If you’re at all aware of what’s happening in the Walt Disney World parks, you might know that this little thing called the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is going on right now, for another couple of weeks. If you’ll be in the area, we can’t recommend it enough! We have been a few times, and always enjoy it.
Here are a few general tips:
- Avoid the weekends if at all possible. This event is a huge draw for the locals, so Friday night through Sunday afternoon can be oppressively crowded.
- If you have to go on a Saturday – and really this is good advice for any day of the week – get there as early as possible. The kiosks are scheduled to open with World Showcase at 11:00am every day, but some toward the “front” (near Future World) have been seen serving as early as 10:30am, so be in the area a bit before 11 to start your culinary tour ahead of the crowds. You can really enjoy the event with little to no wait with this tip!
- If you get to the park before 11am, check out the Festival Center in the former (waaaah!) Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World (near Ellen’s Energy Adventure – there are signs everywhere, you can’t miss it!). If you’re there later, skip the Festival Center unless you’re there specifically for seminars and events. These are well worth your time if they interest you, but the center is not worth valuable touring time if you are just browsing. Catch it when you need a break from the delicious food 🙂
- Pace yourself! Pick up a “Discovery Passport” at the Festival Center or your first kiosk and take a look at what lies ahead. There are over 30 locations to sample. Your stomach – and your wallet – might not be able to handle all of them in one day. We have made the mistake on more than one occasion of passing every booth and thinking, “Oh! That looks/sounds so good!” and filling up far too quickly, missing something later that we really would have rather tried. If you aren’t spending several days of your trip at the festival, be a little bit choosy! While everything is probably good, some things are better than others 🙂
- If you have a Chase card (Disney Visa or otherwise), be sure to check out the Members Lounge above The American Adventure. Complimentary Soda (yes, at Walt Disney World!) from Freestyle Coca-Cola Machines, Disney Infinity kiosks to try out the popular video game, and nice, cushioned seating ares in air-conditioning – with a great view of the American Adventure pavilion.
If you’re headed to the 2014 Festival (continuing now through November 10th), here are a few of our recommendations – in no particular order:
And probably the best stop of the entire day, though not exactly “International” for this US local… 😉
Unfortunately, I have to throw in a candidate for “Don’t Waste your Money”. Though less than $2 and not low in quality, this shrink-wrapped box of two chocolates was a far cry from the beautiful presentation and hand-crafted, chef-prepared stuff we were used to from Epcot. I was definitely taken aback, and can’t recommend spending even a few dollars on this. Eat something else for dessert, and buy a box of chocolates another time. 🙂
We tried several more dishes, and nothing was at all bad. Whatever you decide, you’re going to have a great time and hopefully try some new things. Enjoy! 🙂
Have you been to the festival this year? What was your favorite dish? Share in the comments below!