My Best and Worst of the Epcot International Holiday Festival
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The Epcot International Holiday Festival is my favorite festival at Epcot. I love the food, the decorations, the storytellers and seeing characters spread holiday cheer.
Epcot, in my opinion, is the most magical when it comes to vacations. I’ve said before that my favorite holiday decorations are at Hollywood Studios, and I stand by that statement, but Epcot is everything. There are many food options at the festival and several entertainment offerings, and I think these things make the festival unforgettable. I also have to say that Epcot has my all time favorite Christmas tree. Every year for my birthday it’s a tradition to go to the Holiday Festival because it’s so special to me. I also try to make sure that every year I celebrate at least one Hanukkah night at L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen and watch the Hanukkah storyteller.
Now that I’ve 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 high note. This festival takes place during the busiest time of the year. One afternoon last weekend I ventured into Epcot and was promptly kicked out within 2 hours. The crowd looked like a dead end ocean. When the crowd looks like that, I start to feel uneasy, especially these days; before the pandemic, I wouldn’t mind that much. The line for every food stall on my to-do list was extremely long, like beyond the candlesticks.
My visit was also on one of those days when 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 also went to the festival the weekend before, and the crowds weren’t as bad and the weather was nicer. I got to try dishes last week that were on my to-do list and hoped to do the same on my last visit. The shortest line I saw was for the dessert stand, so that’s where I spent my time. In my opinion, this is the only “worst” I have for this festival because I like everything else.
The best things about the Holiday Festival are the food, the entertainment, the decorations and seeing every country celebrate the holidays. Every year, I look forward to this festival because I love storytellers and the different entertainment they have brought in recent years, like JOYFUL! and the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. The stories the storytellers share are the same every year, but there’s something so peaceful about it. Every year I patiently wait to finally see Santa Claus, La Befana and the Hanukkah storyteller. The story of Hanukkah has changed a bit over the years. They used to have a group of singers for the Hanukkah stage, and now there’s only one storyteller with a guitar. These storytellers add something different that other festivals don’t have; it’s an extra thing to do at each lodge.
I love grabbing a holiday treat and finding myself a place to watch a storyteller. I think it’s peaceful. The food at this festival is my favorite, although I haven’t had many opportunities to get all my favorite treats and try new treats this year. So far, I’ve been able to get a staple dish 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 La Posadas Holiday Kitchen which was very good. The tostada had pickled onions in it which added lots of flavor and went well with the black chipotle beans. This weekend I had my favorite dessert at the festival, which is the Red Velvet Bundt Cake. This red velvet cake is the best red velvet cake I have ever had. It is never dry or too sweet. I also think the dessert is so cute. I can’t wait to go back and get some of the other dishes on my list this year, like the grilled skewers from Café Tangierine, the ravioli from Tuscan Holiday Kitchen and the Holiday Pot Pie from American Holiday Table.
For the most part, Epcot’s International Holiday Festival has more better than worse, in my opinion. This festival will forever be in my heart, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t during the busiest time of the year. I hope to go there a few more times this holiday season and check off my list of foods I want to try, as well as see some other storytellers. Even though the crowds here are out in force, there are still ways to enjoy the festival. My most important tip 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’s your favorite part of Epcot’s International Holiday Festival? Let us know in the comments!