I love the Epcot Festivals. For me, they take the central idea behind World Showcase and bring it to the forefront. During the months when festivals are being held, you get more countries, more culture, more food, more beverages, and more entertainment. In my opinion, they should just do them all year long.
Enter the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. In its second year, it bridges the gap between the holidays and the start of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. While it was only held on weekends in 2017, they have expanded it to run everyday during the five-week period from January 12th to February 19th. We enjoyed last year’s International Festival of the Arts and our only complaint is that it doesn’t get to run as long as the other festivals.
So what does the International Festival of the Arts entail?
The “arts” that are celebrated during the festival are visual, culinary, and performing arts. Throughout the park are opportunities to feast your eyes upon amazing food, appreciate incredible art work, and enjoy dazzling performances.
Every Epcot festival has its food and music, but what makes this month really stand apart is its inclusion of visual arts. Bringing an aspect of culture that is traditionally relegated to museums out into the open exposes more people to it. We literally saw art being created in front of our eyes in nearly every pavilion we visited.
And Disney found several ways to make art fun and interactive for guests. Our whole family enjoyed getting in on the fun with the “Artful Photo Ops” and completing Figment’s “Brush With the Masters” Scavenger Hunt.
- Animation Academy
- Artful Photo Ops
- Art on demand
- Commemorative merchandise
- Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt
- Artist appearances
- Hands-on wall mural
- Workshops and seminars with visiting artists
The performing artists of World Showcase have always been one of the hidden gems of Epcot. During the festival, you can enjoy even more performances as you roam from country to country. And trust me, you’ll want to take your time and see as many of them as you can. And like the other big festivals, there is also a “Disney on Broadway” concert series held Fridays nights through Monday nights. I like that this concert series focuses on Disney music the whole family can enjoy.
- Community arts showcases
- Live performance art
- International music and variety acts
- Acrobatics and gravity-defying feats of strength
- Amazing living statues
- Visiting marching bands
Disney on Broadway Concert Series
- Jan. 12-15: Jenn Gambatese (NEW!) and Kevin Massey perform songs from “Tarzan,” “Aladdin,” “Newsies” and “Frozen.”
- Jan. 19-22: Kara Lindsay (NEW!) and Kevin Massey Jan. 19-22, who will 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.”
Ever see food that looks so amazing you don’t want to ruin it by eating it or even touching it? At the “Food Studios” around World Showcase, you’ll find both food and beverage creations that will please your sense of sight as well as your taste buds! Some of the treats are also interactive, allowing you to become the artist and then gobble up your own creation (after taking a picture of it, of course!).
Here are some of the Food Studios you can find during the Festival:
- The Deconstructed Dish – Embark on an edible adventure with delicious dishes that dazzle!
- Cuisine Classique – Prepare to be amazed with these hearty braised bites and traditional Old World delights!
- The Artist’s Table – Satisfy hunger with these savory plates—all prepared using oven and stove-top techniques!
- The Painter’s Palate – Sample this palatable palette of delicacies that looks as good as it tastes… mangiare!
- Pop Eats! – Unearth the tasty treasures and tantalizing textures of modern art-inspired eats!
- Decadent Delights – Indulge in a gallery of divine delectables that transform dessert into a fine art!
- The Masterpiece Kitchen – Raise your glass and celebrate this fabulous fusion of food and wine—cheers!
Seminars and Workshops
Last, but not least, are the complimentary and paid seminars/workshops being offered for guests during the festival. Space is limited, so you want to book your paid/premium workshop experiences as soon as you can. For the free seminars, get there early to get a seat!
Some of the more interesting workshops I saw on the schedule include:
- Sculpting a Mixed Media Action Figure
- Artful Uses for Your Park Map
- Animation 101
- Making the New Look Old
- Cartoon Portaits
- Handcrafted Calligraphy
- Magic in the Milk: A Look Into the World of Latte Art
- Once Upon a Doll
- Hip Hop: The Evolution of Flow
- The Art of Disney Topiary
- Photography 101: Shooting Spectacular Fireworks
- Gesture Drawing Class
- “Magical” Mixed Media Art
- Watermelon Carving
- Whimsical Tea Pots of Clay
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons
And of course, there is a premium experience if you can swing it:
- Premium Workshop: Painting with a Disney Artist
$259 per person plus tax, includes continental breakfast
After enjoying a continental breakfast, stroll through World Showcase—before it opens—to one of Epcot’s breathtaking landscapes where you will paint your own canvas under the guidance of a talented Disney artist during this 4-hour session
Sounds amazing, but you have to be there on the right day and have the extra money to spend on it.
International Festival of the Arts
So, this overview just scratches the surface of what this short festival has to offer. We really enjoyed catching the tail end of it on our trip last year. It looks like it is even better this year with more time to enjoy everything there is to see and do. You’ll want to dive into those menus and workshop schedules in more detail to see how everything lines up with your visit and come up with a plan for seeing and tasting everything on your “must do” list.