The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World gets more popular each year. With that popularity comes an ever expanding crowd. Here are five tips to help you enjoy yourself at the festival and even avoid some of that crowd:
1) Visit during the week. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival draws a huge local crowd, and many of those locals working on weekdays and can only come out on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re on vacation, slot in a weekday for your Epcot visit.
2) Arrive early. Even though World Showcase doesn’t open until 11 a.m., you’ve got all of Future World to explore, including the Festival Center. The Center itself is a destination, with talks, demonstrations, a wine shop, and a souvenir shop. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Ghirardelli chocolate area, with carvings themed to Disney movies and characters like Up, Frozen, and Marvel. Then head to World Showcase as soon as it opens, turn right instead of left, and enjoy the lowest food kiosk lines you’ll see all day.
3) Wear sunscreen (but also be prepared for rain). It’s been a brutally hot summer in Florida, and it looks like that’s going to continue at least for the first part of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. You’ll be standing in plenty of lines at the food kiosks, so slather yourself in sunscreen and bring a water bottle that you can refill at fountains to stay hydrates. This being Florida, it could rain at any time, so wear shoes that won’t get hurt by the water and pack a cheap rain poncho from Wal-Mart or Target and an umbrella.
4) Don’t rush yourself. It’s easy to get stressed out when you see the crowds and lines. If you plan a whole day to visit Epcot, you can relax a bit and remind yourself that there’s no need to rush. Take breaks between your food forays and enjoy more laid-back things to do, like checking out the Ocean Spray cranberry bog or soaking up the air conditioning inside of the Festival Center while you browse through the shop or listen to a talk. Sometimes it’s fun just to get a glass of wine, stake out a shady bench, and people-watch for a while.
5) Sign up for the Festival Tasting Sampler. This handy package gets you some of the best samples, along with priority seating for the day’s Eat to the Beat concert. If you really want to do it right, opt for the Premium Package, which lets you into special areas to savor your food while escaping the crowds and lines. You’ll find details on all the packages offered on the official webpage.
Want to see some photos and quick reviews of several of the Festival offerings? Jump here.