EPCOT festivals, ranked! The official and definitive countdown to EPCOT’s seasonal celebrations

Like it or not, EPCOT had a serious problem. It wasn’t long after the park opened that Walt Disney World’s second gate ran into an identity crisis. Sometimes derided as a bland, boring educational enterprise – long outdated in the neon-patterned, thrill-driven 90s – leaders had to find a way to inject energy, color, enthusiasm and (above all) presence in EPCOT.

Today, EPCOT is still on the move. No, not just because of a massive, multi-year, open-ended, billion-dollar, part-nostalgic, part-character-driven rebuilding effort, but because of a growing, rotating festival cast. intended to transform the park into a local hangout, continually refreshed with new plantings, new buckets of popcorn, new food offerings, new performances and new energy.

Today, we’re going to explore EPCOT’s five seasonal states by ranking our favorites. But be sure to say in the comments: Which of EPCOT’s annual events is your favorite, and what do you think could do with a reimagining?

5. “EPCOT Scheme”

Picture: Disney

Over the past decade, “classic” EPCOT festivals have expanded their runs while new festivals have sprung up, filling large swathes of the calendar. Nicknamed “Diet EPCOT” by fans, periods when EPCOT is do not dressed for a festival are becoming increasingly rare.

Considering the dates (or expected dates) of EPCOT’s 2022 Festival seasons, your likelihood of seeing “Diet EPCOT” is extremely low. Only about eight weeks of the year are unscheduled (and honestly, those weeks are usually just 2 week buffers between each festival, so it’s extremely unlikely that already see the park entirely “stripped” of food stalls, topiaries and temporary signage).

For some, Diet EPCOT is their favorite way to see the park, uncluttered by the layers of horticulture, food stalls and street performers that Disney used to add vibrancy, color and activity. to a park that isn’t usually well known for its heat. But increasingly, Diet EPCOT looks like a hairless unicorn – exceptionally rare to see, and usually missing something that would make it more pleasing to the eye.

4. EPCOT Food and wine festival

Picture: Disney

The Food & Wine Festival is one of the “OGs”, launched in 1995. (Incredibly, in 1995 the 30-day event only ran from September 28 to October 27; this year it is take place from mid-July to the end of November.) Since the Food & Wine Festival has been going on for a long time and extremely EPCOT, it’s probably controversial to essentially rank it last on our definitive list of Second Gate celebrations.

But let’s be honest: food and wine are definitely part of all EPCOT Festival (plus Diet EPCOT). The Food & Wine Festival only charges patrons top dollar for “tapas”-sized samplings of international dishes. And the Food & Wine Festival offerings aren’t just notoriously expensive; they are notoriously unequal. With dozens of stalls each offering half a dozen items, your odds of spending $8 on three warm, frozen ravioli are uncomfortably high, and eating them out of a garbage can in the sweltering late summer heat can be a rite of passage for the Floridians, but for sure it’s not a good time.

Picture: Disney

Of course, the Food & Wine Festival also offers fun cooking demonstrations, wine pairings and seminars, but almost all of them are great extras. Speaking of which, almost every major theme park in the country now holds its own “Food & Wine Festival”. It makes sense. The food festival’s emphasis on small portions and sky-high prices is a great draw for passholders and a huge source of revenue for the park. It’s not that it’s a bad time; it’s just that the other EPCOT festivals are arguably improving the model. For example…

3. EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Picture: Disney

The Flower & Garden Festival is actually the the oldest of EPCOT’s festivals, launched in 1994. There are major late spring and early summer vibes, which pair very well with what EPCOT needs: more color. Yes, the Flower & Garden Festival sweeps the parks with many vast expanses of concrete with beautiful landscaping and iconic topiary, as well as (bold by the revenue generated by the Food & Wine Festival) numerous food stalls (renamed “Outdoor Kitchens” to fit the context).

The Flower & Garden Festival is very pleasant and certainly one of the most beautiful times to visit the park. If there’s a gripe, it’s that this festival is probably the most like the one stored in a warehouse and rolled out the same way every year, with the same topiary, paths and garden accessories. In other words, it’s a nice “activation” of the park visually, but something is missing programmatically. Only the “Garden Rocks Concert Series” really offers things to To doand while that’s enough to attract locals in the evening, it’s probably not enough to inspire booking a plane ticket to Orlando.

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