Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival is an event that takes place at the World Showcase at Epcot around September – November every year. At the event there are typically around 40 countries or regions represented, giving guests the ability to sample foods, wines, beers, etc. from these regions. It is a lot of fun and an amazing experience year after here. Here are 8 facts and secrets about the even that you will definitely want to know:
8. Admission is free, mostly.
One of the great things about the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot is that entry into the main event is included with the regular park admission to Epcot. This gets access to all of the booths as well as a lot of the demonstrations and entertainment. It is important to remember that not every demonstration and event associated with Food & Wine is included in the admission. There are other additional special events including culinary demonstrations, shows, celebrity meet and greets, etc. that require additional admission. The tickets can sell out in advance, so it is a good idea to purchase those any of these event tickets as soon as you can.
7. The event first started in 1995.
It is crazy to think that this event has been going on annually at Epcot for over 20 years. It has remained an extremely popular event and the number of booths and the demonstrations that are offered may vary, but the general concept for the event has remained constant over the years. What they are doing works since it keeps guests coming back year after year to experience it!
6. George Kalogridis created the event.
You may not be familiar with who George Kalogridis is, but he is actually the President of Walt Disney World. He has been the president since 2013, but in his previous roles within the organization he developed the concept for the festival and it has proven to continue to be a great success. We have no doubt that this event is still an event that remains near and dear to his heart year after year.
5. The event has spread to Disney’s California Adventure.
With the popularity of the event, it was only a matter of time before it spread to other locations. In early 2016, Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim saw its first Food & Wine Festival. It was a pretty large success, especially since Disneyland parks receive a lot of annual pass visitors that regularly frequent the parks for various events. We have no doubt that this will be a regular event in California now. Theirs is in the spring months as to not conflict with the fall months for Disney World’s event.
4. Don’t follow the crowds.
Due to the popularity of the event, it is wise to try to go opposite of the flow of the crowds. Most guest tend to work their way clockwise around the event, meaning that they will start in Mexico and work their way around. Consider staring in Canada and working counter clock-wise or taking on one of the boats to either Morocco or Germany and starting from there. It is helpful to be there at 11 when the World Showcase opens and then use this approach. This may help you bypass some of the herds. The lines can get rather long, so bypassing some areas and coming back can help you save time.
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3. Take advantage of the pre-loaded gift cards.
There are Food & Wine gift cards you can purchase to help keep you on your budget. They even come on a wrist band so you can keep it easily accessible as you move from kiosk to kiosk. You can set a budget for yourself and it will help you stick to it so that you don’t overspend as you explore with your group. You can still reload them as well if you run out, so that you can still keep on enjoying the event. It is great to buy one for each member of your party to help them prioritize their own snacks and budget, too!
2. Event merchandise.
If you are a shopper, there is great merchandise available that is exclusive to the event. There are bags, t-shirts, pins, hats, purses, glasses, and so much more! Collectors love to get the different event merchandise and some of it can run out, particularly pins and purses, so be sure to shop early if there is something that you know you must have.
1. Carry your passport.
At the festival, you can grab a passport for each member of your party. As you move from stop to stop and sample the foods, you can get stamps at the pavilion in your passport so you can keep track of the stands and pavilions that you have visited. There is also room to make notes about what you sampled, favorite items, etc. It is a great way to commemorate your experience and work to complete the entire passport. You can bring it back with you each day if you visit over multiple days, too!