If you’re a Disney World fan, you probably know about the wonders that are EPCOT Festivals. There is a festival running in EPCOT almost every day of the year at this point!
The year starts with EPCOT Festival of the Arts, then EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, then EPCOT Food and Wine Festival (the BIG one), and ends with EPCOT Festival of the Holidays. No matter the fest, there are a lot of food and drinks to try and that can get EXPENSIVE — so, how should YOU budget?
We’re taking a look at how YOU should manage your EPCOT festival day finances depending on YOUR budget. We’re going to drop three different ways to do the fests from “Tight Budget” to “No Budget” — with tips to help you have a great festival day!
To do this, we’re going to be using an average price of festival offerings. Food items tend to be $4 to $8 and drinks tend to be $5 to $9 with some outliers. We’ll use an average price of $7 per item.
Also, note that we’re primarily budgeting for booth-hopping here! That’s trying all of the food and drinks! If you’ve got your eye on some merchandise, you’ll want to factor in those specific costs and adjust accordingly.
So, how should YOU budget for an EPCOT festival?
The “Tight Budget” Budget
The goal of this budget is to experience as MUCH of the festival as possible for as little money as possible. The festival food prices can seriously add up, but if you play your cards right, you can still try a number of eats.
Your first step is to DEFINITELY skip table service and quick service meals and repurpose the $15-20 per person, per meal as a festival budget. That’s about $45-$60 per person for the day. Let’s look at the bottom end of that range. After all, this is the “Tight Budget” budget!
So, with $45 per day, each person can snag about six or seven items around the festival – use three food items for each meal and snag a specialty drink once!
We recommend buying each item from a different booth so you get a broader taste of the festival and share, share, share, so everyone gets to try a little bit of everything! Otherwise, stick to free water that you can pick up at quick-service dining locations.
Now, for those with heavier appetites, this might not be quiiiiite enough food. To make sure you’re feeling satisfied, pack a breakfast or eat before heading to EPCOT to make sure you don’t have to worry about getting enough energy first thing in the morning. This is especially important if you are rope-dropping EPCOT, as the festival booths usually don’t open until 11AM.
The “Spend Within Reason” Budget
This budget is perhaps the one most commonly used. If you want to have a day at the fest where you’re not constantly worrying about your spending but don’t want to deal with the shock of a surprising card statement later, this budget might be for you!
In our (extensive) experience, you can have a GREAT festival day – trying most everything you’d want for between $100 and $150 per person. You can trust us, our team goes to EVERY EPCOT festival EVERY year.
That budget is going to be around 15 items for the whole day per person. If you’re traveling with others and sharing, you could easily try something from every booth at most festivals with this budget. Beyond that, it leaves room for alcoholic beverages and doubling up on dishes at booths that have interesting menus.
This budget should be plenty of food so that you can skip quick service and table service meals easily, even if you don’t grab breakfast before heading out. And, so you don’t have to have your mind on the money all day, use a gift card!
At the start of your day, head to a Disney merchandise location and load up a Disney gift card with your $100 to $150 per person. Use that at the booths all day so you don’t accidentally overspend.
The “No Budget” Budget
And finally, we’ve got the “NO BUDGET” budget. If you’ve got the means to do the “No Budget” budget, you get the breeziest option!
With this budget, you can get whatever you want, of course. For most people, that’s not going to be EVERYTHING at the festival. BUT, if you did want to try EVERY. SINGLE. THING. It would cost you around $30 to $40 per booth. At EPCOT’s most recent festival, Flower and Garden, you’re looking at around $850 to try everything.
Now, if you’re going this route we still recommend sharing dishes! Every person isn’t going to like everything, and the festival is a DECEIVING amount of food. Odds are, you wouldn’t be able to eat $850 worth of festival food in one day on your own — even if you wanted to.
One great investment in any EPCOT Festival trip is to pick up one of our DFB Guides! Did you know we write EXTENSIVE eBooks for festivals? Our critically acclaimed guides include photos of every food item available, planning strategies, and TONS of insider tips! We do ALL the research to help you have the very best EPCOT festival trip possible — it’s why we do what we do!
And that’s a rundown of THREE different ways to budget for EPCOT festivals. Hopefully, this helps you get set for your Disney World vacation. As always, keep an eye on DFB for all the EPCOT fest news and tips!