The evolution of Walt Disney World's festivals at EPCOT

Ever wonder how EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival got started?

"It started in 1996 as a way to bring guests to EPCOT during that time in the fall where we had a gap in some of our attendance, which, you know, is a good problem to solve. We have great chefs from all around the world, international cuisine, of course, known as the foodie part. So, food was the natural fit," said Dave Kesting, Disney’s General Manager of Festivals.

"In most occasions, you find that summer is the busiest time in all our parks around Central Florida," Kesting added. "Food and Wine is our busiest time at EPCOT. Summer is actually [a] slower and slower time for us here."

Christmas is right around the corner too and the Candlelight Processional is coming back.

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Epcot International Festival of the Arts

(Photo by DisneyParks Blog)

"We're super excited. That's a crowd favorite," Kesting said. "That started out in 1958 actually in Disneyland with the Candlelight Processional, then came over to the Magic Kingdom, and eventually found a home at EPCOT."

"The Flower Garden Festival is another one of our popular festivals that started as a three-day showcase of just showing up at Gray Gardens and topiaries for professionals in horticulture. It was only eight years ago that we actually added the food component and that's all about Mother Earth and the gardens and the fresh vegetables and what Mother Earth provides. It's a big hit," Kesting told FOX 35.

One of the most beautiful events is the Festival of the Arts.

"It’s what do we do in between are our holidays and our Flower Garden Festival. We know, we knew we had the missing gap. People love Disney art, Disney artists. We add in our Disney on Broadway partners, which has been a huge hit for our guests. And, you combine that with some of the most stunning food and beverage presentations. It's a perfect trio," Kesting said.

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He ended with, "we have so many talented folks and Imagineers in our food and beverage world and our entertainment partners, they really do a great job. It's a perfect trifecta of food, entertainment, and merchandise."

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