Last Minute Food and Wine Fest

Discussion in 'Disney Chat' started by curiousdinah, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. curiousdinah

    curiousdinah Active Member

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    Hey guys,
    With getting into the full story there's a chance I'll make it to the food and wine fest, but if so I won't have much notice. However, I also don't want to end up spending an arm and leg or missing something big if I go in whirlwind.

    So....what tips would you have for someone booking a trip for F&W on short notice (like within a week of going)?
     
  2. dancecats

    dancecats Administrator Staff Member DPF Administrator

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    One of the amazing things about F&W is that you don't need to plan it to death. In my (admittedly limited) experiences, I've always had an absolutely amazing time just walking around World Showcase, on a seafood diet. If you haven't heard that term before, seafood diet = see food, eat it. During F&W, I think there are something like 30+ pavilions - and all of them have at least 2-3+ amazing things you will want to sample. I don't know how long you're going to be there, but you can easily enjoy F&W just walking around, listening to the music acts, without ever booking anything. I've gone a few times (not for a few years though) and I've never booked anything exclusive to F&W.

    However, depending upon your timing ... this isn't F&W-related, but if you can get tickets, I would recommend that you get tickets to the MNSSHP. IMO, the after-hours event has the best parade and fireworks show - plus how can you turn down the opportunity to trick-or-treat in the Magic Kingdom (all the candy!)
     
  3. hopemax

    hopemax DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Once the festival opens, all the WDW blogs and websites will have pictures, prices and reviews of all the food. I usually focus on The Disney Food Blog and EasyWDW.com This helps plan you attack when you work your way around WS. We usually try to visit 3 days, so we don't gorge ourselves the first day. I make a spreadsheet. You can do this if you go or don't go.

    If you have a Disney dining package, snack credits are usable for the food as long as it has the symbol next to it on the menu. This is usually the best value for your snack credits because some of the food you can use it on $8 items. Less known, is that you can convert an unused meal credit into 3 snack credits. We don't usually have the dining plan, so we fund by saving up our Disney Dream Dollars (from the Chase credit card) to use to buy what we want.

    Weekends are busy, so we try to go early on a weekday for shortest lines. I bring a Kleen Kanteen water bottle and fill it at the Electric Umbrella and then try to refill it when I find a water fountain to save on water.
     
  4. chubs191

    chubs191 Beautiful Tomorrow Admirer

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    I follow the ASI rule: Always Skip Italy. Disney chefs don't create the menu for Italy, so it's usually just standard Italian food with standard ingredients that you can find at most Italian restaurants. My other rule along the same lines: if you can find it in a restaurant regularly, skip it. I love Belgian waffles, but I rolled my eyes when my sister bought the regular one from Belgium for so much money.

    I usually just check out the new stuff on the blogs. I have a spreadsheet of what I've eaten in the past few years, what I want this year, my budget, ect. Me and my sister pretty much have it all planned out well before we go. This year, we're going on the second day of the festival, so most blog posts won't be out yet, so that throws us for a loop. If you plan on doing the spreadsheet method, just be prepared to change course at a moment's notice.

    Last thing, definitely pick up a festival passport at the Pin Station before you head into the World Showcase or Futureworld. Sometimes, I see things I didn't take note of online in it. If you plan on having more than 8 $10 or 16 $9 items, there's usually a pass you can pick up for a discounted price at the Festival center. Most years, you get a pin with it as well.

    The good thing is that you have 3 weeks until it even begins and menus are already out! You have plenty of time to plan.
     
  5. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    Some thoughts:

    Some degree of advanced planning is advisable, especially if you have a limited timeframe in which to partake of the bounty. I did a spreadsheet last year that could be sorted by priority (I classified things as High, Medium, or Low, based on how much I was interested in them), booth, meal type (snack, meal, beverage, dessert), and primary food type (examples: type of protein, sugar, alcohol). Was this obsessive? Oh yeah. Did it help? For me it did, because I had enough on my list (like 49 items, I believe) and one thing I do NOT want to do at any F&W outing is eat, say, allllll the beef in the same sitting. I also don’t want 12 desserts in one day. There is vacation, and then there is flirting with premature death. Ha!

    That said, you do not have to go to these lengths. Here are some more practical tips/words of wisdom I can share:

    1. Preview the listings on the Disney website. You can scratch off anything that you are allergic to or contains ingredients to which you are NOT partial.

    2. Check the blogs and social media sites for photos, once F&W opens, if you have time between opening on August 30th and your visit. There have been years in which the written description didn’t dazzle me but one really good photo on Instagram convinced me that I HAD TO TRY THAT.

