PHOTO REPORT: EPCOT 7/18/20 (Low Wait Times, Taste of Food & Wine Festival Fun, EPCOT Experience Update, and More)

It started out as a beautiful, clear morning, and while we had some stormy moments in the middle of the day, nothing could dampen our spirits while we were surrounded by the wonders of World Showcase at EPCOT.

With the new Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2020 going on now through a yet unknown date in the fall, we were able to sample some of the delicious dishes, find some of our favorite merchandise from EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival 2020, and see some characters from a safe social distance. Let’s get started!

Like with the parking lots at the other Walt Disney World theme parks, if you arrive even one minute before an hour ahead of official park opening time, the Cast Members at the EPCOT parking booths will send you through to the exit and will not let you line up to enter the park. We arrived a few minutes early and had to circle the area once, but made it in time to line up and be among the first group of cars to enter the parking lot at 10:15 am.

Even with the construction walls, we were glad to see this sight. The recent closure has put several projects in jeopardy, including the multi-level festival pavilion World Celebration.

One of the projects put on hold is the Mary Poppins themed expansion “Cherry Tree Lane,” rumored to be a spinning teacups-like ride and due to be added to the United Kingdom area of World Showcase. This 3D model is all that’s left of it in the EPCOT Experience, as its segment has been removed from the show, as has its poster from the walls outside of the theatre. For more information on these postponed projects, read our article here.

When we entered, we noticed that while the colorful decals had been removed from the legs of Spaceship Earth directing us where we could go to find certain attractions, Cast Members have been stationed with signs pointing us in the correct direction.

One of our favorite parts of the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival 2020 was the topiaries, and while the majority of them have been removed, a select few remain. One of the remaining installations is this friendly trio of Bambi, Thumper, and Flower. Spike the Bee has been removed from this installation. We noticed that while the topiaries themselves have been maintained, the plants around them have grown quite a bit in our absence, but we like the more natural look for this set of characters.

At 11:30 am the wait time for Test Track was 30 minutes. Not many people were outside of the attraction, and the crowd level was fairly low in other parts of the park as well.

Things were a little different over at Frozen Ever After, as their 35-minute line stretched out of the indoor queue, out of Norway, around the corner, and into the beginning of China. The line was moving along fairly well, but the difference in the visible length of the line was interesting.

We found the crowd levels today to be light by EPCOT standards, but busier than we’ve seen at some of the parks recently. This picture was taken around noon near Germany, and we feel it did get a little busier as the day went on.

We had an unexpected encounter with someone who is practically perfect in every way: Mary Poppins. She was out greeting guests from a safe distance in the garden in the United Kingdom. For more pictures and video, see our article here.

We spotted this lovely merchandise line while in the Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom pavilion after seeing Mary Poppins and we do agree it’s “brilliant.” It debuted along with a stylish pair of rose Minnie ears that have since sold out, but the full line hasn’t been available until now.

New for the festival this year is the option to choose between two sizes for your festival beer: 6 oz. or 12 oz. We think this option is long overdue and we are very happy to see it is finally here!

Also added to the Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival 2020 is the Burton’s Maplewood Farm booth, providing samples and full-size bottles of delicious maple syrup. One of their syrups, the Applejack Brandy Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, is used in the Apple Blossom Sky cocktail available from the Appleseed Orchard booth in the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion.

While not prominently displayed, EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival 2020 gift cards are still available to purchase at several merchandise locations around the park. We found this one at the Festival Market booth near Port of Entry.

We checked in on Journey Into Imagination With Figment to see if the skunk smell had returned to the ride. While the room did have a lingering odor upon entry, the iconic smell was not released on cue, so we’re assuming that it’s still temporarily unavailable.

While we’re disappointed that we can’t meet the characters in person, having them pass so close by us, like Mickey and Minnie are doing here in Mickey and Friends World Tour, is pretty special.

We closed out the day with a delicious El Diablo margarita from La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion, one of the places we missed the most during the closure. This margarita uses cucumber and jalapeño juice, giving it a cool and simultaneously smoky flavor.

We don’t feel like we got enough time to fully enjoy the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival 2020, so when we saw that Mouse Gear had restocked the Festival Limited Edition Wishables, we couldn’t resist. And don’t forget, Annual Passholders get 30% off merchandise from now until August 14!

We had a great day at EPCOT, we hope you enjoyed coming along with us. Have a magical day!

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