Tips for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival from Disney Vacation Planner

Disney Vacation Planner tips for Food and wine Festival
Enjoy a taste of Food and Wine from All Around the World

We just got back from our fall Walt Disney World vacation and we were there during the time of the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  Your Mouse Expert (Authorized Disney Vacation Planner) visited Epcot several times during our stay there and I can tell you it is more popular than ever.  If you are a foodie and enjoy wine tasting this is the place to be!

As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I often help my clients make plans to attend this event.  It is a lot of fun and is one of Epcot’s premier events and is held annually.  This year, as always. each time Your Mouse Expert was in the park it was crowded, which is a testament to how much people love this event.  Since the Food and Wine Festival is such a big attraction I thought it would be a good idea to offer few Mouse Expert tips that will help guests navigate through the event.  

Find out How it All Works

Tips from Disney Vacation Planner for Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Every Country Offers Its Best!

Your admission to the park is all you will need to partake in the festival.  So when your  Disney Vacation Planner purchases your tickets, you are all set to enjoy the event.  This year the International Food and Wine Festival is held August 31 – November 13, 2017.  

All around the World Showcase at Epcot, there are kiosks situated with various food and wine offerings.  The appetizer-sized portions available at each kiosk usually range in price from $4.00 – $8.00.  These dishes provide the perfect opportunity to try the traditional cuisine from around the world.  If guests are using the Disney Dining Plans, they will note that many of the offerings can be purchased with a snack credit.  Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner can help you purchase one of the Disney Dining Plans available and will explain how to use them.  

If you love to cook as well as eat, make sure you visit the Festival Center.  At the Festival Center workshops are offered and guests will have the opportunity to learn culinary skills from chefs and bakers such as; Jamie Deen, “Cake Boss”, Buddy Valastro, Art Smith, Robert Irvine Cat Cora and the cast of ABC’s “The Chew”.  There will be many new chefs appearing this year as well, so make sure you check out when your favorites will be appearing.  

Purchase a Gift Card for the Event 

Disney Vacation Planner tips for Food and Wine Festival
Epcot Food and Wine Festival

If you are going to be at Epcot for a few days and want to spend a few relaxing afternoons or evenings wondering around the showcase, consider purchasing a Food and Wine Festival gift card to pay for your purchases.  Remember you are carrying food and drinks around so anything you can do to make things easier, will make the event more enjoyable.  Not having to search around for a wallet or purse for money will make things more convenient with each purchase.  With a $200 activation, you’ll receive a specially themed lanyard and sleeve.  

Your Disney Vacation Planner Recommends – Get a Map

Whether guests know the park or not, a map will just make it easier to plan the right amount of time needed for each kiosk.  Utilize the map to help determine the locations and culinary delights to make sure to try.   Knowing where everything is and what is coming next will help guests to ensure not to fill up at the first few kiosks. 

Pack Lightly

As mentioned earlier, guests will be carrying food and drinks from place to place, and it can get crowded.   Although there are tables set up all along the World Showcase route, carrying bags, jackets, merchandise bags, and hats, will make the event much less enjoyable.  Another option, if you are concerned about the weather or have purchased items to carry, is to rent a locker and store items you don’t need to carry with you until you are done with the event.  

Stay Hydrated

We all know that drinking adult beverages can be dehydrating so make sure that you drink water along the way as well.  To add to that, when we were there it was very hot and humid.  Since it really doesn’t cool off much in Florida, this Authorized Disney Vacation planner suggests you make frequent stops to drink and take your time going around the World Showcase.   The heat will make dehydration happen even faster.  No point ruining the fun for want of a little water.  

Avoid Crowds by Timing Your Visit

We were in the area for an entire week and were at Epcot several times during that time and we took note of when it was super busy.   We noticed that, although still pretty busy, the middle of the week was better.  Keep in mind that Florida residents love the festival too and they visit on weekends.  The very busiest times are the weekend evenings, and if you enjoy the festive atmosphere of crowds you will be fine.  But if you prefer a little less action avoid weekends, and try for early afternoon to make your way around the showcase.  

Try to Go More than Once

Although this may not always be possible with the time you have for the parks, if at all possible go more than once, and for only a few hours at a time.  There is so much to take in and in the opinion of this Mouse Expert, if you break the event up into smaller time frames, you will enjoy it much more and feel less pressure to hurry.  If you can only do one day, pick your top 5 or 6 cuisines and thoroughly enjoy them.  Remember, there is always next year.  

