The low-budget guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

in Epcot, Food, Walt Disney World

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

This year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will offer a record-setting 87 days of foodie fun kicking off on August 29! The festival lineup is packed with 30 outdoor kitchens, the Eat to the Beat live music series, cheese and beverage seminars, and more. A foodie’s dream, the festival is not always easy on the wallet, so we’ve got you covered with some tips to help you stay on budget while you taste your way around the world:

Research menus ahead of time

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival guide and Epcot ball

If you’ve never been to Food & Wine Festival before (or any of Epcot’s festivals for that matter) the outdoor kitchen element can be overwhelming. With so many different kinds of food and drinks to choose from at the outdoor kitchens, you can easily find yourself “impulse eating” if you aren’t sure what to expect, and every impulse taste will run you about $5-12. Instead of showing up to the festival and trying the first plates or drinks you come across, read up on what the menus include ahead of time. If you know you’re looking forward to trying something halfway around World Showcase, you may be more inclined to skip the first booth or so that you see, which can help save your money and your stomach space. Find this year’s menus here.

Sign up for a beverage seminar

Wine bottles from a beverage seminar

One tip to keep in mind when visiting any of Epcot’s festivals is to focus on more than just the outdoor kitchens. We love food as much as the next Disney fan, but you’ll get a lot more out of your festival experience if you check out the other special events available during your visit. At the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, signing up for a beverage seminar will give you some deeper insight into your favorite alcoholic beverages, and it can also be a great value. At $19/person, the beverage seminars feature presentations by representatives from wineries, breweries, and distilleries who share their knowledge of their crafts while you try samples. Attendees typically get about three-four samples depending on the beverage, so for the seminar and the samples, your $19 will go further here than it will on alcoholic drinks at the outdoor kitchens.

Get a group together and share plates

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Sharing food is a great budget-friendly tip to keep in mind when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in general. At the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival however, sharing food will allow you to try more snacks from the outdoor kitchens and save some money. While there are certainly some dishes that are quite small and not entirely “shareable” just as many plates can easily be snacked on by multiple guests. Grab some friends and family and take turns buying and you may help yourself stay under budget.

Skip items not specific to the festival

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

If your primary reason for visiting Epcot is the festival, skip the items that you can order year-round. While this may not necessarily save you money, it will give you a greater “value” if the festival is your main focus. It may take some extra research to figure out what is offered year-round and what is not (or which items you can find in other parks) but if you happen to see something you know you’ve seen somewhere more permanent it may be best to skip it, at least on the day of your vacation that you’re spending at the festival.

Use a Disney gift card

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Credit: Disney

Stocking up on Disney gift cards is one of the best ways to keep any Disney vacation budget in check. For one, you can occasionally find deals on Disney gift cards at select retailers (like 5% off which occasionally happens at Target for instance). You can also decline housekeeping at your Disney resort to score a gift card loaded with $10 for each night of your stay up to nine nights. And even if you pay full price for a gift card, only using the money you’ve pre-loaded at the festival can help you keep from over-spending. Festival merchandise locations will sell gift cards attached to bracelets (so you won’t have to dig for it each time you order something), but if you have a gift card already you can always visit the Disney Gift Card website to transfer your balance to the bracelet if you prefer. (Or use your MagicBand at the festival and pay off that balance with your Disney gift cards!)

Read More: 3 Ways to Save on Disney Gift Cards

Save Disney Dining Plan snack credits for the festival

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Whether or not the Disney Dining Plan offers worthwhile savings is often a subject of debate, but one thing is for sure: Using your snack credits at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a great value! In general, snack credits can be used for items that cost $5 or less (double check for the Dining Plan logo on menus to be sure though). At Epcot’s festivals however, snack credits can often be used for slightly more expensive items, giving you a greater value for your Dining Plan. If you plan on using your snack credits at the festival, we recommend saving them for the occasion. Pay out of pocket for snacks that are less expensive (like popcorn and bottles of soda) and save up your credits for the day you plan to spend in Epcot.

Plan your visit to this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival with Academy Travel! Click here for your no-obligation quote or to chat with Academy Travel about booking your next trip and see if the Disney Dining Plan is right for you.

What are you most excited for at this year’s festival? Let us know in the comments!

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