This past Friday, I spent the day hopping between three of the parks at Walt Disney World to celebrate my birthday! We ended up at Epcot to end the day and enjoyed a few of the dozens of special booths set up throughout the World Showcase portion of the park. Each booth is themed after a country and serves a handful of food items and beverages meant to represent that nation’s culinary culture. Plates are small, and the intent of the festival is to offer the opportunity to eat (and drink) your way around the world.
For the second year in a row, as part of a multi-year agreement, Chase and Disney have teamed up to offer a special lounge to Chase customers during the Food & Wine Festival.
I’d heard about this when it was first announced, but hadn’t had a chance to see it myself. I quickly took the opportunity to do so when I saw signs directly cardholders to the lounge outside of the American pavilion, located at the very center of the World Showcase.
Although much of the lounge’s promotional material specifically focuses on the Chase Disney Visa card for obvious reasons, it’s actually open to holders of any Chase debit or credit card. That means plenty of our favorites, like Sapphire Preferred, Freedom and Ink Plus will grant you free access.
The lounge is fairly spacious, with enough room for several dozen visitors to comfortably spread out across two large areas. In one, there were three Coke Freestyle machines offering hundreds of soda flavors to guests free of charge.
This room also featured a small bar area, featuring alcoholic options:
Choices included Martini Prosecco, Einstök Icelandic White Ale, Kim Crawford Pinot Gris and Kim Crawford Pinot Noir. Prices ranged from $3.25 to $5.75 a pour for these premium options, which was a good value compared to prices seen at Food & Wine booths throughout the park.
The large seating area across from the beverage room provided some views of the park at large. This unique viewpoint would probably be more satisfying during the daytime, as the windows are fairly small and dark, making evening people-watching less enjoyable:
Near this seating area was a very useful cell phone charging station, offering Lightning and 30-pin connectors for iPhone users and a variety of plugs meant for other devices. A few minutes’ charge kept my phone from going into hibernation after a long day of use, so this was an appreciated amenity:
There’s an unreported benefit also offered by the lounge that I learned about from speaking with a Chase representative on sight: a small viewing deck for the nightly fireworks show, Illuminations, was reserved for Chase cardholders between the American and German pavilions. Apparently, wristbands are distributed to those that visit the lounge early, beginning when it opens at 11AM each day. Those wristbands entitle wearers to enjoy the fireworks show with a great view unimpeded by other guests.
However, realizing some wristband wearers might not make it back to the viewing area, Chase also allows more cardholders in on a standby basis. If there’s room, you can simply show a rep at the viewing area your Chase card and they’ll let you in. Knowing how crowded many spots throughout the park can be near fireworks time, this is a great, unpublished benefit for Chase cardholders visiting the park.
Chase offers a number of other perks at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, including merchandise discounts and an exclusive character meet and greet area, but these are limited to holders of the Chase Disney Visa debit or credit card. That the Food & Wine Festival lounge is open to all Chase cardholders is truly a great benefit! I look forward to returning soon. The lounge will remain open daily through November 10th, and is expected to make a return next September for the 2015 Food & Wine Festival.