Maneuvering yourself around the Flower and Garden Festival’s Outdoor Kitchens can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Especially when it’s a crowded day, you are pushing a stroller, you have a kid who is demanding “I need a meal” instead of little bites, and you don’t know if you should go towards left towards Mexico or right to Canada first. (… we to head to Canada. Or sometimes we mix things up and enter at the International Gateway. )
For the past several years our love has flourished, like the flowers in the gardens, for this festival. If you have never visited the Flower and Garden Festival be sure to check out our podcast episode. In this episode we discussed the 2016 festival and some of the reasons why it is quickly becoming a Disney Twin favorite.
But we will share with you one of the biggest reasons why… The Food. Just like Epcot’s other festivals there are Outdoor Kitchens with a variety of tastes and treats. What we love about this festival is that the flavors are inspired by the spring, flowers, and fresh grown produce. As if we have just entered a huge backyard get together with friends and family to grill out, relax, and eat. We find these items lighter in taste compared to those from the Food and Wine Festival (that can leave a heavy feeling).
In fact, the only downside to this festival is not getting too carried away and ending up with a depleted checking account. We have learned from many years of attending these festivals (and also learning from the mistakes of others)… You have to budget. Have to plan. Which is why we now wait (with baited breath) for the release of the ‘Kitchen’ menus to make our wish lists.
Check out some of the items on our 2018 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens wish list here.
But we also have a few tips specifically for eating at the festival kitchens.
Pixie Dust Pointer tips:
- Eat a good breakfast. The festival kitchens don’t open till 11am. Get a good breakfast in you so when they open you won’t be starving and can taste your way around the festival kitchens. One of our favorite places to get breakfast in Epcot is the Land. You can get a great quick service breakfast (with many options) at Seasons. Or if you want a little Character with your meal, make reservations for Garden Grill. An all you care to enjoy breakfast with Chip, Dale, Pluto, and Farmer Mickey.
- Get a Garden passport. Inside is a list of all the kitchens and all the delicious offerings they have. This will help you track which places you have been to (or want to go) and what you may have tasted (or want to taste). We have friends who try to eat at all of the kitchens. Which makes for a fun “Challenge”… but also can be an expensive one.
- Set a budget. I’ll never forget watching a friend go though their resort bill at checkout wondering how they spent all that money at the Food and Wine festival. Ever since that day I set a budget on what we can spend. Then we try our best to stick to it. We often budget this into our trip plans. On days we head to the festival we don’t make dining reservations for lunch or dinner. I budget $5 for each item and try to enjoy 10 items throughout the festival during each trip. Now I know that doesn’t allow us to hit each kitchen but it does provide me with a limit. Items range from $3.50- $12.25 and some items are available to use for Snack Credits with the Disney Dining Plan.
- Get a gift card. We love the festival gift cards. One they are great festival souvenir. You can load any amount on them (starting at $15). They always have a cute design on them and come with a wrist band so it is easily accessible while traveling from kitchen to kitchen. Even with the ease of a Magic Band and being able to pay with Apple Pay, we still get these gift cards. It’t the best way to keep track of how much you have spent.
- Share with others. I know some items will be harder than others because they are so delicious, but look into sharing an item with another person or a group. Yes, this means you will only get a few bites. But when sharing with another person this opens up the possibility of trying more items and/ or sharing the cost.
- Find a place to sit down. It may seem simple but during festival time the eating areas around the kitchens tend to fill up. And we have found we are not talented enough to eat while strolling a stroller. So go beyond those areas. We love to grab a few items and head to the interactive playground gardens. We let the kids play while we taste the treats. Nothing beats relaxing in a garden chair, watching the girls play, and sipping on a Violet Lemonade.
So — there you have it! Our tips for eating at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens.
Do you have an awesome tip for eating at the Outdoor Kitchens? We would love to hear it! Let us know!