It’s no secret that Walt Disney World is in a constant state of change. As the theme park giant works to bring new experiences and attractions to its many fans, it has also had to make cuts, close favorite attractions, and make some controversial decisions over the past few years. And while guests have been excitedly looking towards the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well as the rebirth of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, many have felt like Epcot is being left out of all of this forward momentum.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Last year, it was revealed that a “shot in the arm” strategy was being considered to help bring new life to this park. And while we’re still waiting to hear about this (and the project schedule for this park is oddly blank beyond 2016) here’s everything that is happening right now at this park
1. The 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival gets super-sized (again)
Though we already knew that 2016 would bring a super-sized Flower and Garden Festival to Epcot (which was beefed up to a full 90 days this year, more then two weeks longer than 2015’s 75 day event), it looks like this park’s other big event is getting extended as well. It was confirmed earlier this week that the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will now run for a record 62 days in 2016, way up from the 53 days that comprised 2015’s record-setting edition of this Festival. The 2016 Food and Wine festival will now begin on September 14th and will run every day through November 14th.
This growth of this event isn’t exactly a surprise, as Epcot’s events have been getting bigger and bigger over the past few years. However, it will be interesting to see what the saturation point is for these events, as the Orlando Sentinel reports that event days now cover just over 41% of Epcot’s operations calendar (and that’s not including the Holidays Around the World festivities, either). Could 2017 be the year that Epcot’s event days hit the 50% point? This would have seemed like a ludicrous idea a few years ago, but with 152 confirmed event days in 2016, a calendar that includes 183 event days (which would technically be just over 50%) doesn’t seem that crazy anymore.
Of course, that still doesn’t address why these extensions are happening in the first place. While much of the reason behind these expansions probably has a lot to do with the fact that these festivals make Disney parks tons of money while guests sip and snack at the various event kiosks that appear at both the Flower and Garden as well as the Food and Wine festivals, there could be another benefit to extending these festivals as well. Disney executives have hinted that big things are on the horizon for Epcot, and while nothing has been announced yet, if projects like the long-rumored Imagination pavilion reboot come to fruition in 2017 and beyond, extended festivals would be a great way to keep guests coming to the parks while other attractions are out of service.