Two more Walt Disney World theme parks reopened on Wednesday. At Hollywood Studios, the Star Wars land and the new Mickey Mouse ride were popular choices, and Epcot had treats for foodies at a mini festival set up around the park.
Similar to the opening Saturday of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, the crowds were light by design and everyone was wearing face masks. Disney hasn’t released information on how much it is limiting capacity, but reservations that are required to enter the park were sold out for opening day of Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Pictures posted on social media Wednesday showed parks that look fairly empty for what would have been the height of vacation season.
The shopping experience has changed a bit in the new Hollywood Studios land Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Some shops were closed and there was a short queue to enter the marketplace area, to keep shoppers spaced apart. The popular Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride changed its virtual queue process to space out the boarding groups throughout the day.
One of the longest waits of the day was at Hollywood Studios, where the average wait time was 70 minutes for the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The ride-through cartoon attraction opened just a week before Disney closed all of its theme parks on March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past decade, Epcot has become a foodie destination with its many restaurants devoted to cuisines around the world and for its popular annual International Food and Wine Festival. Wednesday revealed a mini version called “A Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival,” with 20 marketplaces set up around the park.
“This year’s festival will be understandably different from what it was in the past,” wrote Karen McClintock, the food content manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, on the official Disney Parks Blog.
The idea for this smaller festival is to avoid the huge crowds that accompany the International Food and Wine Festival each year. On Wednesday, videos posted on social media showed a park with wide open spaces, light crowds and workers welcoming visitors to Epcot by holding up flags from around the world.
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But fear not, festival favorites from Canada — the cheddar and bacon soup and the filet mignon with truffle butter sauce — are still there. New this year is a digital guidebook available on the My Disney Experience mobile app where you can check out the lineup at the marketplaces. There’s also a scavenger hunt game based on the characters from Ratatouille.
Some of dishes being offered include:
- A Mac and Cheese marketplace from Boursin cheese with spins on the comfort food, including Buffalo chicken, lobster macaroni and cheese, and a plant-based version with housemade Italian “sausage” and peppers.
- The Appleseed Orchard in the World Showcase offers a charcuterie and cheese brandy barrel-aged maple syrup and also a caramel-apple popcorn. You can wash it down with Raspberry Lemonade Dry Hard Cider made by 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg.
- A Hawaii showcase features pork sliders with pineapple chutney, teriyaki-glazed Spam hash and a sparkling pineapple wine from St. Petersburg’s Florida Orange Groves.
- Impossible Foods returns with its line of vegetarian eats including an Impossible Farmhouse Meatball, plant-based sliders and vegan chocolate pudding.
- There is also a dessert and sparkling wine booth that sells cake pops made with chocolate chilled with liquid nitrogen and a frozen s’mores drink.
- You can also find kielbasa pierogi with caramelized onions from Poland, an Irish seafood fisherman’s pie and spanakopita from Greece.
Before visitors can even consider going to a theme park at Walt Disney World, they will need a date-specific park reservation, made through disneyworld.com, in addition to their tickets or annual passes. Park hopping is not currently allowed, so you can only reserve a spot at one park per day. Those reservations have been in demand, with many days in July already sold out.