Disney is everchanging and evergrowing, especially with the massive transformation taking place at Epcot.
And while there are a lot of exciting changes taking place, we were wondering (and we know you are, too!) if the construction and overall transformation taking place at Epcot will affect the Food and Wine Festival this year. So, let’s take a look at a few of the changes taking place around Epcot to see how they affect the Food and Wine Festival this year. ):
The 2019 Food and Wine Festival has officially begun! And while we’re out reporting live from the park and trying all of the new and returning booth items we noticed a few significant changes to the festival experience. Many of these are due to large amounts of construction or changes being made throughout Epcot.
No Epcot Front Entrance Food and Wine Festival Display
For starters, there is a lot of work being done at the entrance of Epcot thanks to the removal of the Leave A Legacy Monoliths. Thanks to the total eye-sore walls and the mess at the front of the park, there is no Food and Wine display to snap photos in front of Spaceship Earth.
This is a TOTAL BUMMER because snapping a photo with each festival’s display with Spaceship Earth in the background is one of my favorite memories to make with my family. And overall, there is just a MAJOR lack of festival-themed decor when entering the park. Besides a small banner at the entrance gate, we really weren’t able to tell that there was a festival going on until we passed Spaceship Earth.
The Lack of a Food and Wine Festival Center
Sadly, there is no official Festival Center this year. The Festival Center typically houses locations like The Festival Center Wine Shop, festival merchandise shops, book signings and meet and greets, and a few of the Festival’s events. But, this year, the location has been shut down due to construction.
This is because The Wonders of Life Pavilion is being transformed into Epcot’s new Play! Pavilion — which you can read about here. This new location is one of the many ways that Epcot is transforming not only the park but, more specifically, Future World as a whole. There will now be three neighborhoods which will house new experiences — you can read more about those here.
Buuuuut, this year, since there is no official space for festival events and merchandise, everything festival-related seems to be placed at random throughout the park, making the overall experience feel much more disjointed. Note that many of the events are taking place in the World Showplace this year, which has been set up as a kind of de facto Festival Center; and there’s an info booth set up in the same area (between the UK and Canada pavilions in the World Showcase) if you have questions about where your events are happening.
Luckily, while this may cause your festival experience to be a little chaotic this year, Disney is working to create a brand NEW Epcot Festival Pavilion. This, which was announced as a huge part of Epcot’s transformation at the D23 Expo, will consist of three levels. These will feature a plaza level, a middle expo level, and a park in the sky on the top level!
Skyliner Crowds at the International Gateway Epcot Entrance
The Disney Skyliner Gondolas officially open on September 29th, and one of the major hubs for this new transportation system is located at Epcot. We have been tracking the construction progress — which you can view here!
We suspect that many guests may want to take this new “birds-eye” view form of transportation from one of their resorts to Epcot, meaning that there may be an increase in crowds using the International Gateway entrance.
In the past, this entrance was usually only used by guests staying at one of the nearby Epcot resorts and perhaps a few others in-the-know. Now, it’s likely going to be much more trafficked. And while Disney’s been creating new guest thoroughfares here and adding updated entrance strategies, we still think it will take a while for things to get moving here as quickly as they once did.
World Showcase Pavilion Construction
Construction and changes are already taking place for updates throughout the World Showcase, and more construction may be starting up during the festival.
They’re adding a new crêpere and a Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction to France. A brand new restaurant known as Regal Eagle Smokehouse is coming to America. And while we’re excited for these new experiences, it’s hard to look past the eyesores they create when trying to experience a festival as beautiful as Food and Wine.
Be prepared that your photo ops may not be quite as visually appealing as they usually are during this construction in World Showcase!
Construction and Closures at the Front of Epcot
While this doesn’t necessarily affect the World Showcase portion of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, closures and renovations taking place on a lot of beloved areas like The Electric Umbrella, Character Spot, Club Cool, and Fountain View (Starbucks) means that several of your go-to Epcot favorite may be out of commission during the festival this year.
And while things may look a little messy during the festival this year, it may be even stranger to think how completely different Epcot will look next year and the following year!
So, snap all the photos you can, ride Spaceship Earth in its current incarnation, walk through the UK Pavilion, and take time to look around because the Epcot we know and love will soon be a thing of the past!
Are you excited about the changes coming to Epcot? Let us know in the comments below!