Now that the summer season at Walt Disney World is winding down, Disney is looking ahead to this year's 23rd edition of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which will kick off earlier than ever on August 30th and run until November 12th. Though we’ve known the basics behind this year’s event for some time, a few intriguing new details have emerged about just what exactly we can expect from this milestone year. 

Though 2018’s event will of course feature the requisite menu updates to kiosks around the World Showcase as well as the return of the Ratatouille-based scavenger hunt, and the Party for the Senses event, this year will also see a number of new changes that look to increase the scope of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and make its 2018 edition quite the celebratory affair! 

1. More kid-friendly offerings available this year

Image: Disney

Though the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is primarily thought of as an adult-focused event, Disney has been trying to make this event more family friendly in recent years, with the addition of the Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt and the addition of more kid-friendly food items. And in 2018, the following kid-focused activities will be available:

  • Junior Chef Kitchen presented by Krusteaz: “Junior Chefs” between the ages of 4 and 10 can participate in this complimentary experience where they will will make, decorate, and sample their own pancake creations using fun recipes. Participants will also receive their very own chef hat, apron and certificate of completion. Junior Chef Kitchen sessions are held at the Festival Center Spotlight Stage on Sundays at 11:00 AM. 
  • Disney Du Jour Dance Party: Taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, kids can head over to the Fountain View Stage in Future World to participate in a fun dance party featuring Disney character pairs including Remy and Emile, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps, Lilo and Stitch, Chip ‘n Dale or Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. 
  • Candy Sushi by Skittles: Young passholders can stop by Sunshine Seasons during the festival and try their hand at making Candy Sushi in a a family-friendly culinary workshop that teaches attendees how to transform their favorite sweets into masterful maki- or nigiri-style rolls with gummies, fruit strips and crisped rice. This event is offered daily at 3:30 PM and 5:30 PM and is complimentary for all ages

2. Annual Passholders to get additional perks this year

Image: Disney

Disney has announced that there will be several perks available for passholders planning to stop by Epcot this fall, including the following: 

  • Passholders can bring home a complimentary Chef Mickey Passholder magnet on their first visit to this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and then a Passholder-exclusive cutting board on their fourth visit. In order to receive these gifts, passholders will need to stop by the Festival Center and check in at a special booth near the Ghirardelli display.
  • Passholders can also get early access to Epcot from 8:00AM to 9:00AM on select Thursdays during the event and be among the first to purchase passholder-exclusive merchandise at The Festival Center and at MouseGears, as well as purchase mimosas from the Festival Center. This perk will be available on August 30th September 20th, and October 18th. 

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