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at Walt Disney World Resort
Easily one of the most popular and most anticipated events, EPCOT's International Food & Wine Festival is a celebration of food and drink from around the world. This experience runs from late August through mid-November and draws big crowds anxious to sample everything on offer.
The Food & Wine Festival is included with your admission ticket to EPCOT although each of the items available at the many booths will run you a few bucks. There are a lot of various things to see at Food & Wine, but the stalls set up for all the various countries and regions are the real stars.
All of the food served is in small portions, with the idea being that you can sample from several booths. The other bonus is that if you gamble on an interesting sounding dish and lose, at least you aren’t wasting too much of it. Yet another bonus is that most of the items count as snacks on the Disney Dining Plan, which is a fabulous use of a snack credit.
In addition to food, each booth serves drinks that signify their theme. For instance, you can by Rosemount wines from the Australia booth or Glenfiddich Whisky flight from the Scotland stand. Again, most of these are small portions which not only allows for sampling, it helps keep the intoxication down ever so slightly.
Since we’re speaking of intoxication, be forewarned that many guests and locals alike view the Food & Wine Festival as a chance to sample as much alcohol as possible in a short time span. This means that you are just as likely to find someone’s lunch in the bushes as you are a hidden Mickey. If you are wary of this kind of behavior for any reason, you'll probably want to avoid Food & Wine on a weekend evening.
Throught EPCOT (but especially in around the perimeter of World Showcase) you will find around 30 separate booths set up specifically for the Festival. Each one characterizes a country, continent, region, or culinary style and each one sells different food or drink items.
There may be stands that represent Africa, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cheese, Craft Beers, Greece, Hawaii, Japan, Poland, Thailand…well, there’s a lot. The point is that everyone will find an item that sounds good, and in almost all cases, many more items than it is physically possible to ingest.
Once you fill the tank with choice offerings from the Food & Wine booth you’ll need some time to digest before you go back for more. Luckily EPCOT also hosts the Eat to the Beat concert series featuring many popular acts from both the recent past and the, well, not-as-recent past. There are generally three shows per evening.
Eat to the Beat Concerts did not occur in in 2020 or 2021, but they came back in 2022..
To get a sense of the sort of music you might hear, here is the 2022 line up.
If you've ever wanted a little direction or more detail on all sorts of food-related activities, these regularly-occurring events do cost extra, but are well organized.
If you still aren’t full of Food & Wine festivities there are plenty of extra events that Disney is only too happy to allow you to pay for. These seminars and exhibitions are very popular and sell out quickly.
As mentioned above, the Food & Wine Festival is immensely popular with both tourists and locals. What makes it an odd event from a crowd perspective is that the crowds gather primarily in World Showcase, near the Food & Wine booths. What that means is that attractions in Future World tend to have average to below average waits. So if you are just going to EPCOT for the rides, spending time in Future World is still not a bad idea.
If you are interested in sampling the food and wine from Food & Wine (and you should be, it’s wonderful), the best time to go is…early. The booths open at 11 am and the crowds build as the day goes along, peaking around dinnertime. If you go at 11 am you will find the shortest lines, and even those are sometimes longer than we hope they will be.
As you might expect, weekdays are also a little less busy than weekends, when many of the locals come out to play. Saturdays in particular can be crazy, and the abundance of alcoholic beverages can give World Showcase a bit of a college street party feel. Don’t worry though, with even a little bit of forward planning using our Crowd Calendar you can easily avoid the rabble and much of the crowd.