    3. Make a list of your top items. It does help to be organized so you don’t bypass a booth and then after your trip realize that the thing you most would have loved to try was skipped over because you didn’t think there was anything appealing at that particular booth. The first year we did F&W, I was a total newbie to the concept and did a scattershot tour of the booths. (We did not have hopper passes that year, I might add. Not my dumb idea!) When presented with “one more opportunity to go to Epcot” during that trip, I went through the passport and wrote down all the foods I still REALLY wanted to try. It was much easier for me to navigate around the World Showcase and make sure I got them, because I wasn’t flipping through the passport every 2 seconds.

    4. Consider what your priorities are. Do you want to try something you’d never have the opportunity to get at home? Do you want things you’d consider “sure bets” for your own personal enjoyment? I am a foodie. Every time I go to F&W, I want to try MORE. But this year I’ve decided to take a total different approach. I feel like last year, even with my planning, I tried a lot of things that were good but not mind-blowing. (I also was too intense. I see that now. Ha ha.) I am very blessed to live in an area of the country where we not only have a variety of cuisines, we also have MIND-BLOWING examples of those cuisines. I don’t need to go to F&W to eat delicious, authentic Thai, Indian, Japanese, etc. If I’m in the mood for any of those on the day, I’ll audible. But this year, I want to eat all the food that I DON’T normally get at home, which, yeah, is going to be more “gringo” stuff. My BF and I eat out alllll the time and get really amazing food from all different countries. What would be a change of pace for me is to go to the diner and get a Reuben, ha ha. Since vacation is about doing things you normally don’t do, I am going to eat a fluffing Belgian waffle if I want! If you live in a town where you’re thinking, “I can barely get a decent hamburger on a regular basis,” then yeah, you want to grab your chance to eat different things. I’m not telling you to approach it one way or the other; just illustrating that you get to decide what you want out of F&W. Which brings me to …

    5. Trust your gut. Har har har. But seriously. Yes, totally listen to recommendations or suggestions, because this is an excellent bunch of people with good taste. But you know you and what you like/want/etc. If I tell you with a tone of unseemly passion that you MUST HAVE the Kahlua pork slider in Hawaii (assuming you eat pork, that is), and you are like, “Eh,” then ignore me. Or if the bloggers are all like, “It’s so basic to eat Chinese food when you can get it at home,” but the Chinese food looks and smells AMAZING to you—eat it! (I admit, I am making China the exception to my "if you can get it at home" rule. Because MSG or otherwise, Chinese food is delicious and addicting. I don't care that I can get black pepper shrimp with noodles any day of the week. I WANT IT.) You’re doing the eating, not anybody else.

    So, in short: take a look at the offerings and note what REALLY excites you, be at least a little organized but also flexible, and just ENJOY IT. :)

    PS: If you’re going to be there in mid-September, drop me a message and maybe I’ll buy you a Kahlua pork slider. :p
     
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  6. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    An example of why I recommend some amount of planning:

    Belgium and France both have beef-and-mashed-potato dishes. They are different--but the core ingredients are the same. Does one sound more appealing to you than the other? If you made your way around the World Showcase and stopped at France and THEN realized you would have preferred the Belgian offering (or vice versa) ... wa-WAAAAAA. You may just say fluff it and try both--but for me personally, once I've indulged in a rich beef and potatoes dish, I am probably not eating another one for a while.

    See Ann. See Ann make poor food choices. See Ann cry. Ha ha.
     
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  7. dancecats

    dancecats Administrator Staff Member DPF Administrator

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    Does anyone EVER make good food choices at F&W? Unless, by good food choices, you mean choosing food that tastes good ... .
     
  8. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    I am indeed referring to magically delicious things, not healthy things, hahaha.

    But I will also point out that it is possible to eat "badly" at F&W because (a) If you walk the entire World Showcase, particularly in the blazing heat and humidity, you can easily knock off half of the calories you've consumed and (b) calories don't count at Disney, anyway!
     
  9. curiousdinah

    curiousdinah Active Member

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    Thanks guys. Maybe I should have been more specific though. Food planning is not an issue for me.

    As someone in the Northeast, I need travel advice so as not to spend an arm and leg on airfare, hotel, etc. if booking the last minute. The food I can cover.

    :)
     
  10. xdattax

    xdattax Well-Known Member

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    Download the Farehopper app. Throw in your preferred airport and MCO. It’ll give you price range calendars and you can further drill down from there. Don’t buy the ticket on the app though, go to the airline’s site.

    Once you have airfare call Disney about the resorts. Have any possible discounts? Military maybe? Passholder? See what they have to offer. Ride the Magical Express to get to the hotel to avoid a rental car. If you’re staying off property a rental car may or may not be useful depending on your patience with Uber or Lyft. There are dirt cheap hotels on Irlo Bronson but not everyone is as willing to stay at the Motel 6 as I usually am.

    As for tickets I have an AP so I’m not sure what would be best. Growing up we never did park hopper but now I’d never not have it. All depends on your style of park visiting.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    Oh, the boring stuff.

