Each group and individual must plan how to do the festival to meet their needs and limits. I am giving a run down of key areas to look at.
1. This one is awesome. Download atwww.DisneyPodcast.net/FoodandWine
They have a map that links to the menus of kiosks. BEST THING: you can search words like Gluten. I found all the gluten free items listed in the passport. You can find a drink or food that way. They have reviews by viewers and comments. Events list all the events and times along with the cost so you can see where the free things are at as seminars usually sell out. They list free book and bottle signings.
2. Beers and Ears is my favorite GPS site for WDW. They seem faster than Google. They have a map showing only the booths selling beer. They list all the beers and where in the festival to find those beers. You can use their main app for finding that beer outside the festival. They list all locations of the beers and have a list of beer sold for each kiosk. Some have pictures, links to reviews and discriptions.
Major change is to Epcot® Food & Wine Late Nights LIVE! which has been limited to Thursdays only from 9:45 PM to 1:00 AM for $79 per person. You get 6 noshes of their choice, live DJ, unnamed entertainers, and beverages at the backstage pavilion near United Kingdom Pavilion. No strolling along the park late at night and dinner is not included. It is a hefty price when the noshes and drinks are $3 to $10 each. I rather spend $30 on my favorite 6 items and use the $49 for a party and dinner at Raglan Road, Bongos, or Boatwright’s.
The cranberry bog is gone so there are three key areas to focus on. It is a bit of walking to get from one to another. It is best to do everything on that area at one time. You can get to these areas by 9:30 AM and get most rides done by the time World Showcase opens. World Showcase usually has food booths open until 9 pm or some half an hour earlier. Get rides and shows out of the way first and try for fastpasses later in the day after you used your allotment.
Spaceship Earth is at the main entrance where you pick up maps and time guides, The next major area is East. This has Ellen’s Energy Adventure with no waiting, Mission: Space, Test Track, Baby Care, Nurse’s Stations, and the Festival Center. The most important thing here for the festival is the Festival center as they have free chocolate, lectures, event merchandise, and seminars. You can stand to the side or back of seminars for free but you do not get the sip of wine or yummy decadent chocolate treat. I learned a lot about cooking at these seminars without paying. Rarely a stranger will offer you a free ticket which is how I scored yummy chocolate. Food is made ahead of time so let them know as soon as you arrive so they can see if they can make you something without the allergen.
On the opposite side is West which has Captain EO, Journey into Imagination, The Land, and The Living Seas. The Land is where you can get awesome food at Sunshine Seasons and they do most diets including vegan. Soarin’ in The Land needs a fastpass. The Seas with Nemo and Friends is in the Living Seas and is where Turtle Talk with Crush is shown, both need fastpasses or go early in the day. No festival events occur in this area.
World Showcase is the third area of concern and is area around a lake. Just keep walking until you see the Spaceship Earth. American Adventure will feature kiosks selling alcoholic beverages at Fife and Drum kiosk, Liberty Inn, and Block & Hans. Hot and iced apple maple spice lattes at a kiosk and the Fife and Drum will sell Ghiradelli sundaes. Hops & Barley booth and Puerto Rico booth will be there as well. The Chase Lounge is upstairs in the pavillion and offers free soda pop, ice water, and coffee. Nice air conditioned spot to charge scooters and technological items. The American Gardens is where Eat to the Beat is located which will have some famous bands as well as a few not so famous bands. Check the schedule and those with Chase debit or credit cards might get a wristband for seats for the concerts. They will not check to see who is the owner of the card such as driver’s license, if you are past due, or the card has been terminated. No worries.
Hotel guests staying at Swan/Dolphin and WDW resort can check out the premium package with concierge, runners who run to booths to buy your food, themed magic band, $50 gift card, chocolate truffles, wine glass, and bottle of wine. One person for $199 is not that bad if I am having someone wait on me. Looking at the map I can start with dessert and work my way through entrees to sides and salads, lol.
Right now speak with your group so everyone is on the same game plan. Nothing is worse than an adult whining about not seeing something they want to see NOW!! Have back up plans like the line is long so let’s head to another country, or the show was cancelled. Knowing where everything is helps for you to keep going from one fun thing to another. Keep an eye open for fastpasses and other time sensitive things to do. READ EVERYTHING!!!! Take photos of your tickets and have those numbers with receipt safely put away. I lost $200 when my gift cards were stolen with the receipt in the envelope.
NOTE: most, if not all, book signings and bottle signings, require the purchase of a book from the adjacent marketplace but it is worth a try as far as books go. They will ship up front or to your room, bottles of alcoholic beverages. I strongly recommend they pack and deliver to your room, home, or package pickup breakable items, awkward items, and hard to replace items. You may be careful but other guests might not be so careful. I rather be free of packages so I can eat, drink, and be in line for more food and drink.
My name is Laurie Smith and I have lived in Kissimmee, FL since March, 2012, so that I could learn about WDW and help people enjoy WDW. I have been going to Disney parks since 1960.