The arrival of fall means it’s time for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. Epcot is known for its international cuisine, but during the festival’s 46 days, this distinction is turned up a notch as more than 25 regional kiosks open around the World Showcase Lagoon, offering an astounding number of sweet and savory treats.
I love using this delicious event at Walt Disney World to teach my children some valuable life skills.
Planning and the Decision Making Process
Before your visit, sit down and go through the tasting guide (which you can find at the end of this post) to see what food is being served and have your child make a list of which items she knows she wants to taste. Let her know that this is just a plan, not a definitive list. She can always change her mind.
The process of sitting down, going over the options, and making a game plan is a skill that can be transferred to many different scenarios.
You can’t try everything (as much as my kids want to some days), so once at the festival, you’ll constantly have to make decisions. What if you planned on eating kielbasa and potato pierogi in Poland, but the waffles in Belgium smelled too good to resist?
We are all faced with decisions every day and teaching your kids how to go through the decision making process is very important.
Learning How to Budget
This can end up being a very expensive festival, especially if you go frequently and take your children. My husband and I used to make it most of the way around the world with our normal budget. Now that the girls love the festival too, we barely make it past a handful of kiosks! Luckily, there is a way to curb the costs and teach a valuable skill.
At any kiosk, you can get a refillable gift card and add any amount to it you want. Set a budget for that trip and add it to the card. If your child is older and earns her own money, have her use her money.
Give your child control of her band.
Let her know how much she has to start with and work with her as she deducts what she purchases (either bring a pencil and small notebook or have her use a calculator). At the bottom of each receipt you will see the card balance, but I still have my kids do the process manually so they can practice accounting.
It’s about the process, because once you understand these basic processes, they can be applied everywhere.
It’s amazing how kids’ choices change when they know there is a limit and they’re not just getting money from the “Bank of Mom.” I love watching my girls determine what is a good value and what they are willing to spend their money on.
Once you give them control, it’s important to let them make their own decisions (barring any safety issues). I saw two amazing things happen during our visit.
- When we arrived at the Desserts & Champagne kiosk, the girls found two items they wanted. They quickly decided to team up. They each purchased one and shared them both. There was a $1.00 difference in the cost, so the one who paid less had to make that up in another shared purchase. All of this was their idea and I enjoyed seeing their problem solving skills.
- Abigail decided to try something brand new this year, Zapiekanki in Poland. The ketchup ended up being pretty spicy, so she didn’t eat most of it. But instead of being angry and feeling that she wasted her money, she was proud of herself for stepping out and trying something different. I thought she would ask me to give her money to replace it, but she didn’t.
Eat to the Beat
Every night you can catch a concert at the American Pavilion as a part of the Eat to the Beat concert series. Take this opportunity to introduce your child to some of the great artists of the past. Download their music. Discuss the time period that they performed in and what was behind some of their lyrics.
These concerts are a fun way to broaden your family’s musical repertoire. My daughters now love bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Styx and Boys II Men because of these concerts.
How do you bring learning to life at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?
If you like this post, you will also like the related pins on our Learning Outside of the Home – Fun Field Trips Pinterest Board!