DISCLOSURE: I was invited by the Walt Disney World Resort to experience the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, but all opinions and over-use of exclamation points are 100% my own.
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is back for its second year filling the park with a six week celebration of all forms of art forms from the visual to the culinary to the performing that is quickly becoming one of my favorite events at Walt Disney World.
While this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts has even more offerings than last year, the biggest and best change to this year’s Festival is that the fun continues seven days a week from now until February 19th!
With so much to do and experience at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, I wanted to share my list of ‘Must Do’s’ for your visit to the Festival!
9 Epcot International Festival of the Arts Must Do’s
1. Taste the Culinary Arts
It wouldn’t be a Festival at Epcot with amazing food, and at this year there are even more Food Studios with enticing tastes at stops around the World Showcase promenade.
Not only do the offerings taste amazing they are definitely photo-worthy with unique twists and interesting plating.
This year five new Food Studios have joined the culinary adventure for a total of 13 at the Festival, and you can find the new locations in:
- France (“L’Art de la Cuisine Française” or “The Art of French Cooking”),
- Morocco (“Mosaic Canteen”),
- Japan (“Takumi Table”),
- Italy (“L’Arte di Mangiare” or “The Art of Eating”), and
- China (“The Painted Panda”).
A complete list of Food Studios and menus are at The Culinary Arts: Food Studios, but I will be talking more about food soon!!!
2. Be a part of the Art
Also returning this year is the hands-on wall mural (located in the Expression Section which is on the Showcase Plaza Promenade as you are traveling to/from Canada from Future World), where you can pick up a brush and assigned paint color to complete a square of a mural with a certain dragon that is ‘from head to tail, he’s royal purple pigment‘.
3. Art Walk around World Showcase
Inside of each World Showcase Pavilion guests can find galleries showcasing artwork or relics from that country year round, but during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts guests will find an Art Walk in their Festival Guide that encourages them to visit each gallery to do a relief rubbing of the gallery’s icon plaque.
4. Unique finds
While this year’sEpcot International Festival of the Arts is really fantastic (I LOVE the water color inspired design), there are some really unique ways to bring home a souvenir from the event in addition to the artist booths.
Two of my favorites are Enemy Ink (located just inside of the building with Starbucks and Club Cool) where you can create a custom Festival t-shirt on-demand in a variety of designs & color combinations and Jortra Jewelry (their booth is located between Morocco and France in World Showcase) offering hand-made jewelry from natural materials melon seeds, orange peels and coffee beans.
5. Fun Photo Spots
Epcot is full of great photo spots, but during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts you can find some really unique ‘Artful Photo Ops’ throughout World Showcase where you get to step into famous works of arts.
You can find them in the following locations:
- Italy: The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
- Italy: The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci & The Scream by Edvard Munch
- American Adventure: Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb
- France: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
There are PhotoPass photographers at each location, but they will also take photos with your camera or phone.
6. Free Seminars
During the Festival accomplished Disney artists, guest-perts, and Cast Members impart their professional expertise at complimentary seminars, hands-on workshops, and quick study sessions at the Odyssey Festival Showplace seven days a week.
These Seminars happen at 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm, but space is extremely limited so if there is one that you HAVE to attend make sure you arrive early to grab a seat.
You can find a week-by-week list of free seminars here.
Also, during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts you can find the Animation Academy (YAY!) intermittently from 2 pm – 8:30 pm in the Odyssey Festival Showplace where you can learn to draw Disney characters from Disney artists for FREE!
7. Interactive Workshops
Each week the interactive workshop series offers Festival Guests a unique opportunity to walk away with an enhanced skillset or new understanding of various artistic and culinary techniques from animation drawing and floral arranging to calligraphy, abstract painting and other interesting topics.
All of the interactive workshops ($39 per person plus tax, Epcot admission required but not included, & 15% discount per Annual Passholder or Disney Vacation Club Member) are held in the Odyssey Festival Showplace seven days a week at 11 am to 12:15 pm.
Space in these workshops is EXTREMELY limited, and you will need to make reservations in advance by calling (407) WDW-TOUR to reserve your spot or visit the Odyssey Festival Showplace. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.
You can find a week-by-week list of the interactive workshops and how to book them here.
8. Live Performances
This year there is an increased presence in the performing arts at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts with entertainment on the Fountain View Plaza Stage throughout the day.
We had the opportunity to see the new Art Defying Gravity show, and it is amazing what those performers can do!!!
The Epcot Times Guide, found at the entrance and in retail locations throughout the park, lets you know when you can catch these fun performances.
9. Disney on Broadway Concert Series
The EXTREMELY popular (and rightly so) Disney on Broadway Concert Series take the stage in the American Gardens Theater in World Showplace on ‘Disney Weekends’ (Friday to Monday) bringing a taste of ‘The Great White Way’ to Florida!
The concerts showcase the stellar talents of performers who sing selections from award-winning Disney on Broadway musicals that you will not want to miss!
Here’s the lineup:
- January 19-22: Kara Lindsay (NEW!) and Kevin Massey Jan. 19-22, who will perform songs from “Tarzan,” “Aladdin,” “Newsies” and “Frozen.”
- January 26-29 and February 2-5: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White will perform songs from “Tarzan,” “The Lion King,” “Aida,” “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid.”
- February 9-12 and 16-19: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland will perform songs from “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Tarzan,” “Mary Poppins,” “Newsies” and “Frozen.”
All Disney on Broadway shows are included in theme park admission and will take place Fridays through Mondays at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. Even though there are three shows a night, GET THERE EARLY!!! I cannot stress how popular these performances are!
New this year are the Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Packages that are available at five participating Epcot restaurants that can be booked online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-7463.
*** BONUS FOR ALL WALT DISNEY WORLD ANNUAL PASSHOLDERS ***
Not only to Walt Disney World Annual Passholders have exclusive Festival merchandise, but they can receive an Epcot International Festival of the Arts print.
Simply go into the American Adventure Pavilion (you will see a sign outside guiding you to enter on the left set of doors), show your valid Walt Disney World Annual Pass and photo id, and a Cast Member will give you the Belle print with an embossed seal. It’s really pretty!!!
You can find out how to book specific experiences and find more information for planning your ultimate day at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts with the official website.
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