Advice for first-time visitors to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival
Tuesday's the first day to make reservations
for this year's Epcot Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World. As Orlando food critic Scott Joseph
and Theme Park Insider readers have noted
, there are some notable changes this year, including charges for once-free sessions.
How this will affect the demand for reservations, we'll soon find out. I asked Scott and several other festival veterans what advice they'd offer first-time visitors to the festival (such as, well, me). Here are the top tips:Don't stress about making your plans now. There's plenty to see, do, eat and drink at the festival to entertain even the most demanding first-time visitor who arrives without a single reservation.Do take a look at the festival guide [PDF] at some point before you arrive, though. If you see a particular chef, event or demonstration that really interests you, go ahead and try to make a reservation. Do keep timing in mind, though. In the past, many demonstrations have had queues forming early, though this might change with the new $8 charges for many. Still, Epcot's a big park, and you're probably not going to make it from an event that ends at 12:45 to another that starts at 1. Give yourself about an hour between events. The Party for the Senses rarely sells out, and other events scheduled in the World Showplace (which is huge) are usually the last to fill up. Keep that in mind, if you are trying to make advance reservations for a few events.When you arrive, make a lap around the World Showcase, scoping out the offerings, before you start with the food and the wine. If you jump in first, without seeing all that's available, you're likely to end up with too much in the belly and too little in the wallet when you run across that really special selection.You can't get everything out of the festival in a single day, so don't even try. Again, take a look around, and pick what most interests you. Don't be afraid to take a bit of a risk, though. Trying something new, ultimately, is what the festival is all about.
I'm considering flying out for this year's festival, possibly making it a two-fer trip with a visit to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. I'll keep you posted, in case any TPI readers are interested in a get-together at the festival.
I am going for the first time this year :)
Here's a quick hint - load up a giftcard to use at the food stalls, rather than having to handle cash or a credit/debit card each time. They have great small cards that you can keep on your wrist and scan as you go. It saves a ton of time and is far easier to deal with.
I have a Disney credit card and it comes with a Disney rewards card. I transfer reward points to the card and use it to eat my way around Epcot.
I was also going to suggest using points from your disney credit cards to eat around the world. It's much easier than cash.
And Sam Adams creates a special brew for the festival. It has been excellent.
Anyone who is visiting the Festival and is on the Disney Dining Plan, you can use your "snack" credits for most of the food samples at the booths around the World Showcase.
I'll be attending F&WF 11, after the "Race for the Taste 10K", which I'll be running that morning. That is also the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend, for those of you lucky enough to get that day off (like me!). We'll be taking some first-timer's and I have forwarded them a link to this entry.
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