The Four Festivals of Epcot: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall
There’s an Epcot Festival at Walt Disney World for Every Season of the Year
In many ways, Epcot has been one of the most challenging parks for Disney to Imagineer. Currently, it is embarking on one of its most ambitious updates since it first opened.
It’s not surprising when you consider that Walt Disney’s ambitious vision for Epcot was left for Disney Imagineers to interpret and bring to life, following Walt Disney’s untimely passing. While Imagineers did an admirable job in combining the key themes of progress and learning (Future World) and a sense of global community (World Showcase), there was something missing for many years that would fully allow Epcot to flourish into the kind of place that Walt Disney dreamed it could be — a place designed to bring people together in harmony.
Over the years, Epcot has increasingly met this challenge as it has slowly become Walt Disney World’s go-to destination for large-scale festivals. With the most recent addition of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, Epcot has solidified its place in the wonderful world of Disney as a park where guests from around the globe can meet, mingle, learn and experience a world of traditions from the global community.
No matter what time of year you plan to visit Epcot, there’s a good chance that one of its four premier events will be underway and awaiting your arrival. Here is a brief overview of the four annual festival of Epcot at Walt Disney World.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts
When: Typically takes place for several weeks spanning January into February
The newest of Epcot’s four major festivals, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is an annual celebration of visual, culinary and performing arts that typically covers approximately 40 days. Not only does it showcase art in many forms, but food and drink have also become a big part of this festival (a good thing), and here they are created with artistic flair at more than 15 destinations around Epcot. The festival’s creative menus can cover anything from red wine-braised short ribs with parsnip puree, to vanilla, rose water and pistachio panna cotta. Kids of all ages will want to try items such as Pop’t Art modern-design sugar cookie and other delectable treats located around the park.
When it comes to music, the festival’s popular Disney on Broadway Concert Series offers something special every day. This series presents musical performances from Disney on Broadway shows like “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and there are special dining packages that will guarantee concert seats.
Be sure to explore because interactive fun is everywhere. You can help paint a mural, pose for a memorable photo in the frame of an iconic piece of art, participate in a workshop, or take a break to watch performance artists in action.
All in all, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts offers something for everyone in the family and has been a great addition to the Epcot festival roster.
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
When: Typically takes from early March to early June
This one is a personal favorite of mine, as I have visited Epcot during this festival for as long as it has been in existence. During the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, millions of spring blossoms transform the park into a fantasyland of brilliant color. The festival runs for approximately 90 days and boldly celebrates flowers, topiaries, food, drinks and music. Every year, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival expands to offer fresh experiences for guests. There are topiaries, play areas, garden displays and many special features. For example, featured gardens can focus on butterflies, bamboo and themed plants (such as peppers), while more than 70 Disney-themed topiaries – from Snow White to Daisy Duck – dot the landscape.
Outdoor Kitchens will definitely catch your attention as they offer creative bites and beverages. Music comes alive here as well. The Garden Rocks Concert Series has expanded to offer performances from classic artists from multiple genres on virtually every day of the festival. With three performances daily, that’s 270 concerts over the course of the festival.
Don’t forget to visit the Festival Center and be sure to browse the festival kiosks as the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival typically features some great merchandise that you can take back to your own home and garden.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
When: Late summer to early fall
This is one of the most popular Epcot festivals and if you can make it here at this time, it’s well worth the effort. Once the kids are back in school, Epcot comes alive with food and drink from around the globe during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Whether or not you consider yourself a foodie, you can get into your gourmet groove during this iconic culinary dine-around. With over 30 Festival Marketplaces offering delicious food and drink mini-portions throughout Epcot (primarily in World Showcase), you can eat and drink your way on a global journey.
During the festival, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series presents a diverse collection of hitmakers from pop to country to R&B and more. Concert seating is guaranteed for guests who book Eat to the Beat Dining Packages. You can also discover new savory and sweet treats by making reservations for the festival’s beverage seminars and specialty dining and pairing events. Celebrity chefs often make appearances and many of the most popular events can sell out early, so if you plan to attend be sure to keep that in mind.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
When: Late fall to early winter
When the Christmas holiday season rolls around, it’s a really great time to visit Walt Disney World (especially if you go before the crowds that arrive during Christmas week).
At Epcot, holiday traditions from around the globe come alive at World Showcase during this most festive time of year. Experience the celebrations of many cultures with live musical productions, spirited storytellers, seasonal lights and décor, delicious holiday treats and more. One of the highlights of this festival is the very popular Candlelight Processional, which takes place during the event. Here you can experience the story of Christmas narrated by a celebrity host (there are many throughout the course of the festival) to cherished Christmas music performed by a professional orchestra and full choir. Check the schedule on the Disney website to see which narrators are taking part and you can also get a dining package to guarantee Candlelight seating. This one is very popular, so it’s not a bad idea to book a package if you have your heart set on seeing a specific celebrity narrator.
As with all Epcot festivals, food and drink play a starring role and the holiday season is no exception. Disney chefs will create and serve treasured seasonal dishes to keep palates merry at Holiday Kitchen kiosks surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon. From savory dishes to sweet treats, from children’s drinks to adult creations, there is always something for everyone in your family to celebrate the holiday season exactly as they wish.
Four Epcot Festivals: One Park
Each of the four amazing Epcot festivals is well worth visiting. They all provide opportunities to enjoy Epcot’s vast array of entertainment and attractions, in addition to the unique festival offerings of each event.
If you have never visited, Epcot at Walt Disney World is a 305-acre park that features two distinct areas: Future World (a showcase of discovery packed with new ideas and technology, plus an exploration of planet Earth from land and sea to air and space); and World Showcase (a kaleidoscope of nations featuring architecturally authentic buildings and backdrops that celebrate cultural heritage, arts and entertainment). The 11 nations — plus an African-themed Outpost — are situated along a 1.3-mile promenade encircling the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon.
Which is Your Favorite Epcot Festival?
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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Luxury Disney Travel Expert