EPCOT Reopening
EPCOT reopening at Walt Disney World Resort (Photo: Kent Phillips)

Epcot During COVID-19: How to Do the ‘Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival’ with Kids

The reopening of Walt Disney World in Orlando during COVID-19 also brought the first day of the new Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This hybrid Flower and Garden and Food and Wine festival brings the best of the spring and fall Epcot festivals into one. Why? Well, guests can enjoy some of the beautiful topiaries and tastes from the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival that ended abruptly in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with some of the fan-favorite tastes and sounds of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

The Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is Epcot’s longest festival ever, starting July 15 with no end date announced except “late fall.” While the festival might look a little different this year, there are some great things for kids and parents to do together at Epcot, including trying new foods and a kid-friendly scavenger hunt.

Top 5 Kid-Friendly Foods at the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

If your kids love trying new foods, the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has some new and returning dishes that are super kid-friendly. After making my way around World Showcase to try some of the best bites, I’m ready to share the top kid-friendly items that your little chefs will enjoy.

  1. Mini Street Corn Funnel Cake from the Funnel Cake Stand near The American Adventure: This funnel cake is a new twist on the sweet and savory combination and utilizes flavors from Mexican street corn called elote. The funnel cake is topped with roasted corn, cotija cheese, cumin crema, and then dusted with paprika.
  2. Pão de Queijo from the Brazil Marketplace: This Brazilian cheese bread is a Food and Wine Festival favorite. You get two pieces of warm bread filled with globs of melty cheese.
  3. Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup from the Canada Marketplace: This is the exact same soup that’s served inside the Canada pavilion at Le Cellier. During the festival you can devour the soup without a reservation to a restaurant, which is major win in our book. The soup is served with a pretzel roll for dipping.
  4. Liquid Nitro Cake Pop with Twix Chocolate Bars from the Desserts and Champagne Marketplace: You’ll find this marketplace inside World Showplace between the United Kingdom and Canada pavilions. The chocolate cake pop is huge and easily shareable. You’re going to want to bring your kids up to order this dessert with you because the chefs behind the counter are dipping each cake pop in chocolate then straight into liquid nitrogen to freeze the chocolate. The cake pop gets handed over to you still smoking from the liquid nitrogen, which kids will love.
  5. Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese from the Mac and Cheese Marketplace: There aren’t many things kids love more than macaroni and cheese, and at this festival there’s an entire booth dedicated to the dish. While there are four different macaroni and cheese options to choose from, I think kids will like the less experimental gourmet macaroni and cheese, which is topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and panko bread crumbs.

Kidcot Is Still Available, But It’s Modified

One thing I know kids love doing at Epcot is participating in the Kidcot program. Kidcot allows kids to interact with cast members from the countries represented by each World Showcase pavilion and do a simple activity at each station. Kidcot is still available, but it’s modified a bit.

Now, instead of picking up individual items at each World Showcase pavilion, you can make one stop at any pavilion and get all of the items needed packaged up in a Kidcot ziplock bag. Take the bag around World Showcase with you and let your kids learn something new about each country while completing an activity.

Note that since Disney has reopened, cultural representatives in each World Showcase country are limited, and some countries don’t have any at all. If your kids really want to talk to someone from another country, try checking out Italy, Mexico, or France, which still have some cultural representatives.

There’s a Scavenger Hunt around World Showcase Just for Kids

Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt is a fun way for kids to stay engaged at a park that’s typically known as Disney’s more adult park. The first thing you’ll need to do is pick up a scavenger hunt map, which can be purchased at Pin Traders Camera Center at the front of the park, Port of Entry at the entrance to World Showcase, or World Traveler at Epcot’s International Gateway.

Then as you travel around World Showcase, you’ll need to be on the lookout for Remy in each pavilion. When you find him, place the corresponding sticker on your map. When the scavenger hunt map is completely full and each sticker has been placed, take it back to any one of the purchasing locations to redeem your prize. The map costs $7, so you’re essentially paying for the prize, but it’s a fun activity the whole family can get involved with.

Take a Break and Enjoy Some Live Music

Throughout the day at the American Adventure pavilion, guests can stop and enjoy some live music in the America Gardens Theater. One that kids will love the most is the JAMMitors. These fun-loving musicians take everyday objects like steel garbage cans and cookware and make unique music with them.

Enjoying live music is a great way to take a break at Epcot, especially when it’s super hot out. The JAMMitors are at the America Gardens Theater every day from 1:30 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. For exact showtimes, be sure to ask a Cast Member in the area.

FamilyVacationist’s Epcot Touring Tips

  1. Drink a lot of water: Let’s just be really clear here, Epcot and every other Walt Disney World theme park is going to be hot through mid-October, and wearing a mask makes staying hydrated even harder. Part of Disney’s new health and safety standards is that guest have to be sitting or standing in a stationary position to take their mask off to eat or drink. The best way to be sure you get enough water is to stop often, away from the main walkways, and get everyone in your group to drink water. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day will prevent you from getting dehydrated and sick.
  2. Know how to use the MyDisneyExperience App: The free MyDisneyExperience app is the official app of the Walt Disney World Resort. Before your trip, you’re going to want to download the app because not only does it have valuable information like wait times and park operation times, it also has an entire section dedicated to the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This is where you’ll find menus, entertainment schedules, and more.
  3. Do not go on weekends: This might be hard for some families, but Epcot is notoriously busier on weekends during festival seasons. Going to Epcot on any weekday of your upcoming trip will give you less crowds to deal with, making the park easier to navigate.

The Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a great way to spend a day at Walt Disney World, especially since there is still so much for kids to do. If you follow a few simple guidelines and go into Epcot with a tentative plan, you’re sure to get everything you want done without having to add another Epcot Park Pass on to your vacation plans.

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Megan duBois
Megan duBois is a freelance writer who covers theme parks, cruising, food and drink, and family travel. Her work has appeared on Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Insider, Orbitz, The Daily Meal, Family Vacation Critic, TravelPulse, and more. Megan has been quoted as an expert and thought leader on theme parks for Forbes and other outlets. Follow her on Instagram @MinglingwithMickey and Twitter @Megand513 for theme park travel tips and tricks, and email her at megand513 [at] gmail [dot] com for story ideas.