As much as I’m craving a Mickey Mouse-shaped rice krispy treat right now, I’m drooling over all the NEW food and drink options at Disney’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year.
Fall is my favorite time to visit Disney World, mostly because of this delicious global-themed celebration. You too?
If you’re looking to roll in the Fall season with a trip to Disney World for the Epcot Food and Wine Fest like me, check out my top tips for a successful, mouth-watering trip to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival this year.
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Book your Food and Wine Festival vacation package in advance
In 2021, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival dates are July 15 to November 20.
Book your Walt Disney World vacation package as far in advance as you can.
Not only is the Epcot Food and Wine Festival super popular, booking early will get you the best deal and resort of choice.
I highly recommend staying at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort or Beach Club Resort, as they are the closest resorts to Epcot.
You can literally walk to Epcot from both resorts, which will be great after a day of stuffing yourself silly with delicious food.
And let’s be honest, probably an adult bevvie or 2.
Disney’s Riviera Resort and Caribbean Beach Resort are also nearby. While they are not walkable, you can take the Skyliner to Epcot and enjoy aerial views along the way.
You might also like: How to Do Disney World for Adults
Select your dining reservations up to 180 days before your trip
If you plan to do a few sit-down meals, you’ll want to select your dining reservations ahead of time, too.
While this won’t guarantee you’ll get a seat at the restaurant or dates of your choosing, it does up the odds.
While most of the festival food and wine is sold through food booths, some of Epcot’s restaurants have special dishes or dining events, like a tequila lunch at La Hacienda de San Angel.
In addition, you can book a special package that gives you reserved seating at the Eat to the Beat concert along by booking at select Epcot restaurants.
Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days ahead of your trip. If you are staying at a Disney World resort, you can make reservations for up to 10 days beyond the first day of your trip.
Make your Fastpass selections up to 60 days before your trip
Don’t forget to make your Fastpass selections, which can be done starting 60 days ahead of your trip if you’re staying at a Disney World resort.
If you’re not staying at a Disney resort, you can start making Fastpass selections 30 days before your trip starts.
Fastpasses are the best way to getting onto popular rides, like Soarin’, without a crazy wait time.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival tickets are included in general admission
Unlike other special events at Disney World, such as Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party, admission to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is included in general admission to Epcot, including Disney World annual passholders.
If you’ve already booked your Disney World vacation package, including tickets, then you’re all set! No need to buy another ticket, pass, or wristband.
If you aren’t planning to stay at a Disney World resort, which makes you eligible for a cost-saving vacation package, you can still purchase tickets individually.
A single day admission to Epcot starts at $109 for age 10+ in 2021. The final ticket price can vary depending on whether you add the park hopper option, purchase multi-day tickets (which can lower the price a little), or visit on premium days (which can raise the price a bit).
Get the Epcot Food and Wine Festival menu and passport for free
Make a game out of attending the festival by collecting stickers from each food booth.
You can get a free copy of the official Epcot Food and Wine passport at the Festival Center in Future World East to place your stickers, too.
The passport also acts as a menu for the festival, which will make it easier to plan your day at Epcot.
Use the Disney Dining Plan…with exceptions
Yes, the Disney Dining Plan can be used at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
Typically most dishes and some drinks can be purchased using snack credits. So if you aren’t visiting Disney solely to focus on the festival, but want to try a dish or 2, you won’t have to plunk down extra money to do so!
You can also use your meal credits per usual, though special meal events, like the Parisian Brunch at Chefs de France, or culinary demonstrations, are not eligible for dining plan redemptions.
To learn more about this add-on and whether it’s the right fit for you, check out my post about the pros and cons of the Disney Dining Plan.
Get a Disney gift card loaded with your max budget
To help you stay on budget, get a Disney gift card and load it with whatever your budget is.
Cards are reloadable, so you can reload it daily, too. Gift cards can be purchased ahead of time via ShopDisney or you can purchase one when you get to Disney World.
If you’re really feeling in the spirit, Disney World has Food & Wine Festival gift cards available for purchase at Epcot and some Disney World resorts.
You can purchase mini gift cards at select stores within Epcot during the festival. The mini size is perfect for wearing around a wristband or lanyard without getting in the way!
You might also like: The Ultimate Guide to the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Avoid crowds by going to the festival during the week
While Disney World generally has lower crowds throughout most of the Fall season, weekends at Epcot are super busy compared to the weekdays.
Why? Local residents and passholders that work during the week are more likely to hit up the festival during the weekend, adding to crowds.
