EPCOT Festival Guide: 2023 Calendar of Walt Disney World EPCOT Festivals
EPCOT in Walt Disney World is known for its abundance of festivals that take place year round. These festivals have continued to grow in size each year offering marketplace food booths, entertainment, special merchandise and more. Our EPCOT festival guide offers a 2023 calendar of events, our best tips for EPCOT festivals and an overview of all these EPCOT festivals.
Keep reading to see which festival will take place during your trip and what you can expect in our EPCOT festival guide!
EPCOT Festival 2023 Calendar
Currently there are four festivals that take place at EPCOT each year, these include:
- Festival of the Arts: January 13th 2023 – February 20, 2023
- Flower and Garden Festival: March 2nd – July 4th (2022 dates, 2023 dates TBA)
- Food and Wine Festival: July 14th – November 19th (2022 dates, 2023 dates TBA)
- Festival of the Holidays: November 25th 2022 – December 30th 2022
As you can see from the dates above, nearly every month of the year includes an EPCOT festival at Walt Disney World with just a short break between each one to allow the parks to transition to the next one.
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EPCOT Festival Basics
Each EPCOT Festival will include the same basic structure that will be changed to match each individual theme as the festivals change and cycle out.
Food Marketplace Booths
Every EPCOT festival will include marketplace booths around the parks with the majority of them being focused in the World Showcase area. These booths sell unique items that you typically can’t find around the parks the rest of the year that are themed to the specific festival and area.
America Gardens Theatre Entertainment
Each festival will have one major entertainment option featured in the American Gardens Theatre with the most famous easily being the Candlelight Processional that takes place during the Festival of the Holidays. Dining packages will be offered allowing guests easier access for seating options.
Unique Festival Merchandise
Each EPCOT festival will offer select merchandise throughout the park which usually includes its own special spirit jersey, Minnie ears, MagicBand, cookware and more. Most of this merchandise can be purchased in the World Showcase and at marketplace booths.
Festival Themed Experiences
Interactive experiences will be offered at each festival that is themed around the particular festival offerings. Experiences in the past has included everything from cooking classes, gardening tours, holiday storytellers, wine tastings, and more.
Each festival features a scavenger hunt! Typically guests purchase map (around $10) and you go around the festival looking for the items on the map. Redeem for a festival specific prize.
EPCOT Festival Tips
Due to the large popularity of the EPCOT festivals, they can easily become very crowded with long waits for many of the offerings. Here are some of our best tips based on our experiences with these festivals to maximize your time and have a great experience in our EPCOT festival guide:
- Avoid opening day/weekend– the first opening day and weekend of an EPCOT festival will be extremely crowded as locals and Disney vloggers turn out in full force to see all the offerings. It’s best to wait a day or two and let things simmer down before you take advantage of the fun to avoid the chaos.
- Avoid weekends/evenings- festivals will always be most crowded during evenings and weekends, especially for the food and beverage booths. If you plan on trying a list of items from the booths, I recommend doing this earlier in the day or on a weekday to avoid standing in long booth lines.
- Be aware of alcohol consumption- if you are bringing kids to EPCOT for a festival, especially one like the Food & Wine Festival, keep in mind that later in the evening you may encounter more adults enjoying larger quantities of wine than you see during the day. If this is something you’re uncomfortable with, you may want to adjust your park touring strategy to spend more time at EPCOT during the day instead of the evening. After all, EPCOT is a popular spot for the adult focused Drinking Around the World activity.
- Consider a dining package- if there is entertainment you want to prioritize and you know you already plan on dining at an EPCOT restaurant, consider booking a dining package. The price ends up being pretty reasonable if you already had plans on dining at a table service restaurant and then you have a guaranteed spot for the show. This is especially a must for the Candlelight Processional which is extremely poplar.
- Kid Activities: there is a common misconception that EPCOT festivals are just for adults- this is definitely not true! There are plenty of kids activities offered at each festival beyond just the regular scavenger hunt. One of my favorites is the butterfly house offered at the Flower & Garden festival! My son has enjoyed all of the EPCOT festivals- just as long as we made sure to still enjoy a few rides along the way.
