Walt Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation Planning

Walt Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation Planning

Are you Visiting Walt Disney World for an EPCOT Festival? If so, then get ready for a DIFFERENT type of Disney Vacation Planning. From choosing the best Disney Resort to booking Disney Restaurants during your trip, there are ways you can maximize your time, budget, and sanity by simply letting go of everything you don’t need to do. Because a Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation is all about EASY.

You may think that a Disney vacation focused on one park adds more to your plate. But if your travel priority is a Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation, then things like choosing where to stay and where to eat become simple. Why? Because while you may still be visiting the other parks or resorts, you’re making this vacation primarily about EPCOT. This means choosing EPCOT area resorts, restaurants, and transportation options. Let’s dive in. 

Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World

Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation Planning

Planning a Disney Vacation requires a few things to start. Here’s a quick list of Must-Do’s but you can check out our How to Plan a Disney Trip post for a deeper look at the necessities. 

  • Get the My Disney Experience App, so you can access your account, resort, and reservations.
  • Make your Park Pass Reservations. If you’re planning a Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation, then the park you will need reservations for is EPCOT.  

Airport Transportation

Transportation To and From Orlando International Airport ( MCO), regardless of what kind of vacation you’re taking is still a necessity. You can grab a rideshare like Lyft or Uber, but we typically book bus transportation with Sunshine Flyer or Mears Connect, instead. As bus services are sometimes cheaper, allow for loads of luggage and add a little bit of Disney magic to your road trip to the resorts. 

EPCOT Transportation

Once you get to your EPCOT area resort ( The Boardwalk Resorts)  you have a variety of transportation options available depending on which resort you choose. Here’s the breakdown of the Complimentary Disney Transportation you can find near the park, for getting to and from the Festival. 

  • Monorail to the TTC ( Ticket and Transportation Center): The EPCOT Monorail is situated at the front of the park, near Spaceship Earth, and brings guests to the TTC, which offers a transfer to Magic Kingdom and the Monorail Resorts. 
  • Walking Paths: If looking to skip shared transportation you can depend on an easy walking commute. Staying at a Resort on the Disney BoardWalk means a 10-20 minute walk from any resort there to the International Gateway at the back of EPCOT Park. Additionally, you can also take the Hidden Walking Path from Epcot to Hollywood Studios.
  • Water Transportation: There are several resorts that have docks for boat travel to and from Epcot. Swan and Dolphin, and The Yacht Club both offer transportation to and from the International Gateway, and to Hollywood Studios. 
  • Disney Skyliner: Accessible from the station at the EPCOT International Gateway, the Disney Skyliner does not transport into EPCOT but instead can transport you from Skyliner Resorts and to Hollywood Studios. 
  • Buses: If choosing to stay somewhere other than the Boardwalk Resorts, then you can rely on the Disney buses to get you to and from EPCOT for the festival.

EPCOT Festival Budget

While planning a budget for a Walt Disney World Vacation can get complicated, if you’re just going for an EPCOT Festival then there are a few things to consider. 

  • Festival Food: The food at the Festival Kitchens throughout any festival includes single-serve foods that range from $5- $10 apiece. Of course, choosing which foods you want to try is all up to you. 
  • Festival Drinks: Non-alcoholic drinks tend to be around $6 but if you’re hunting down cocktails, wines, or beers, you can expect to pay closer to $10-$15 per drink at the festival. 
  • Festival Game: Each festival’s scavenger hunt game costs $9.99 plus tax and once completed earns you a “prize.”  
  • Festival Merchandise: Exclusive to each festival is a slew of festival-specific merchandise. From apparel, jerseys, mugs, Dooney and Bourke Bags, and home decor, these items are limited and the designs change every year. 

Disney Boardwalk Resorts at Walt Disney World

Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation Resorts | Where to Stay

Choosing a Disney Resort near EPCOT Park is key. As such you will want to choose one of the Disney BoardWalk Resorts. These Disney Resorts are Within Walking Distance of EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. As such you don’t have to wait around for Disney transportation to get you to the park, you can just walk there. This means you can tackle long days at the festival or take mid-day breaks as needed with ease. 

The entrance to the Disney BoardWalk is located just outside the back entrance of EPCOT Park called the International Gateway, situated between France and the U.K. in the World Showcase. For the purposes of Disney Festival Vacation planning, the below hotels are your TOP PICKS for resorts that get within walking distance of the park, so you can make the most of your festival days. 

If you find that these Disney Deluxe Resorts are too pricey, never fear. There are several Disney Skyliner Resorts to consider.  And while you won’t be within walking distance of the Festival, the Skyliner provides easier transportation than the buses and brings you right to the International Gateway Entrance of EPCOT Park. 

Olaf's holiday tradition expedition

Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation Restaurants | Where to Eat

EPCOT Park is home to many Walt Disney World restaurants, featuring cultural cuisine, futuristic cuisine, and American classics. Whether you’re looking for a table-service meal, quick-service counter, or something easy like pizza, you can find it here. Epcot is home to some of Walt Disney World’s most expensive restaurants, including Monsieur Paul and Takumi Tei. As well as budget-friendly favorites like Biergarten in Germany, Rose and Crown in the UK and Via Napoli in Italy. Check out the Best EPCOT Restaurants to try and what to skip 

Know that since EVERY Epcot festival offers up loads of foods to try at each booth, you could save some money by just choosing a few small dishes from the booths for each meal.

EPCOT Park at Disney World

Disney World EPCOT Festival Vacation Activities | What to Do

EPCOT Festival Details

Get to know your EPCOT festival. Which festival are you visiting? You can find EPCOT festivals throughout the year, they are as follows and each provides a unique experience. 

