A First-Timer's Guide to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Brooke Schuldt

By Brooke Schuldt, Oct 21, 2016

WDWMAGIC Contributor

For veteran festival-goers and Disney nerds, we already know our strategy to maneuver through crowds, what foods we can’t wait to eat again (welcome back, deliciously flaky Spanakopita), and what foods are new to the festival that we can’t wait to try.

For first-time visitors to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it can seem a bit daunting. With so many different food booth representing various cultures and food groups around the world, it can seem like an overwhelming amount of food to choose from and crowds to navigate. That’s why WDWMAGIC has come up with the 6 most important things a Food & Wine newbie needs to know before hitting up the booths. Keep these things in mind, and your family will be talking about Disney’s most delicious event for years to come.

Food and Wine Marketplace kiosk at the Japan Pavilion
Food and Wine Marketplace kiosk at the Japan Pavilion

Don’t Make Dinner Reservations

This should be obvious, but anyone who has never been to the F&W Festival may not be aware of just how many food options there are to choose from. Since there are over 35 food booths scattered throughout World Showcase, what will end up happening is that you and your family will get full before you even get to your reservation because you’ll be snacking from food booths along the way. Your best bet is to consider the festival as your dinner for the night, and save your time and money for all of the various booths. Every type of cultural cuisine imaginable is available to you at Food & Wine, plus some locally grown Florida foods, so everyone will find something to love, explore, and enjoy.

Be Patient With The Crowds

By far the hardest thing for festival newbies to do is be patient with the huge crowds that turn out for Food & Wine. The streets of World Showcase will be absolutely packed with people, and the lines for each booth will be very long. You just have to accept this, take a deep breath, and wait on the long line. It will be well worth it because the food you eat will be some of the best food you have ever eaten in your life. If the lines are really cutting into your itinerary schedule, assign a family member to wait on line while others find a place to sit, wait on a long ride queue, or grab the perfect spot to watch IllumiNations. Better yet, split the family up and have everyone wait on a different food booth line, order for the group, and meet up in the middle to divvy up the loot.

Avoid The Weekends (If You Can)

Depending on how long your trip is, this can sometimes be unavoidable, but there is a huge difference between week day crowds and weekend crowds. Week day crowds are heavy but manageable, while weekend crowds are so dense that walking through World Showcase can sometimes be impossible. If you are going on the weekend, plan which booths you are going to hit ahead of time and find where they are located. This way you can map your way through the festival and more effectively push your way through the crowds, instead of stopping at every booth to see what’s available there.

Look Up The Menu Before Showing Up

This is imperative no matter what size your party is or what day of the week you visit. Though Disney doesn’t always have a full menu at the parks for you to use, we have a list of food menus and wine and beer lists for every booth at the festival that we highly suggest you use. Keep it handy on your phone so that you know what is available where, how much things cost, and what booths you don’t mind avoiding. Plus, reading it will get you totally excited about exploring!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menus.

Seared rainbow trout at the Canada Pavilion kiosk
Seared rainbow trout at the Canada Pavilion kiosk

Don’t Eat Too Much From The First Few Booths

This is the definition of a rookie mistake. It can be easy, especially for first timers, to get so overwhelmed and excited by the delicious menus for the first few booths that they eat too much and get full before even getting to the middle of the festival. Don’t let this happen to you. Pace yourself, share a dish with a friend or family member if need be, and remember that not only are there more glorious foods waiting for you throughout the festival, but you can absolutely go back and visit the beginning booths again if you are still hungry. (Which is unlikely, but possible!)

Stop By More Than Once

This advice has two different meanings. First, it means stop by booths multiple times if you really love something or feel like trying another dish from a booth you’ve already visited. (Or stock up on your favorites and sneak them back to your hotel room.) Secondly, and most importantly, make sure to stop by the Food & Wine Festival multiple times during your vacation. You’ll get to revisit your favorite foods and try some new ones, and it is a great evening activity at the end of a rest day, a morning spent at Animal Kingdom, or stroll down Disney’s Boardwalk. It’s hard to visit this delicious festival just once!

Learn more about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
Brooke Schuldt

Brooke Schuldt

Brooke Schuldt is a former Kilimanjaro Safaris cast member and current freelance writer and web producer in New York City. Her Disney obsessions are EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival, The Great Movie Ride, and funky Disney Parks mugs. When she's not day dreaming about Walt Disney World, you can find her brainstorming new articles, making plans to travel the world, or binging on beauty podcasts. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, or visit her website.
Articles written by contributors represent the author's own view and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WDWMAGIC or its editors.