The Magic Kingdom will always sit at the top of my list as my favorite Walt Disney World park. To me, I haven’t really been to Walt Disney World if I haven’t stepped a foot on Main Street U.S.A. Number two on my list of favorite parks is Epcot. I used to love to visit Epcot during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival because the crowds were low and the scenery was stunning. Beautiful, colorful flowers and imaginative topiaries always make for stunning back-drops for pictures. When Walt Disney World first started to introduce food kiosks and specialty foods into the Flower and Garden Festival, I was extremely disappointed. I was so disappointed, I wrote all about it in a post a few years back. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the low crowds during my favorite festival would be gone forever.
When my kids were growing up, I guess they were in the minority since they too always enjoyed their days at Epcot. My son could roam in and out of the various pavilions for hours. Sometimes it felt like he spent hours looking at the same things he had looked at for hours on our last visit. As the kids got older and more adventurous with food, the International Food & Wine Festival was a favorite for them. They loved going from kiosk to kiosk, country to country, sampling different cuisine.
Each year, Epcot hosts four different festivals that incorporate outstanding food and beverage offerings, world-class entertainment, fun family activities and exclusive merchandise.
The Food of the Festivals
Here’s a roundup of 2018 festivals and their culinary features:
Epcot International Festival of the Arts (Jan. 12-Feb. 19, 2018)
13 Food Studios located around the World Showcase Promenade, including five new Food Studios for 2018, feature artfully created food and beverage offerings
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (Feb. 28-May 28, 2018)
15 Outdoor Kitchens located around the World Showcase Promenade include raised-bed or in-ground gardens featuring produce and herbs used as ingredients in the Outdoor Kitchen food and beverage offerings
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Fall 2018)
30-plus Global Marketplaces located in Future World and around the World Showcase Promenade celebrate cuisine from around the world. Specialty dining experiences at Walt Disney World restaurants offer a variety of dining and tasting experiences during the festival
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (November-December)
15 Holiday Kitchens that celebrate joyful holiday traditions with delicious savory and sweet offerings
The Entertainment of the Festivals
During these same festivals entertainment abounds. The Eat to the Beat Concert series during the Food & Wine Festival and the Garden Rocks Concert series during the Flower & Garden Festival have guests lining up for hours to see great musical performances.
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is a mix of art, food and entertainment. A relatively young festival compared to Food & Wine and Flower & Garden, the Festival of the Arts is slowly becoming a huge fan favorite. You can snack on edible art that showcases the talents of Disney Chefs while getting a look at Disney artists creating beautiful, whimsical and fun art pieces.
The International Festival of the Holidays not only lets us learn about all of the holiday traditions from around the world, but also lets us enjoy special holiday food from countries around the world. The Candlelight Processional with a full orchestra and celebrity narration is another event that has guests lining up for hours. Neil Patrick Harris is definitely a huge favorite.
These four festivals take up much of the year at Epcot so chances are, unless you only visit in the summer months, you have visited while one is in place. Even without a festival happening, the food choices in Epcot are plentiful. The entertainment located in each pavilion of World Showcase is worth watching (even multiple times). The rides and attractions are also worth the wait.
So what takes you on a trip around the world in Epcot? Do you plan a visit to coincide with a certain festival or do you avoid the festivals all together? I have to admit, I try to go and experience each of the festivals each year!