Food and Wine FastPass ??


Although the 2013 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is still some two months away I’ve been thinking about an idea that I think would be a win-win situation for both the Walt Disney World Resort and its guests.

At the Food & Wine Welcome Center…


…you can purchase special Food & Wine Gift Cards.


When you purchase these cards you can place a certain amount of cash value on them. You can wear them on your wrist and when you visit one of the booths you just get it swiped rather than fiddle with plastic or cash. It’s a great convenience.

What was not a great convenience during the 2012 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival were the incredible long lines….especially on the weekends.

I happened to sneak down to F&W a few times and noticed that the crowds on the weekends were extremely high…more so than during the week as locals would partake of the tasty treats waiting for them.


One Saturday in particular I counted 85 people waiting in line in Mexico for shrimp tacos.


That made me think of possible solutions to these long lines…something that would work for the resort and also for the guests.

Introducing the Food & Wine FastPass.

It’s very simple. Why not offer the guests a GOLD Food & Wine card…similar to the normal ones except that this particular special card allows you to go into a special line at each kiosk, a line that offers you a shorter wait.

This would work as a win-win situation for both the resort and for the guests. The resort would benefit from a revenue stream as the guests would have to pay for this privilege with either an upfront surcharge or adding 5% to the cost of whatever purchase they would be making at a kiosk. To help encourage guests to purchase such a card there would be an added benefit.

For every ten purchases made with this special FastPass F&W card the guest would receive a FREE purchase. So let’s say you spent the entire day at EPCOT for F&W and were trying all the booths and holy cow you go to one booth and they tell you that this one is on the house.

Would you go for it?

My point is that F&W has become so popular that you might say it is TOO popular for everyone to enjoy themselves.

So putting a little carrot out there like this F&W Gold Festival card may help shorten the wait for some folks while at the same time offering a free bee from time to time.


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26 Replies to “Food and Wine FastPass ??”

  1. Intriguing idea, Mike. I like it!

    One tweak that I would make would be to recall the old days of the attraction tickets. You could buy a ticket book that would have 5 vouchers, perhaps. The tickets would get you into the special VIP line for 5 different booths. This way you are getting speedy access to the booths you want to try the most, but it doesn’t bog down the system as much.

  2. Hi Mike,

    I’m glad to read this as I always start getting excited and planning for my annual F&W Festival around this time of year.

    I think that the solution to everyone’s problem would be to extend the F&W Festival and make it longer. They have been gradually extending it throughout the years and it would be nice to have it begin just after Labor Day and go until Thanksgiving. I think the extension of it may even out the crowds as people would have more of an opportunity to try what they like and then it might not be as crowded each weekend. Also, it would allow more people to plan multiple trips so if they didn’t get to try something the first time, they have enough time to go again at a later date. Personally I think that the Food and Wine Festival is my favorite time to visit Epcot and it feels so empty there without the booths.

    Or, with your idea, maybe they just have a Gold Weekend FP to be used on Fridays and Saturdays. I would think that the locals would love that type of pass if the cost was minimal.

    Great to have you back, Mike! I look forward to reading more!

  3. There are only very large lines on weekends, the card is a nice idea, but I don’t think the added 5% would be necessary. You could pay with a credit card, room card or debit card without any additional fee ( and they are assessed a fee for you using it). People should just carry their debit or credit card in their pocket. Check outs were always fast for me! Can’t wait it go!

    * * * *


    Maybe one line for cash and one line for plastic? Any plastic?


  4. The reason the FP system works is because you have a time window that you can come back to enjoy the ride. So would you have to select certain times at certain booths? I could image that FP food lines would become just as long as regular lines during “hungry” times. Also, would anyone know ahead of time what they wanted to eat & when? I would, because I plan my life around food & kids school schedules but its not for everyone. I do think you’re on to something though. Keep tweaking the idea maybe something will happen.

    * * * *

    Hi Nicole,

    Somethings a thought DOES need tweaking before it really hits a home run. This could be a start.


  5. As stated above do not go on weekends and be at EPOCT as 11 am during the week and you will have no problems. I have been going for years this way and have always had a great time.

    I also check out allears and have the booths and the food I want to eat ready before I get to the park.

    * * * * *


    One word: PLANNING!

    Sounds like you know what to do.

    Thanks for the note.


  6. Nice idea. I don’t think it would work though unless they limit the number of “gold” passes as everyone would want one.

    It seems like on weekends the long lines are often due to food prep and serving rather than payment. I think they need to do a better job of not waiting until the guests presents the ticket to plate the food or pour the wine.

    * * * * * * *


    I guess they want folks to feel they are getting everything fresh. I have also always thought that the choices offered are choices that take little prep time.


  7. I agree that the festival has outgrown itself, I just don’t know if this will fix it. I only attended once and was put off by the crowds and, more so, because many of the things I wanted to try most, were not available at the time I was at the front of the lines. I’ll take a pass from here on in. I truly don’t get this festival’s popularity.

    * * * * *


    I’m sure you echo the sentiments of many. Sometimes crowds will turn guests away rather than draw them.


  8. We love the F&W and have been going every year since it started, but the lines are very frustrating. I dont think making guests pay more is the answer, we all pay enough to visit WDW. I like the idea of creating larger booths with more staff. Disney needs to figure this out without inconveniencing the guests.

    * * * * *


    I agree. Think how discouraging it is to see a long line and decide, “I’m not waiting!” Everyone loses…but if each booth had two entrances on each side perhaps things would move quicker.


  9. The fast pass idea is ok as long as its not a timed event. Another option would be to have an additional line for the on-site hotel guests. This way it would another perk to staying in one of the Disney hotels.