The International Food and Wine Festival is a much loved and well-attended event.  Expect it to be busy and expect to take your time going around to each kiosk.  Don’t plan to rush through the event and you will enjoy this truly exceptional Disney event. 

Disney Vacation Planning at Christmas

Include in your Disney Vacation plan Christmas Celebration Choir at Walt Disney World
Christmas Celebration Choir at Walt Disney World

Disney vacation planning during the Christmas season is magical indeed! I know, Disney is magical any time of year but Disney during the holidays pulls out all the stops.   If you love Christmas, then you will love Disney at Christmas.  The decorations alone are worth a visit, even a short one, during that season.   When our children were young we have even spent Christmas at Disneyland as an entire family.  It is truly memorable.  That said, when you are doing your Disney vacation planning remember the busiest week of the year is between Christmas and New Year’s so if you hate crowds that would be the week to avoid.  But,  the Christmas holidays begin in November in Walt Disney World ® so there is plenty of time to enjoy the season and still not get too swamped with crowds.   If you must visit when the kids are out of school, I suggest the week before Christmas. Typically the crowds are significantly less than the week after.

The Magic Kingdom and the Very Merry Christmas Party

Include in your Disney Vacation plan Tree Decorations at the Animal Kingd
Tree Decorations at Animal Kingdom Park

Like the Not-So-Scary Halloween party, this is a special ticketed event.   And,  also like the Halloween party, it is a great event to experience because the attractions are more available because there are fewer crowds in the park.  At the Christmas party, however,  there are unique character interactions and specially designed parades and firework.  The party typically features Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, “Holiday Wishes,” and  “A Frozen Holiday Wish”.  In the past, the parade and fireworks are shown nightly after the last party which is December 22ndthis year.

A Frozen Holiday Wish Occurs nightly at 6:30 pm on the Castle stage.  Watch all your favorite Frozen characters put on an awe-inspiring display.  


Include in your Disney Vacation plan the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot
America Gardens Theatre at Epcot

Epcot is also a magical place during the holidays with every country in the World Showcase displaying amazing decorations and wonderful traditional foods from around the globe.  Additional there will be special food and drink kiosks featured all around the World Showcase adding to the festivities.

American Adventure – American diversity is on display at the American Pavillion with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the highlights of Hanukkah traditions and the spirit of Kwanzaa. The Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers—an outstanding a cappella group, sings a special repertoire of classic songs.

Canada – The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs take viewers on a musical tour through the customs of the Great White North.

China – Feast your eyes on the colorful Chinese Lion Dance, which brings good fortune and happiness to all during major celebrations like the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.

France – Discover the magic of Père Noël and the joy of the season through a Christmas letter from a child.

Germany – Listen as Helga tells the story of the first Christmas tree and the tale of her first Nutcracker.

Italy – Meet the kind-hearted witch La Befana who arrives on the eve of the Epiphany to grant gifts to good children.

Japan – Hear the fascinating story of the Daruma doll and the Japanese customs of the New Year.

Mexico – ¡Feliz Navidad! Join mariachis and dancers as they bring color and excitement to the music, dances, and traditions of a holiday fiesta.

Morocco – Come! Take a journey through the seasons of holidays in Morocco, where celebrations are “the spice of life.”

Norway – Spend time with Sigrid and learn about Julenissen, the Christmas Gnome.

United Kingdom – Delve into the vivid stories of Father Christmas, dating back to 15th-century England.

Include in your Disney Vacation plan you can see More exquisite Disney tree Decorations
More exquisite Disney tree Decorations
Include in your Disney Vacation plan the Beautiful colors everywhere and the Red flowers are everywhere?
Beautiful colors everywhere and the Red flowers are everywhere?
Include in your Disney Vacation plan the Chocolate Carousel
Chocolate Carousel












When you doing your Disney vacation planning at Christmas time, remember to include The Candlelight Processional.  It is one of the most anticipated holiday offerings that many Walt Disney World Resort guests look forward to and return for again and again each year. The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot and features a celebrity narrator retelling the traditional Christmas story, as well as live music from a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir.  The Candlelight Processional performances are nightly starting at 5 and the tree lighting is at 6. As the night goes on the Processional will get busier.  Since this is a local holiday highlight, it may be wise to enjoy this event during the week, since weekends will be busier.    The celebrity narrators for the Christmas story are announced usually in the late summer.

