Walt Disney World has released more details for the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, including a full list of food booths, character cavalcades, Olaf’s scavenger hunt, and more. In this post, we’ll share everything we know thus far about the Christmas-time event, and thoughts on whether it’s worth doing.
For starters, the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will run from November 27 until December 30, 2020. There was not previously an end date, but this potentially bodes well for New Year’s Eve at EPCOT. Normally, this event ends before that, clearing space for NYE. It remains to be seen what, if anything, Walt Disney World will do for New Year’s, but Festival of the Holidays ending on December 30 at least leaves that door open.
As a brief recap, we already know Festival of the Holidays is going to be scaled back this year, along with pretty much everything else this year. Full details are covered in 2020 Christmas Cancellations & Entertainment at Walt DisneyWorld. For EPCOT, the big losses are Candlelight Processional and the World Showcase Holiday Storytellers (Santas).
This announcement basically fleshes out what is happening during the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. The big thing is the Holiday Kitchen booths. With less than a week between the end of the Taste of EPCOT Food & Wine Festival and this, this is unsurprising. Many of those booths will simply have their facades and marquee altered, changing from Global Marketplaces to Holiday Kitchens overnight.
Here’s the full lineup of Holiday Kitchens:
American Holiday Table (American Adventure)
Enjoy a seasonal salute–dig into traditional dishes reminiscent of grandma’s cooking at the American Adventure Pavilion.
Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany)
Willkommen–help yourself to heartwarming holiday dishes and refreshing beverages at the Germany Pavilion.
Citrus Blossom (Showcase Plaza)
Toast the holidays with breathtaking beverages that include the Orange Cream Shake in a Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup (non-alcoholic).
Festival Favorites (World Showplace)
From blackened bass to duck confit, from frozen s’mores to tropical eggnog–come and get your very own favorites!
Holiday Hearth (World Showplace)
Discover the hearth you’ll call home, with special desserts, milkshakes, hot cocoa and so much more.
Holiday Sweets & Treats
Rock around the Christmas tree with goodies sure to top the “nice” list–at Promenade Refreshments.
L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (Between Morocco and France)
Propose a toast to life–sink your teeth into classic deli noshes with a side of New York flair.
Le Marché de NoÃ«l Holiday Kitchen (France)
Feast on très magnifique fare, wine and specialty cocktails from the France Pavilion.
Mele Kalikimaka (Showcase Plaza)
Savor the flavor of fabulous, festive food and beverages from the islands of Hawaii.
Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico)
Feliz Navidad–celebrate with mariachi dancing and south-of-the-border fare at the Mexican Pavilion!
Prost! (World Showplace)
Spread some holiday cheer with a cool brew from some of the finest regional breweries.
Sapphire Holiday Kitchen (Morocco)
Spice up your life with the exotic flavors of North Africa–visit the Morocco Pavilion for intriguing cuisine!
Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (China)
Have yourself a merry little meal–tempt taste buds with popular plates and potables from the China Pavilion!
Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan)
Please your palate with an array of festive dishes and drinks served at the Japan Pavilion.
Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy)
Mangiare–savor a seasonal take on some of the world’s best-loved food and beverages at the Italy Pavilion!
Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada)
Jingle your bells with delightful dishes and libations from the Great White North–at the Canada Pavilion.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a new holiday classic: Sweet Potato Casserole Funnel Cake.
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Salute the season with the usual selection of coffees, plus the tasty Caramel Tinsel Latte and Donut for the holidays.
Refreshment Port (Showcase Plaza)
Savor the flavor of holiday poutine and toast the season with specials like T.G. Lee Eggnog with Spiced Rum.
Chow down on this year’s holiday surprise: Warm Brown Sugar Stuffed Pretzel with Soft-Serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.
On a final food note, the Holiday Cookie Stroll also returns this year, with a cookie as reward for completing the confectionary collection from five different locations throughout the park. (Pro tip: you’re better off going to Publix…or literally any grocery store in Central Florida…or anywhere else in the parks…and just buying cookies.)
In terms of entertainment, Disney characters will appear dressed in their holiday finery traveling through World Showcase to spread holiday cheer. Character cavalcades will include Queen Anna and Elsa in the “Frozen Holiday Promenade” and Mickey Mouse and his pals making merry on the “Mickey and Friends Holiday World Tour.”
Santa Claus will also pay visits to EPCOT for the Christmas season, taking a grand horse-drawn carriage tour around World Showcase, calling out happy holiday wishes to all.
America Gardens Theatre will host the sounds of the season from Voices of Liberty, who will return to share favorite carols through their incredible harmonies. Mariachi Cobre will bring to life Las Posadas, a celebration of Mexican holiday customs through music and dance.
Over at the Canada pavilion, JAMMitors will grace the Mill Stage with their playful percussion. Inside World ShowPlace, fan-favorite JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season will present an uplifting journey through R&B, gospel, contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday music.
Finally, everyone’s favorite snowman from Frozen (also the *only* snowman from Frozen) invites kids of all ages on the new “Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition,” a festive scavenger hunt around World Showcase to round up holiday traditions that Olaf misplaces.
You can purchase the expedition map at Mouse Gear, Disney Traders or World Traveler at International Gateway, then look for hidden Olafs throughout the World Showcase pavilions. Once you find them all, you’ll receive a gift worth melting for (while supplies last).
Regular readers are probably getting sick of this warning, but we’d implore you to avoid EPCOT on weekends. They are already busy and that’s only going to get worse in November and December. Seriously, if you’re thinking about doing EPCOT on a Saturday or Sunday, our EPCOT Photo Report: Stay Away on Weekendsis essential reading. It’s arguably the most important piece of advice for families visiting in the next few months.
That’s probably on the mild side of the ‘feels like’ crowds at Walt Disney World in November and December. If our experiences in the parks this week have been any indication, the Christmas season could be uncomfortably congested.
Ultimately, the lineup for the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays doesn’t do a ton for us, quite honestly. The Holiday Kitchens were a given, and it’ll be nice to see the Voices of Liberty, but that’s about it. EPCOT has been getting progressively weak during the Christmas season the last several years, and losing both Candlelight Processional and the Holiday Storytellers is another big blow.
However, this isn’t to say Christmas-time at EPCOT will be weak. A lot depends upon the extent of the decorating, the surprise menu items, and more. On paper, last year’s Festival of the Holidays didn’t sound great, either. Then there was the surprise debut of Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights, some unexpected decor in Future World, special menu items at some of our favorite bakeries and ice cream shops, and the return of beloved background music. Whether the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays ends up being good or bad will truly come down to execution and ambition level.
Are you excited to experience the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays or will you be sitting this one out? Looking forward to the Holiday Kitchens, Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition, the live music, or the character cavalcades? Think there will be any pleasant surprises? Any tips you want to share to make the most of the experience? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!