>> Monday, June 10, 2013
Hey y'all!! I'm back, and what an awesome post to start out with (for the locals, and those traveling to the Williamsburg area)!!
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will have realized that our family's go-to places are Colonial Williamsburg, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Seriously, we love them BOTH so very much! In the coming months I will be posting more about visiting both areas, including tips, tricks, advice, and going ons... If there is anything you would like to see in these upcoming articles, PLEASE be sure to e-mail me, or leave it in the comments...no matter how big or small a question! Also, for the non locals, I am planning a few generalized posts on visiting theme parks and such...BUT for this post, I am not only highlighting one of our favorite places, but an amazing event currently going on there.
I am talking about the Food and Wine festival currently going on at Busch Gardens Williamsburg! Now, I have to say, as a non drinker, I was a bit leary of this particular event when I first heard about it. I mean, Busch Gardens is amazing as it is, and we love every event we have attended, but still, a festival based on food and wine?!? As much as I love food, I honestly was immediately presented with thoughts of having to pay $15 for a plate of different foods I may not like, paired with wine I wouldn't drink...I am thrilled to report, I can't tell you how far from the truth my fears turned out to be!
First off, let me just clarify...If you are planning a trip to Busch Gardens while this is going on, but have NO interest in participating, fear not...you can certainly walk by the many wonderfully themed booths, and never give them a second thought. BUT I highly suggest that you give this festival a chance.
To start off, this festival requires NO preplanning! There are no tickets you must purchase in advance to partake, nor do you HAVE to be anywhere at any specific time.
Busch Gardens has created a booklet for the festival that can be picked up at multiple locations throughout the park that includes a map of the kiosks, explanation of foods and drinks offered at each country
When you arrive at each countries kiosk, the first thing you will notice is the awesome theming...Each kiosk also has a signpost sporting facts about the featured country, as well as the offerings, along with the individual prices.
Now for the part I LOVE most...each food dish is offered INDIVIDUALLY in a well priced sample size!!! This not only provides the pickiest of eaters a chance to try SOMETHING, also since they are sample sized foods, you have the opportunity to try MULTIPLE yummy things while there. ALSO for those like myself who have no interest in the wine part, you can go all day while ignoring the things you don't want! :) Another thing that is beyond awesome....the food/wine/beer samples start at $3 and go through $7!!!...VERY reasonably priced!!
I would also like to note that each kiosk also has allergen information available for each dish! While this isn't necessary for our family, we do try to avoid consuming certain things, and I have multiple friends with food sensitivities/allergies, so this is MUCH appreciated!
If you want an even more in depth experience, and don't mind paying a bit more, be sure to check out the extras they are offering during the festival. If you want a bit of added relaxation, think about the Wine on the Rhine cruise. The cruise is $19/person and allows you to experience a live band while drinking your choice of wine, and snacking on a plate including fruit, cheese and crackers, and a nice big coconut truffle while cruising around the Rhine River lasting about 25-30 minutes. I had the opportunity to try this one out, and it was VERY nice!! If you are looking for the ULTIMATE Food and Wine experience, check out the Food & Wine Insiders Tour!! This tour is a bit pricy, but sounds SO great! For the cost of $100/person, you can take a 3 hour guided tour while learning more about food and wine pairings from the different countries. This also includes the samplings of 6 foods, and 3 drinks.
PASSMEMBERS: Don't forget your discount!!! Your season pass discounts are valid at the Food and Wine festival kiosks, AS WELL as on the extras such as Wine on the Rhine, and the Food and Wine Festival Insiders Tour!!!!
WHEN: The Food and Wine Festival is going on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 23 from 11am until an hour before park closing.
PAYMENTS: While all kiosks take both cash and credit, Busch Gardens has implemented an amazing wristband program for payment during the festival, and I very much so recommend taking advantage. When arriving at the park, or at one of the many shops selling the wristbands, you can purchase a wristband for the day. You can choose to either link the wristband to a credit card, or load it with as much or as little cash as you please. At the end of the day, bands linked to a credit card will settle with a transaction, or if you have a remaining cash balance, be sure to stop by the wristband sales desk in England to claim your remaining cash. NOTE: All cash not claimed by the end of the night will be automatically donated to the Seaworld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.
Another few notes about the wristbands...
- They are void when removed, so do not take them off!
- They are really nice considering. They are made from a stiff plastic, not that plasticy paperish stuff (technical term) most wristbands are made from.
- Only kiosks and shops that sell the wristbands can check your remaining balance. (This is the one disadvantage I found with them) If you are using the wristband for a partial payment, you must know how much you want to charge to the band. The food kiosks have no way of checking your balance.
- They can be used at more than just the Food and Wine Festival kiosks!! You can use your wristbands for payment at any and all food vendors AND shops!! (This I personally think is beyond awesome, and is one reason I would LOVE for the program to be continued for everyday use...Imagine not having to deal with pulling out / losing cash throughout the park!
- Because of the plastic that they are made from, be sure not to put them on tight AT ALL...seriously...you would think this would be common sense, but let me tell you from personal experience...it is VERY easy to do, and there is no way to adjust them...Also the plastic has no give, so NO stretching it after it is on your wrist!
**I was given the opportunity from Busch Gardens to try multiple dishes, as well as the Wine on the Rhine cruise for free. This, however, has not swayed my views, and any and all thoughts and reviews are mine, and fully truthful! I in no way benefit from any sales resulting from this blog post, and this post contains no affiliate links**