Epcot's Disney Vacation Planning for Christmas can make even Florida seem like a winter wonderland.
Epcot’s Disney Vacation Planning for Christmas can make even Florida seem like a winter wonderland.

Illuminations will have a special seasonal conclusion typically from just after Thanksgiving through December 30th.  The show will feature holiday greetings in native languages from the countries of World Showcase, along with the beloved sounds of the classic song “Let There be Peace on Earth”.

Include the Disney Resorts in Your Disney Vacation Planning

Include in your Disney Vacation plan Wilderness Lodge Christmas Tree
Wilderness Lodge Christmas Tree
Include in your Disney Vacation plan visiting the Winter Village Scene
Include in your Disney Vacation plan the Winter Village Scene
The Grand Floridian manages to make their Disney Vacation Planning for Christmas elegant and enchanting.
The Grand Floridian manages to make their Disney Vacation Planning for Christmas elegant and enchanting
Life-sized ginger bread store in the Grand Floridian Lobby add to Disney Vacation planning.
Life-sized ginger bread store in the Grand Floridian Lobby.
Santa is included in all the Disney Vacation Planning at every corner.
Santa is included in all the Disney Vacation Planning at every corner.

Since the festivities extend to all the resorts, make sure your Disney vacation planning includes time to visit the resorts to enjoy more fun and festive attractions.  Fort Wilderness, Sleigh Rides For up to 4 adults (Or 2 adults and 3 small children) take a horse drawn carriage ride ($79) We have had mixed reviews on it. It is really neat for the kids but not sure it is worth the extra time and money to trek over for it. However, the way the campers decorate their sites is pretty neat.

Fort Wilderness, Disney’s campground offers Sleigh Rides For up to 4 adults (Or 2 adults and 3 small children).  It is fun for the kids and if you plan a visit to Whoopy-do Review, you may want to include this as well.  

Yacht/Beach Club Lobby boasts a life-sized Edible Holiday Carousel and the construction includes 96 Lbs of bread, 100 pints of eggs, 50 Lbs of chocolate, 100 Lbs of icing.  There is also a Holiday Village with Train.

The Beach Club Lobby offer live gingerbread decorating and a visit from Chip and Dale and even Mickey himself. 

The Grand Floridian Resort features a Giant Gingerbread House in the main lobby, complete with a working store inside.  

The Contemporary Resort has a holiday display on the fourth floor featuring a Christmas tree that is 17 feet fall and 6 feet wide.  Chef Mickey will pass out gingerbread cookies.  

The  Boardwalk Inn has a Holiday Gazebo in the lobby made completely of gingerbread and chocolate with lots of hidden Mickeys.

The Boardwalk Bakery also offers mini gingerbread houses and shingles for sale.  

These are just a few of the highlights available at the resorts and offer an alternative to crowds a the park.  Take a short break in your plans and see a few of the festive sights.

Holidays at Disney Springs

As Disney Springs has grown and changed, the new attractions for Christmas 2017 should be exciting.  In past years guests have enjoyed Santa and his helpers at their charming cottage across from Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. Guests will be able to pick up a pager upon check-in to secure their place in a virtual queue line.  Santa begins visiting the area around November 11th through December 24th.  Other Christmas attractions are:

  • Santa Goofy available to meet from December 25 – 30th.
  • Nightly tree lighting ceremony at the Once Upon a Toy fountain play area.
  • Sightings of Toy Solider stilt walkers, and Snowflake performers, as well as, a Kwanza Celebration, Hanukkah medleys, and specialty foods abound.
  •  Hanukkah songs and stories at Waterview Park in the Landing, with evening performances from December 24th through January 1st, 2017.

Keep in mind this article about  Magical Holiday happenings is based on years past. Undoubtedly there will be additions and subtractions or alterations from years past.  But whatever is planned will be amazing and ensuring that you create well-laid vacation plans will help you get the most of your time in the park.  

If you need help with Disney vacation planning, contact me and I can help.  My services are free, but I can help you make sure that you create the vacation that meets all needs.  The benefits of planning make all the difference.