It’s OK To Skip This Epcot Festival

If you are traveling to Disney anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day, it is likely you will visit Epcot during one of its festivals. With four special events on the calendar, Epcot has become THE park of festivals.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Epcot hosts the Food and Wine Festival, Festival of the Holidays, Festival of the Arts, and the Flower and Garden Festival. Each festival is unique, and each festival has its devoted fans. We’re here to tell you it is OK to skip this one Epcot festival.

It is OK to skip the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Sure, when people hear the two words “Epcot” and “Festival” they default to the Food and Wine Festival. But, when you line the four festivals up together the Food and Wine Festival becomes the “skippable” festival.

Really, it is skippable. OK, we’ll tell you why.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival is Skippable Because it is Only Food and Wine

The other Epcot festivals offer so much more than just food and wine. Sure, they offer their share of food and wine, but they offer more, such as:

The Festival of the Holidays offers holiday storytelling from each country, seasonal decor, and the ever-popular Candlelight Processional — which is a can’t-miss event.

Neil Patrick Harris Narrates the Candlelight Processional

The Festival of the Arts offers a wide variety of artwork on display for your enjoyment and for sale, free activities such as the giant mural guests paint, plus creative PhotoPass opportunities, beautiful and intentional plating of food, and Broadway stars performing on stage for free! This year we even had “hidden” artwork in the World Showcase pavilions.

“Hidden” Abu from Aladdin in Morocco Pavilion

The Flower and Garden Festival is home to character topiaries (check out Kermit this year), care-filled landscaping, and a butterfly tent.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Landscaping
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Topiaries

The Food and Wine Festival is… just food and wine. No topiaries, no landscaping, no careful plating, no storytelling. Just Food and Wine. There are many other events, special meals, and seminars – but they all come at an extra (and sometimes steep) fee. Sure, The Food and Wine Festival has the Eat to the Beat concert series, but all the other festivals have an entertainment element as well.

Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food and Wine Festival is Skippable because it is Hot and Humid

More than the other three Festivals, the Food and Wine Festival takes place during a very warm and sometimes humid time in Florida. It can be exhausting, and even sickening to walk around Epcot at this time trying to eat or drink as much as you can.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival is Skippable because it is Overcrowded

If you think Disney parks are crowded you haven’t seen anything until you have tried to walk around World Showcase on a Food and Wine Festival Saturday afternoon. We are talking PACKED. Jammed. Congested. Any word you can come up with for extremely jam-packed and overcrowded can be substituted here.

Lines at Food and Wine Festival

Add our second point to this and you wind up with an unbearable situation. Imagine you and thousands of other people crammed around a man-made lake on a September day when it is 85+ degrees and what feels like 1000% humidity. Not our idea of fun.

Plus – the lines can be excessively long for the food booths. We’re talking 45 minutes plus. We don’t think waiting in line for an hour to get a slider (that we eat with three people bumping into us) is really fun or a great use of our time.

45 minutes for a cannoli

Epcot Food and Wine Festival is Skippable because the Food and Wine is “Meh”.

Have you ever left a restaurant thinking “we should have gone across the street?” That’s how you’ll feel leaving the Food and Wine Festival .

The food is fine, but you’ll find better food at the other festivals. Some of this is because of the crowds. When what is essentially a large shed with a kitchen it is responsible for turning out hundreds of portions a day, quality is going to slip. If the items on the menus were cooked intentionally in a full kitchen with the luxury of space and time we are sure they would be much better.

Festival “Kitchens”

The food at the Festival of the Holidays is inspired by the season and traditional holiday recipes of each country and proves to be hearty and heartwarming. The food at the Festival of the Arts is beautiful. You will find very careful, thoughtful, and artistic dishes and plating at this festival. The Flower and Garden Festival menus are inspired by what is fresh and seasonal in each country and is bright and appetizing.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Food

Plus, the portions are small (and the prices keep increasing) at the Food and Wine Festival. We know they are small because they are tastings and the theory is you are supposed to try a bunch of different foods during the festival. But, take point 3 into consideration and you wind up only trying a handful of items.

There you have it, our four reasons why it Is OK to skip the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Do you agree? Let us know which Epcot festival you think is skippable in the comments below.

Read more about the Epcot festivals here:

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Sarah has built a career in communications and marketing that started when she was the editor of her high school newspaper. She has written for AllEars.net since 2018, and enjoys sharing Disney news and updates with the AllEars community. She's been a Disney fan ever since her first visit to Walt Disney World when she was 5, and has been known to arrange trips around visiting a Disney park!

