don’t make an ADR that night(s).  This year there are 30 International Marketplaces on the map.  Sure, you’re not likely going to eat/drink at all 30 in one night, but even stopping at one-third of the stops, you are not going to want to go for a table service meal that night.  It will also take you longer than you think to make your way around the lagoon. This is up from last year with the introduction of Caribbean, Craft Beers, Hawai’i and Protugal plus the reintroduction of Scandinavia.  You will fill up faster than you think you will.

9.  If possible, avoid weekends.  There will be more local traffic then as well as guests staying at the resort.  Lines will be longer.  A good time to visit is mid-afternoon, after the lunch crowd but before the night crowd arrives.

8.  Check out the Festival Center.  Over here you will find many of the presentations, demonstrations and seminars.  There is a charge for these events and can be reserved in advance.  Additionally, the Festival Center is air conditioned and there is food, wine and merchandise to purchase.  This is a great place to cool off outside.  You can also pick up a cookbook here with many recipes so you can recreate the dishes at home.

7.  Stay hydrated, and not from just the alcohol.  It’s important to drink enough water while you are out in the heat as it is but when you are drinking alcohol too, you get dehydrated much quicker.  Don’t forget the water and take frequent break.  There are a variety of shops, movies, rides and shows you can duck into for a break.

6.  If you are on the dining plan, don’t use your snack credits for items under $4.  There are plenty of things you can get with your snack credits for more than this.

5.  If you are traveling with others willing to share, split your samples instead of buying two of something.  Of course if there is something you really like and don’t want to share, that’s ok, but sharing some tastes will cut down on the amount of food you are eating and the costs involved.

4.  Make it fun exercise.  When we take on Food & Wine, we stop at every other or every third marketplace the first trip around the lagoon.  Depending on how many you skip will determine the number of trips around the lagoon you need to take.  This will allow you to not fill up quite as fast.

3.  For a fun souvenir get the wristbank gift card.  But be careful with this.  It can be very tight on your wrist, making you want to just put it in your pocket.  You don’t want to lose this as it’s basically the same as cash.  Some use cash as you can see how much you are spending (but have lots of change left over).  You can also just use your resort room card or your Disney Rewards card.

2.  Check out the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.  From Taylor Dayne and 38 Special to Gin Blossoms and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, there are different performances every two to three nights.  Shows are daily at 5:15 pm, 6:30 pm and 7:45 pm in the America Gardens Theatre.  The best part is the concert is free (admission to Epcot required).

1.  Take your time and enjoy!  There is so much to see, do and try at the International Food & Wine Festival, it’s easy to jump right in with no plan, eat too much and feel miserable.  Take your time and enjoy what is offered.  Plan to come back more than once during your stay to try other offerings or to have seconds of a few favorites.

I have scanned in the festival map for you to help plan what you may want to try.  My list is too long for the time we will be there!

Food & Wine International Marketplaces, part 1

Food & Wine International Marketplaces, part 2

What tips do you have?  What is your game plan?  We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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