2022 Epcot International Festival of the Arts
This is the sixth year for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. The Festival began January 14, and the final day is February 21.
Just about two weeks later, on March 2 to be specific, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival begins. In recent years there have been very few dates that there were no festivals at Epcot. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival begins soon after Flower & Garden Festival ends. Not long after the Food & Wine Festival ends, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays begins. Once that ends, it’s time to begin again with the Festival of the Arts! The only dates with no festivals occur in the week or so between festivals, while they take one down and set up the next.
Having so many festivals at Epcot is a bonus for guests who can only travel certain times of the year, as no matter when you visit, with just a few dates as exceptions, there is an Epcot Festival to enjoy! The Festival of the Arts, as the name implies, celebrates the Arta of all sorts: Paintings and other artwork, Music, Murals, Artistically presented food, Jewelry, and more. Be sure to pick up a Festival Passport (available at the entrances and many spots around World Showcase), so you don’t miss anything.
Let’s start with the Animation Academy. If you have attended the currently offered drawing classes at Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station or the ones in the past at Disney Hollywood Studios Animation Building, this is the same idea. Taking place twice daily most days, 12:30pm and 1:30pm, this free experience is located in the America Gardens Theatre (on the water by the USA Pavilion). Guests receive a clipboard, paper with guidelines, and a pencil. A Disney artist uses a microphone to be heard and a huge screen to show those attending how to draw a Disney character, one line at a time. Even the least artistic guests can usually come out with a good likeness by following along. It’s about 30 minutes from start to finish, and the character you draw will vary. When I was there recently, it was Mickey Mouse! You are welcome to take your artwork home, as well as the pencil.
“Expression Section: A Paint by Number Mural” is also free and a lot of fun. Pick up your paint and brush at a kiosk opposite the Land Pavilion. Your paint cup will have a number on it, and guests are asked to fill in a certain number of spaces that have that number. Soon enough, an entire mural is completed!
This experience is available daily from 11:00am-5:00pm. Guests who participate will receive a bookmark of the mural as it looks when it is complete.
“Figments Brush with the Masters” is a scavenger hunt. Purchase a Map with stickers at Creations shop, Port of Entry, or World Traveler. Search around World Showcase for paintings that have Figment included. Once completed, return to World Travelers or head to Disney Traders for a surprise (if your map is not completed, you will still get the surprise)! There is also the option to forgo the map with stickers and go Figment hunting, but of course, there is no surprise at the end if you opt to do that. I found some of these challenging. If you are really stuck, ask a Cast Member in the area for a hint.
There were some new murals added to the Festival this year. These are created by artists from around the world. They spotlight some well-known attractions and are very colorful and beautiful. The murals can be found on the wall between the Creations shop (formerly Mouse Gear) and the Imagination Pavilion. Disney refers to the area as “Drawing on Inspiration.”
Kids are invited to learn to do Chalk Art near the Land Pavilion daily from 11:00am-4:00pm. The whole family can join in, and it’s free! There is also a section of Chalk Art done by professional artists. These are gorgeous and can be found on the center pathway that connects Future World and World Showcase.
There are Disney characters in chalk, as well as chalk renditions of famous paintings. Often the artists themselves are there making new creations, and most are happy to chat with guests. In addition to this, random chalk art drawings can be found throughout World Showcase. Discovering one is fun! It always amazes me how lifelike these chalk drawings are, and I feel a little sad knowing they will be washed away the next time it rains. All that work literally down the drain!
Naturally, there is plenty of festival merchandise available for purchase in various galleries around World Showcase. Lithographs, Giclee Prints, Paintings, Jewelry, Spin Art, Clothing, and many more items are displayed for guests to buy.
There is not a lot of Festival of the Arts-specific merchandise, but there is some clothing available and a poster. As has been the case in many past festivals, Disney sells gift cards with bands that attach to your wrist for convenience of use. The design on the cards is special for the festival, and it’s really cute. There is a minimum of $15 to activate the gift card.
Several Disney artists are present at the festival, the majority in the daytime. I was thrilled to get a piece of artwork I purchased not only signed but personally inscribed by my current favorite Disney Artist, Michelle St. Laurent.
In “Artful Photo Ops,” guests have the opportunity to become part of a famous piece of artwork. There are booths set up around World Showcase, where you can enter and be photographed. The finished result makes it appear as if you are inside the painting. Most, but not all, have Photopass photographers there to take your picture, but you’re always welcome to have someone in your party take pics instead (or as well). Examples of some of the displays: guests can be inside a Peter Pan Storybook; pretend they are the screamer in the famous painting “The Scream”; go across the Delaware with George Washington. Usually, there is a small picture inside the display to give you an idea of how to pose best. The more you get into the feeling of the painting and pose fittingly, the more fun it is to see the result.
And what about live entertainment? Yes, this festival has that too! Guests can see “Art Defying Gravity,” where feats of strength are showcased. At “Visual Art in Performance,” a Disney artist paints a character in record time. Perhaps most exciting, in the evening, there are performances by Broadway Artists at the America Gardens Theater by the USA pavilion (the same spot they do the drawing classes in the day). These shows are three times nightly, 5:30pm, 6:45pm, and 8:00pm and feature songs from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Frozen, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Tarzan, and more, all sung by singers who performed in those shows on Broadway. Each night’s show is different, although some singers appear at more than one performance.
Of course, there is the food! Presented beautifully, there are a number of cuisines to choose from at the various booths around World Showcase. Main dishes, desserts, both non-alcoholic and adult beverages are all readily available for guests. If you have been to this festival before, many of your favorites have returned. To name a few: The Sushi Donut in Japan; Deconstructed BLT at the Deconstructed Dish; Molten chocolate cake in France. But some dishes from past Festivals of the Art are gone, replaced with new options.
Disney offers a special treat for guests who purchase six specific items from the Festival Passport. Each time you eat one of the items, a Cast Member will stamp your passport. When you have all six stamped, you can get a free treat at Deco Delights!
To sum up: this is a wonderful festival with so much to do! If possible, you would need a minimum of two days to do almost everything. If you have never been to the Festival of the Arts, it is definitely worth a visit. I would really like to see new booths to pose inside a painting, the ones they have are great, but some additional ones would be nice. I always have a terrific time at the Festival of the Arts; I wish it was longer!