The festival started on January 8th and runs until February 22nd. Many people, including myself, feel this is the best of all the Epcot Festivals. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer!
The Festival is included with your regular Epcot admission. Some things have an additional fee, but there is a LOT to enjoy that is included with park entry. Epcot supplies a Festival map to guests, so they know where to locate what is available for the event. They also have Passports available for guests with details of what foods are being offered at each Food Booth, as well as other pertinent information regarding the Festival.
The Festival includes many food booths with beautifully prepared delicious appetizer-sized portions. On average, tastings at the booths will run you between $5.00-$9.00 for food and $4.00-$10.00 for drinks. If you’re interested in all the offerings, click here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-festival-of-the-arts-culinary/.
Additionally, there are a number of “artistic” events and demonstrations, along with artwork from every genre, many of which are Disney-related. There are over 100 artists with work on display this year.
So let’s get into the details of what guests can see and do at this event besides eat. World Showplace, the building, set back from the path between Canada and the U.K., has the most to see in one place. Guests can browse many booths full of artwork, purchase food and drink from a number of kiosks, listen to a pianist play Disney tunes, watch a performance of Art Defying Gravity (an amazing acrobatic act), and see a show which features an artist painting Disney characters in record times. Showtimes for the events mentioned above can be found on the My Disney Experience app.
Musical acts in 2021 include Mariachi Cobre (the band usually found in Mexico), the JAMMitors (a fantastic drum group), and new to the festival (although certainly not new to Walt Disney World) the Voices of Liberty. Both Mariachi Cobre and the Voices of Liberty perform on the stage in the America Gardens Theater (on the water opposite the America Pavilion). The JAMMitors can be found on the Mill Stage in Canada.
There are a lot of great photo ops for guests at the Festival of the Arts. As in past years of this event, many different butterfly wings are painted onto walls throughout the park. Guests can pose and have it appear the wings are attached to them! There are even some low-placed ones for the younger Mouseketeers to pose in front of. One of my favorite spots for pics was standing in front of a wall with Figment horns and wings, so it looks like the person posing has Figment wings and horns attached to their bodies.
Another returning favorite is various booths guests can stand in to make it appear they are part of a famous painting.
Paintings showcased include:
- Homage to Frida Kahlo
- Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci
- The Scream – Edvard Munch
- Washington Crossing the Delaware – Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze
- Luncheon of the Boating Party – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- Peter Pan Storybook
- Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli
- Café Terrace at Night and Sunflowers – Vincent van Gogh
The Expression Section gives guests the chance to paint their own small section of artwork during the Festival.
Guests are given a brush and paint and are instructed where to use them on the mural (sort of like a HUGE paint-by-numbers). It’s fun to do, especially if you get a chance to see one completed. The subject of the murals can vary; I have seen the Monorail, Figment, and an Epcot themed mural in a similar style as Starry Starry Night by Van Gogh. Once finished adding their paint, guests receive a bookmark to commemorate their experience as they exit the area. The mural is available for guests to paint from park opening until 5 PM daily.
To participate in Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt, guests purchase a map and stickers at locations around EPCOT, then search for Figment hiding inside famous works of art at each World Showcase pavilion. Once the map is completed, guests bring it back to a location that sells it for (as Disney calls it) an “artful surprise.” P.S. If you don’t complete the map, you can still return it and will receive the surprise.
The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine offers guests a challenge– to sample several items at the Food Studios during the Festival! Guests purchase five designated items that are listed in the Festival Passport. The items are located at five different food booths. Guests receive a stamp in their Festival Passport for each item purchased. Upon completion of all five, a complimentary treat will be rewarded at the Decadent Delights booth on World Showcase Plaza (This challenge requires all five stamps to receive the treat).
Animation Academy is another fun event for guests at the festival. Similar to the drawing classes that used to be at Hollywood Studios, and currently found at Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Animal Kingdom, guests can attend this fun (and informative) class taught by Disney Animators. Line by line, the artist will show you how to draw a Disney character. Even those with no artistic talent like me can end up with a very nice work of art! This event takes place at the America Gardens Theatre at 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM, 7 days a week.
There is plenty of festival merchandise. This can be found in major shopping spots (like Mouse Gear and Art of Disney), booths throughout Epcot, World Showplace Pavilion, and in random kiosks throughout the park. Additionally, most of the artists you see painting will sell you the artwork that they produced right before your eyes!
Chalk Art can be found in a number of places. The path between World Showcase and Future World is decorated with many works of chalk art; many but not all Disney related. Each individual work is signed by the artist who drew it.
There is also a chalk scavenger hunt of sorts. You may have to search to find them all, but keep an eye out for art featuring Disney characters in the various pavilions in World Showcase. There is no map or reward for finding these, but it’s a lot of fun to discover them.
I hope anyone reading this who is able to see the Festival this year enjoys the preview in this blog. I consider it a Must-See if you are visiting Walt Disney World while the Festival is running.
Not only are there a ton of wonderful things to see, buy, hear, and participate in a Festival of the Arts, it is a great time to visit Walt Disney World. Crowds, especially in January, are low, and although some days can be cool, you rarely have to worry about it being too hot during this festival. I highly recommend going if you can, it’s so much fun!