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The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is my favorite festival at Epcot. I love the food, the decorations, the storytellers, and seeing characters spreading holiday cheer.
Epcot, in my opinion, is the most magical when it comes to the holidays. I have said before that my favorite holiday decorations are at Hollywood Studios, and I still stand by that statement, but Epcot is the whole package. There are many food options at the festival and several entertainment offerings, and I feel that those things make the festival unforgettable. I also have to say that Epcot has my favorite Christmas tree of all time. Each year for my birthday it is a tradition to go to the Festival of the Holidays because it is that special to me. I also try to make sure that each year I celebrate at least one night of Hanukkah at the L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen and watch the Hanukkah storyteller.
Now that I have shared my love for the festival, I also have to point out the not-so-good parts of the festival, like the crowds.
I want to start with the worst parts of the festival first so we can end the article on a positive note. This festival takes place during the busiest time of the year. On one afternoon this past weekend, I ventured into Epcot, and I was quickly pushed out within 2 hours. The crowds looked like an ocean with no way out. When the crowds look that way, I start to get uncomfortable, especially these days; pre-pandemic it wouldn’t bother me as much. The line for each food booth on my must-do list was extremely long, like past the stanchions long.
My visit was also on one of those days where it felt like summer in December, which didn’t help. The heat, the crowds, and the hot food; I just couldn’t do it. I went to the festival the prior weekend as well, and the crowds weren’t as bad and the weather was nicer. I was able to try some food last week that was on my must-do list, and I was hoping to do the same on my latest visit. The shortest line I saw was for the dessert booth, so that is where I spent my time. In my opinion, this is the only “worst” I have for this festival because I love everything else about it.
The best things about the Festival of the Holidays are the food, the entertainment, the decorations and seeing each country celebrate the holidays. Each year, I look forward to this festival because I love the storytellers and the different entertainment they have brought in the past few years, like JOYFUL! and the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. The tales that the storytellers share are the same each year, but there is something so peaceful about that. Each year I wait patiently to finally see Père Noël, La Befana, and the Hanukkah storyteller. The Hanukkah story has changed a bit throughout the years. They used to have a band of singers for the Hanukkah stage, and now there is just one storyteller with a guitar. These storytellers add something different that the other festivals don’t have; it’s one extra thing to do at each pavilion.
I love grabbing a holiday treat and finding myself a spot to watch a storyteller. I think it’s peaceful. The food at this festival is my favorite, even though I haven’t had many opportunities to get all my favorite treats and try new treats this year. So far, I have been able to get a must-do dish that I get every year: Potato Latkes and a Black and White cookie. Every year during Hanukkah, I get my favorite treat to celebrate the holiday. I also tried the Giant Tostada de Chorizo from the La Posadas Holiday Kitchen, which was very good. The tostada had pickled onions on it, which added a lot of flavor and went well with the chipotle black beans. This weekend, I got my favorite dessert at the festival, which is the Red Velvet Bundt Cake. That red velvet cake is the best red velvet cake I’ve ever had. It’s never dry or overly sweet. I also think that dessert is just so dang cute. I am looking forward to going back and getting some of the other dishes on my list this year, like the Grilled Kebabs from Tangierine Cafe, ravioli from the Tuscany Holiday Kitchen, and the Holiday Pot Pie from American Holiday Table.
For the most part, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays has more best than worst, in my opinion. This festival will forever have my heart, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t during the busiest time of year. I hope to go a few more times this holiday season and check off my list of foods I want to try, along with seeing some more storytellers. Even though the crowds are here in full force, there are still ways to enjoy the festival. My most significant piece of advice is to take a deep breath and go at your own pace to accomplish all the things you want to see at the festival. Happy Holidays, everyone!
What is your favorite part of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays? Let us know in the comments!
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.