- Make a foodie plan- there are so many different food and beverage options to try- it’s impossible to even attempt to get to them all! I always cruise through the foodie guide for each festival before we attend and mark down my must dos. Make a note of where the booth is located so you don’t forget about it! There’s been a few times I’ve forgotten to try something that was on a ‘must try’ list, don’t miss out!
- Skip the dining reservations- if you plan on focusing solely on the food marketplace booths then consider skipping the dining reservations and consider the approach of snacking the day away. It can be easy to fill up on food at a table service restaurant and then you may not have room to try everything on your list for the festival!
- Budget accordingly- planning on spending a day enjoying the food and beverage booths at the EPCOT festivals can get expensive so plan on budgeting accordingly. Most of the marketplace booths are advertised as $14.99 and under per person but some of the offerings will come in closer to that $14.99 price point. I typically purchase Disney gift cards for our dining when we travel to Disney which is one of my best money saving hacks.
- Plan in advance! Be sure to read our guide to Epcot hours and when Epcot closes before heading to the parks. Park hours at Walt Disney World are unpredictable.
All these tips apply to each EPCOT festival but each festival does offer its own unique experience so with that being said, let’s go over what each one has to offer in our EPCOT festival guide.
EPCOT International Festival of Arts
The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is the first festival of the year and is a collaboration with Disney Theatrical Productions. This festival focuses on a celebration of the music and arts featuring the Disney on Broadway Concert series and art galleries including the popular Chalk Art exhibit. You can expect the theme of this festival to be art focused which will carry over from the entertainment into themed treats in the food booths and merchandise offered. The mascot of this festival is Figment so you will see a heavy Figment focus on all the merchandise and treats.
Highlights of this festival include:
- Chalk Art Exhibit
- There will be a chalk art exhibits around the park featuring jaw dropping chalk art throughout the festival- you might even catch the artists in action! This also makes repeat visits a fun experience as you can often catch a new mural on your next visit.
- Pavilion Art Exhibits in the World Showcase
- The World Showcase will feature an abundance of art exhibits with opportunities to purchase art to take home. Well-known artists will be featured throughout the festival, sometimes offering signings, along with local artists all showcasing their Disney focused artwork. Most is available for purchase!
- Disney on Broadway Concert Series
- Guests can enjoy Broadway-inspired performances of popular Disney classics seven days a week at the America Gardens Theatre and around other stages across Epcot.
- Interactive experiences
- Print your own t-shirt, participate in a paint by number mural, draw Disney animation characters, Figment scavenger hunt
- Food & Beverage Booths
- You’ll notice a theme of bright and colorful desserts and food options along with plenty of art focused treats (think cookie shaped pallet with paintbrush frosting!)
This is the perfect festival if you enjoy the arts! But watch out, you might end up leaving with a significant dent in your wallet after you cruise through the amazing Disney art exhibits featuring art from so many amazing artists! This is also a great festival for the lowest crowd levels of the year as it takes place during January-February which is often considered Walt Disney World’s slowest months for crowd levels.
EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is the perfect way to kick off Spring as Disney fills the park with beautiful themed topiaries and garden focused workshops. EPCOT is filled with nearly 30 million flowers and gardens for guests to enjoy all the result of the hard work of the Disney cast members and horticulturists. This festival is all focused around gardening, sustainability and flowers. This festival runs from beginning of March to mid-July. Spike the Bee is the mascot of this festival so you will see him featured on the merchandise and around the park.
Some festival highlights include:
- Disney Topiaries- this is one of the most famous aspects of the festival, the larger than life Disney topiaries you can find scattered all around EPCOT featuring iconic Disney characters such as Mickey and the gang to park favorites like Figment.
- Global Gardens- there are also a variety of smaller gardens to admire that are added to the park such as the Shakespeare garden (sonnets and the flowers that influenced them), the the English Tea Garden (plants used in some of the most famous Twinings tea), the Bonsai Collection (featuring some Bonsai that are over 40 years old!) and a fan favorite, Bambi’s Butterfly House (enjoy a kaleidoscope of butterflies up close!). There are so many to see!
- Garden Rocks Concert Series- The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series features bands from the 1960s-1970s for a full 90 days featuring top names from those decades. All the concerts take place in the America Gardens Theatre and offer dining packages if you want to take advantage of reserved seating.
- Interactive experiences- Spike scavenger hunt, workshops featuring gardening topics, backstage tours.
