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  1. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Active Member

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    I just read Alex Reif's piece on the decay of the Food and Wine Festival.

    I agree completely, and I wonder what took him so long to write something about it. During my most recent visit to WDW, on my fall 2016 vacation, I'd already come to the same conclusions, and was calling it the "Food and Wino Festival" on this very board back in December.

    I don't drink. I find both the mouth-feel and the pharmacological effects of ethanol utterly revolting. I don't begrudge alcoholic beverages to those who don't share that opinion (there's no accounting for taste, mine, yours, or anybody else's), but I don't like watching a bunch of people intentionally get sodden drunk (especially in what is supposed to be a family theme park) any more than Reif does.

    Years ago, I used to spend New Year's Eve in DL, precisely because it was one of the few places I could go New Year's Eve, where I could spend all evening among people who were just as sober as I was. And back when PI was still open for business, I could enjoy Adventurers and the Warehouse (two PI venues that did admit minors, so long as they were accompanied by an adult) as much as anybody else (and when they replaced the gates with a wristband system, it made no difference to me which wrist, given that I wasn't drinking, and my car was on the other side of the continent). (I still miss Samantha's Cabaret, my favorite of all the "Library" shows at Adventureres.)

    I don't pick November for my visits to WDW because of the Food & Wino Festival; I pick November because it's the one month out of the year when Central Florida actually has pleasant weather. And dagnabbit, I completely agree with Reif about how the drunks at F&W are spoiling Epcot for everybody else.
     
  2. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Well-Known Member

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    I visited the Food & Wine Festival this year after taking a couple years off, and I thought it was a lot more tame than in the past. Although it was still pretty crowded, I didn't see anybody who was anywhere near qualifying as "drunk," nor did I see any disruptive behavior. I did see 2 uniformed police officers patrolling the crowd near the Mexico pavilion, which seemed very out of place, but may have gone a long way to keep things under control. I also think that the rise of "Drinking Around the World" yearround has probably dissipated the worst of the worst from F&W, spreading that into other seasons

    I was there for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which included an after party in Epcot featuring the F&W booths after park closing. Traditionally, runners have become known as a pretty rowdy group in these scenarios (especially with the old nighttime race format, with the after party immediately following the race), but even that group seemed fairly low key, and cleared out long before the part officially ended

    Ultimately, I think a lot of your experiences depend when you visit. I was there on a Sunday (11/5), which tends to be more tame than Fridays and Saturdays. I also had dinner at Monsieur Paul beginning around 7:30 and stayed in there through Illuminations, so I probably missed most of the bad behavior

    The one point I really agree on is all the Disney-related drinking shirts. They were kind of clever and fun when they first started appearing in very limited quantities several years ago, but it seemed like a huge portion of the crowd was wearing them this year. Obviously it's a fine line to walk when enforcing a dress code (just ask any number of airlines that have made headlines), but Disney really should do something to both improve the in-park environment and to protect their brand

    And on a related note, I spent last NYE in Epcot and plan to do the same this year. Now *that* is a boozy environment where things can get crazy quickly. There were definitely people who were drunk, but even then I saw remarkably little disruptive or offensive behavior. For me the great festive atmosphere and massive party with great dance areas outweighed any potential downsides. For everybody else, that's just one night a year and well-known for the boozy environment, so people who want to avoid it can easily do so
     
  3. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Active Member

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    It may very well be that if Reif was reporting on this year's Food & Wino, rather than last year's, he actually missed the worst of it. Because based on my own experiences last year, he was, if anything, pulling his punches.

    I'm there (i.e., at Epcot) for the attractions. Particularly AA, M:S, Imagination, and (last year, knowing it could [and quickly turned out to be] the last year) Ellen. I'm at WDW for the attractions and a couple of favorite tours (BSM and Steam Trains). I'm in Central Florida not just for WDW, but also for KSC. And I'm there in the fall because that's when the weather is the nicest. Being there during F&W is like my occasionally timing my Northern California Spring vacation to put me in Sacramento for the jazz festival: a pure coincidence, and not necessarily a desirable one (in Sacramento, the hotels get more crowded and more expensive during the festival, when I'm just there for the museums; in WDW, I get to deal with thicker and more inebriated crowds during F&W).
     
  4. KrisKid

    KrisKid Member

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    I was at the Food and Wine festival this year and they had to clear out the Rose and Crown while we were in there because it was getting very rowdy. Not fighting rowdy but drunk rowdy. It was about 30 minutes before close and they didn't let anyone else back inside the pub the rest of the night.
     

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