If you have your hopes set for attending one of the Epcot Food and Wine demonstrations or classes, many of which only run on the weekends, you could reserve rides and taste testing for the week, then focus solely on learning on the weekends.
While you wouldn’t be avoiding the crowds, you’ll have to deal with it a bit less since you only have 1 thing to focus on that day.
Check out the FREE Epcot Food and Wine concerts
A big draw for the Epcot Food and Wine fest are the free concerts, featuring popular musical acts from years past, up-and-coming artists, and occasionally tribute bands from the Orlando area.
These concerts are a ton of fun and a great way to see artists from your childhood or new ones that are just starting to make waves in the music world.
Past acts include 98 Degrees (as seen above), Boyz II Men, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Plain White Ts, and Southern Avenue.
In 2021, the Food & Wine Festival will only be showcasing concerts from local tribute bands, presumably due to COVID-19. I expect 2022 to feature other musical acts and will let you know as soon as I hear news!
Here’s the 2021 Epcot Food & Wine concert schedule:
- July 16-19: Epic! Live
- July 23-26: Champagne Orchestra
- July 30-August 2: Element
- August 6-9: Sound Society
- August 13-16: The Hooligans
- August 20-23: The Vybe
- August 27-30: The M-80s
- September 3-6: Latin Ambition
- September 10-13: Audio Exchange
- September 17-20: The Hooligans
- September 24-27: Epic! Live
Sign up for runDisney’s Epcot Food and Wine Half Marathon
Officially dubbed the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, the 4 day event includes a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon.
The runDisney event was initially supposed to be virtual races only this year. However, they recent announced that the in-person events for adults are back on!
In 2021, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will take place November 4-7.
Runners can also enroll in the Two Course Challenge, which includes the 10K race on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday.
In past years, the event also included kids-only races in 100m, 200m, and 1 mile distances. There was also a “diaper dash” for babies under 1 year.
However, the kids-only races are not available for 2021, presumably due to COVID-19.
Registration costs for the races vary and can be found on the runDisney website.
Aside from the races, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend also includes a health and fitness expo and an exclusive post-race party.
Half marathon and Challenge runners get free entry to the post-race party. Other race runners, as well as friends and family can purchase tickets for $89 including tax.
Reconsider attending the Party for the Senses
NOTE: As of July 17, an announcement for dates and pricing for the Party for the Senses has not been announced. That likely means it will not be held in 2021, but I will keep an eye on announcements in case it’s added last minute like the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in-person race was.
The Epcot Food and Wine Festival includes an optional ticketed party called Party for the Senses. It’s like prom for foodies, complete with a band.
And friends, it’s crazy expensive. In 2019, the cheapest ticket available was $229, plus tax. There was also a VIP option for $359, plus tax. Neither ticket option includes admission to Epcot, which is required to attend the event.
Party for the Senses takes place on select nights, but the dates for 2021 have not yet been announced as Disney adapts to ever changing COVID restrictions and precautions to keep guests safe.
As much as I love a delightfully curated meal, I don’t think it’s worth it. Yes, Disney does special events quite well, a few of which I’ve happily plunked down the money for. But the price on this event is just freaking bonkers.
I’m not going to tell you NOT to attend it, because it’s your money to spend.
But you can do heck of a lot more with $300+ at Disney World than a single event like this, like tours, spa time, fancy restaurant date, and so on.
Expand your cooking skills with a class or demonstration
NOTE: As of July 17, Disney has not announced any seminars or classes for the 2021 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. This likely means they will not be happening this year, but I will keep an eye on announcements in case they are added last minute.
While Party for the Senses is ridiculously priced, there are a handful of culinary classes that cost extra, but at a very reasonable price.
In the past, the Food & Wine Festival offered adult beverage tasting sessions, celebrity chef demonstrations, master culinary classes, a cheese seminar, a candy sushi making class for kids, and Sunday brunch with a celebrity chef. These classes ranged from $10-$139, not including tax.
Get your official Epcot Food and Wine shirts and other merchandise online
Whether you want the world to know pineapple dole whips are your bae or you collect Disney event memorabilia, check out my top picks below for Epcot Food and Wine shirts, bags, and other merchandise.
What are your top Epcot Food and Wine Festival tips?
Are you as excited as I am to taste food and adult beverages from around the world at Disney World’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival?
Tell me your top Epcot Food and Wine Festival tips in the comments!
This post was originally published on September 16, 2016 on Frost + Sun. It was moved to The Park Pixie on May 4, 2021 and last updated on July 17, 2021.