FTC Disclosure: We received media tickets for this visit but all thoughts and opinions belong to meeeee!
My family and I recently took a multigenerational trip to Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival and before we took off, I made sure to ask my people what they wanted to see/know. And so…here are those questions AND answers.
How long are the lines for food?
This all depends on when you visit. At the start and towards the end of the Food & Wine Festival, you can expect longer lines. During holidays (Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Election Day and Halloween), you can also expect longer than normal lines. Of course a Saturday will likely be more crowded than a Tuesday but in general, the lines don’t get THAT long. I’ve never had to stand in line for more than 7-10 minutes to order, purchase and pick up food. Epcot does a fantastic job at making sure these lines move quickly.
Q: Epcot seems like the “adult” part of Disney. Is there anything for kids to do at the International Food and Wine Festival?
YES! A 5-year old Elle and 2-year old Bub may have had more fun than all of us! In addition to trying out delicious new eats, they were able to enjoy the live musical performances at the countries as well as dance at the Disney Du Jour Dance Parties that happens on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bubby gets DOWN at Epcot!
For littles, they have the Festival Play Area and for older kids, they have complimentary Junior Chef Kitchen experiences. Also, if you’ve got a little foodie, Disney has identified the kid-approved dining dishes in the Passport!
Q: Is it easy to identify what’s gluten-free or vegan?
I was asked this question at least 3 or 4 times. The Festival Passport is your map to this event so I highly recommend you spend 5 minutes or so studying yours once you get into the park. That said, there is a legend that helps visitors locate Vegetarian, Gluten/Wheat-friendly and Kid-approved events. I haven’t seen this for Vegan. However, the Cast Members are incredibly knowledgeable. Don’t hesitate to ask about any allergens. They are happy to provide information and recommendations. I would like to see Vegan and Nut-free Identifiers added to the Passport though. And while we’re at it, can we do Dairy-Free, too?
Q: Are the ride lines shorter during the Food and Wine Festival?
They aren’t. Soarin’ and Test Track are still insanely popular as well as Frozen Ever After. I highly recommend you using Fast Passes for the popular rides and to expect wait times to be as long as normal.
Q: Be honest…how much should I budget for a good amount of food?
Ugh, this is such a tough question because it’s relative and really depends on WHAT you plan to enjoy. For some, they want all the sweets. Others want all the drinks. Some people intend just to nibble here or there. This is why I highly recommend getting a Festival Passport to mark off things that you HAVE to try. That said, not including drinks, you could probably do well with a budget off $25-$30 per person during a visit. Most items cost between $5-$10 and if you’re going with a group, you can share! Keep in mind, offerings are tapas-style so it’s unlikely that you’ll get full off of 1 or 2 offerings. If money isn’t an option, then, by all means, try ALL THE THINGS.
Q: What else is there to do if I no longer want to stuff my face or ride rides?
The Food & Wine Festival actually has a ton of seminars, demonstrations and culinary activities. I’m not sure many people know this because they’re so focused on trying out the different noms. Once again, refer to your Festival Passport to get an idea of the fun Festival Dining Events. Some only happen on certain days. There is also a concert series. Yes, girl! Epcot has a pretty cool lineup of performances of various genres. Most performances happen at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm. I highly recommend the 8:00 pm showing. You can enjoy the music and then stay for the IllumiNations Firework Show.
Oh, and you can also walk around and check out the beautiful landscaping.
Q: What were some of your favorite dishes?
I have never actually tried EVERYTHING at all of the countries. BUT my top picks are:
The Grilled Tuna in Hawaii
Xi’an Pancake in China
Madras Red Curry in India
Belgium Waffle in Belgium
Moqueca in Brazil
Crème Brûlée in France
Q: How fresh are the offerings?
Come on, guys. It’s Disney! Everything is freshly prepared to perfection. An added perk? More times than not, the Cast Members at the kiosks are FROM that country.
Q: Does the Festival have local offerings?
They do! I’ve heard from locals that in the past they had more local wines and beers and while there aren’t a TON of options, there are quite a few. I saw a number of IPAs from the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area.
This is by no means an exhaustive covering of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. There is so much to do. I hope I answered some of your questions. And if you haven’t made it to this event, I highly recommend a visit. It is absolutely worth it!
FTC: Media tickets were provided to us but all thoughts and opinions are my own.