TMSM Explains: Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival

UntitledThe International Food & Wine Festival first kicked off in 1996 in the World Showcase section of Ecpot. This festival allows Disney to showcase foods and beverages from around the world, while also giving guests to chance to see famous chefs and bands. Food & Wine started in 1995 with just a few food booths ( Argentina, Poland, Greece and Canada) set up offering food samplings and beverages to guests. Julia Child was one of the first guest chefs, and the miniature train display in Germany was revealed to park guests.Today marks official kick-off of Epcot’s 20th International Food & Wine Festival and the first time the festival has spread into the Future World section of the park. Tonight, with the help of some Main Streeter questions TMSM is going to The International Food & Wine Festival to you!

But first, we shall cover the basics. The Epcot’s 2015  International Food & Wine Festival will be held from   through , 2015. The festival is a part of your park admission, but there are some talks and events that will cost more or require a special ticket. These items are noted in My Disney Experience and can usually be booked through Disney’s Dining line. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume and/or purchase adult beverages, and they must show a legal and valid photo id to do so. 12033279_10153602286518389_2113656018_n Exactly how many countries are represented in the Food and Wine festival?
There are more than 30 booths at the festival this year. Every booth doesn’t necessarily represent a country though. There are booths dedicated to Craft Beers, local produce, select states in the U.S. like Hawaii, cheese and more. This years countries with booths include

  • Africa
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Canada
  • Scotland
  • Japan
  • France
  • Morocco
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Belgium
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • South Korea
  • China
  • New Zealand
  • Brazil

12033840_10153602286718389_1767215505_nIs Food and Wine really worth it if you don’t drink alcohol?
Of course it is! Don’t forget the name is FOOD & Wine. There are all sorts of food to experience. Also Epcot has loads of special presentations, special events, and the
Eat to the Beat Concert Series for guests to enjoy. Also, because it’s Disney there is also limited edition merchandise meaning you have a reason to shop. The Eat to the Beat Concert series is free, but you will want to arrive early to get in line to guarantee yourself a seat, or book a FP+ from the first tier of the park’s FP+ selections. TMSM also wants to remind you to be safe, and please don’t drink and drive. Please leave the driving to the resort buses if you are a resort guest, and if not please make sure you have a Designated Driver so that you arrive alive!

12026554_10153602286018389_1847789761_nWe are Disney Chase Visa cardholders, I know there is a chase lounge do we pay for anything there or is it all included?
The Chase Member Lounge is a special area set up for guests with current Chase Visa Cards to visit. For a period of time it was in the Festival Center by Mission Space, but a few years ago it moved to the American Pavilion. The lounge is actually on the third floor of the Pavilion, and you must either walk up the stairs to get to it, or for those with mobility issues wait for the one elevator that is available.
To enter the lounge simply look for the Chase Lounge sign to the left of the entrance to the Pavilion. Be prepared to wait in line as they can only allow so many people into the lounge at once. You will also need to have your Chase card with you, or you won’t be able to enter the lounge.
Yesterday Chase announced the following about the 2015 lounge. “The Lounge features complimentary amenities, including non-alcoholic refreshments and a charging station. Enhancements to the Lounge this year include a dedicated Festival Information desk, social media photo booth, and a station where guests can email recipes from the festival. In addition, periodically throughout the festival, the lounge will host animation sketch classes and caricature artists.

12047797_10153602286633389_75117174_nI heard before that you can pre-load a wristband with a set dollar amount that you want to use during the day. Is this still the case now that there are MagicBands linked to a credit card?
Food and Wine doesn’t have a special wristband, but you can purchase a Disney Gift Card on a bracelet in the park. This does not connect to your MagicBand or MDE account. Also, though your credit card is linked to your MDE account, you must be a resort guest to take advantage of that option.

hrhrhr392882How much is each item and which are snack credits?
Prices vary but the majority of the food offerings are under $6.99. Just like any other dining option at Walt Disney World items that qualify for dining plan are marked on the menu with the DDP logo.
Just remember, adult beverages are never covered by Disney Dining Plan.

12047753_10153602285928389_1047940427_nWhat’s the best way to use the dining plan? On our trip, we have a day where we will have a Table Service lunch and that night, we’ll graze around the World. Should we plan to use a Counter Service credit or just pay out of pocket and use that elsewhere?
Honestly, this is up to you. The options at the booths that qualify for Dining Plan fall under snack credits, and the only way you can convert a Counter Credit to three Snack Credits is to do it at the same check out location. Personally I randomly graze at Food and Wine so we usually go for a Table Service meal at night so that we have one full meal, and so that we sit down and enjoy some quiet time and food that doesn’t involve juggling plates in the World Showcase.

12053371_10153602285843389_1430543944_nThe following two questions were rather similar so I figured I should address them together.

  • This is our first time at Food and Wine. We will be going in 15 days and spending the week at Disney and 2 days at Food and wine. What are the best areas to look for and what will be the most crowded. There will be 8 adults.
  • When is the best time (crowd wise) to visit the Food and Wine festival?

The festival is usually busiest on the weekends, because the parks tend to be busiest on the weekends.  How long it takes you to go through the festival is really up to you. If you are working it into your existing park plans, it will add time because you are stopping to stand in extra lines. Also, not everyone likes to go to talks and presentations in the Festival center, others do.

12042107_10153602286578389_497481548_nIs the festival kid friendly/Can I take my kids?
This is one of those questions I feel the parent needs to decide. What is ok for one family, isn’t always ok for another family. There will be people drinking, on occasion more than they should, this sadly is just a fact of life. Epcot does set up a playground for kids during the event, and the announced the “Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak” at D23 which is reminds me of the Easter Egg hunt challenge that Epcot holds in the Spring, and of course it IS Epcot, so the theme park does have all the normal fun-to-do’s still occurring during Food and Wine. But, because I do not know every one of the 340,000+ Main Streeters that follow the site, or their families beliefs and rules, I do not think it is ok for me to say yes or no to your taking your children to the festival. I will say, if you see behavior that you are uncomfortable with occurring, talk to a Cast Member, or perhaps head to another park.




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Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 96.5 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

Michele has 5759 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele


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