Earlier this week it was revealed that Epcot would be hosting yet another special event in 2017, The Epcot International Festival of the Arts. And then yesterday dates were released for the 2017 edition of The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which showed that the event will be getting underway a full two weeks earlier than in 2016, now kicking off on August 31 and lasting until November 13, 2017 for a record 75 days in total, the longest (by far) this event has ever gone on for.
Now assuming the Holidays Around the World festival next year lasts about a month (as it generally does), we’re looking at an operational calendar that includes more than 220 festival days during the next year. With festivals now taking up more than 60% of Epcot's calendar in 2017, fans may wonder why Disney is expanding special events in this park so aggressively. And interestingly, though Disney hasn’t confirmed anything, the answer may be related to some recent comments from Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek that were made earlier this month...
Epcot is about to go through some massive changes
Last week at the D23: Destination D event held at Walt Disney World, Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek confirmed to hundreds of attendees that Epcot is in the process of being reimagined, and this park will be getting an overhaul sometime in the coming years (similar to what is happening now at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). Though no timetables regarding this nascent project were given, Chapek said that Imagineers are being encouraged to “dream big” in regards to their plans to revive this park, suggesting that this new project will be fairly large in scale. And though we’ve heard some interesting rumors in the past few months about the Guardians of the Galaxy moving into this park, Chapek did say that the current plans (which are still coming together) will be both uniquely Disney and true to Epcot's original vision.
Learning from the Past
Though we’re hopeful that the changes that Disney will be making to this park will help bring Epcot up to date in new and exciting ways, it looks like Disney has already learned from the mistakes it has made with the stuttering re-launch of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Though ground has just barely been broken on both Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land at this park, many guests have been opting to skip a visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios while all the construction is going on, which has lead to a recent resurgence in limited time character appearances and in-park entertainment at this park as Disney tries very hard to convince guests that Disney’s Hollywood Studios in its current state is still worth visiting.
However, while Disney scrambles with the current state of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it looks like they are preparing early with Epcot, implementing a longer festival calendar for 2017 so that guests get used to seasonal entertainment at this park, and won’t have to worry about what to do when a large amount of attractions close all at once, as more and more guests flock to this park for special events, instead of the opportunity to ride Test Track or watch Impressions de France.