A new version of the popular EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival debuted July 15 when the park reopened and will continue into the fall. We were there on opening day to experience this modified festival. Catch what you need to know about this year’s festival below.
1 – A Modified Festival
The 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is scheduled to be the longest festival in Walt Disney World history! For the first time, a festival is available in the summer months. The modified festival blends the floral fun from the park’s annual flower and garden event with the global goodies of the food and wine festival. We were so sad that the Flower and Garden festival only ran for less than two weeks, so it’s great that Disney is offering a bit of that festival for guests visiting this summer.
2 – Digital Guide Only This Year
One of the first things we always enjoyed when visiting the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is picking up a Festival Passport. This year you will not find one because Disney has made a digital guide for guests on the My Disney Experience mobile app. This link takes you directly to our Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Digital Guidebook on My Disney Experience or links you to the app store if you do not have the app installed.
3 – New Remy Themed Signage
If you’ve visited the festival in the last few years, you may have noticed that Disney was reusing the festival signage and displays for many years. We’re happy to report that this year’s new Remy-themed signage is out celebrating the 25th EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. It’s great to see new designs.
4 – Reduced Global Marketplaces
This new event offers more than 20 signature global marketplaces, including Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean. Disney Cast Member Karen McClintock speaks about this year’s menus:
This year’s festival will be understandably different from what it was in the past. What has not changed is our chefs’ focus on authenticity through ingredients, cooking techniques, and presentation to honor the diverse global cuisines. And our beverage team has, once again, thoughtfully paired wine and beer with selections at each marketplace for the perfect sip.
Click here to see photos of the menu boards to see the pricing of items. (Note: that while the boards still have the Disney Dining Plan logo designated on some items, Dining Plans are currently unavailable during the phased reopening.)
5 – Four Marketplaces at World Showplace
World Showplace is a large building used for special events with the entrance tucked away between the Canada and United Kingdom pavilions. Since there are no workshops or demonstrations at this year’s festival, the area in World Showplace has been opened up and holds four marketplaces. The area has lots of distanced tables and, the best part is that it is air-conditioned. It’s a fantastic addition to the festival and much needed in the blazing July heat. There is signage out front and a Cast Member so you won’t miss it. Inside you’ll find Appleseed Orchard, Wine & Dine featuring Festival Favorites, Desserts & Champagne, and Mac & Cheese Hosted by Boursin Cheese.
6 – Contactless Payment Encouraged
Disney is really encouraging contactless payment options at global marketplaces to reduce person to person contact and aid in physical distancing, including Disney gift cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. I used Apple Pay for my purchases, and it was so convenient. If you are not paying with your Magic Band, consider setting up Apple Pay or Google Pay on your device before your visit. Festival gift cards are available to purchase throughout EPCOT.
7 – Additional Tables & Safety Measures
Additional tables are in place throughout the park, where guests can stop and remove their face coverings to enjoy festival dishes while maintaining physical distancing. I’ve read some concern about being in World Showcase where most people are eating and drinking and therefore do not have their masks on. While I can’t guarantee it will be your experience, when I went, I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were wearing their masks while walking around holding a drink. They simply removed it, took a sip, and then put it right back on. The extra tables are nice because you can enjoy your food and drinks away from other people, reducing the risk.
You’ll also notice hand-sanitizer and hand-washing stations throughout EPCOT so it is much easier to wash your hands throughout your visit.
8 – EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival Topiaries and Merchandise
Guests can take photos in front of the park’s newest Remy topiary in the France pavilion. We also noticed Bambi, Flower, and Thumper near Mouse Gear. Guests can also purchase merchandise from the 2020 International EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival. We saw items at Mouse Gear, as well as, many stands around World Showcase.
9 – Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak
Available again this year is the fun scavenger hunt, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak. In this fun hunt, Remy makes his famous dishes known as Ratatouille at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and needs your help finding all 15 wonderful ingredients that go into his dish. There are several locations throughout the parks that you can purchase the maps. Each map costs $7.99 plus tax and includes a thick paper map and a sticker sheet. Don’t forget any Disney Vacation Club or Annual Passholder discounts to reduce the cost. You’ll receive a cute prize in the end, even if you don’t complete the map, so don’t forget to get your prize at the end of the day!
10 – More Coming this Fall
We walked by a few marketplace buildings that were closed but had signs saying they are opening this fall. (Disney has not announced the opening of these marketplaces). Also delayed is the Food & Wine Festival merchandise. Those items will be released later this fall to give people a chance to purchase 2020 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival merchandise.
11 – What We Miss
There is no doubt that visiting the Taste of Food & Wine Festival is different than in years past. The menus have been reduced as well as the marketplaces. In the past, special workshops and demonstrations, cooking shows, celebrity chef encounters, and the very popular Party for the Senses were offered. We are also really missing the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. But the basics of the festival are still there. You can enjoy some fantastic food and beverages, get merchandise, and enjoy the scavenger hunt. We really feel like it is better than not offering the festival at all. Disney has taken steps to promote physical distancing, and hopefully, guests will step up and do their part. It’s not the same, be I still enjoyed my visit and am looking forward to my next one.
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