The EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival is over, but don’t worry… those tasting booths are coming back. The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays starts soon, running from November 29th to December 30th, 2019. Here is everything we tasted, heard, and saw at the media preview!
Update: We went to the Fest and I’m taking you on a tour with me in our YouTube video:
New and Returning Entertainment
Mariachi Cobre kicked off the media preview festivities, filling the World Showplace with trumpets and songs. Soon, Father Christmas made an appearance, ringing the festival in with his bell. He introduced dancing Chinese lion dancers that wished us all good luck! You won’t want to miss these acts at the festival this year!
David Baldree and Bruce Skinner-Light, Producers with Disney Parks Live Entertainment talked directly to WDW Magazine fans on Facebook, as I asked them what was new this year!
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Joyful: A Celebration of the Season will be right at the entrance of World Showcase, sharing their upbeat gospel tunes that will have you dancing into your holiday adventure.
Chilli Da Mur is coming to the Germany pavilion, replacing one of my favorites, the admittedly oddly-fitting Durch & Durch punk rock band (not quite fuzzy holiday music). Chilli Da Mur is going to bring folk and pop songs with hefty vocals on tap.
The Candlelight Processional will host another litany of celebrities in 2019, including a new host, Lisa Ling and returning after a few years, fan-favorite, Marlee Matlin.
Holiday Characters will be available for meet-and-greets all over EPCOT, including Belle in her adorable red velvet dress. She was kind enough to say my reindeer getup was nice.
Check here for a full list of entertainment available at the Festival of the Holidays.
Food at the Holiday Kitchens
Did you know that the Festival of the Holidays wasn’t always so foodie-tastic? It’s hard to imagine since every culture around World Showcase has such amazing celebratory food. But until 2016, this festival was known as Holidays Around the World and lacked the Holiday Kitchens we’ve come to love exploring.
Thank goodness for this new tradition. The foodie booths that were hosting adventurous Food and Wine fare just a couple of weeks ago will be transformed to serve more traditional foods that are associated with seasonal celebrations in their homelands.
At the media preview, several dishes were available to try ahead of the fest. If there was ever a reason to be decked out in reindeer gear before Thanksgiving, this was it.
Our first stop was chilly Canada, where they know their way around a warm soup. The Canadian Wild Rice and Ham Soup with Almonds served with a Pretzel Roll was not too salty, and the slivers of almonds gave the stew some dimension. The bonus pretzel roll made this a well-balanced warm-up.
The decadent Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce and Spatzle featured al dente-style noodles with a rich sauce that played more like a gravy and had nice, big chunks of mushroom. You’ll be able to find this Christmas gift at the Bavaria booth during the fest.
Hands-down my favorite tasting of the night was the Smoked Salmon Potato Latke from the L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen. The latke was crisp and the smoked salmon was juicy and bright.
We also had a chance to savor the Bruni cupcake, which featured a chocolate version of the adorable little fire salamander from Frozen 2. This cupcake is currently available at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway pavilion.
And the Cookie Stroll is back! We can’t wait to go on this sweet mission around World Showcase. Try enough cookies and you’ll score a free one!
The latest in Frozen and Festival of the Holidays merchandise was also on display for us at the media preview. I stepped past the jewelry offerings and was pretty excited to see the new costumes on the Anna and Elsa dolls.
Living With the Land: Merry and Bright Nights
My favorite ride at EPCOT, Living with the Land, received a twinkling makeover for the holiday season. If this is Mickey’s yard, then you know he’s going to decorate it for Christmas!
This experience decorates the greenhouse plants with lots of cheerful lights. Expect the same ride past the buffalo, but after that, it’s a winter wonderland (even at the fish tanks).
Thank you to Disney for inviting us out to the media preview. If you want to see it all in action once the festival is in full swing, don’t miss our December issue of WDW Magazine!