This weekend I had the pleasure of going to the Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival that is held at Epcot! It was my first time going, and oh man was it intense!! I know it was opening weekend and all, but I have NEVER seen the Epcot parking lot so full that they had to park people on the grass! There were SO many people out there!
I know I’m going again next weekend, but I wanted to go and just walk around with my better half and enjoy some of this beautiful weather we are having! That, and we wanted to get a feel for it so we knew what to expect when we went with friends (who have also never been). I’ll share some of what I learned:
- · It’s expensive. $40 (on top of whatever it costs to get in and park) for two people is not a realistic goal by any means. Especially if you are hungry. Or like to drink!
- · The average price range is about $3 to $9 per plate or drink depending on what you get. The “beer flight” from Belgium is $8 if I recall correctly, but you can get glasses of wine for about $3-4 dollars in a number of places.
- · Bring water. Put it in your backpack or wherever you can. You are drinking, it’s 80 something degrees and still kinda warm in the sun, and the food has a fair amount of salt in it! Just bring the extra water.
- · Bring a backpack. It was insanely busy, and I don’t foresee the weekends being any less crowded with our weather conditions improving. Having said that: bring a backpack. You need all the hands you can get to hold on to your little cups and plates, because the seating and tables they set up are not nearly enough.
- · Have a team and a plan. It would be so unlike Disney to not have lines, and this event is no exception. Each country had quite a long line, some longer than others, some moving quicker than others. If there are enough of you in your party that all want something from some of the nearby countries, than may I suggest: divide and conquer. Give each other your orders and send one or two people to each country to get things for everyone while the other one of two go to the one nearby and then meet up and eat together. Most of the lines move quickly, but there is still a lot of inefficiency going on in regards to line management, even for Disney.
- · Have a backup pan. Divide and conquer may work for most your day, we experienced a number of “Sorry we are out of that” situations. Maybe it was just because it was opening weekend and crazy gorgeous out, but they were out of a LOT. So if you have something you KNOW you want, make that a top priority. Keep a cellphone or walkie-talkie to best keep in touch with group members in case you go to order, and they are out of whatever you want.
- · Use the preloaded card. It seems like all forms of payment are accepted, but the most handy idea of them all is their little wristlet “gift cards” that you can preload to whatever amount you want, and then just wear that on your wrist instead of lugging around cash and charge cards, just don’t forget your ID. This will help keep your hands clear for you to hold some delectable foods and drink.
Having said all of that, you should have a good grasp of what to do and expect. In short: bring money, plan on waiting in line, do whatever you can ahead of time to devise a plan.
With $40 this is what we were able to get for two people:
- · 1 Coconut Margarita from the Caribbean
- · 1 Green Tea Plum Wine from China, which is just downright disgusting. Seriously, it tastes like a chilled cough syrup and not the good kind either.
- · 1 glass of Pinot Noir Wine (which was ironically served chilled) from the Wine and Cheese Station.
- · 1 variety plate of Cheese from the Wine and Cheese Station, which was quite nice, if you like cheese.
- · 1 plate of shrimp from Australia, which were quite good, just a bit spicy for my taste.
Here are some great links I wish I had found ahead of time to look at and review. They from a local Floridian’s site I have recently come across! Take a look at some of these pdfs before you start planning so you can get a greater grasp of the enormity of this event! This is also a festival guide for 2011 in pdf form!
I will be going back to Epcot a few more times while the Food and Wine Festival continues and will continue to provide you with some more information as I learn it!
I hope this helps some of you thinking about going to the Food and Wine Festival! Let me know if you have anything you think I should add!
The Sparkle Queen
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