I was invited by Disney last month to attend a social media and marketing summit. One of the things they wanted us to experience was the Festival of the Arts at Epcot. I haven't experienced this festival since 2018 which was only it's second year so I was looking forward to it! It's one of my favorite festivals because it's not just about food and drinks, there is so much more to see and do (but of course there is a lot of great food and drinks!) Here is everything this festival has to offer and every reason you should visit during January or February to check it out.
Strike a pose and feel like apart of history or your own artistic masterpiece. Thru the World Showcase you'll find these backdrops where you can put yourself into a famous work of art. They include:
Peter Pan Storybook on the Bridge to World Showcase
The Scream – Edvard Munch between the Italy and Germany pavilions
Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci between the Italy and Germany pavilions
Homage to Frida Kahlo in the Mexico pavilion
Washington Crossing the Delaware – Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze in The American Adventure pavilion plus more!
What I love is that they have a photo of the actual painting in the back along with instructions on how to replicate it yourself. At Washington Crossing the Delaware there was a Photo Pass photographer so everyone could get in on the fun! There are also Festival exclusive Magic Shots, many including Figment so always be sure to ask your photographer what they have.
My favorite part of all festivals, the Food Studios or booths. I worked hard to try as many as I could this year but there is still so much more! Here is everything I tried and what I thought.
El Artista Hambriento - Mexico
Carne Asada - Chipotle-marinated beef sirloin, sweet potato puree and crispy fried onions. 10/10 - Fantastic, cooked to perfection.
Bombon Margarita 'Marshmallow' - illegal mezcal reposado, marshmallow cordial, lime juice, agave nectar and a hint of coffee and elderflower. 8/10 - Not too sweet but had some great flavor.
Deco Delights near Port of Entry
Espresso Martini featuring boyd & blair potao vodka. 10/10 - I love a good Espresso Martini
The Artist's Table - The American Adventure
Hummingbird Cake - banana cake with pineapple, coconut, pecans and cream cheese frosting with banana sorbet 9/10 - This was great, loved the sorbet but you can't beat Art Smith's version.
L'art de la Cuisine Francaise - France
Frozen French Martini - grey goose vodka, chambord liqueur, pineapple, orange and grape juices with lemon-lime foam. 6/10 - This was a little tart, I didn't love the mix of flavors.
Moderne near Test Track
Pan-Seared Scallops - with vanilla-butternut squash puree, brown butter cauliflower puree and limo foam. 10/10 - I could live off of scallops, especially when they melt in your mouth like butter!
Watermelon Mary - featuring boyd & blair potato vodka. 7/10 - I'm not a big Bloody Mary fan but this was refreshing.
Goshiki - Japan
Sushi Donut - donut-shaped sushi featuring salmon, tuna, shrimp, cucumber and sesame seed over a plate of wasabi aioli, siracha aioli and eel sauce. 9/10 - Sushi and the Japan booth are always a good choice
Purple Yuzu Sake Lemonade - sake cocktail infused with bufferfly pea flower and yuzu lemonade. 5/10 - Lemonade is usually too sweet for my taste and this was no different. And I just didn't love the combination of flavors.
The Craftsman's Courtyard near Creations
Cold Fashion Coffee Cocktail - 9/10 I love a good coffee infused cocktail. Where my fellow sports parents at?! (I'm talking to you in particular hockey parents!)
Pop Eats! near Port of Entry
Tomato Soup - with pimento cheese, bacon and fried green tomato grilled cheese. 6/10 - I may have liked the regular grilled cheese better. I didn't love all the flavors in the Pimento Grilled Cheese but the soup was great. Very brothy and not a thick as you would expect tomato soup to be.
Expression Section: A Paint by Numbers Mural
You can contribute to a giant mural on one of the Epcot walls!
First step is to head to the Expression Section booth to pick up your paint and supplies. You can choose a color if you'd like. I let them pick for me so they gave me this periwinkle blue because there was so much of it on the mural. The paint will have a number on it and that corresponds to where you paint on the mural. I had 5 so I could paint any square where I found the number 5.
Next is to get in line to paint. The line does not take very long, they just like to make sure there is only so many people painting at a time. You'll see numbers on the ground. You will be assigned a number to head to based on the color number you have. Then your instructions are to paint any 5 squares with your color.
Pro tip; the brushes are square so use the flat end or long way to brush, it's much easier. The paint sponges they give you are the exact size of the squares so easy peasy!
There are always a few different murals each year. They are replaced as they are completed. Mine was It's a Small World. It's a cute and fun way to participate in the festival, my kids would get a kick out of it! I just wonder what they do with the murals when they are done?!
Booths are set up all around the park and feature artwork to purchase and even the artists themselves there to sign. There are sculptures, prints and canvases from a range of prices in a variety of characters.
Disney shares a schedule of who will be appearing each week. Some of the most popular artists are Ashley Taylor, Eric Tan, Dylan Bonner, Will Gay and from the Thomas Kincade Studio Larry Doston and Rob Kaz. If you are lucky you can even catch some of them in action. It's worth taking your time to stroll around and take in all the beautiful pieces.
Entertainment and Chalk Art
Disney on Broadway and Animation Academy
The American Gardens Theater features a few events. One is the Animation Academy where you can learn how to draw Disney characters from animation artists. The second is Disney on Broadway.
A schedule is shared a few months in advance so you can check who will be performing while you are visiting. For my trip, it was Patty Murin and Robert Creighton. Patty was the original Anna in Frozen. Robert starred as Weselton in Frozen, Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid, and Timon in the Lion King. Shows are each night at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8 PM.
The performances as you can imagine were top-notch. They were both so entertaining. Patty has a beautiful voice and it was so much fun watching Robert tap dance.
They do offer dining packages for a reserved seat up front but the theater was not crowded at all. I got there right before the show started and there were plenty of seats available so I'd say a dining package isn't necessary.
World Showcase Plaza features a stage where you can see different types of
entertainment. Musicians such as Don Black and Nicholas Marks, performance art as artists create in front of your eyes and Art Defying Gravity acrobatics. The entertainment in Epcot is never to be missed, the hardest part is choosing what to see because you can't see it all!
For the Kids
With every festival comes scavenger hunts and this one is Figment's Brush with the Masters. Find Figment hiding in famous artwork at each pavilion (just look for the Figment picture frame). To participate you must purchase a map and stickers at either Creations, Port of Entry or World Traveler for $9.99. Then when complete return to World Travel for a prize.
Chalk Art Galleries feature talented artists who can make almost anything with chalk! Some appear to be in 3D so if taken from the right angle it can appear as if you are in the picture! Then there is even a kids chalk area where they let their imaginations run wild!
And keep an eye out around World Showcase for characters drawn with chalk like Luca and Alberto in the Italy pavilion. These are so fun to spot!
I'm sad to see the end of this festival but Flower and Garden is right around the corner! If you want to visit during next years festival reach out to one of the talented trave advisors at Coasters & Castles Travel!
Melissa Lenox is a Gold Level Vacation Specialist and blog editor with Coasters & Castles Travel. She is a former entertainment cast member, loves Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, Chip 'n Dale, great food and planning trips for others! Follow her on her pages below or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to plan your next adventure!
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