8 Things to Know About the Epcot Festivals

Epcot's yearly festivals are a fun and unique way to experience the park.
Jessica Winarski
Epcot festivals

With four individual parks at Walt Disney World, each one has to stand out in their own unique way. A year-round celebration of creativity, discovery, and unity, Epcot is also pretty well known for the festivals it hosts each year. Festival of the Arts, Flower & Garden, and Food & Wine each focus on a different aspect that Epcot emulates. Although Epcot is fun for everyone all throughout the year, the festivals offer specific events and entertainment that make them worth a special trip. Here are 8 things to know about the Epcot festivals.

Festival of the Arts

Festival of the Arts starts the new year at Epcot, runs from January through February, and brings a spotlight to the art and animation that is such a big part of Disney. A nightly Broadway concert series, thousands of art pieces, and special food items make this festival a fun addition to Epcot’s festival line-up.

1.    While all three festivals offer concerts throughout their run, Festival of the Arts does it a little differently. Food & Wine and Flower & Garden showcase artists primarily from the ‘70s and ‘80s and often have repeat acts. Festival of the Arts does a Disney on Broadway series, which brings in various Broadway actors to perform Disney songs. Songs from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Mary Poppins are just some of the highlights—on occasion you may even hear songs from various other Disney and Disney channel movies as well. 

2.    One of the coolest things about the festival is, of course, the art. All throughout the World Showcase are stalls with Disney-related art from artists like Thomas Kinkade and James Coleman as well as hundreds of other artists and art styles. These pieces are available for purchase so you can take some of the festival home with you. If you don’t want to buy any artwork, you can help make some of it with the giant paint-by-numbers mural located right at the edge of Future World and the World Showcase. 

3.    There are some really fun and interesting food options located around the World Showcase, all featuring a fun tie-in for Festival of the Arts. Cookies you can paint, deconstructed meats and desserts, as well as several other artful samples of meats, vegetables, desserts, and wines. Grab a passport and see the vendor locations and offerings and stamp your way around the world.

Flower & Garden

Flower & Garden is a beautiful way to kick off spring at Epcot, featuring dozens of topiaries and gorgeous flower and garden displays around the park. This festival starts in March and runs until June each year. Here are some of the fun things you can find during Flower & Garden.

1.    Flower & Garden has a concert series called “Garden Rocks”, featuring artists from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including The Pointer Sisters, A Flock of Seagulls, and Rick Springfield along with many others. Concerts run every day and most performers perform for two or three days, so there are plenty of chances to see your favorites. While some of the bigger names do draw a big crowd, there’s plenty of sitting and standing room to rock out! The best part is that these concerts are free for guests as long as you have a park ticket!

2.    Each country, as well as various locations throughout Future World and the rest of the park, have stunning topiary displays of Disney characters. Buzz Lightyear, Pooh, the princesses, Mickey, and many others make appearances throughout the park. In addition, there are also beautiful gardens located around Epcot, including a butterfly garden, spice garden, bonsai garden, and a tea garden, just to name a few. Each of these gardens displays information about what’s being grown, what they’re used for, and even tips for growing your own.

Food & Wine

The International Food & Wine Festival is by far the biggest and most popular event of the year and essentially kicks off Epcot’s festival season after a summer hiatus. Running from August through November, Food & Wine brings in thousands of people and children and is definitely a must-do at Epcot.

1.     Drawing in a crowd of over 50, 000 people each weekend, this festival focuses on offering a wide selection of food and drink specialties from around the world. On top of the 11 countries around the World Showcase, Food & Wine offers an additional 13 food stalls including options from Brazil, Ireland, Australia, Jamaica, and more. Each stall has 3 to 4 food options and beer or wine pairings.

2.    Food & Wine can be the most expensive festival to experience. Pick up a passport when you enter the park to see what’s offered at each stall and decide what you want to try. To cut down on costs for yourself, bring friends and share food between yourselves! This will also help save room so you’re able to enjoy more of the food!

3.    With this being the biggest festival, weekends are incredibly busy. One of the best ways to avoid the crowds is to visit during the week and experience everything you can. Concerts run every day and all the food and drink options are available throughout the week as well, so you won’t have to miss anything! 

A general tip to keep in mind is that with the festivals comes some pretty massive crowds. Food & Wine brings in the biggest crowds by far, but Festival of the Arts and Flower & Garden are fairly busy as well. This can lead to long wait times, difficulty making reservations, and having to deal with thousands of people in the park. Be sure to keep this in mind when planning your day at Epcot. Use the passports to decide what food and stalls you’d like to try and definitely make use of the FastPass options to cut down on time.

Epcot is a unique park that draws in hundreds of thousands of people throughout the year and has plenty of things to see, do, and eat for all ages. However, each of Epcot’s festivals offers different food, concerts, and events, making each one worth seeing. These festivals are an incredible way to experience different cultures and cuisines from around the world as well as a way to connect with art, nature, and people. If you’re able to, make sure to plan a day at Epcot while it’s celebrating Festival of the Arts, Flower & Garden, or Food & Wine. You won’t regret it.