    You didn't really ask about park passes, but: If you have AAA, go into your local store. They should have tickets on hand for immediate purchase, and I've found that if you do NOT qualify for a discount (such as military, as Patricia pointed out above) direct from Disney, AAA has the best discounts. And again ... You should be able to walk in the day before you need to leave, even, and walk out with park passes.
     
  12. dancecats

    dancecats Administrator Staff Member DPF Administrator

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    So true, on all counts! I really do believe the part about calories not counting at Disney because I eat whatever I want and, somehow, either (a) never gain weight or (b) actually manage to lose a few pounds. Don't ask me how it works; go figure. *shrugs*
     
  13. dancecats

    dancecats Administrator Staff Member DPF Administrator

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    Ohhh you should have been more specific lol. Since you're talking about a last-minute trip, I just automatically assumed (I know, I know) that you would have the (boring) basics sorted and just need information about F&W (how foolish of me, I know lol).

    Here's the thing: you haven't mentioned how long you're planning on staying at WDW. I'm an enormous proponent of getting an Annual Pass. Unless something has changed, the 'break even' point for an Annual Pass is spending 5-6 days per year at WDW - and an Annual Pass is a Park Hopper ticket; whether or not you choose to park hop, you have that option. In addition, an Annual Pass has the added benefit of discounts on both merchandise (pin shopping, anyone?) and on property hotel accommodations. In my experience, the Annual Pass discount has ranged from a low of 15% to a high of 40% (that can vary from time of year to the resort itself) and has significantly reduced the resort price and enabled me to save money while still staying on property. Staying on property will enable you to use the Magical Express to/from the airport and eliminate the need to hire a car (all extra expenses; plus, I think a Disney holiday is more magical when you're on property).

    Also once you have an Annual Pass, you can purchase something called Tables in Wonderland. This program entitles you to a 20% discount on most table service dining (food and alcohol). The only downside is it automatically adds an 18% gratuity for the server, but to be honest, you probably would give that (or something close to that) anyway - and that's added after the 20% so you're still saving money. Not a lot, but it helps and over time, it really does add up.

    As far as airfare goes, you're asking the wrong girl. I live in SoCal and if I don't plan WELL in advance, I can fly internationally for almost what it costs me to fly into MCO (sadly, this is not an exaggeration). Coming from the Northeast, I can almost guarantee that your flight options are so. much. better than mine ever will be. One of the things that I've found is that if you repeatedly search a flight on the same search engine, the flight's prices will increase (I'm not joking). Search carefully and if you notice prices increasing, use a different site to book - or if necessary, call the airline directly and book the old fashioned way.
     
  14. curiousdinah

    curiousdinah Active Member

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    Thanks. I didn't know the AP worked on hotels too ! I don't know how long my friends are planning to go, but I'll probably take a day or two myself to do all the things they won't want to do...like pin hunt. I'll have to see where that puts me.
     
  15. TornadoTitan

    TornadoTitan Nick Wilde's Biggest Fan

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    So last year I went to Food and Wine for my first time and it was also a last minute trip, literary, felt almost irresponsible doing it but think it was well worth it. So I was at a convention in Atlanta and noticed my flight would be rerouted through Orlando before heading back to Austin, I ended up getting off at the Orlando stop, canceled my connecting flight then rebooked it for 5 days later and spent 3 days at Disney (one for Food and Wine and Mickey's Halloween) and 1 at Universal Studios (also for the Halloween event). Southwest is very flexiable with canceling and rebooking flights, so I did that.

    So I bought my tickets online ahead of time, the tickets for Universal's Halloween event was surprisingly cheap when I got them $69 and as a single person basically go on all the rides I wanted to at least twice (five times for Mummy and Harry Potter) and got to do 9 of the 12 mazes.

    I booked at a sort of sketchy looking hotel called Seralago but it turned out pretty nice actually (aside from what looked like mold growing on the floor but I had two beds so slept on the one away from the mold and spent time in the parks anyways) which ended up being around $24 a night so a really good savings for me.

    For Food and Wine since it was very last minute for me, on my flight to Orlando I was looking at all the food options they had and just making a list and budgeting all I wanted to eat. I ended up only getting through half my list because I filled up very quickly. For speed I put about $200 on a wearable Disney gift card so I could order food faster, only used half of it before I was full.

    It was a very last minute trip, probably not the best use of my money but as a self employed individual thought it was a well worth it tripped and what was needed after a very stressful summer of all work.

    My personal recommendations to eat are Australia and Scotland, I would avoid China, Japan, and Italy as they had food you could basically get anywhere.
     
  16. curiousdinah

    curiousdinah Active Member

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    Ok, good to know it can be done. But I will avoid sketchy moldy hotels. I always stay on property, for that reason.
     

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