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24 Replies to “It’s OK To Skip This Epcot Festival”

  1. My husband and I went the end of September and combined it with Mickey’s Halloween party and had one of our best trips ever! We stayed at the Beach Club and walked over to Epcot most evenings to hear the concerts and grab a few different foods and drinks. It took us 5 nights to try everything but we had a blast.

  2. I completely disagree, but anyone who doesn’t want to attend makes it more enjoyable for those who do! And duh, don’t go when it’s so hot!! Last year I finally went to a special event meal and it was easily the best food deal I’ve ever experienced on Disney property. All-you=can-drink champagne?? Yes, please!

  3. My husband and I went to the F&WF for my birthday in Nov.2015, it was the best Disney trip we’ve ever taken! We really enjoyed the cooking demo (I regularly make the recipe from that event) and the mixology demo. There were definitely things I would do different, like leaving EPCOT after 5 and not going during race weekend. But now that they have extended this festival to include my actual b-day (November 18) I can’t wait to go back to celebrate with Mickey and the Food & Wine Festival.
    I am also planning that some day my daughter & I can do the Arts Festival

  4. We have been going to Food and Wine Festival since it began. Back then it was a more laid back event, the wine tastings were free and we learned a lot about the wines and wineries. In the past few years, we have avoided the booths for the most part because the portions are very small and the quality isn’t that good, the cost-cutting / price increases have gotten unreasonable, and we just don’t feel like battling the crowds (notably the drunken hoards). We instead have focused on the specialty luncheons (French, Italian, Mediterranean) which in our view are a much better value, and far better food. We have also started going to the Flower and Garden Festival and have found the atmosphere to be similar to what the Food and Wine Festival was in the early days. A lot of the food booths are the same and offer interesting options. I can see a point in time when we will give up the Food and Wine Festival and stick with Flower and Garden.

  5. If you’re going to skip something at Disney because it’s too hot, humid, and crowded you may as well just stay home and not even bother going. Here’s how you have a good time at the Food and Wine Festival. Wanna avoid the crowds? Don’t go on the weekend. Don’t want to spend a lot? Don’t buy a lot, you aren’t obligated to try every food thing you see. You’re just going to have to deal with the heat because it’s never not going to be hot in Florida, especially during the summer. You had a bad experience because you probably expected too much and let it get to you. No one said you had to go, only you are to blame for having a bad time. And that’s no one else’s fault but your own. And let me guess, you got a really bad parking spot too? Like somewhere in Discover or Wonder, right? As one last side note: There are some bands that ONLY play during Food and Wine so if you want to see one of them play at Epcot then skipping the Food and Wine Festival is a bad idea because they won’t play any other time and chances are it’s a band that doesn’t tour anymore too.

  6. I am sorry but I normally agree with most of the articles on here but this one I cannot. Yes, Food and Wine is crowded but so is Disney in general. The Festival is definitely a highlight of the year in Disney if you plan correctly. Avoid those Saturdays. Expect the food to be tapas style, its not 5 stars, and I dont believe it ever was supposed to be. Its a food festival with live music incorporated into Epcot and the excitement. I have gone for the past 5 years in middle/late October and the crowds arent awful and the weather is nice. I wouldnt miss it and I think many people agree based on your complaints.

    I hope alot of people read this article and stay away!! More Fun for us!!

  7. Wow! Sounds like you wish it were the 1990’s. Food and Wine is the original and like most Disney freaks, We like “the original”. The festival does get crowded, but I just don’t remember waiting an hour in line for any food tasting. The Food and Wine Festival is awesome and our family has been going for years. Mickey’s Not So Scary and Food and Food and Wine Festival, cannot be beat! So lighten up and enjoy Epcot. By he way, you are allowed to go early and enjoy the goodies before the crowds get crazy. Just a suggestion.

    1. I would pay 3 times the price to be able to experience WDW as it was in the 90’s. Those who didn’t start visiting until after 2000 cannot even begin to imagine what they have missed.

