I usually check out what the Disney Parks Blog, the Disney Food Blog , the Food Festival Blog, and The Tips From the Disney Divas and Devos (which I also contribute to, so, yes, this is a plug!) have posted for the latest information and tips for planning.
To start, there are several tastings, seminars, and special events, many of which require reservations. The phone lines to book these experiences open for Passholders August 9 at 8 a.m., and the general public at 7a.m on August 13th, so check ahead as to what you would like to attend, and be prepared!
Here's what we do to plan.
Essentially, the trip revolves around Epcot.
First I check out park hours during my visit. I'm a morning person, so the plan is to go to one of the other parks with early Extra Magic Hours, have lunch at that park, and take an afternoon break. We'll then visit Epcot during the evening. If possible, we avoid the weekends. That's when a lot of locals go and it gets VERY crowded.
On 2 days, usually Friday and whichever day Epcot has early EMHs, we'll hit the food booths early, and visit another park in the evening.
Also, as soon as the menus come out for the booths, we'll go through it and decide what interests us.
I make a copy of this paired down list, and pair it down even further by highlighting the must haves.
Pacing yourself is key, for a variety of reasons, which is why I pick those must haves.
Financially, this is an expensive event if you plan to try a bit of everything. Sure, on the surface, $3-$7 for a sample may not seem like much, but this adds up quickly!
As for paying at the booths, we get gift cards. It's quicker than cash, and an easier way to keep track of what you are spending. Barbie has very generous family members who usually give us gift cards for birthdays and holidays, and we save them for this event.
Then there is the alcohol, which can add up even faster than the food.
I have tried the suggested food and wine pairings in years past, and then had a beer or 2, and then a mixed drink. This is a bad idea. Trust me!
We'll be at the Festival during it's opening week, so stop by our Facebook page for photos and reports.
I hope some of these tips help, and perhaps we'll see you at the Festival! Enjoy!