- Food Booths- you will see a lot of flower/honey/citrus influence in the food marketplace booths in this festival making for plenty of light, Spring dishes.
The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is a great choice for anyone that loves flowers, gardening or spring! Honestly, it’s a beautiful festival for anyone to enjoy especially as it compliments the more mild weather in Florida this time of year. This is actually my favorite festival at EPCOT due to the jaw dropping beauty of the topiaries and gardens that take over EPCOT. We spent more than one day wandering around making sure we saw every single one and taking in all the smaller gardens.
EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is easily the most well-known festival at EPCOT and the most popular! As the original of the festivals, the long history of this one brings some of the larger crowds as compared to the others although most of the excitement tends to mellow out a bit once the initial week is introduced. This festival is a celebration of food… and well, wine! You can except to see a heavy influence on learning about different culinary history and offerings along with a large varieties of wine and wine tasting. This is definitely a festival adults will enjoy especially those that love wine. This festival runs from mid-July until the end of November. If you’re a fan of Remy, you’ll be pleased to see he’s the mascot for this festival and he has a large presence on all the festival merchandise.
Highlights of this traditional festival include:
- Culinary Demonstrations- choose between a variety of cooking classes with professional chefs, cheese seminars, food & beverage seminars and wine tastings.
- Food Marketplace Booths- the food marketplace booths are a staple of all EPCOT festivals but at the Food & Wine Festival you can expect Disney to go all out for this one since this is one of their most celebrated festival. And the one that focuses so closely on food! You can expect to see a large variety of cuisine across the World Showcase along with a great offering of wines to try.
- Eat to Beat Concert Series- the Eat to Beat Concert Series takes place at the American Gardens Theater and offers a variety of local bands along with some big name bands throughout the festival. Some previous big name acts in the past include Boyz II Men, Postmodern Jukebox, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, David Cook, Sister Hazel, Plain White T’s, American Authors, Sugar Ray, and more!
- Interactive Experiences- experiences include Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt, cooking classes, culinary demonstration classes, beverage seminars.
This festival focuses heavily on food, wine and beer- more so the enjoyment of the finer qualities and experiences which is showcased through the culinary demonstrations and the high quality options offered in the food marketplace booths. This festival doesn’t offer quite as much activities for kids, aside from the scavenger hunt, but there is still plenty for kids to enjoy in EPCOT while adults partake in the festival simultaneously.
EPCOT International Festival of Holidays
The Epcot International Festival of Holidays is a celebration of international holiday traditions from around the world that takes place in the World Showcase in Epcot. This is the shortest festival of the year but it is easily one of the most popular since it takes place during the holiday celebration at Walt Disney World! The festival doesn’t begin until right after Thanksgiving and runs until the end of December but it’s crucial to not overlook in our EPCOT festival guide.
This festival experience includes:
- Holiday Storytellers- holiday storytellers will be in each country in the World Showcase which shows taking place throughout the day telling cultural tales and singing holiday songs. This is a great entertainment option to take part in for the Festival of the Holidays and is so unique to EPCOT, don’t miss it!
- Food & Beverage Booths- often called the Holiday Kitchens during this festival, these food marketplace booths will offer seasonal food from around the world along with the popular Holiday Cookie Stroll which features holiday cookies from around the world. This food offered at this festival is a celebration of holiday traditions from around the world making it truly a special experience.
- ECPOT Candlelight Processional- this is the big entertainment feature for this festival taking place on select dates in the America Gardens Theater. At the Candlelight Processional you will hear the biblical story of Christmas typically told by a celebrity narrator and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. This is a beloved tradition at Walt Disney World so it is extremely popular with dining packages often selling out the instant they’re released.
- American Adventure- Santa will make multiple appearances here throughout the day. You can also enjoy the Voices of Liberty singing holiday Christmas carols in Charles Dickens themed costumes plus view a gingerbread display of U.S. monuments. Kids can also enjoy a Olaf themed scavenger hunt in the park.
This festival is a beautiful celebration of world wide holiday traditions and offers some of the most popular experiences at Walt Disney World during the holiday season. Be prepared for higher crowd levels, especially if you want to view the Candlelight Processional. If you want to avoid crowds, going earlier in the festival is highly recommended.
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