Epcot International Festival of the Arts: It’s Back!
2017 was the festival’s inaugural year, and it was smallish, only open Fridays – Mondays. For 2018, the festival is much bigger and runs full-time from January 12 – February 19.
Last year, I thought the Epcot International Festival of the Arts was fun and, you know, fine. This year, though, I absolutely love it. Remember when I joked that Epcot was going the way of all festivals, all the time? I’m still totally ok with that.
All Forms of Art
Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts encompasses all kinds of art: performance, visual, and culinary. Similar to Food & Wine and Flower & Garden, the World Showcase features multiple booths, each with themed fare. Between the food opportunities, you’ll find tents filled with all kinds of original art and prints. Much of it is Disney-themed (which includes Star Wars!), but plenty is not.
In the Odyssey Center, you’ll find seminars, workshops, and even an Animation Academy. The seminars and Animation Academy are complimentary with park admission. The workshops are $39 and need to be booked in advance.
At the Fountainview Plaza, pause to see living statues, painting demonstrations, and live performances. We were fortunate enough to catch Stephen Fishwick creating a painting of Stitch along to music one morning, and it was such a fun and unique experience!
Other fun stuff includes chalk art, screen printing by Enemy Ink, a student gallery, and a huge paint-by-number mural that you can participate in creating.
Are you a Disney on Broadway fan? If so, be sure to visit the America Gardens Theatre. From Monday – Friday, Disney on Broadway stars perform beloved hits from their shows. The lineup for the remainder of the festival:
- February 2 – 5: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White
- February 9 – 12 and 16 – 19: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland (we saw them last year and they were excellent!)
Oh, and perhaps our family’s favorite: photo ops that allow you to become part of famous paintings.
My Top Picks
- Figment’s Brush with the Masters. Similar to the traditional Epcot Eggstravaganza (Easter egg hunt), you purchase a map, search around the World Showcase for classic works of art featuring mischievous Figment, place stickers on your map accordingly, and redeem for a fun pin!
- Enemy Ink. In Future World West (the building right behind Club Cool), you can pick a fun shirt design and watch as Enemy Ink prints it right in front of you!
- Star Wars. Found a Rey piece from Karen Hallion and an Ahsoka print from Danny Haas. MADE MY DAY. – located near Germany in the World Showcase
- Sugarboo & Co. This is one of my favorite shops, and I’m so excited they have a booth! – located near Germany in the World Showcase
- WonderGround Gallery. This is where you can find lots of adorable art, including pieces from Ashley Taylor (I met her once and she’s super lovely, so now I feel like we’re friends. I never said I wasn’t weird.)
- Disney Fine Art – multiple booths throughout the festival. Lots of happy-making prints.
- Thomas Kinkade Studios: this is a fun treat, because it’s the style of Thomas Kinkade with Disney elements. Really pretty; great for nostalgia.
Food & Drinks
Refreshment Port (between the World Showcase entrance and Canada)
Croissant Donut with Pastry Cream
This was delicious, though much larger and messier than expected! The cronut was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The pastry cream was sweet but not too sweet. There was plenty for two people to share, and we’d buy it again!
Pop Eats (between the World Showcase entrance and Mexico)
Cloudem Sparking Wine
This sparkling wine actually sparkles and shimmers! Not only is it beautiful, but it’s sweet and oh-so-drinkable. Several different colors, including pink and blue, are available, so it’s a fun surprise to see which one you get!
El Artista Hambriento – The Hungry Artist (Mexico)
Tacos de Puerco: Two Corn Tortillas with Slow-roasted Pork Shoulder, marinated in Ancho Paste and served with Sweet Plantain Puree garnished with Pea Tendrils
The Tacos de Puerco are possibly my favorite offering in the entire festival. Tender pork with smoky, slightly spicy sauce and sweet plantain. YUM. Will absolutely get these again.
Cuisine Classique (Germany)
Red Wine-braised Short Rib with Parsnip Puree, Broccolini, Baby Tomatoes, and Aged Balsamic
I was expecting a bit more of a pot roast-y type dish, so when we saw the plate, I wasn’t sure I’d like this. It also smelled quite heavily of balsamic vinegar, which Mr. EC finds overpowering. Despite our first impressions, though, we loved it.
The beef fell apart when poked with a fork. The balsamic vinegar ended up being a thick, sweet glaze, and it was an amazing enhancement. The parsnip was sinfully delicious, super creamy, and had an almost cheesy flavor.
L’art de la Cuisine Francaise – The Art of French Cooking (France)
Frose: Frozen Cotes de Provence Rose wine with Grey Goose Vodka and Peach Puree
France is known for having great frozen festival drinks, and this is no exception. Sweet, slushy, and delightfully peachy. Also surprisingly strong – it doesn’t even taste alcoholic, but woooo! I ended up with a fierce headache later that day, which confirms I am too old to be drinking things that contain both wine and liquor. But still! The Frose is delicious; I’d get it again (and split with a friend!)
The Masterpiece Kitchen (Canada)
Charcuterie Palette with Artisan Cured Meats and Cheeses featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Beef
At $14, the Charcuterie Palette is one of the most expensive offerings of the entire festival. Truly, though, it was lovingly assembled and beautifully presented.
I have two wishes for this one: more detail about what the palette contains, and there were only two small toasts on the entire platter. That results in a lot of eating straight-up meat with your fingers.
The featured Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Beef was very good! My absolute favorite, though, was the honeycomb-topped blue cheese. There was one item I couldn’t place (that’s why labels would be helpful!) and I wonder if it might’ve been Pate or Fois Grois.
Final Thoughts on 2018’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts
This year’s festival exceeded all expectations! Everything – the art, the food, the activities, heck, even the branding – are wonderful, and I will return as often as possible. It’s even giving my favorite festival – Epcot Flower and Garden – a little competition!
Have you experienced this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts? What did you think? What would you recommend?