Each year, thousands of people flock to Epcot’s World Showcase for the International Food and Wine Festival. It’s an annual destination for many guests, and a favorite season for adults-only trips to the most magical place on Earth. With more than 35 booths offering exotic flavors from around the world and many seminars regarding wine and cocktails, many people wonder if it’s worth taking kids. Wayfinding TravelingMom Jennifer Kaufman’s kids look forward to it every year. She thinks it’s absolutely worth a stop on a family vacation!
If you find yourself at Epcot during the International Food and Wine Festival with the whole family in tow, you may be wondering if it will be worth a visit. Will they be totally bored and unwilling to try anything “exotic”? Let me assure you of one thing. As you might expect, Walt Disney World has built the festival with guests of all ages in mind.
Epcot Food & Wine Festival Activities for Kids (& the Whole Family!)
Kid-friendly Dining Options
It’s true, there are a lot of unique offerings at the marketplace booths. It’s a great time to finally try escargot or kimchi. That shouldn’t deter children, though – or picky eaters of any age. Chicken and naan, Belgian Waffles, Cheddar Cheese Soup with a pretzel roll, Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse, and the Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle are just a handful of menu items that my kids are looking forward to when they visit later in the year.
That said, maybe the event is also the perfect time to help family members and friend expand their horizons! There are often special symbols on the booth menus that point out which items might be the “easiest” for apprehensive eaters to try.
The Food & Wine Festival Marketplace Passport
Prior to last year, stamps were awarded in the Marketplace Passport at the register of each booth. Now, each passport comes with stickers representing each country. Of course you that means you don’t technically have to stop at every booth to check it off, but where’s the fun in that?! We found last year that the introduction of stickers versus stamps definitely made the process at the registers more streamlined.
Kids of all ages enjoy working through the book every year. I may know an adult or two who are fans of checklists and “unlocking achievements” that also make it their mission to collect as many stamps/stickers as possible. Not that I’m naming any names…
Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak
Back for the third year, families can take part in Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak activity. Disney says, “Embark on a Ratatouille-inspired adventure that’s très magnifique! Kids of all ages can search for Remy on a savory scavenger hunt around World Showcase.”
Hide and Squeak maps are available for purchase from several locations within the park. Guests then locate statues of Remy throughout the World Showcase, answering a few questions along the way. When you’re finished, turn it in as instructed for a special prize!
Culinary Demonstrations & Celebrity Appearances
No, I haven’t lost my mind. Of course the beverage seminars and mixology courses aren’t appropriate for kids, and many kids won’t be interested in watching a lot of the specialty seminars.
For kids that enjoy helping cook, though, it can be very exciting to watch a professional chef doing his or her thing. In this case, it may be worth at least visiting the Festival Center and checking out some of the free demonstrations, even if you don’t book any events at an extra cost. (Plus, there’s usually fire. That’s a big selling point around here.)
The ever-popular Kidcot Stations are still available during the event. If you’ve visited Epcot before, you may already know about the Kidcot program. In short, each pavilion has a table attended by a representative from each nation. Children (and adults!) can color a puppet, learn how to write their name in another language, and talk to cast members about their home and cultures. It’s one of our favorite things to do in Epcot, and it’s educational, too!
Frozen Ever After (and other rides, attractions, and characters)
The much-anticipated Frozen attraction opened last year in the Norway pavilion, and it’s truly delightful. You’ll probably want to grab a fastpass for that one in order to be as efficient as possible, but the reality is there will be plenty of opportunities for rides, performances, characters, and other attractions as you walk through World Showcase.
Our family, from the youngest to the oldest, adores Epcot no matter what time of year we visit. I hope that if your trip falls during the Food & Wine Festival, you won’t shy away from it. There are plenty of wonderful (and yummy!) memories to be made.