It’s Day 1 of the 2020 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
Of course, while we’re having a blast eating and drinking our way through all of the Holiday Kitchens and exploring the fest in general, there is one VERY big problem we’ve noticed.
EPCOT is CROWDED, as we expected (Did you know ALL FOUR Disney World parks are at capacity today?), and this is causing us some issues when it comes to eating our way through Festival of the Holidays. Now, we will note that crowds are usually higher on the first day of a festival, but today it seems busier than we’ve seen in the past!
Every time EPCOT launches a festival, we find ourselves surrounded by LOTS of other folks who are also trying to get their snacks on the first day. Add in the fact that this is one of the SHORTEST festivals of the year (about one month long) and typically one of the highest demand times of year for Disney World, and you’ve got a recipe for crowding — even with capacity limitations.
Large crowds don’t typically cause TOO much issue when it comes to eating around the festival, but this year is a little bit different. There are long lines at every booth — physically longer due to social distancing, creating bottlenecks and pinch points in some areas. We’ve waited in fairly substantial lines at certain booths — up to 30 minutes at some! But the bigger problem? There are very few tables compared to the number of folks that need them.
Keep in mind, you have to be stationary and actively eating or drinking to remove your mask so these tables are a hot commodity. We didn’t have as much trouble finding spots to eat during the 2020 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, but Disney World has since increased capacity from 25% to 35% max capacity, AND when the festival first began, we were able to eat and drink as we moved around, making it easier to tackle the fest.
For this festival, it’s been a constant battle of waiting in lines for the Holiday Kitchens and then holding our food while we cross our fingers that a table will become available. Honestly, the table-hunting game is not very fun!
It’s entirely possible that these crowds will die down as we move away from Thanksgiving, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this continues to be an issue throughout the festival. If you’re planning on eating your way through the booths or have concerns about health at this time, we HIGHLY recommend opting to head to Festival of the Holidays on a non-Holiday weekday.
Beyond that, the best TIME to visit the fest may be right when the festival opens on non-holiday weekdays. Much like many popular attractions, lines for festival booths can be SIGNIFICANTLY shorter at opening time.
Remember, a lot of locals tend to visit EPCOT festivals after work and on the weekends, so visiting during the workday could give you a better chance of avoiding lines and crowds. In general, the earlier you can start your fest day, the better!
And regardless of when you head to EPCOT in the coming weeks, understand that you may be faced with an uncomfortable level of crowding. Don’t make a plan that’s so rigid that you’ll be upset if it’s screwed up by lines and the dreaded table game, and be patient while you’re there.
We’ll be checking in at EPCOT regularly to see if there are any changes made to the way lines work and to the tables offered. As always, stay tuned to DFB for the latest updates and the latest tips.
Were you at EPCOT today? Did you notice the same issues? Tell us in the comments!