The EPCOT festivals are a lot of fun, and have some tasty eats (pretty impressive since EPCOT is generally known as the park to go for when you’re in the mood… for food, as Pooh would say). All those little dishes can add up to a world of flavor, and put a dent in your wallet if you’re not careful.
At the 2018 Festival, our Director of Operations, Stephanie, and our Restaurant columnist and magazine designer, Danny, set out with a mission: spend a crisp $100 bill at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. How much could they eat and drink? How long would the money last? Would they go home hungry? Keep reading to find out…
Time and time again we get questions from fans asking, “How much money do I need to take to Food & Wine?” or “What’s a good budget to set for the festival booths” and “Will eating at the festival cost me more than a Quick Service meal? More than a Table Service meal?” My husband, Danny, and I are some of the biggest foodies on the magazine team and we’ve been to the festival many, many times. So we’re here to answer these burning questions, give you some budgeting tips, and show you what exactly you can get for $100 at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.
Since the 2019 festival menus have already been published, we’ve even noted which dishes will be returning this year, so if you see something you like, be sure to make a bee-line for it when you visit EPCOT this fall from August 29 to November 23!*
When we had our $100 challenge day, we did a lot of social media coverage over on our Facebook page. It was a lot of fun to countdown how much money we had left with a live audience and share some reviews along the way. To keep things interesting, we came up with a few rules for our spending. Some we were better at than others!
RULE #1 – Only get one item per booth (or at the very least, only one food item and one beverage)
RULE #2 – Get items we’ve never had before at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival (a lot of items repeat from year to year)
RULE #3 – Stay hydrated (you won’t see it here, but we drank a LOT of water to combat the heat and the heavier dishes)
RULE #4 – Order whatever we wanted (don’t splurge or skimp out just to make the budget – order whatever we would normally until we run out of money!)
So armed with those rules, we entered the park, got a quick iced coffee (hey, you’ve gotta fuel up for a day like this!) and went straight to the Festival Center to grab some maps, festival passports, and gift card wrist bands to keep our $100 at our fingertips.
We picked these cute designs featuring Remy from Ratatouille, and since the food booths weren’t open yet we poked around the Festival Center gift shops and plotted out the items we were most interested in sampling.
Just before 11:00 A.M., we made our way to World Showcase to get the earliest possible start at the booths (a great idea both for lower crowds and cooler temperatures). And we were off!
Let’s Eat! (Round 1)
Teriyaki Glazed SPAM Hash
We always love the Hawai’i booth and though it pained us to forego our beloved Kahlua pork slider here (rule #2!), this hash was pretty great, and something I think kids would really love.
TOTAL REMAINING: $95.75
Returning to the Hawai’i booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Beijing Roasted Duck Bao & Happy Peach Cocktail
Stop number 2, and we already broke a rule. Danny can’t say no to that delicious Happy Peach, and neither should you! The duck bao was also pretty tender and had great texture with the wonton crisps – China’s food is always hit and miss at the festivals, but this was a win!
TOTAL REMAINING: $80.05
Happy Peach is returning to the China booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Schofferhoffer Hefeweizen Pomegranate Beer
I just had to try out the pomegranate version of the grapefruit beer that’s become a cult classic with Disney fans. This was tart and and had great color. I think it would be a hit at Christmas too! You’ll notice that due to rule #3 we abstained from alcohol for the rest of the hot afternoon in favor of some h2O.
TOTAL REMAINING: $75.55
Returning to the Brewer’s Collection booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Hops & Barley
New Brunswick Slider
The most Canadian dish we tried was ironically at a booth near the American adventure. It was one of Danny’s favorites! (In case you’re new to the blog or magazine, we’re Canadian, eh?)
TOTAL REMAINING: $69.80
Returning to the Hops & Barley booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Teriyaki Chicken Bun
Danny LOVED this, but it was a bit sweet for me. However, every single person I’ve talked to named this as one of their festival must-eats, so I’m clearly in the minority!
TOTAL REMAINING: $64.30
Returning to the Japan booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Now these were right up my ally! Crispy, crunchy, fresh, and a little spicy. More or less square falafel but no complaints here. Can’t wait to eat this again in 2019!
TOTAL REMAINING: $58.80
Returning to the Morocco booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
This is the dish that did us in for the afternoon. Super delicious and creamy seafood stew had us ready for NAP (and a swim).
TOTAL REMAINING: $53.55
Returning to the Brazil booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Red Hot Spicy Thai Curry Beef with Steamed Rice
This spicy curry was really flavorful and a nice way to break up the heaviness of the last dish.
