A question I get asked nearly every day is “When is the best time to visit Disney World?” and though I think in all honesty there is no bad time to go (you can always have a magical trip with a bit of planning), my family loves to visit at times of the year where there is something special going on. This usually centers around one of the four amazing festivals Epcot theme park runs each year. Visit this park during Festival time and you’ll be treated to an amazing array of activities from special family scavenger hunts to cool seminars, workshops and special pop-up restaurants. For all those planning a 2018 Walt Disney World getaway, here’s a quick rundown of the four festivals you’ll find at Epcot each year. It may just sway your vacation plans.
1. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts – January 12 – February 19, 2018 – This is Epcot’s newest Festival and made its debut in 2017. The festival is a celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts. Here’s a taste of the sorts of happenings you’ll find at Festival of the Arts in 2018.
- Live Entertainment – During its inaugural year the Festival featured an amazing array of entertainment options and we’re pleased to see this continue into 2018. The Disney on Broadway Concert Series features leading Broadway talent who will take guests through powerful numbers from some of Disney’s best musicals including Tarzan, Mary Poppins and The Lion King. In addition, performances are held each day at the Fountain View stage. Last year’s offerings including marching bands, jazz ensembles, a capella groups and choral performers just to name a few.
- Festival Kitchens – Themed food studios scattered about the park will offer a stunning array of beautifully prepared dishes that are almost too pretty to eat. The ones we are excited to try are a Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake with Florida Strawberries and Sugar Cookies with Micro-basil, a Pomegranate Mule made with Van Gogh Vodka and Sous Vide Poulet Rouge Chicken Roulade with Apples and Sage served with Warm Brie Fondue, Blueberry and Beet Gel and garnished with Apple and Beet Chips!
- Family Fun – The Festival of the Arts is an absolute feast for the senses and Disney works hard to make it accessible to visitors of all ages. Last year there was a special family-friendly scavenger hunt featuring Figment. There’s also Kidcot fun stations at each of the countries in the World Showcase where kids and learn about the art and culture of each location.
- Visual Arts Showcase – At the Festival of the Arts you can see Disney Masters at work. Last year featured artists such as Mary Blair, Herb Ryan and Joe Kaminski. Many of the artists will take up residency during the Festival period giving guests a chance to see these amazing artists at work.
- Workshops and Seminars – Budding artists or those interested in learning more will be spoiled for choice with an amazing array of works and seminars covering topics from floral design to sketching to watermelon carving. There’s something for everyone. Many of the workshops are absolutely FREE to Epcot guests while others may charge a fee. For a list of the workshops we’re most excited about 10 Must-Try Seminars and Workshops at the 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts check out this article.
Read below to find out more about paying a visit to Disney during the Festival of the Arts and to receive your free quote. Also, follow along with our sister site Chip and Co for the latest Festival of the Arts news and updates.
2. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – February 29 – May 28, 2018 – You don’t have to have a green thumb to absolutely fall in love with this amazing Spring offering. During Flower and Garden, Epcot comes to life with thousands of beautiful blooms, incredible entertainment and fun activities that accommodate guests of all ages and interests. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll find at Epcot if visiting this Spring.
- Themed Topiaries – A highlight of the festival each year is finding the amazing topiaries fashioned after Disney characters scattered about the park. From Mickey and Minnie to Beauty and the Beast each of these incredible works of art is a wonder to behold and makes the perfect backdrop for those family photos or Instagram Posts.
- Garden Rocks Concert Series – Held during the weekends at the American Pavilion, this concert series features some of your favorite artists from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s before their much-loved hits. Some of the bands we’re excited to see in 2018 include Survivor, Smash Mouth, Village People and the Guess Who so be sure to bring those dancing shoes. Disney also offers a Garden Rocks dining package allowing visitors to enjoy a three-course meal at one of Epcot’s amazing eateries as well access to a VIP seating area at the performance.
- Outdoor Kitchens – Guests will be able to enjoy amazing treats at the outdoor kitchens that are scattered about the World Showcase during festival time. The Outdoor Kitchens during the 2018 festival will even feature Herb Gardens allowing guests to learn about some of the amazing plants that bring the flavor to some of the creations on offer.
- Guided Tours – Want to learn more about horticulture? Each year the Festival offers an inventive range of tours for Festival guests. Our favorites are the Gardens of the World tour which showcases some of the amazing floral displays you’ll find around the World Showcase as well as the English Tea Garden Tour where you’ll learn about the art of growing and harvesting the tea leaves that go into your morning cup of tea.
