How to Get the Most Out of the Food and Wine Festival

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Are you headed to the 2016 Food & Wine Festival? If so, let Walt Express clue you in on How to Get the Most Out of the Food and Wine Festival.

The 2016 Food & Wine Festival has begun at Walt Disney World and I can smell the snacks all the way in Alabama. Ok, maybe not all the way in Alabama. However, my senses are in overdrive just thinking about the delicious snacks that are are being served up right now. My family has been a few times to enjoy this incredible event and I have some tips to pass along to help you make your Food & Wine Experience the best yet.

Proper Planning is Key

How to Get the Most Out of the Food and Wine FestivalWhat’s that you say? You don’t need a plan? Are you kidding me?! You need a plan, people! Have you even looked at these menus? If not, check out full menus and all of the choices for the 2016 Food & Wine Festival here. Trust me when I tell you that you really want to look over these and plan out a strategy. You can’t just go in to Food & Wine and taste a few here or there. Why? Well, hello! There are about eight gazillion booths with several options at each.

I’m serious when I say that there are so many delicious choices that will assault your senses that you can give up on self control. You will need to be rolled out of the place if you aren’t careful. So yes, a plan is warranted and needed to get the most out of this experience. Pick up a Food & Wine Festival Passport when you get there and stick to your plan!

Pick a Top Five

How to Get the Most Out of the Food and Wine FestivalHere is the way I plan, folks. First, read the menus and decide on a top five and do your best to stick to it. Our strategy is for my husband and I to both pick different snacks and drinks and to try each others. Also, because we are not locals, the plan is always to get the Park Hopper passes and go at least twice during our vacation to make the most out of the trip. If the grandparents are with us, even better!

We also print out the map ahead of time each year and look over it to see where we want to start and end. You can find the 2016 map HERE. To see my top 5 picks from the 2016 Food & Wine Festival, stay tuned for that blog coming soon.

Go When It Isn’t Too Crowded

Another great way to get the most out of the Food and Wine Festival is to go at the right times to avoid heavy crowds.The best advice that I can give you is to avoid the weekends and late evenings. The weekends are busy with lots of locals who come out for long weekends to experience the event. Sundays are especially popular. The late evenings are also very busy because there is an annual pass option for Florida residents that allows pass holders to enter Epcot after 4pm every day. This combined with everyone on vacation from all over the world can create heavy crowds.

How to Get the Most Out of the Food and Wine FestivalThe best advice is to stick to the middle of the week and get to the World Showcase area as close to 11 a.m. as you can. Also, try to avoid the very first week of the festival when everyone is foaming at the mouth to be the first ones to try everything. The last few days can also be a bit on the busy side too, so plan accordingly.

Keep the Lines Moving

The thing that bothers my family the most is the sheer amount of people who get in line to get their food, wine, or drinks and don’t have a payment method in hand. This is the main reason the lines move slowly at Food & Wine, so do your part and be prepared (are you singing that like Scar in The Lion King?). My family prefers to purchase the $100 Disney gift card before we leave, because it’s super easy and we don’t have to carry cash into the park. However, my parents prefer to stop and purchase the special gift cards at the festival that have the logo as a keepsake. If you are carrying cash, it’s important to note that most servings are the size of a small appetizer and cost between $4 and $8.

About Those Special Gift Cards

How to Get the Most Out of the Food and Wine FestivalLike I said before, my parents prefer to get the Food & Wine gift cards that are only available for purchase in the park. These gift cards are mini-sized and come with a wristlet to help you keep up with it. You can load it with as little as $15 and it works at all the Food & Wine booths.

If you feel like you will be spending the big bucks at the festival, you can also get the limited Festival Gift Card. This one must be loaded with at least $200, but it comes with a lanyard, a card sleeve,  and a full size gift card with the festival logo. These are all easily swiped or scanned at every booth and will keep the line moving. So for crying out loud, get one and make your life easier and keep the frustration down for everyone. You can find the locations and more information on these gift cards at the following locations:

  • Festival Center
  • Bridge Kiosk East & West
  • Festival Emporium (Canada pavilion)
  • Festival Boutique (Japan and Morocco pavilions

Hot Tip

If you are a Disney Chase Visa cardholder, there is a special lounge you can enter at Epcot during this event. It’s located on the 3rd floor in the America Pavilion. This special lounge has charging stations and air conditioning, plus they serve complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Just show you Disney Chase Visa and take advantage or this great place to rest and recharge.

So, there you have it. My tried and true ways to get the most out of your Food & Wine Festival experience. Create a plan, pick a top five, go when it isn’t crowded, and keep the lines moving. Of course, don’t forget those keepsake gift cards that will help you pay quicker and have for years to come.

Do you have tips that I left off? Tell us in the comments section or join us at Disney Express Lane Facebook Group and discuss this and many other Disney topics!

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Mandi is a wife, Mom of 3, writer, creator of, and self-proclaimed Disney nerd. She loves to travel to Disney Destinations and blog about her magical experiences so she can share all the tips, tricks and tidbits she picks up during her travel. She and her family visit Disney World several times a year and she is always in the know when something new is happening and she shares it here first! Mandi also works as an online consultant by empowering women to be all they can be in all aspects of their life. You can find her at

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