You can use this Busch Gardens Williamsburg Food and Wine Festival 2021 Review to help you make all the decisions on saving your money and eating the best stuff! My friends Joel and Jason were nice enough to join me on this visit and eat the foods this vegetarian wouldn’t eat. Also both hold their alcohol much better than I do so we were able to try some adult beverages this year.
Good Things To Know
Live music is back at Busch Gardens. It’s in smaller doses around the park but absolutely worth stopping to enjoy. And it’s nice to see some locals I recognize performing instead of out of town people.
If you are bringing people who don’t want to eat the food from the Food and Wine festival the only open restaurant is the Festhaus. That’s going to be your only place to grab things like french fries, chicken tenders or pizza.
Show times were not in the app so be sure to check the boards as you walk around. While we ate the Italian Food from the festival we enjoyed the entertainment in Italy.
Not every ride is open and at least the day we were there wait times were about an hour for the big coasters. Try to go on off days if you can, otherwise just be prepared for the wait. It’s amazing to see Pantheon has risen from the ashes- hopefully it will be open this summer!
As it has every other visit the park feels very safe. Masks and hand sanitizer are everywhere and even with the crowds people were really good about giving me enough space to feel comfortable. As a person who enjoys her personal space I love this.
This was the first time I have been to Food and Wine on a weekend. And also the first time I have not gone opening day. Every other time lines have been slow and workers seemed confused but I assumed it was because it was opening day. However it wasn’t. Most of the booths had very slow moving lines- some for legit reasons (like making the drink at the Brazil booth which is worth every second of the wait) and some not so much. Particularly in Mexico there were many people standing around inside the booth watching others work.
I do want to give a shout out to the employees working the Hawaii booth on 4/11. They KILLED it. Great customer service at a good pace with good product. We went there twice because we knew we could get good food fast.
The wolves were out and playing with their toys. It made me so happy.
If you want some more information check out my first Busch Gardens Williamsburg Visit During Covid!
We spent a great deal of time talking about the finances of the festival this year. There are some big things to take into consideration-
- First of all in April and May, Members can enjoy one free Food & Wine Festival sample per visit on event dates. You should be able to just scan your membership card at the kiosks in the front and have a voucher print. Platinum Members can indulge more with one additional free sample per visit on April 23 & 23 and May 7 & 14. A few members have messaged me saying they were unable to get these to print- be sure you ask for help if you need it!
- They do have two samplers you can purchase. The first is $49 for 10 items. So that is $4.90 per item. The second is $69.00 for 15 items. That is $4.60 per item. As a non- meat eater many of the dishes I purchased fell under those price points. And most desserts fall under that threshold as well. And some drinks fell under this threshold. Be sure to consider what you are going to purchase before you just assume the sampler is a deal.
- BUT if you have a Membership you do NOT get your membership discount off the samplers but you DO get it off of the meals if you buy them individually. So as an Unlimited Member you would get 10% off, Premier 15% and Platinum 20% off. That discount may actually make it so you would save by NOT buying the sampler but just paying out of pocket.
Spam Musubi- Seared Spam. Sushi Rice and Sweet Soy Glaze- Thumbs up from both of the meat eaters on this one!
Joel: For some reason, I expected this to be warm without any reason. It’s chilled, which makes it surprisingly refreshing. We went back for seconds on this dish as we made our way out of the park. The SPAM is grilled and chilled, and between the grilling and the sweet soy glaze, there’s a nice mix of smokey, salty, and sweet flavors. The rice was well seasoned too.
Frozen Watermelon Margarita- Milagro Tequila, Watermelon and Lime
I got to try this and wasn’t impressed. The watermelon stuff sunk to the bottom and the top just tasted like a regular margarita.
Joel: I’m not quite sure if the watermelon flavor at the bottom was intentional or not. I would think that the flavor would be blended in with the frozen margarita. However, if you enjoy margaritas, this is a refreshing option. I enjoyed it.