    * * * *

    Ron, so maybe using your key card?

    Nice idea.


  10. Glad to see you posting again, I have missed your stories. I like you reply to Doug’s comment, regarding kiosks. But, I think everyone should enter what they want, pay there, then just go pick up their food. Or, better yet, have folks order in advance using the MyMagic+ (the Mickey Bands), like they will do for Fast Passes, then you go pick up your orders the day you plan to visit Epcot. I’ve always had a plan for which kiosks I plan to visit, so that would be an easier set up. Of course, I secretly agree, just go during the week and be there at 11. 🙂

    * * * * *

    Hi Stephanie,

    Since Day one some 40 years ago I’ve figured out that you always try to use a schedule many others don’t…like early, early, early, and avoid the weekends.

    THAT is the simplest of solutions.

    Thanks for the note.


  11. I would really like a way to prove I am over 21 (wristband?) so that I don’t need to be pulling out my wallet at every other stop. I always get the gift card so I can keep it on my wrist and not have to deal with pulling out cash. If there was a way to encode your bday on the gift card that would make my F&W trip complete!

    * * * * * *

    Wow Shell, I never thought of that. Excellent point.

    Thanks for sharing.


  12. Sorry but I too disagree the fact that people wait in line to be passed by someone because they have more disposable income or less sense and will pay more to get food faster. Wow, How gluteonous have we gotten. If you get your food faster does that mean you can get to the next kiosk faster? My wife and I enjoy the food and wine experience and standing in line talking to people and having fun is part of it. The line gives you time to digest and enjoy a beverage that you have from previous kiosk. It is meant to be a leisurely paced event. Take your time have a drink and meet some people. In all theyears we have been there and through all the lines there was never a year we werent able to try all we wanted to.

    * * * * * *


    Good points…tough to please everyone so we all try to make the best of it.


  13. The solution is much more simple than that! Just dont go on the weekends! I have been to every Food and Wine Festival for the past five years, and have never seen a line like that! If you are on vacation, isnt every day a weekend? Why go on those days? Even if I lived there, I would probably take a *ahem* sick day to enjoy the festival during the week.
    This type of crowd is still in the “easily avoidable” category for me. It could become a normal thing eventually, but right now, no way would I pay extra instead of coming on a Tuesday night.

    * * * * *

    Marie I like your line of thinking.


  14. No, thank you. Sure it would be great for a few folks, but why not invest in ways to speed up the lines for everyone? Continue to add more booths and expand existing ones. If F&W fest is making that much money and getting more and more crowded, it’s a no brainer. (fastpass is a completed different scenario as it’s a limited program designed to manage guest flow)

    * * * * * *

    Doug, how about this….put a central ordering place near the opening of World Showcase…purchase whatever from whatever kiosk/booth and out comes a FastPass F&W slip for that booth. Then you can go right to that booth and get your treat. Maybe that’s how it would work better because you are eliminating the paying line.


  15. I think this is a terrible idea. Once Disney starts charging more to get certain privileges, it will never stop.Start to charge extra for ride fastpasses, charge more to sit on the Rose and Crown patio for Illuminations, charge to sit in front of Expedition Everest, etc. It is a slippery slope that I do not wish to start heading down.

    * * * * *


    We are already there…and you will see more of that towards the latter end of this year with how FastPass distribution will be managed.

    For some people time is more valuable than money…convenience is priceless for some and that’s what drives the whole disney model.

    Thanks for the note.

  16. I’m all for “something” being done. Off the top of my head: 1) Add more booths. 2) Make the booths larger. 3) Add more staff to each booth. Problem is all of those would cost Disney money. Your solution would be a net-zero for the guests (some wait shorter, some wait longer), and a financial gain for Disney.

    * * * * *


    I think we agree there is no perfect solution to the crowds and the long lines. Well, there is a solution…first, avoid EPCOT on Friday afternoons and weekends…and when you go during the week go early.

  17. I would do this in a heartbeat! What a great idea, Mike. Not so sure Disney would go for the payment option, though, as they have been holding themselves above other local theme parks by offering FP for everyone at no additional cost. Maybe a different name for it…

    But I would still jump at the chance!

  18. It would indeed “shorten the wait for some folks”. And it would make the wait even longer for every else. Not a good idea.

    * * * * *


    Well the FastPass is still around…I guess my point is that something needs to be done.

  19. Respectfully, I couldn’t disagree more. While I agree the food and wine festival has become almost unbearable, those guests willing to pay should just be directed to the festival of the senses…we don’t need more separate entrances to confuse and annoy guests.


    I think you mean Party for the Senses, which for 2013 I anticipate costing $60 per person and above…not sure everyone’s budget could handle that.

    Secondly, if the guests took the time to understand how things work then there would not be any confusion.

  20. Sounds great! I would purchase one even without the freebie. I think they would have to add another cashier to each kiosk which would cost the resort more, and maybe an additional server.

  21. This would be awesome. I’ve also wondered why, in addition to the gift card, a specific Food & Wine dining plan hasn’t been developed and offered yet.

  22. I think they should have a special roped off area right next to the both to allow for a special “all you can eat pass.” This would protect them from people getting food for others, but allow someone to purchase a day pass to try all the food they wanted.

  23. Outstanding idea! You can count me in! A win for us and a win for Disney’s revenue stream. Outside of the 5% idea, what do you think they’d charge (up front) for such an upgrade? What would you be willing to pay?

  24. Holy Cow, yes I’d go for it! We’re doing F&W for the first time this year (running the W&D 1/2) and those pics of lines are SCARY!