Mickey's Not So Happening Halloween Party and Taste of EPCOT
As the parks gear up to open, we found out a little more about some popular events at Walt Disney World.
Last night, the Disney Parks Blog announced in blog post the decision on 2 of the biggest upcoming events - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. The news was mixed.
First the not-so-magical news.
H20 Glow Nights and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party have been cancelled for 2020. In fairness to Disney, this makes sense. With no parades, candy stops, fireworks, and few non-Florida resident visitors, it makes little economic sense for Disney or guests alike. If you recall last year, Disney offered passports to the party for almost every night of the party (except Halloween) for $300. That fantastic offer was taken up by many locals who went multiple times. However, that likely won't cover the operating costs of opening the Magic Kingdom for all those hours, let alone make it profitable (even with no parades, shows, candy, or fireworks).
Now, for the magical finale.
Along with this announcement, the blog post also told us the fate of the Food and Wine Festival...it's been (almost) saved for 2020.
In what is a strange mash-up of festivals, guests will be able to enjoy "A Taste of the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival", which will combine the food from the Food and Wine Festival (socially distant of course), with the merchandise (and maybe the topiaries?) of the Flower and Garden Festival, from July 15th when EPCOT re-opens until the fall (when Food and Wine Festival will be released). There will be no entertainment from the "Eat to the Beats" concert series and likely none of the other events (such as the culinary demonstrations), whose fate is still be determined.
There was also mention of the Christmas season events (Festival of the Holidays and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party), with no final decision made. Likely, given the fact that COVID-19 numbers are on the rise in Florida, the costs of throwing such large-scale events, and the potential health risks, it's safe to say that these events will be heavily modified or cancelled altogether. For instance, don't expect the "snow" to fall down Main Street USA due to health concerns with guests in the park (they'll likely film Christmas parade events with no guests / selected guests in the park) but you may see a modified Candlelight Processional held in the Fantasmic theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios to allow for social distancing as a ticketed event for DVC, AP and resort guests.
Adding a modified EPCOT Food and Wine Festival clearly shows the importance of the festival to revenues and it's popularity with local guests. With EPCOT still under construction (remember, it's still torn up with little / no work done during the park closure), locals would likely take a pass on EPCOT except to see the new France expansion when it opens and to sample the food from Space 220 when it opens. Having the food available from Food and Wine will definitely drive local resident traffic back to the parks, including EPCOT.
As for the Flower and Garden merchandise, it will likely slowly disappear once the Character Warehouse re-opens, since it will be a hard sell to locals who know that visitors from abroad will not be there in any real numbers to scoop it up and the costs will drop substantially once it hits the outlet.
As for Disneyland and the Oogie Boogie Bash, I think it's safe to say that the announcement of it's cancellation will be imminent.