So here I give 5 MISTAKES for you to avoid, so the Foodie in you can have the most fabulous time enjoying this truly incredible and unique festival.
MISTAKE #1: Going during Extra Magic Hours in the Evening!
Do NOT go to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival when there is EMH in the Evenings at EPCOT, even if it is on a weekday! We went on a Wednesday and silly me, thought, "it's a weekday, shouldn't be that bad!" IT WAS THAT BAD! Same goes for weekends as Nick the Disney Devo says to avoid in this article here.
Check out one of my favorite sites to visit Touring Plans.com, which will tell you in advance which days are the BEST days to go and which are the WORST! (Um, yeah, I should have listened to them!)
MISTAKE #2: Not Having a Plan
If you have been reading this site, you know the Divas and Devos are super planners. I love to plan! It's strange because I planned the rest of my trip so well except for the day of the Festival, thinking that I can just walk around blindly and try different foods here and there. NOT! (yes, I was a teen of the early 90's). HAVE A PLAN, visit the Walt Disney World Site for their festival listings. The Disney Food Blog has amazing updates and articles on the Festival and check out the Disney Diva's Site as well as our FACEBOOK page, where Nick the Disney Devo will be giving updates from the Festival on opening week. MAP out where you want to start, what you want to try until the end. Time things as best as you can, fitting in shows and breaks. Don't think you can just walk in and enjoy or you will have a miserable time!
Anthony Hopkins once said, "Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!" Of course he was talking about acting but this applies to your trip. When you plan and are ready in advance, you can face anything that comes your way.
MISTAKE #3: Bringing Your Children
Parents................ I know you love your children. I love my child! We want the best for our children. We want them to be well-rounded and worldly, we get them to read advanced books, enroll them in fancy-schmancy programs, and we want their taste buds to soar to new culinary heights. However, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is NOT the place to get Johnny or Jane to try new things. No No NOOOOOOOO. First, read part of the title of the Festival... WINE. Second, don't think you can sample some things and then get something else like Quick Service for your child, you will be wasting your time. My worst experience at WDW was walking around with buttery escargot hanging off my mouth, a glass of spirits in one hand and a whiny, crying, hungry child in another hand. If you are a TRUE FOODIE and love your Wine/Beer/Spirits (not altogether I hope), do not bring your child with you.
"But we are on a family vacation!!" you say.
I suggest, for the one evening you want to enjoy the festival, get a babysitting service like the Disney Diva highly recommends here. Walt Disney World also offers fantastic Children's Activity Centers at various Resorts in Walt Disney World! There is an hourly fee and you need to make reservations in advance. These centers are loads of fun with activities and themes that your child will LOVE. Check here for more details. You can relax that your child is safe and having fun, while you enjoy tasting samples and drinking different amazing drinks.
MISTAKE #4: Having a Buffet
If you ever had a Buffet at Walt Disney World, you know there is A LOT OF FOOD. We did a Character Buffet for a late Breakfast/early Lunch on the day we attended the Festival and it was a HUGE mistake. It was just too much of different foods that we couldn't fully enjoy sampling for later that evening. Cleanse your palette! I'm not saying for you to starve yourself until the festival, that would be an even bigger mistake, but like Nick the Devo says, "Pace yourself". If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, I suggest you use your Quick Service meal for a late breakfast, early lunch and then use your snack credits for the Festival later on in the day to the evening. Some snacks are pretty large portions, not enough to fill you up, but a few samples here and a few there will get your tummy filled in no time. Think of it as one big hors d'oeuvres feast with the World Showcase as a cocktail party.
MISTAKE #5: Going to Epcot for Only One Day During Your Vacation
This is a bit of a tricky one. Many WDW planning sites will tell you to plan your trip to include 2 days at Epcot because of how large and diverse it is, and this is without the Festival happening. If you have Park Hopper then it will give you more flexibility. If you don't have Park Hopper, try to plan one day/evening for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and another day to enjoy the other areas of Epcot (like the Attractions at Innoventions East and West). If you are with your family, enjoy the morning (if there is EMH in the morning, than fantastic) with the kids. The late mornings and early afternoons should be fun and not as crowded for your family to enjoy the World Showcase during the Festival time then go for a break in the afternoon at your resort for some downtime. Arrange care/activity centers for your children in the evening and enjoy the Festival at Epcot!
During our WDW vacation when we visited the Festival, I only planned for one full day at Epcot. I tried to cram in too much for that day. If you can't do 2 full days at Epcot and you don't have the Park Hopper option, try at least one day and half day (usually the day you arrive or the morning you depart).
I hope these mistakes will make you the wise one when visiting the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Enjoy!