On our last vacation to Walt Disney World we were extremely excited to visit Epcot. We were looking forward to dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, riding on Frozen Ever After and enjoying all that the Festival of the Arts had to offer. This festival is in its second year, being added to the array of festivals going on throughout the year at Epcot. This festival has a multitude of elements ranging from guest participation to art appreciation, extra cost to included in park admission. The festival runs until February 19th and it celebrates three aspects of art: Culinary Arts, Visual Arts and Performing Arts.
Dining is becoming a major part of visiting Epcot and with this festival it is no different. Delectable food and beverage offerings are found at the permanent structure kiosks enjoyed during the ever popular Food & Wine Festival and the International Festival of the Holidays. These kiosks are found in every country around World Showcase with additional ones being found on the border of World Showcase and Future World. As well as a location in the Festival headquarters. The offerings at these kiosks can wet any appetite. At each location you’ll find alcoholic beverages, desserts and many offer snack size entrees. Many of these delicious items are considered Dining Plan snacks. So make sure to save some of your snacks for your Epcot day.
While some of these delicacies are delicious, others are simply nice to look at. For example, I enjoyed a satisfying and delicious pulled pork taco found at El Artista Hambriento (The Hungry Artist) just outside of Mexico. My other selection was the White Chocolate Fignment Puzzle on an Artist Palette, which was more of an activity to share with Lincoln than an edible wonder. No matter your preference, dessert or entree, be sure to try a couple of these one of a kind and temporarily offered treats.
There are galleries found all around Epcot, in different pavilions and in Future World. During Festival of the Arts guests are encouraged to go and enjoy these galleries along with the art that is showcased out in the open air through the park. Walking down the main pathway to Showcase Plaza from Spaceship Earth you’ll find artists painting works of art. Chalk artists create just outside Mission Space. Living Statues can be found in front of the Future World Fountain. Artisans are featured throughout World Showcase creating items before your very eyes. From pottery to paintings and after completing these pieces you can purchase them as a momento of your time at the Festival.
Figment is part of the Visual Arts fun. He’s featured in artwork found around the park. Pictures framed with his image at the bottom have him hidden within the piece of art. Finding the piece of art is like a Scavenger Hunt and then finding him in the artwork can be like finding Waldo.
Just like every aspect of this Festival there is something for every taste with the performers at this Festival. There are youth orchestras featured in front of the Future World Fountain, there’s a live band at the Canadian Pavilion, and street performers in Morocco. Our favourite part of the Performing Arts end of the Festival was Disney on Broadway found at the American Pavilion. Each weekend, stars from Broadway come to perform songs from your favourite Disney Broadway Musicals.
We had the pleasure of seeing couple Kevin Massey, from Tarzan the musical, and Kara Lindsay, of Newsies, perform together on stage. They sang songs from Tarzan, Newsies and the much anticipated Broadway musical, Frozen. It was a real thrill for us for two reasons. One, Lincoln loves the music from Tarzan. And two, MacKenzie and I went to the theatres to see Newsies the Broadway musical in which Kara reprised her role as Katherine. We couldn’t have seen more appropriate stars. These performances are only Friday through Monday at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:30pm. The seats fill quickly so be sure to be there at least 15 minutes before curtain or opt for reserved seating with the Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Package.
One of the great things about this Festival is you can enjoy as much or as little as you want. If you’re a real enthusiast, you can sit in on a seminar or participate in a workshop. Some of these do carry an additional cost, which DVC members and Annual Passholders receive a discount for. You can seek out these different artists and artisans or simply stumble upon them as you make your way through the park. Grab a brochure upon entering the park and choose your edible treats before hand or make your decisions on the fly.
The one down side of the Festival of the Arts is these artists and artisans found throughout the park are stationed in tents. These tents take up pathway space. Making it harder to move around World Showcase and making the crowds appear larger than they are. The Festival is also bringing in more locals and Annual Passholders. While we were in attendance the American Pavilion was giving away prints to Annual Passholders. Therefore you can expect more guests than normal.
The Festival of the Arts is truly a marvellous festival that will enhance your visit at Epcot. So keep this in mind as you plan your upcoming vacation at Walt Disney World or as your deciding what time of year you would like to visit. This festival may just be the highlight of your trip. Happy Planning Friends.