I love food. It's good to be honest, right? The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has begun, and, due to the fact that I love sweets and snacks of all shapes and sorts, this is a time that is very near and dear to my heart. Whether you've been to the Food and Wine Festival too many times to count or you're getting ready to attend for the first time, there are a few nuggets of information to cover this year before you lace up your comfy shoes. A tip or two from the list below might make your time exploring the festival more enjoyable.
Grab your passport. Yes, just like you need a passport to travel internationally, you should grab a Festival Passport to eat internationally at Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. The passport contains tons of information ranging from food descriptions and Global Marketplace locations to details about events for kids and the lineup for the Eat to the Beat concert series. There are two sheets of stickers in each passport, and you can place the coordinating sticker on the various Global Marketplace pages to indicate that you've eaten something from that specific booth. You can pick up a Festival Passport from the cast members handing them out throughout the park, or you can pick one up at a Global Marketplace location. Grabbing a passport will make your day better, trust me. You can plan out what to eat and track your progress. With stickers. That's a win-win.
Charrrrrge it! Okay, it's a gift card and not a credit card, but you get the picture. This isn't a must, but it can make your time at the Food and Wine Festival quite a bit easier. If you're afraid that you'll overspend at the festival, grab a card from one of the merchandise booths and place the amount that you'd like to stick to onto the card. Processing payment at the Global Marketplaces is much faster using the gift card compared to a credit/debit card or cash, and you can load and reload the card as you many times as you want. Plus, it makes a cute souvenir when you get back home.
Do all the things. There's a lot of sips, sweets, and eats to be consumed at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. You'll need a few breaks in between all of the partaking, right? This is where the activities around the park come in, and your traveling party can get in on the action with you. Don't miss Remy's Ratatouille Hide and Squeak. It's a scavenger hunt that will send you to fifteen Global Marketplace locations in search of a hidden Remy. Find Remy at each spot and place the coordinating sticker on the map (he'll be holding a different ingredient for ratatouille at each location). Maps and stickers can be purchased for $6.99 at several locations in the park. And don't worry...if you don't complete the entire hunt, it's okay. I do Remy's Hide and Squeak every year, and there's always a Remy or two (or four) that I can't find. Look throughout the area near the food booth. Remy can be very good at hiding, and sometimes he'll be in one location near a Global Marketplace one week, and in a different spot the next. He's sneaky like that. You can redeem your map at any time to claim your prize. This year's prizes are lidded tumblers featuring some of your favorite characters.
Eat the cheese. New to this year's festival is Emile's Fromage Montage. If you don't parler en français, fromage means cheese. Emile is Remy's brother, and this year, he gets in on the festival fun. If you purchase five of the items on Emile's list of cheesy goodness, (you can purchase more than one of the same, just five total), and have your passport stamped on the appropriate page, you can return to the Shimmering Sips booth and receive a complementary cheesecake. The participating menu items for Emile's Fromage Montage are: Impossible Cottage Pie (Earth Eats), Black Pepper Boursin Souffle (The Cheese Studio), Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese (The Alps), Schinkennudein (Germany Marketplace), and Pão de Queijo (Brazil). My first stamp for Emile's Fromage Montage was the Pão de Queijo, and I'm thinking all five stamps might just come from that amazing cheesy bread. No shame in that, right?
Stop by the Appleseed Orchard to try the Frozen Apple Pie. Or to soak up the A/C. Or both. While the O' Canada attraction is down for refurbishment, festival guests can enter the show theater building in the Canada pavilion and step into a beautifully themed, completely air conditioned space. Several apple inspired drinks and snacks are being offered at the Appleseed Orchard, and I highly encourage you to take the opportunity to stop by and check everything out. Disney has done a wonderful job of re-theming the area by hanging bunting and lights, and I loved having the chance to stand and look around the area that, when the attraction is running, guests don't get to leisurely hang out in.
If you go by the Appleseed Orchard, I recommend the Frozen Apple Pie ($4). It's a layered treat that consists of apple pie filling and apple slushy, all topped with pie crust crumbs. It was the perfect cool treat on an incredibly warm afternoon.
H2O is your new best friend. The days during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival can be warm. It makes sense that it's hot; it's late summer and fall in Florida, and it's just the way it is. No matter the temp, you and your traveling party can still have a great time at the festival, and your time partaking in all of the festival treats will be that much better if you make sure that you're drinking water. Did you know that the EMTs who respond to calls on Walt Disney World property recommend that guests drink one to two bottles of water an hour while touring the parks? Yep, you read that right: one to two bottles of water every hour. Before you panic that your souvenir budget will now be completely consumed by your need to stay hydrated, don't. You can ask for a free cup of ice water from kiosks and counter service restaurants that have soda fountains. Drink your water. It'll make a world of difference as you traverse the World Showcase.
This year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is wonderful. The team at Epcot has brought back fan favorites while also sprinkling in new and fun options that are sure to appeal to kids of all ages. This year's festival runs from August 29th to November 23rd. Bon appétit!
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