Each year Kyle and I make an effort to attend all four of the festivals at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT park. The Festival of the Arts is great reason to make the trip to Disney!
The crowds are often much smaller for this festival. We enjoy the cooler weather compared to the Flower & Garden and Food & Wine Festivals! We also love to see what artists are brought in each year to sell artwork and create it throughout the park.
Since 2017, EPCOT has kicked off their year of festivals with the Festival of the Arts. The festival was started in order to bring focus to the arts in all forms: music, artwork, theatre, dance, and food. Kyle and I have been lucky enough to go three out of the four years and each year the festival gets better and better!
As Disney works on the vast updates and expansions taking place at EPCOT, it has allowed for the festival to be more spread out throughout the entire park. I personally enjoy the more spread out feel compared to previous years. It allows for everyone to be more spaced out, thins out crowds on the main walkways, and allows for everyone to see all of the updates happening at Epcot.
New Additions to the Festival
One of my favorite new touches seen with the expansion throughout the park, was the butterfly wall by The Land pavilion. The butterfly wall creates a unique experience for people to take fun and “instagramable” pictures while also interacting with other guests. Many of us helped each other take pictures. We also spent time checking out other guests’ poses.
Many people truly enjoyed Kyle’s butterfly pose with the child level wings! It really allowed for great interactions with other guests and made great long lasting memories for everyone!
We also stopped by the center of the park to see the other events happening before heading into the World Showcase. Here we found a nice “open air market” set up with various tents of artwork from the galleries throughout property. It was a great little area to wander and enjoy at your own pace. There was also a nice little grassy area where you could sit and relax making for a great atmosphere.
Abby’s Favorite Stop – Paint-by-Numbers Mural
They also set up the Paint-by-number-Mural in this area, where the EPCOT fountain of nations used to be! Here you are able to be an artist for a Disney mural! I have participated in the mural for three years and have loved it each time! At this experience, cast members give each person a different color and allow you to paint 4-6 squares in the mural matching the number on your paint cup. After completing your squares, you are given a postcard with the completed mural on it as a nice memento. It is the perfect activity for the whole family to take part in!
After working up an appetite painting, it was time to hit World Showcase. No matter what festival, the World Showcase is where majority of the festival takes place. During Festival of the Arts, there is a main stage set up at the entry way to the globe as well as the stage in America. During the day, both stages have various events including musical performances and drawing lessons. This year we were able to catch an amazing performance of a gentleman playing an electronic harp! We LOVED it!
World Showcase Events
Disney On-Broadway Concert Series
At night, the America stage has three showings of the Disney On-Broadway Concert Series! This concert series brings Broadway actors to the stage to perform numbers from their great roles! At this time, Kyle and I have not participated in the night time concert series.
For those looking to do this, there are two options to see the show. If you would like to guarantee your seat, I would recommend doing the dining package. The dining package allows you to get a meal with other package purchasers and reserved seats to the show. For those that do not do the package, your only option is standby. Unfortunately , this could mean spending an hour in line to ensure you get a seat for the show. Kyle and I have seen lines begin to form for the 5:30PM show as early as 4:00PM.
Outside of the shows at the main stages, you can also participate in Artful Photo-Ops! Throughout the World Showcase, there are various photo ops set up where you can put yourself right in the middle of a work of art! These spots are manned by photopass photographers making it easy to get everyone in the family in your photos!
Pro-tip: If you are planning a week long trip or love taking pictures like I do, get Disney Photopass! They do an excellent job with photos and there are photographers throughout the entire park! You can also get great “magic shots” with various Disney characters in your photo! During special events, the Photopass photographers sometimes have signs and frames you can take pictures with! It is certainly something I love and recommend to everyone!
Another Festival of the Arts must do – checking out the Chalk Walk!
Here you can find works created by various chalk artists! They do AMAZING work both Disney and non-Disney related! There also is a 3D piece you can put yourself in the middle of! There were some great shots this year but unfortunately they were in the middle of changing the piece when we attended the festival.
The final non-food related attraction is the biggest part of the festival itself, the art booths! There are about a dozen or so different booths to see around the world! Typically, the artists are in attendance to signs works of art for you upon purchase! This year, Paige O’Hara, an artist and voice of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, was present to sign pieces as well as speak to large groups of guests! This is a great opportunity to share your love of Disney with the artists and learn about their creative process.
Now onto our favorite part of each festival, THE FOOD!
Over the past few years Disney has been bringing special “Food Walks” to all of their festivals. This is the first year I have seen the “Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine” at the Festival of the Arts. As with the other walks, you have to purchase the five dishes listed around the world in order to receive the free treat at the end. If you plan on going to the festival for multiple days, you can complete the walk over multiple days. We have (so far) gotten 4/5 items and plan to finish the walk during the last weekend of the Festival!
Outside of the Colorful Cuisine walk, each country has it’s own booth as well as bonus country booths set up solely for the festival. Each booth has a display list of the items as well Festival booklets in which you can see the food/drink offerings.
Pro Tip: Pick up your Festival booklet at the front of the park in order to see the complete listings of all the Food & Drink offerings. The booklet often has other little tidbits regarding the festival and event happenings.
Extra-Pro Tip: Try finding an online listing of the Food & Drinks offered at each booth online before attending the festival. This way you can plan ahead on where you want to eat and budget appropriately.
Typically we like to do a few loops around World Showcase during the festival for multiple reasons.
- Each loop we stop at a few booths so we break up all the food and drinks, allowing us to enjoy more.
- We like to decide on what to eat and drink by looking at the pictures and see it in person.
Food Favorites this Year
Each year, there are returning favorites and new treats to enjoy! This year, Kyle’s friend/fraternity brother joined us on our trip around the world. He was extremely helpful as an extra taste tester! Kyle and Eric both gave the Deconstructed BLT their vote for best dish of Festival of the Arts.
My favorite items turned out to be two ciders from the Block & Hans booth in America. Although not true festival only items, the Angry Orchard Rose Cider and Ciderboys Strawberry Magic Hard Cider were delicious. We were lucky enough to be able to get the beer flight as a cider flight since beer is not my drink of choice. Although we did not try it, I do recommend stopping at the China booth to see the chefs work their magic in sugar art. It was truly awe-inspiring!
Although Festival of the Arts is not the largest Disney Festival, this is certainly one that deserves your attention. It makes for a more relaxing park day. It is also great to park hop to-and-from if you are looking for lighter bites! Kyle and I always love Festival season at EPCOT and cannot wait for the Flower and Garden Festival starting in March!
For more information on the Festival of the Arts or any other festivals check out Disney’s website here.
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