TOTAL REMAINING: $48.05
Returning to the Thailand booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Now, by around 2pm it was hot enough that we needed a little break. With full bellies and having used about half of our money on a long, leisurely lunch at the booths, we headed to the hotel for a rest, as we do most days on our trips to WDW.
A few hours later, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the evening at EPCOT, we boarded our bus at Pop Century conquer the booths in Future World and along the International Gateway side of World Showcase, which we had largely missed earlier in the day,
Let’s Eat! (Round 2)
One of my favorite spots at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is in the area at the back of Future World, where you’ll find a few booths (with cocktail tables!) that get some of the afternoon shade and lead to a path near the IMAGINATION! Pavilion that has even more booths. We usually find ourselves starting festival evenings here.
But this time was different. The crowds were out in full force by 5:00 PM, and we waited in a seemingly never-ending line at Flavors from the Fire where we ordered, THEN waited again while our food was prepared. This area is atmospheric but also smoky, so if you’re sensitive to that, send a friend to stand in line for you!
Flavors From the Fire
Piggy Wings & Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak
Our rules really started to break down here. Because of the lengthy line, we decided to choose 2 food items, and unfortunately, they were only okay. The flavor on the skirt steak was great but it was tough and chewy, and I didn’t care for the piggy wings at all. Danny loved them, but then again, he’s a major carnivore.
TOTAL REMAINING: $36.55
Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak is returning to the Flavors from the Fire booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Spice Crusted Verlasso Salmon
Most festivals at EPCOT feature a Verlasso salmon dish – a sustainable fish from Chilean Patagonia, and this is the best version I’ve had. I’m really excited that this is making a return in 2019, and will definitely be on my must-eat list.
TOTAL REMAINING: $30.80
Returning to the Active Eats booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
The IMPOSSIBLE Burger Slider
Plant-based meats have been having a moment at WDW (and in North America), but this was our first foray into the world of IMPOSSIBLE burgers. It was… interesting. We probably wouldn’t have known it wasn’t meat. But for me, a smashed black bean or beet and quinoa burger is what I’d like to eat if I’m not going for the “real” thing.
TOTAL REMAINING: $25.80
Returning to the Earth Eats booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
Wine & Dine Studio
Butternut Squash Ravioli
YUM!!! This looks like a simple dish but was one of the most unusual flavor combos we tried, owing to the brown butter vinaigrette! Just a really nice pasta dish for fall in a warm climate.
TOTAL REMAINING: $21.30
Returning to the Wine & Dine Studio at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
La Passion Martini Slush, Carbonade de Boeuf, Creme Brulee aux Framboise
France is always a popular booth, and we’ve never been disappointed by their offerings. At this point, it was getting late, we were losing light to take photos, and the lines were long so we broke all the rules. We had 3 dishes, not one.
We had a repeat from a previous festival that was decidedly against our hydration plan on account of the vodka in it (I never say no to a slush in France!). And we ordered the beef just to be done with the waiting in line, so we’d have enough time to recap it all for you.
I don’t regret a thing – that was an AMAZING creme brulee and the raspberry played very well with the custard. The beef was just what we needed – a few bites of comfort food. And the La Passion Slush? Let’s just say, we’ll be getting it again this year!
TOTAL REMAINING: $0.05
La Passion Martini Slush is returning to the France booth at the 2019 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!
In the video above, you can watch our reactions to the day and find out our favorite dishes, as we found a quiet corner in France to go live from. But by the numbers:
- We spent $99.95 so we came out with five cents left to spare!
- We ordered 17 items (14 food, 3 beverage)
- We visited 13 booths
As two adults with enthusiastic appetites, we had lunch AND dinner for 2 on $100 at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. That’s much more than I anticipated. Now, your mileage may vary if you order smaller dishes, more expensive items, have bigger appetites, etc. But $100 went a pretty long way for us, and we had a LOT of fun eating our way around the festival.
In addition to all our eating, we made time to use a few FastPasses, see a show or two, and participate in photo ops set up for the festival. But if you want to go whole-hog at the festival (pun intended) like we did, AND do all the “regular” stuff at EPCOT, plan at least a day and a half at the park on your next visit.
Want MORE Food & Wine Coverage?
Every year, we have lots of festival coverage in WDW Magazine – make sure you subscribe today so you don’t miss a single sip or bite! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook, where we’ll have EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival news and reviews starting August 29!
*Note that prices in 2019 may be different than the 2018 prices reported here