- Kids Play Areas – A brand new Future World interactive play garden will be available for kids to enjoy at the 2018 Festival and a “Road to Florida 500” Cars-themed are feature fun games and challenges for the family to enjoy including a play maze and sensory garden.
Packages are currently available to book for the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Find out below how you can get your FREE quote to take advantage of all Epcot has to offer during this time of year.
3. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Coming in Fall 2018 – Calling all Food Lovers, if there’s one time of year to eat and drink your way around Disney it’s during this Autumn Festival which is the most popular of Epcot’s four annual festival offerings. Details haven’t been released yet for the 2018 Festival, however, last years offering ran from August 31 – November 13, 2017. Some of the highlights we expect to be back this year include:
- Global Marketplaces – During last year’s Festival a record-breaking 35 global marketplaces with cuisine from around the world could be found at Epcot’s World Showcase. Many of these delicious dishes were also expertly paired with wines, beers or cocktails making it the perfect way to drink your way around the World. Tasting Samplers were also available for purchase for guests who planned on trying out several of the amazing dishes on offer.
- Eat to the Beat Concert Series – Every evening during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival musicians take to the stage at the American Gardens Theatre for an amazing evening filled with singing and dancing. Last year’s line-up included an impressive array of artists including Air Supply, Sugar Ray, Christopher Cross, Tiffany, Hanson, Kenny G and Boy II Men.
- Food and Beverage Seminars – These workshops are terrific for guests looking to enhance their Food and Wine Experience, you’ll find everything from cheese seminars, wine tastings, hands-on-workshops to culinary demonstration where guests can learn tricks of the trade from some of the World’s leading chefs.
- Grand Tasting Events – Those who fancy a bit of the VIP treatment will want to be on the lookout for these exclusive ticketed events where guests can enjoy special parties offering global cuisine, amazing entertainment and even appearances by celebrity chefs. Its the perfect treat for those who love to wine and dine.
Details have not yet been released for the 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival but we do expect it to be back bigger and better than ever. Readers are encouraged to keep following along with Disney Addicts and with our sister site Chip and Co. for the latest in Food & Wine news and updates.
4. Epcot International Festival of the Holidays -November 19 – December 30, 2017- There are few place more magical during the Christmas Season than Walt Disney World and one of our favorite theme parks during this special time of year is Epcot which offers an annual Festival of the Holidays celebration. During this time, the World Showcase comes alive with the spirit of the holiday season. Through the art of storytelling, concerts and holiday kitchens, guests can learn about the amazing holiday traditions celebrated around the World. The Festival of the Holidays is currently in full swing at Epcot through until the end of next week. Here are some of the special offerings you’ll find at Epcot during this time of year:
- Holiday Storytellers – Each of the 11 countries that make up the World Showcase will have its own special theme during the holiday season that highlights its heritage. Storytellers stationed at each country will fill you in on some of the holiday traditions you’ll find in each country with fun, engaging and interactive performances that will warm your heart.
- Special Concerts – Future World erupts with the sounds of the season as JOYFUL! a Gospel Celebration featuring D’Vine Voices and the a capella group American Music Machine offer festive performances that will have you singing Christmas carols in no time.
- Illuminations: Reflections of Earth – Epcot’s dazzling nighttime fireworks extravaganza features a special holiday ending which will remind guests of the true reason for the season.
- Candlelight Processional – One of our favorite things about visiting Disney World during the holidays is attending one of Epcot’s amazing Candlelight Processional performances. These evening concerts have become a real draw at Epcot and offer a moving retelling of the first Christmas Story featuring a massive choir, orchestra and celebrity narrators. This year’s star-studded line-up included: Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Kurt Russell just to name a few. Epcot also offers a Candlelight Processional dining package where guests can enjoy a three-course meal as well as preferred seating at one of the Processional performances.
- Holiday Kitchens – Guests visiting during the Festival can fill up on an amazing array of holiday treats at the food booths making up the Holiday Marketplace. Offerings include Christmas Classics like Stollen, Mulled Wine and Milk and Cookies. You’ll also find an amazing array of Christmas Cocktails as well as heartier fare that is fit for Christmas dinner like the Slow-roasted Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce that you’ll find at the American Pavilion.
As of going to print, Disney World has yet to announce dates for the Festival of the Holidays in 2018. Readers are encouraged to keep following along with Disney Addicts and our sister site Chip and Co. for the latest Festival updates.
These are merely a taste of the amazing offerings you’ll find at Epcot during each of the festivals outlined above. One of the things we love most about these Festivals is that most of the activities on offer are FREE to quests with valid theme park admission. We hope that if you’re currently considering a 2018 Walt Disney World getaway that you’ll think about heading to Epcot during Festival time to add that extra special element to your getaway.
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