Epcot's Food & Wine Festival Is Still Happening This Year, but Things Will Be a Little Different
Disney World is officially reopening on July 11, but the "magic" will look a lot different than your prepandemic vacations. For starters, there won't be any fireworks, character hugs, or park hopping, but because it's Disney, they're making sure some of their beloved events still happen. Epcot's popular International Food & Wine Festival will kick off on July 15, but there are some changes and safety precautions you should know about if you're planning to attend.
Disney is offering a modified version of the festival this year, which they're calling "A Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival." To better comply with social distancing and other safety guidelines, this version of the fan-favorite event won't offer a full festival experience, but the important stuff will still be there — food, drinks, and fun. Here's what you can expect from this year's Food & Wine Festival at Epcot.
The Festival Will Be Longer Than Ever
Last year's festival kicked off on Aug. 29 and ran until Nov. 23 — almost a full three months of celebrating culinary creations and luscious libations. This year, the festival's opening day will coincide with Epcot's reopening on July 15 and "continue through the fall." No end date has been given, but according to Disney, this year's festival will be the longest yet.
You Can Still Sample Food From Around the World
The highlight of this food-lover's festival is sampling small bites, sweets, and beverages from the food booths set up throughout Epcot's World Showcase and Future World. Last year's festival saw more than 30 of these global marketplaces, but this year's pared-down version will feature closer to 20, and they'll be more spaced out around the park, presumably to accommodate social distancing.
Flower and Garden Topiaries Will Be on Display
Guests should have had until June 1 to check out the floral festivities at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival, but it was cut short due to Disney World's closure in mid-March. For those who didn't get a chance to check it out, Disney recently announced that the world's cutest rodent chef — Remy from Ratatouille — will still be on display in the France pavilion.
There Will Be a Scavenger Hunt
Each of Epcot's festivals has some type of fun scavenger hunt that encourages guests to explore every corner of the World Showcase. Though this year's festival will be modified, Disney has planned a brand new hunt that celebrates both the Food & Wine Festival and the Flower & Garden Festival. It costs fewer than $10 to purchase a map, and you get a small prize for turning in your completed map, making it one of the least expensive souvenirs you can find at Disney.
There Will Be Leftover Merchandise
The abrupt halt to Epcot's springtime festival must have left them with quite a bit of leftover merchandise on their hands, because when the Food & Wine Festival opens, you'll still be able to pick some up. In fact, actual Food & Wine merchandise won't even be available until sometime after the festival opens.
Some Favorite Events Are Not on the Calendar
The Food & Wine festival typically hosts a number of fun and educational cooking demonstrations, beverage seminars, and other special events. As of right now, none of these appear to be available during this year's limited-offering festival.
The Free Concert Series Is Canceled
This one hurts. There's not many places where you can rock out to Sugar Ray, Hanson, and Boyz II Men for free, but the Food & Wine festival never fails to deliver high-energy shows from big-name artists year after year. To allow for physical distancing (the shows typically take place in a smallish outdoor theater), this year's show cannot go on, but Disney has promised Epcot favorites Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors will play in the America Gardens Theatre multiple times each day so everyone can (safely) dance along.