  8. I’ve always loved the Food & Wine festival but I only ever go in November so the weather is fine. Like the whole of WDW it didn’t used to be so crowded at this time of year and it was just a nice extra added to our trips but these days I can surely see what you mean. I do notice that the food booths during the Festival of Holidays get hardly any action at all because it’s not the main focus of the Festival. Same with the Flower and Garden Fest, seems more like just a bonus than a focus there as well. I like the idea of having a festival with the addition of food booths and not advertising it as a food sampling festival. I totally agree about being able to have better quality food because of not having to cater to the masses. I don’t think I’ve ever really looked at it from that perspective, but you definitely gave me the idea of planning on using the Fest of Holidays as my food booth fun day if I ever get back there. I know they had a bunch of food booths at Disneyland Paris in November for the Christmas season with offerings like roasted chestnuts and all sorts of traditional Christmas type fun stuff. I’ll be back there this year to try them out!

  9. I’ve been to two of the four festivals. I still intend to make it to the other two some day. Pros and cons duly noted!

  10. AGREE 100%! We like to do our trip each year in October, because we love MNSSHP & we don’t want to skip EPCOT but I hate the Food & Wine Festival! The food is subpar & crowds are ridiculous! My grandkids got knocked upside the head more times than I can count on our last trip, by drunks! Not my idea of fun at all! So on our trip this year, we will still go to EPCOT, but will not hit any of the food booths & will stick to a table service restaurant. And hopefully the kids don’t get knocked around this time!

  11. just avoid food and wine thursday evening through sunday. we made that mistake one year and never again, but monday through thursday daytime is fine for the most part.

  12. I disagree on skipping the Food and Wine Festival. Your point about prices is a bit harsh. WHAT in WDW isn’t overpriced?? I do agree about the crowds but I find them to be worse on Friday thru Monday. If those are the only days you can attend then maybe you should skip it. Besides where else can you try foods from all over the world? At least if you bought it and didn’t like it, you didn’t spend a fortune on a full meal. I think the Festival is a great way to experience food you might not order elsewhere.

  13. We have enjoyed it when we have gone in the middle of October. Sure there is several others enjoying it, as well. But we have found the temps just right in the middle of October and do not get in a hurry and have a leisurely amount of time to enjoy the food and wine festival and its fun.

  14. Actually I want to retract my previous comments. You are all correct Food and Wine is horrible! Dont go! Ever! Tell everyone you know to stay away from this alcohol party festival.

    It will make it so much more enjoyable for us. Less crowds no complaining.

  15. Yes, honestly the phrase “drunken mob” comes to mind on weekends at the Food and Wine festival. Before I learned to plan around it we battled our way through the World Showcase congestion on a Saturday and an inebriated fellow fell into my sister’s stroller.

    The long lines for the food compared to the short lines for Future World and other attractions make me believe that a large amount of the folks there are not for the Disney experience.

  16. Just my experience, but I enjoyed what I tasted at F & W last September. But…. I purposely chose items that “hold” well, for the reasons you listed. Bangers and Mash were good, but I’m not sure anything with shrimp or scallops would fare as well. Also enjoyed the soups, but once again hold times won’t hurt soup. The fact that most offerings were only a snack credit on my meal plan was also nice.

  17. I appreciate this because I can’t go. I want to go of course and if I could go, this wouldn’t stop me. I appreciate the information because it makes me feel less bad about missing it. I’m really glad we got to see the Flower and Garden Festival!

  18. We always have a wonderful time at all the Epcot festivals. Food and Wine is one of our favorites and we don’t even drink alcoholic beverages. We enjoy the food, people, and atmosphere. We expect it to get crowded at times because that’s what happens at festivals and WDW. We expect the weather because it is Florida. To each his own, but we never skip the F&W festival.

  19. We used to go for the free wine tastings. We learned so much about wine back in the day. Now it is unbelievable how much they charge for the tastings. You know they charge the wine vendors big bucks just to present and then to charge the guests too is just ridiculous. What a shame. Disney has taught me so much over the years, but the expense has gotten downright greedy.

  20. I agree 100%! Food and Wine does have some good food, but it’s so hot and crowded and the abundance of rowdy drunk people has gotten a bit out of control making it less family friendly. If you’re an adult and want to drink excessively and make fun of special needs kids and people in wheelchairs, and pick fights, why are you going to a cartoon themed park? Security had to be called so many times last Halloween it was ridiculous so we just left. We loved MNSSHP but won’t go back during F&W ever again.
    Flower & Garden is my favorite time of year at Epcot, I just love the early spring weather and characters made out of flowers and topiary, trimmed and colored to look just amazing! I take so many more photos that time of year, and it’s much more laid back and family friendly!