Guide to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

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The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (previously Holidays Around the World) is a foodie event selling Christmas and holiday seasonal snacks and drinks in each World Showcase country. For 2017, Walt Disney World is expanding the food element to include additional Marketplaces, which will offer dedicated holiday menus. In this post, we’ll take a look at Epcot International Festival of the Holidays snacks at Walt Disney World, which will operate November 19 until December 30, 2017.

For us, it has always been fun to go around and try these holiday snacks in between watching the Holiday Storytellers (for our tips on watching these performers, click here). This is primarily the case because we love any excuse to sample desserts, and there are a disproportionate number of delicious desserts every year. (Savory snacks can be great, but on vacation, we would consider doing ice cream for every meal…)

With the name change to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, it’s easy to see how this event is basically an extension of the popular fall Food & Wine event at Epcot. Basically, you can think of this as the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Lite (as that event, in various forms, is becoming year-round). Also, if you’re visiting Walt Disney World before Festival of the Holidays starts, the full Food & Wine Festival runs until November 13, 2017, so you can catch the tail end of it if you’re visiting in the next week or so.

In actuality, these marketplaces will be more akin to the ones at Flower & Garden Festival, both in number and concept. For that event, booths have been added to enhance the festival, but unlike Food & Wine Festival, aren’t the main event. Same idea here, as the Holiday Storytellers and decorations will remain the main offerings, with the ability to add some festive snacks to the mix as a good way to stay immersed in the holidays. With the change to the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, we anticipation an expansion of the event for 2017.

In addition to the Marketplaces, you can expect several other additions to flesh out Festival of the Holidays. Naturally, there’s a paid scavenger hunt: Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree, which is akin to the Figment and Ratatouille ones during other festivals at Epcot. Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree, and you go around looking for them as they gather ornaments from holiday decorations in each World Showcase pavilion. Once finished, you receive a festive ‘reward.’

In terms of the Marketplaces, these booths will include Alpine Haus Marketplace, Three Kings Feast Marketplace, Germany Marketplace, Seasonal Southern Delights Marketplace, and American Holiday Table Marketplace. We are really looking forward to the Holiday Marketplaces, particularly what appears to be a stuffing and turkey sandwich at American Holiday Table.

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We’ll get to the menus for these at the bottom of this post, but first let’s take a look at our picks for the best holiday snacks that have become classics during Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.

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Our #1 is without a doubt the Yule Log in France, which is beautifully presented and wonderfully decadent. A Yule Log being our top recommendation should come as no surprise, given our proclamation that the Plaza Inn Yule Log at Disneyland is a national treasure (and quite possibly the true fountain of youth). This one isn’t quite that good, but it’s still really good.

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Another favorite that has flown under the radar is also in France, at at L’Artisan des Glaces is the Glace a la Cannelle et Noix de Pecan Carmelisees (Cinnamon Ice Cream with Caramelized Pecans).

While candy cane and gingerbread ice cream are our favorite holiday flavors, this has a nice winter spice to it, and tastes great.

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In terms of the snacks that you can expect to return in 2017, other favorites of ours include the Chocolate Honey Baklava in Morocco and Traditional Rice Cream in Norway.

Other items that have been great in the past (but that we aren’t sure are returning) are the Savory Turkey Waffle and Warm Turkey Sandwich, both located at the nondescript Promenade Refreshments stand. These might not sound that impressive, but they both have been delicious, so be sure to look for them.

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Below are what you can expect to find on the menus at each of the 5 Marketplace Booths in World Showcase:

American Holiday Table (American Adventure)

  • Slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce
  • Seared pork tenderloin with green bean casserole, roasted sweet potato wedges, and a Champagne demi-glace
  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter aged on Bourbon
  • Firenog (Eggnog with Fireball Whisky)
  • Great American Wine Company Red Blend and Chardonnay
  • Cocoa Candy Cane (hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps)
  • Hot chocolate and eggnog

Alpine Haus (Near Morocco)

  • Duck confit, dumplings and roasted Brussels sprouts with a fig reduction
  • Cheese fondue in a bread bowl with fresh steamed vegetables
  • Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam and dark chocolate glaze.
  • Frozen Winter Spice Hot Chocolate featuring Twinings of London Tea (alcoholic and non-alcoholic version available)
  • Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner Vetliner White Wine and Heinrich Red Blend

Feast of the Three Kings (World Showcase Plaza)

  • Shredded beef tamale with avocado crema
  • Roasted pork with mashed yucca and pickled green bananas
  • Three Kings Bread
  • Coquito (coconut milk)
  • Coquito with rum floater

Prost! (Germany)

  • Artisan cheese plate
  • Sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle
  • Alcoholic ciders
  • Hot Williams Punch
  • Caramel Kiss featuring Werther’s Caramel
  • Glüwein (hot spiced wine)

Seasonal Southern Delights (World Showcase Plaza)

  • Hoppin’ john (black-eyed peas, ham hocks and kale with rice and cornbread crumbles)
  • Blackened catfish with white cheddar grits, okra, tomato and onion stew
  • Chocolate pecan tart
  • Frozen S’Mores mixed drink
  • Central 28 beers

Once Epcot International Festival of the Holidays actually starts and we have the chance to see and try some of these things, we’ll update with additional recommendations and picks for favorite foods.

As a preliminary recommendation, we’d advise you to treat this just like you would Food & Wine Festival, except with larger portion sizes. There are enough options at these Marketplaces that you can do a day of grazing around the booths, stopping to enjoy the Storytellers in between snacks. You can easily make a full day out of this, ending with the IllumiNations: Peace on Earth tag or Candlelight Processional.

Don’t feel bad about gorging yourself at these booths, either. You’ll be learning about holiday culinary customs in other cultures as you graze, so the argument could be made that you’re doing all this eating to learn. The way we see it, we pretty much have to try all of these snacks. It is our responsibility as citizens of the world. 😉

For comprehensive tips for planning your Christmas-time trip to Walt Disney World, check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World. For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.

YOUR THOUGHTS…

Do you have any favorite snacks from Epcot International Festival of the Holidays/Holidays Around the World at Epcot? Are you looking forward to the new marketplace booths? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments!


10 Responses to “Guide to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays”
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