PREVIEW: EPCOT’s Festival of the Holidays is Coming!

Rain BlankenBlog, Food

Festival of the Holidays Entertainment

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!

Festival of the Holidays epcot

Rain Blanken chats with Walt Disney World entertainment producers. Photo by Todd Turner

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!

Did you miss it? Follow us on Facebook to catch us live streaming exclusive Disney news and experiences.

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.

joyful epcot holiday festival

Joyful is one of the most upbeat shows at Festival of the Holidays. Photo by Todd Turner

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.

characters festival of the holidays

Rain meets Belle and tries to act cool at the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays media preview. Photo by Todd Turner

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.

epcot festival holidays menu

Canadian Wild Rice and Ham Soup. Photo by Todd Turner

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.

Festival of the Holidays food

Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce and Spatzle. Photo by Todd Turner

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.

smoked salmon potato latke

Smoked Salmon Potato Latke from L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen. Photo by Todd Turner

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.

bruni cupcake frozen 2

The adorable Bruni cupcake has a delicious chocolate filling! Photo by Todd Turner

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.

Santa Mickey Completer Cookie

Complete the EPCOT Cookie Stroll and receive this complimentary Santa Mickey Completer Cookie! Photo by: Courtney Reynolds

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!

Festival Souvenirs

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.

olaf mugs frozen gifts

Olaf mugs, ready to wrap and put under the tree. Photo by Todd Turner

frozen 2 dolls

New Frozen 2 dolls show off some new costumes. Photo by Todd Turner

festival of the holidays passholder shirt

Festival of the Holidays merch includes a few Passholder exclusives. Photo by Todd Turner

christmas tree spree epcot

The Christmas Tree Spree holiday scavenger hunt offers ornaments as rewards. Photo by Todd Turner

festival of the holidays steins

Festival of the Holidays steins to hold your fav seasonal drink. Photo by Todd Turner

disney world christmas spirit jersey

This Chip and Dale spirit jersey just makes us nuts. Photo by Todd Turner

Living With the Land: Merry and Bright Nights

living with the land holiday lights

Living With the Land: Merry and Bright Nights straight ahead! Photo by Rain Blanken

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! 

living with the land christmas lights

Living With the Land: Merry and Bright Nights brings a twinkle to the greenhouses. Photo by Rain Blanken

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!

About the Author

Rain Blanken

Rain Blanken is the frying pan-wielding managing editor for WDW Magazine. She is a published author who has been working in digital media for 15 years. She is a DVC Member, WDW Annual Pass holder, former Disney Vacation Planner, and would live inside Boma if they would just stop checking under the tables at night. Chat with Rain on Instagram