In Walt Disney World, Epcot has become the park known as Festival Central, whereas that title belongs to Disney California Adventure in Disneyland. Whether you favor East or West Coast, you have plenty to choose from when it comes to these special Disney experiences.
Let’s take a closer look at the Big Festivals that regularly taking place on a regular basis at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival – August 30 – November 12, 2018
Recognized at the Original Disney Food Festival, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival began in 1996 with 25 Marketplaces situated around World Showcase.
The success of the event is undeniable. Now a destination for food lovers from all over the world, the Festival ran for a record 75 days in 2017, and will run for the same number of days in 2018, from August 30 – November 12, 2018. In addition to the Marketplace Booths situated around World Showcase (and now stretching into Future World), the Festival also includes many special events at all different price points — some are even free! Enjoy the Eat to the Beat Concert Series nightly, featuring musical acts from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond. Culinary Demonstrations and Wine and Beverage Seminars are some of the Festival’s most popular events, and are an affordable and enjoyable way to learn in a hands-on environment. Grand tasting events such as Party for the Senses turn the Food and Wine Festival into an indulgent experience.
Owing to the popularity of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, other hotels on Disney property have also joined in the fun. Guests can partake in the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Food and Wine Classic, held annually during one weekend of the Festival.
For more information, be sure to visit our current Epcot Food and Wine Festival Main Page.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – November 18 – December 30, 2018
During the Winter Holiday season, Epcot transforms into a wonderland of international celebration. The Pavilions in World Showcase come alive as they celebrate holidays and festivals from all over, and Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays brings all of the festivities together.
The centerpiece of Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays is the Candlelight Processional. Taking place most nights from late November through the end of December, this traditional retelling of the Christmas Story features a celebrity narrator accompanied by a choir and orchestra. Many guests feel that the Candlelight Processional is the perfect way to celebrate the message of hope and love the season brings.
Throughout World Showcase, guests can also take in stories and performances that celebrate traditions from every culture during this important time of year.
But that’s not all — there’s food too! For the last several years, the Festival of the Holidays’ predecessor Holidays Around the World featured snacks and treats inspired by the flavors of the season. In 2016, Holiday Kitchens (aka Booths) were added that offered robust holiday dishes, like Cheese Fondue, Duck Confit, and Roasted Turkey. In 2017, the offerings expanded even further with the advent of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
For more information, be sure to visit our current Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Main Page.
Epcot Festival of the Arts — TBD 2019
The Epcot Festival of the Arts celebrated its inaugural year in 2017, and by all accounts, the event was a tremendous success.
In 2018, the Festival took place January 12 to February 19 — every day of the week (in its inaugural year, the Festival was only held Fridays through Mondays). The event focuses on three artistic disciplines: Visual, Culinary, and Performing Arts. Guests can observe Disney artists creating artwork right before their eyes in a number of different exhibits. Food Studios (aka booths) offer up dishes and drinks that are as beautiful as they are delicious. And The Disney on Broadway Concert Series showcases tremendously talented artists, straight from the Broadway stage in live performances.
For more information, be sure to visit our current Festival of the Arts Main Page.
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival — TBD 2019
In Walt Disney World, Spring can mean only one thing — the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! The 2019 dates have not been announced yet.
See the Full 2018 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menus with Tons of Food Photos HERE!
The beloved event is one of Disney’s longest running Festivals, with its beginning way back in 1994. While it began as a celebration of gardening, to celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2013, the festival began offering Outdoor Kitchens. The kiosks are very similar to what you’ll find at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival; in fact, the structures are the same for both events. Look for dishes here to celebrate flavors of the “host” country, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
For more information, be sure to visit our current Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Main Page.
Headed to Disney World Soon? Learn More With a Free Vacation Planning Video from Disney!
We highly recommend checking out the Free Vacation Planning Video that Disney creates every year. It’s SO much fun to watch. There’s tons of info on every park and resort, and it’s the perfect way to start getting excited about your trip…and maybe even see a few must-dos that you don’t have on your agenda yet! You can order it or live stream it right now. (I do it every year :-D) You can find out more about the free planning video here!
Disney California Adventure Festivals
Festival of Holidays– November 9, 2018 – January 6, 2019
The Festival of Holidays takes place during the Winter Holiday season and is inspired by diverse cultural traditions of Disney California Adventure.
During this beautiful time of the year, guests can enjoy Season of Light, a special holiday-themed version of the popular World of Color Nighttime Spectacular. In addition, the park takes on a decidedly Latin flavor with Disney ¡Viva Navidad! The celebration showcases the sights, sounds, and flavors of Latin-American holiday celebrations. Look for special character, dressed in their holiday finest! Artists, including musicians and storytellers, bring the traditions alive with live performances.
But of course — we love the food! In addition to all of the other Festival of Holidays fun, we look forward to sampling holiday far at Festive Foods Marketplace, booths that offer a “culinary celebration of different cuisines and traditions.”
For more information, be sure to visit our current Disneyland/DCA Festival of Holidays Main Page.
DCA Food and Wine Festival DATES TBA
With the success of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Disney California Adventure in Disneyland Resort began offering its own Food and Wine Festival in the Spring 2006.
The event continued to run through 2010, experiencing growth each year. In the 2011, the Festival was put on hiatus during a period of extensive construction in the park, and resumed in 2016 for a period of four weekends. In 2017, the event stretched to a daily Festival, spanning six weeks in the Spring.
Rather than an emphasis on international flavors however, the DCA Food and Wine Festival celebrates both the bounty of California as well as its diverse culinary offerings. Festival Marketplace booths line the Performance Corridor (the parade route), and serve appetizer-sized portions of dishes as well as wine, beer, cocktails, and other drinks. Attendees can experience California crops like olives and lemons in a myriad of dishes and drinks at the Booths.
Much like the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, there are also a number of culinary demonstrations, wine and beverage seminars, and special events featuring celebrity chefs.
For more information, be sure to visit our current DCA Food and Wine Festival Main Page.