The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is one of the best events at Walt Disney World, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a few tips to help you get the most out of your trip to WDW.

Tip 1: Avoid the Weekends

The Epcot International Wine and Food Festival is a huge draw for the park during an otherwise light guest attendance season for Walt Disney World. While crowds are pretty manageable during the weekdays, the World Showcase can become a zoo during the weekends throughout the festival. Lines for the International Marketplaces can become overwhelmingly long, and what is supposed to be a leisurely day of eating can turn into a stressful test of patience. Attend on the weekdays if you can.

Crowds can also become large on nights when popular bands are playing the Eat to the Beat concert, such as Boyz II Men.

Tip 2: BYOT: Bring Your Own Tray

It’s a pretty common strategy to send a person or two from your party to different kiosks to get a variety of dishes while somebody holds onto valuable seats at the eating area. While the plates are small, they can be difficult to carry in quantity. Disney does not provide trays at the kiosks. Our recommendation? Bring a small, lightweight paper or plastic tray from home. Amazon has a few options that look pretty good and not too heavy. Also, they’re relatively inexpensive. This will save you a lot of headaches once your party heads into Epcot.

Tip 3: Plan Before You Dine

The variety of food and beverages offered at the Food and Wine Festival is staggering. Once you get into the park, it can become overwhelming to see so many enticing options. And nothing is worse than filling up on so-so items when what you really wanted to try was the Pork Sliders from Hawaii.

Take a look at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Menus and make a list of your top 5 or 10 must-have items. It helps to plan ahead.

Tip 4: Set a Budget

Most of the items at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival’s kiosks are between $3-$8, but snacking around the world can get expensive fast. If you don’t want to shock your bank account too much, it’s a good idea to set a budget for the Food and Wine Festival in advance. Furthermore, you can purchase a Disney Gift Card with your budgeted amount on the card to make sure you don’t overspend. This year they have a special Epcot Food and Wine Festival Gift Card design that can be purchased at Epcot. The gift card is also available in wristlet form, so you can wear it for convenience while going from country to country.

Tip 5: Take Advantage of the Events

There’s much more to the Epcot IFAWF than just eating around the World Showcase. From the Eat to the Beat Concerts to the HGTV Home Entertaining Seminars, there are a ton of cool events you can go to that are included in park admission. We have a rundown of every free event at the Food and Wine Festival here. There are also a myriad of paid seminars, classes, lunches, dinners, and parties going on throughout the festival. Here’s a list of every premium event at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Tip 6: Disney Visa Cardmembers can enjoy the Chase Lounge

If you are a Disney Visa Cardmember, you can take advantage of the private Chase Lounge. It’s open daily, 9 am – 7 pm, and features complimentary beverages.

That wraps up our Epcot Food and Wine Festival advice. Hope they help you have an awesome time at an awesome event. If you are attending the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year (or have in past years) and want to share your experience or any tips and tricks, email me at jamesg@guide2wdw.com, or let me know on Twitter or Facebook.