Sangria Flights aren’t new to Busch Gardens but they are new to us. Highly recommend the White Sangria- all three of us liked it the best! Also If you are looking for a cool drink get something iced- the cubes in these didn’t quite lower the temperature enough to be refreshing.
Joel: The wine I drink is usually a dry oaky red at room temperature, so iced fruity wine isn’t really my speed. It was odd that the wine wasn’t super chilled though.
Chicken and Anouille Gumbo- Creole Spiced Stew and Cajun Rice
Joel: Definitely a mild and hearty Creole dish. If you’re afraid of spice, don’t fear trying this dish. I could definitely see myself enjoying a big plate of this…and maybe adding a sprinkle of cayenne to take it up a notch.
Chicken Bulgogi- Grilled Korean-style Chicken and Rice
Joel: Korean BBQ is yummy. The chicken bulgogi is a nice grilled chicken, but it lacks some of the flavors you usually have with beef bulgogi. This dish is very approachable for just about anyone as long as they eat chicken.
If we bothered to buy it again we liked it before! Would recommend any of these if they happen to be your taste!
Tuna Poke and Seaweed Salad- Sushi Tuna, Wonton Flower, Wasabi Aoili & Wakame Seaweed Salad
Joel: Sashimi lovers should have no problem enjoying this dish. The wasabi aioli is very mild. This was another dish we got seconds of, and I really only noticed the hints of wasabi on the second round. The seaweed salad is lightly sweet. All in all, a nice refreshing bite.
Carne Asada Taco- Marinated Citrus and Soy Beef, Queso Fresco, Guacamole and Corn Tortilla
Joel: This is a solid beef taco. The meat is very tender and has a nice flavor. The cheese adds a nice depth of flavor as well and the guacamole sort of pulls everything together in a nice creamy flavorful bite.
*** A Fan Favorite** Crispy Shrimp Taco- Sweet Chili Sauce, Pica de Gallo and Cilantro Lime Sauce
To be sure you understand how good this is, I will rewrite Joel’s 2019 review which still holds true for 2021: Joel: If you’re considering trying the fried shrimp taco, allow me to give you all my yesses in encouragement. I would have no qualms ordering up a few of these tacos and calling it a day. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up at BG for lunch before June 30th just to have more of these tacos! The shrimp is light and crispy, the pico was fresh, and the sauce provided just the right amount of heat to let you know you’re dealing with some flavorful spices without being anywhere near overpowering. Order these…please! It would be a travesty for them not to come back next year.
Joel in 2021: Yes, I echo what I wrote in 2019 about the shrimp tacos. The simplicity and freshness are really hard to beat. I need to learn to make these at home.
Risotto with Mushrooms- This is one of Laura’s favorite dishes
Joel: Super yummy. They topped it with prosciutto in 2019, which added another layer of flavor, but this risotto can stand on its own.
Joel: A nice refreshing dish, but not something you should go out of your way for.
Joel: I’ve never had chocolate cannoli before. As a chocolate lover, I really enjoyed it.
Everyone always likes the Mediterranean booth! Pictured above are the Lamb Burger Slider, Dolmades (A Frugal Chick favorite) and the Loukoumades.
Joel: I believe tzatziki makes everything better. As you can see, we had plenty of it. The dolmades are super amazing on a hot day.
This picture is a combination of Brazil and French Quarter. The pineapple is not my favorite but everything else is great. Two personal favorites are the Beignets (it’s fried bread with sugar which is about as good as life gets) and the Brazilian Lemonade (which might be my favorite thing in the park).
Joel: Definitely get the Brazilian Lemonade. I’m still impressed with how they’re making use of the Trapper’s Smokehouse grilled for the Brazilian dishes.
The Food and Wine Festival runs from now through May 23rd but it’s only on Thursday through Sunday so plan accordingly. If you can go on a Thursday or Friday I am sure you will see shorter lines. You do have to make a reservation ahead of time even if you are a member and some days will sell out!
Overall I highly recommend a visit- it’s a nice piece of “normal” to experience!