Depending on what time of year you travel to Disney you will find one of 4 festivals taking place in Epcot. Some people, like myself, like to plan out trips around a specific festival. Here we will talk about each of the festivals and what may be the best fit for you. But before we get into which Epcot festival is best, let’s cover the basics.
What Are Epcot Festivals?
Epcot festivals are special events that take place for a set time frame with enhanced food offerings, entertainment, theming, and merchandise. They are included with the park admission and add a special touch to a normal day at Epcot.
When Does Each Epcot Festival Take Place?
The Specific dates change a bit each year but generally, they are the same time each year.
- International Festival of the Arts -January 8, 2021 to February 22, 2021
- International Flower & Garden Festival – March 3, 2021 to July 5, 2021
- International Food & Wine Festival – July 15 to November 22, 2020 (2021 dates have not been announced yet)
- International Festival of the Holidays – November 27 to December 30, 2020 (2021 dates have not been announced yet)
The Flower & Garden and the Food & Wine are the longest festivals and the Arts & Holidays are the shortest. In 2020 and extending into 2021 the festivals have been referred to as “Taste of” because some of the typical offerings are limited due to restrictions surrounding Covid. More on that later.
Travelers Guides To Epcot Festivals
We have created guides for all four of the Festivals that Epcot offers. They will give you an overview of what to expect when you visit.
What Are The Unique Differences Of Each Festival?
Each festival has it’s own theming and vibe. There is no mistaking what festival you care about when you visit.
Festival of the Arts is all about… well… the arts. Whether it be performance art, paintings, or culinary art, there is no lack of beautiful things to see and experience. This is my daughter’s favorite festival because she is very creative and loves to create art projects at home. She loves seeing all of the gorgeous artwork and being able to meet some of the artists that created it.
Flower and Garden Festival is the perfect springtime festival. Epcot is transformed into a floral masterpiece. The topiaries and added plants around the water make it a treat for your scenes seeing and smelling the beautiful flowers. While I have only been once to Flower and Garden, I think it’s one of my favorites. If you go early enough in the season for this festival the weather is amazing and it is a welcome change from our New England chilly weather.
Food and Wine Festival is perfect for the foodie in your family or the wine lover (that’s me!) Not that the other festivals don’t offer some great food selections to go along with their themes, but Food and Wine take the cake with some of the most creative and delicious dishes.
Why Go To A Festival At Epcot?
There are very few times of the year that you will visit and not have a festival going on. If you happen to visit during those times you will most likely see them prepping for the next festival. We like going during one of our favorite festivals because it adds a new layer to Epcot. We have done all the rides and visited all the countries in the World Pavilion. For seasoned visitors like us, the festivals add new excitement to visiting Epcot.
What Are “Taste Of” Festivals?
Once the parks re-opened in the summer of 2020 Disney knew they would have to modify their festivals at Epcot. When the parks shut down in march Flower and Garden had really just started a week or so prior. In July they typically end Flower and Garden but they decided to start it back up as Taste of Flower and Garden and blended it into the start of the Taste of Food and Wine.
Basically, the “Taste of” means that there are not all of the traditional offerings like the painting classes at the festival of the Arts and some of the presentations are on a smaller scale. We went to the “Taste of” Food and Wine in Nov 2020 and really didn’t notice much missing compared to other years. They are totally still worth going to even as a “Taste of”.
Which Epcot Festival Is Best For Me?
There really isn’t a cookie-cutter answer to this question. Being that we have been to all of these festivals these are my recommendations based on what each festival has to offer.
For A Couple?
When my husband and I do a solo trip without our daughter we tend to go during the Food and Wine Festival. This is because this festival is geared towards eating and drinking. This has bored our daughter in the past so we feel that this festival is best suited for couples.
For Tweens & Teens
Our daughter fits into this category and hands down the festival that she enjoys the most is the Festival of the Arts. Like I said above she is a creative kid so she loves to create all kinds of things. In years past she has enjoyed the painting and drawing classes but she also loves to go around and see all of the fantastic paintings and artwork. She is a social butterfly so she will strike up a conversation with the artists for hours on end if we let it go that long.
For A Family?
For a family going to Epcot during a festival, I think there are two really good ones to choose from. The Flower and Garden festival is a good one because the kids will have a great time with all of the topiaries of their favorite characters and the butterfly garden has always been a favorite for my daughter.
The other really good festival for families of Festival of the Holidays. Christmastime at Disney is always magical and Epcot does a really fantastic job bringing the Christmas spirit to Epcot. You can also find out about other holidays that are celebrated around the world in the different countries in the World Showcase.
For Vegetarian / Vegan
Disney over the years has added a lot of really nice options for people who are vegetarians and vegans. All of the festivals have offerings that are geared toward this dietary category.
In my opinion, I feel like Food and Wine has the best selection. But really you should check out this fantastic website VeganDisneyFood for their opinions because I do not look for those types of foods, so while I think they have the best options, it’s just not something that I am always looking for.
Epcot Festival Tips
Some tips that I have learned from going to all of the festivals are if it is possible, take your time and don’t rush. If it means that you need two days at Epcot, take it! Also if you are ‘snacking around the world like we like to do it can get expensive.
One way that we have found to keep the spending manageable is to share a dish with someone, that way you can try more things without getting full and also not having to buy two of the same dish if two people want to try it.
Another tip is we buy the Disney gift cards that they sell with the wrist strap. Not only are they handy but you can set a dollar amount that you want to spend. If you don’t happen to spend it all they are regular Disney gift cards so they can be used anywhere on Disney property!
No matter what festival you choose to go to you really can’t go wrong. Epcot has done an amazing job creating these festivals so that everyone can find something that they love at each of the festivals.