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Thread: Planning for WDW, International Food & Wine festival focus

  1. #1

    Planning for WDW, International Food & Wine festival focus

    Hi everyone,

    For a potential trip I'm wanting to plan for this year, after enjoying the Flower and Garden Festival last year I want to make the International Food & Wine festival kind of the highlight/excuse to go this year (as well as getting to visit Pandora at AK finally, the revamped Pixar area at HS, etc). So of a week long trip, 2 days would be spent at EPCOT at least to sample.

    I know generally it lasts from September - November or so, but in trying to narrow it down some, what would be the best dates for lighter foot traffic? My initial idea was to plan either the week before or after Labor Day in September, but then thinking about it, Florida would be rather hot still wouldn't it? Not that I mind the heat/rain so much, but other party members aren't as fond, and it would be nice to experience a cooler climate for once at WDW since I've only ever gone during the late spring/summer times. So that kinda leads to October and November...now I know at Disneyland anyways they run the Halloween party stuff and close the park off early unless you pay extra to stay (and that's something none of us are interested in partaking in), does like MK do the same thing? If so that's something we'd want to avoid, as well as being there on Halloween day too due to crowds. And obviously we'd want to avoid Columbus Day and Thanksgiving week(end)s due to crowds. I know hurricane season is something to consider as well, but to me that's more something that happens if it happens.

    Again it's mostly for the food and wine tasting, our party doesn't care much about the music acts or celebrity chefs as much; if there happens to be a neat one while we're there that we like, cool, otherwise it's passable for us.

    If anyone has some suggestions on ideal weeks to target, that would be great.

    Thanks!

    Last edited by xezat; 01-21-2018 at 08:17 PM.

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  3. #2

    I'm pretty sure F&W is always over long before Thanksgiving (1st or 2nd weekend of November normally, I'm pretty sure), so while you are right to worry about crowds then, it doesn't matter for your purposes since F&W would be over.

    MK does do the Halloween Party thing, but it's only on certain nights, so it's pretty easy to just make sure you aren't doing MK on those days, assuming you would like to get the most park time in at MK on a non-Halloween Party night. If you are there for a whole week, there are probably 2 or 3 party nights, depending on how close you are to Halloween.

    Another thing to consider is the hurricane likelihood in the fall. There were several pretty serious ones in 2017, and there was also one in 2016 that closed the parks for a day (parks also closed early the day before the full closure day). I was wrapping up my trip in 2016 when the hurricane came by, I didn't miss much park time, but I did need to extend a day (happened to be off-site) due to the airport closing the day I was supposed to fly home. Several people on this forum were at on-site resorts during one of the hurricanes in 2017, I believe. If you have to be somewhere in FL during a hurricane, there are worse places to be. While many of the traditional restaurants may be closed, Disney does a fair job of preparing for the emergency. I think most people considered it a well executed contingency by WDW. Obviously you don't want to assume there will be a hurricane when you are there, but it could happen. If it does, obviously safety is your first concern, but the chances of losing a whole day (or more) of your original plans are possible. Native Floridians can correct me if I am mistaken, but I think the risk is higher in September to early/mid October, less so later in October into early November.

    If you don't want to be there with crowds, I'd avoid being there the weekend of the F&W marathon events. These races are extremely popular, and will obviously cause extra attendees at the F&W festival. I believe I was there for one a few years ago, and it wasn't to the point of uncomfortably crowded, but it was probably a bit heavy.

    The last weekend of the festival is also crowded, I believe. Many locals also love the F&W festival, and many may show up for the last hurrah to get their last tasting in before the festival concludes.

    Good luck with your planning! Hope this was at least a little bit helpful.

    -Dave

  4. #3

    Hmm, so taking that into account, I guess I'll have to look up marathon dates, didn't know they ran one of those though I'm not surprised. Otherwise it kinda sounds like the first week or two of November (assuming it's still going on, will have to keep an eye out on dates) while trying to dodge around Veteran's Day would be optimal? Avoids the worst of the hurricane season and it's right after Halloween so crowds should (in theory) thin a touch.

    But yeah definitely thanks for the advice, eagerly awaiting more input.


  5. #4

    While the dates for F&W itself are not showing yet, the F&W half marathon is 11/1 through 11/4 per the recent WDW update article.

    So it seems certain the festival at least runs through 11/4. Last year I have penciled on my calendar that it ended on 11/13 (though I see that was a Monday, so maybe I accidentally wrote 11/13 instead of 11/12? - not sure if it always ends on a Sunday, but that seems logical). I'd suspect (but obviously need to wait for official Disney schedule) it's probably running until Sunday, 11/11, one week after the marathon. Disney has been over the last few years been boasting of the longer runs for these festivals, so it wouldn't seem highly likely they would shorten it.

    -Dave

  6. #5

    Don't go for the couple weeks of the festival, it's too crowded. Especially on weekends, the lines get long at the booths and table space is non-existent.


  7. #6

    Avoid Jersey week, very crowded! I wouldn't even worry about hurricanes, it's a long shot there will be one at any given time. One nice thing about being there towards the end of the festival is that many of the Christmas holiday decorations will be set up, especially the castle icicle lights.


  8. #7

    Ok so kind of an update, weve narrowed it down and are seriously looking at the week of 9/23-9/30; any thoughts on if its a good or bad time? Its a month into the festival, after Labor Day, before Columbus Day and Halloween, so (in theory) it should be a slightly less crowded week? Only unknown is if they would be shutting down rides to refurb for Halloween or if they should be done by then, as well as what he weather is like that time of the year.

    Any feedback is always appreciated!


  9. #8

    Well, it might be less crowded, but it's gonna be hot. Festival will be awesome though. I've been to at least three of the last four or five (getting hard to remember all of these trips offhand).


  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by xezat View Post
    Ok so kind of an update, weve narrowed it down and are seriously looking at the week of 9/23-9/30; any thoughts on if its a good or bad time? Its a month into the festival, after Labor Day, before Columbus Day and Halloween, so (in theory) it should be a slightly less crowded week? Only unknown is if they would be shutting down rides to refurb for Halloween or if they should be done by then, as well as what he weather is like that time of the year.

    Any feedback is always appreciated!
    They don't do the ride overlays at WDW. Halloween parties will already be going by then.

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