Four Days of Eating Around the World

Well we are back from Walt Disney World and Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, and boy did we have a blast! I will say that, experienced Disney vacationers that we are, as Food and Wine newbies, we found the Festival awesome….and just a little overwhelming! But it was all good, and we are looking forward to returning again!

With only 4 days, we had to plan our strategy carefully…or rather I did, lol! My main thing, before we got to Disney World, was to be able to take advantage, as much as possible, of the many offerings of the Festival…and still have time to visit our favorite attractions too. We were successful for the most part, despite having a little monkey-wrench thrown into things….the monkey-wrench being central Florida experiencing record heat (think mid-August).

Once I realized that we were going to be doing the parks in “summer mode”…well it did kind of put a different spin on things.

“Summer mode” at Disney World, for us, means being at the parks first thing, eat an early (11-11:30) lunch, hit maybe a couple of the cooler attractions after lunch…when the heat really starts to build…and be on our way back to the resort for an afternoon at the pool. Back to the parks then in the evening.

But since we were on the Disney Dining Plan, we had already made dinner reservations for each night, and so our plan was to experience the Food and Wine Festival primarily for lunch on a couple of days. Now, being in “summer mode”, the challenge was how to do this and actually enjoy ourselves.

The solution meant that at 11 a.m. on the dot, we were at World Showcase, waiting for our chosen food kiosks to open. Why? Well, do you know how HOT World Showcase can get when the heat index is close to 100? Yeah. That’s why. =)

So our Food and Wine strategy then became: how to sample from each kiosk, while staying as cool as possible. And…how to also do it somewhat affordably, and not completely stuff ourselves in the process.

Here is how we did it.

For our first luncheon excursion, DH, college-age DD, and yours truly decided to each visit a different kiosk. DD was to use the snack credits from our Dining Plan, while I and DH each used a Food and Wine card that we pre-loaded with $25 each. We figured that was plenty to start. We split up and hit 3 different food vendors, each of us choosing one item from the menu, and then we met (in the nearest shady spot), sampled from each other, “rated” our favorites, and then moved on to do another 3. In about 30-40 minutes we were half way around World Showcase, full (but not too much), and pretty much done for that day. We hopped on the boat to go across World Showcase lagoon (seriously NOT walking the rest of the way around at this point), and headed back to the resort.

On our second day of Festival lunches, we repeated the process going in the other direction, and within another 30 minutes we had succeeded in completing our circuit around the world, having truly sampled something from every food kiosk. It was so much fun, and we had a wonderful time sampling things we probably would have never tried otherwise.

Best of all, we completed day 2 with the remainder of our snack credits and 2 original Festival cards, without having added additional dollars to either card. So we did truly eat our way around the World and managed to not break the bank in the process.

What did we NOT do? We did not do any of the additional paid programs, and I have to say that it was just too overwhelming to have even considered anything beyond the basics this year. We did attend a great free program outside Italy, about making pasta and a simple Italian meal. It was fascinating, and we learned alot.

We also truthfully did not do alot of drinking. It was just too hot to even think about it during the day…we just wanted water…and the two evenings that we were there, the lines were very long, and we were frankly quite full from dinner. I will say that the beer and wine tastings looked pretty awesome, and I would love to explore those more another time.

What would I do differently? Well our strategy actually worked well, and I am pleased that we did not eat ourselves sick, nor did we spend as much money as one probably could spend. I think the main thing I would do next time, would be to either not do the Dining Plan, or plan one evening where we did not have a table service dinner, and do some samplings in the evening as well.

And of course, hope for cooler weather. :)

With that in mind, I am, of course, already dreaming of our next visit!

Have a magical day!

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4 Responses to Four Days of Eating Around the World

  1. Pingback: Ten Tips for Staying Cool at Disney World This Summer | Chip and Co.

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