Food and wine festivals bring crowds and profits to Florida theme parks

Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2018 11:50 AM | Contributed by Jeff

This fall not only brings the return of Epcot’s smorgasbord, but Busch Gardens in Tampa is adding an Oktoberfest-themed Bier Fest, which opens this weekend, and SeaWorld is bringing a Craft Beer Fest running weekends in November.

Read more from The Tampa Bay Times.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 6:44 PM

I have two words. Hell. Yes.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018 6:55 PM

I flipping love F&W. The concerts in particular have made it a total blast. It's where Disney extracts the maximum extra money from me outside of some counter service meals from time to time. The crowds can kind of suck, but when I get a Dragonberry Refresher or a glass of wine, all is forgiven. The Brazilian cheese bread and nitro chocolate mousse are pretty great. I hope they have a good cider option this year... they've previously restricted that Flower & Garden, where they had some great ciders, mostly from Florida.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018 11:56 AM

Great news all around. I think that these wine, craft beer, and food truck initiatives are great for appealing to a more mature audience. This is what the industry needs to do if they want to appeal to adults outside of enthusiasts.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018 1:03 PM

You make it sound like they weren't already doing it.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018 1:51 PM

bigboy said:

You make it sound like they weren't already doing it.

I think that families and teenagers has always been their bread and butter, and will be the foreseeable future. I can understand why they do it, but I would be happy if they encouraged more people my age to come out, even if they weren't expected to bring kids. But I understand that they do whatever will make them money, and not necessarily what I would prefer personally.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018 9:51 AM

Disney gets a LOT of money from us because of the adult stuff. If it was aiming exclusively toward teenagers, we certainly wouldn't go as often.

We have a 13 year old traveling with us, and she has no problem with all of the adult stuff going on, as long as she gets on a couple of rides and spends some time at the pool.

Last edited by Raven-Phile, Thursday, August 23, 2018 9:52 AM
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Thursday, August 23, 2018 10:23 AM

If you think Disney hasn't been courting grownups, you haven't been paying attention for the last 30 years.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018 10:52 AM

100% - I've enjoyed my time there more as an adult than I ever did when I was younger and just doing parks to do parks, as parks. To say I understand their business model is an understatement. I basically am sucked in to their business model and I'm part of their target audience.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018 11:39 AM

You can get married there.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018 3:28 PM

Trackmaster said:

I think that families and teenagers has always been their bread and butter, and will be the foreseeable future.

What Jeff said. The various festivals are explicitly targeted at adults traveling without kids. Frankly, DVC is positioned at least partly in that space as well. One doesn't buy a 30-40 year timeshare contract for their kids; those kids will be there for less than half that time, and possibly far less. runDisney is another good example of something targeted primarily at people who don't have kids or at least who are willing to travel w/o their kids. Few teenagers would ever agree to getting up at 3:30 to go run a half marathon while on vacation.

And, it is not an accident that the various festivals and races often happen during what are times of year when families generally cannot travel due to school conflicts: Fall before Veterans Day (Food & Wine, Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon), early Winter before spring breaks (Art festival, Disney Marathon, Princess 1/2 Marathon), and late Spring after them (Flower & Garden).

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Thursday, August 23, 2018 7:42 PM

Pleasure Island didn't open for the kids, obviously. That opened in 1989.

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Friday, August 24, 2018 12:14 PM
Last edited by Shades, Friday, August 24, 2018 2:59 PM
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Friday, August 24, 2018 2:18 PM

That was neither funny nor appropriate.

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Friday, August 24, 2018 2:38 PM

Shades said:

Raven-Phile said:

We have a 13 year old traveling with us, and she has no problem with all of the adult stuff going on, as long as she gets on a couple of rides...

Kinky:)

You sick ****! What’s wrong with you? How is a 13 year old family member getting on a couple of rides “kinky”? You need to get yourself evaluated or committed. That’s the furthest thing from funny I’ve ever read. Get some help bro.

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Friday, August 24, 2018 2:48 PM

Well I guess that came across poorly. The wording that Raven used seemed a bit inappropriate to me with the way it was written and I thought I would point that out. My choice of wording in the reply was my attempt at that. My apologies.

Last edited by Shades, Friday, August 24, 2018 2:59 PM
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Friday, August 24, 2018 3:05 PM

How the hell does me saying we bring a kid with us on vacation that doesn't mind doing the adult-oriented Disney activities translate to inappropriate?

She's my girlfriend's kid, and I hesitate to type out the words "step daughter" because I'm not married. Here's the thing - they've lived with me for 4 years and I've been helping raise her since she was 9 - so I take issue with being called inappropriate, especially when taken IN CONTEXT with this topic.

Poorly communicated or not, it's a dick move.

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Friday, August 24, 2018 3:08 PM

Yeah in context it made sense. In context the kinky comment was creepy and inappropriate.

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Friday, August 24, 2018 3:10 PM

It’s more than a dick move or thing to say. The first assumption that person made was that there was a joke about someone 13 years old being involved in some type of adult activity, with other adults. You have to think before you respond, and if that is your initial reaction/response, then you probably need to be locked up.

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Saturday, August 25, 2018 7:19 AM

RCMAC said:

You can get married there.

The wedding packages are pretty awesome, and like everything else, they offer them for a wide range of budgets. When my nephew had their wedding there a couple of years ago, smaller intimate ceremonies for up to 18 people started around 3k. From there, I think the article was shared here on the 6 figure package one could have at Cinderella's Castle with the reception in Fantasyland.

Brian Noble said:

DVC is positioned at least partly in that space as well. One doesn't buy a 30-40 year timeshare contract for their kids

Definitely. Our kid was younger when we initially bought in, but you absolutely have to think about it in terms of after the kids grow up. We bought into a brand new property initially, which is a 50-year contract. We've shied away from buying new for the add-on contracts we've picked up since for that reason. We'll be in our 80s when the last of our deeds expire.

The first time the wife and I did Disney without kids, we thought it might be a bit odd. Then we ran into another couple while leaving Welcome Home Wednesday. Their view was half of the people at Disneyworld were there with kids, and the other half were happy :)

Our daughter is now an adult, graduated from college, with a career and her own place, but she still expects to be included in our Disney trips. Disney with and without minors are two different experiences, and both make for pretty good vacations.

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