  • Festival of the Arts | Mid-January- Mid-February
    • This art festival features artists displaying Disney-inspired artwork across the park. Festival of the Arts also includes beautiful foods,  a community mural that you can help paint, chalk artwork on the sidewalks, and photo ops with great masterpieces across the park. 
  • Flower and Garden Festival | March- July
    • This garden-focused festival gives you the chance to see your favorite Disney characters sculpted in topiaries. Everything from Bambi to the Beast is included. You can also visit the learning gardens, the Butterfly House, and try tons of foods featuring fresh flavors. 
  • Food and Wine Festival | July- November
    • This festival is all about food and wine. Specialty foods and beverages show up at each booth across the park and are meant to be savored. With more food booths than any other festival, this one gives you plenty to choose from. 
  • Festival of Holidays | December
    • Honoring the holidays around the world, the Festival of Holidays showcases traditions in each culture. Food Kitchens offer holiday foods from each region and festive drinks. Some World Showcase countries even feature a Holiday Storyteller to tell each country’s story. 

EPCOT Festival Hours

What are the EPCOT Festival Hours? It doesn’t matter which EPCOT Festival you’re visiting, the Festival Kitchens at each festival is open from 11:00 am to park close. Be sure to check EPCOT Park Hours to help you plan your festival days. 

Epcot Festival of the Holidays food

EPCOT Festival Kitchens

Visiting any EPCOT Festival means making time to try loads of foods, drinks, and beverages from the Festival Kitchen. These little booths are stationed all over the park and feature themed treats specific to each country or area. Check out the EPCOT festival menus for whichever festival you’re visiting so that you can review options ahead of time. 

Candlelight Processional Symphony Nativity Reading

EPCOT Festival Concerts

Each festival at EPCOT has a themed concert series. These events are typically held in the America Gardens Theatre at the World Showcase America Pavilion.

  • Festival of the Arts includes the Disney on Broadway Series, which showcases performers from Disney Broadway shows.
  • The Flower and Garden Festival hosts the Garden Rocks Series, featuring performers of old-school bands.
  • At Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, there is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series which goes a bit higher level with bands like Boyz to Men and Plain White T’s.
  • And finally, at the Festival of Holidays, you can find the Candlelight Processional which is a Christmas Choral Music concert, highlighting the retelling of the Nativity Story by a celebrity speaker. 

Emile's Fromage Montage Locations Disney

Garden Graze Redemption Treat for Flower and Garden Festival at Pineapple Promenade

Festival Food Challenges

Each EPCOT Festival has a foodie challenge that you can do across the outdoor kitchens. this entails buying, or collecting, 5 dishes on the “list” and then getting a special treat for free at the end of the challenge. Each festival has a special themed challenge to play below. Doing the challenge doesn’t cost you anything, except the price of each dish of course. Collect 5 of the noted special dishes and get a free item when you complete the challenge. 

  • Festival of the Arts: At this art festival you can tackle the Wonderful World of Colorful Cuisine featuring dishes at select outdoor kitchens, aligned to a color on the paint palette. 
  • Flower and Garden Festival: This spring festival at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Park features fresh foods in the Garden Graze foodie challenge.  With farm-to-table options, veggies galore, and fruit-filled treats, this challenge serves up a specialty dole whip as a prize. 
  • Food and Wine Festival: You can collect stamps for Emile’s Fromage Montage featuring cheese dishes across multiple kitchens. 
  • Festival of the Holidays: Finally, if you’re up for Christmas Cookies you can collect them on the Festival of Holidays Cookie Stroll. This challenge includes festive traditional cookies from certain outdoor kitchens. And can sometimes be collected in an exclusive cookie jar when they are offered. 

Epcot food and wine Festival Beginners Guide

Festival Games

Much like the festival concerts, each festival also features a game that matches the festival theme.  These games offer up the chance to search for a tiny statue, painting, or element in each World Showcase country and around the park. A nice break from walking and eating, these games give you a chance to learn more about each country’s culture and earn a prize once you complete the gameboard. Each game typically costs about $9.99 plus tax. 

  • Festival of the Arts: Featuring works of art, this game has you on the hunt for Figment hiding in each important painting around the park. The Figment’s Brush with the Master’s Game includes stickers and a prize once you complete the game. 
  • Flower and Garden Festival: Honoring the honeybee, the Spike the Bee’s Pollen-Nation Exploration Game highlights pollinator flowers in each country, and area in Epcot. Find each one, add a sticker to the board and collect your prize. 
  • Food and Wine Festival: The game at the Food and Wine Festival is Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak Game, featuring our favorite rat, Remy! This game gets you familiar with an important culinary ingredient in each country, and includes stickers and usually a food-related prize at the end of the game. 
  • Festival of the Holidays: For an extra festive game at EPCOT during the holidays, you can play Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition. This game gives you a glimpse of each culture’s holiday traditions. The gameboard includes stickers and the prize is typically Frozen-themed. 

Planning a Disney EPCOT Festival Vacation

There you have it. A Festival Vacation at Walt Disney World doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s review the big things to remember. Here’s the lineup of decisions you get to make!  

  • Where to Stay: Book one of the resorts on the Disney BoardWalk, for a hotel that is close, and within walking distance of EPCOT. 
  • Where to Eat: A variety of restaurants at EPCOT are available. Plus you also have access to a slew of outdoor kitchen foods. 
  • What to Do: Eating at Festival Kitchens, Listening to the Concert Series performers, Playing the Scavenger Hunt Games, and taking the Foodie Challenges are all things that you can do throughout each festival. This is in addition to the Festival-specific events like looking at the topiaries, listening to the holiday storytellers, browsing the art tents, or trying new foods you never had before. 

Planning an EPCOT Festival Vacation? Get ready for easy! Where to Stay, Eat, and Play for an EPCOT focused vacation to make things easy if you're just visiting for the festivals.

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