Retiring Epcot chef: It’s a matter of “if” not “when” some Epcot restaurants reopen

Light crowds have become the new normal at Walt Disney World’s theme parks. While Disney has capped attendance, guest demand has reportedly been extremely low both at the parks and at the resorts. What does this mean for the restaurants that are currently closed at Epcot?

Bruno Vrignon, executive chef at Epcot’s France pavilion, spoke on the subject while announcing his retirement after 38 years of service. In a story posted on, Vrignon noted that it may be a matter of “if” not “when” the shuttered Epcot restaurants will reopen.

Asked when the restaurants would reopen, Weistroffer mused that the real question was if they would reopen. Most of the French staff members, including almost all of the servers, returned home when Epcot closed. Although the theme park has opened, its attendance numbers have not been sufficient to fully reopen all the culinary operations, he said, or to bring back the furloughed staff.

World Showcase is currently being staffed by a mix of cast members after many of the cultural representatives returned home. While returning the French cast members to the restaurants is part of the equation, guest demand is a much larger part of the decision. It doesn’t make sense to open the restaurants even with temporary staff if other dining locations are struggling to draw diners.

Realistically, Epcot will likely reopen many of its closed restaurants after health restrictions ease and the crowds begin to return. However, what those locations look like by that time is up for debate. Cast members associated with those locations may be forced to move on and find new opportunities if their furlough continues. That may mean altered menus and experiences when looking into Epcot’s future.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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