If there’s any “best” time or reason to go to Disney, it’s gotta be for the fantastic, delicious, incredible annual EPCOT Food & Wine Festival wine which runs from late July until mid-November every year. This year’s festival dates are from July 27-November 18, 2023. While it might seem like all you need to attend is a park ticket and park reservation (yes, those are still a thing through 2023), there are six things you’ll regret not having while trying to enjoy the best the festival has to offer in Walt Disney World’s most adult-friendly park.
Since the snacks and creative cocktails are worth braving the weather for, you need to come prepared. This umbrella isn’t for you – it’s for your food! We lovingly call it our foodbrella. Florida is ultra rainy in the fall because it is both, well, classic Florida and hurricane season. If it starts to rain, put on your poncho and cover your food with your handy. We learned from experience that there is very little space in the World Showcase shielded from the rain, especially when hopping around from one booth to the next. The poncho will protect you, and your umbrella will protect your tasty snacks. Hold the umbrella in one hand to cover your drink and plate, and eat or sip with the other. Everyone else will be jealous.
2. Wet Wipes
While we consider wet wipes a Disney park must-have for any time of year for many reasons, they come in handy most of all during EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. While it seems like a running joke, it’s no joke that trash cans quickly become tables during the festival because there are too few tables for the number of people snacking. Wet wipes can quickly sanitize any surface, transforming any flat surface, trash cans included, into a makeshift table. You’ll also be glad to have these to wipe your hands before and after snacking so you aren’t gross or sticky.
Plan to drink any alcoholic drinks during the festival? Please remember that your ID to prove you’re over 21 is required for purchase! You seldom need your ID when visiting Disney parks (unless you plan to drink), so take notes to remember to bring it along to your EPCOT park day! It would stink to have your sights set on shimmering sips or a glass of sake only to find out it will be a “dry” day for you. Not a drinker? No worries! There are plenty of delicious alcohol-free options for everyone.
4. Comfortable Shoes
It’s no secret that a magical Disney trip still means you’ll walk many miles daily at the parks. EPCOT is no exception. In addition to averaging at least 8 miles throughout the day at EPCOT, enjoying the Food & Wine festival means a lot of standing around. Whether you’re reading maps, waiting in line at a festival booth, or standing around to sip and snack, you will, without a doubt, be on your feet almost all day. Wear your sneakers with the most amount of cushion and support! If you want to be extra prepared, pack a pair of backup sandals in your park bag in case of rain. Uncomfortable or soggy shoes are just about the only thing that can taint Disney magic.
5. Over-the-Counter Medicine
Whether it’s antacid, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, all of the above, or something else, let’s face it – most of us over the age of 25 will probably want or need some form of pharmaceutical help during or after a day full of trying a wide variety of food, sugary drinks, and/or alcoholic beverages.
6. Refillable Water Bottle
There are several refillable water stations scattered around at different festival booths, but most of the time, they won’t provide you a cup for them. This is why you need to bring your own refillable water bottle! Sure, there are Dasani bottles everywhere you look, but you’d be better off saving the $5 you’d spend on each water bottle on a more delicious snack! We personally love how small and light the S’well bottles are as well as how cold they keep that refill station water with the ice cubes in it!