Festival of the Arts Review

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The Epcot International Festival of Art is a new seasonal festival at Epcot.  The festival runs Friday through Monday beginning on January 13 and will end on February 20.  I know what you might be thinking, “Another Epcot Festival?”.  However, this festival is different from anything else at Epcot, and there is a place for it.  With the wide variety of entertainment offerings, art exhibits, and of course, food offerings, this is quickly becoming one my favorite of the festival. This post is our Festival of the Arts Review.

Festival of the Arts - Figment Topiary

Disney on Broadway

The highlight of this festival to me was the Disney on Broadway Concert.  I saw Ashley Brown (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”) on their second weekend, and they were nothing short of amazing.  They each performed songs from their shows on Broadway. They also did a couple of songs from The Little Mermaid and Frozen.

Festival of the Arts - Disney on Broadway

Festival Center

Epcot held paid and free seminars the festival center set up in the Odessey.  These seminars covered a wide variety of topics, from photography to food styling to animation.  I liked that these presentations were somewhat out in the open at the Odyssey.  I was able to hear the presentation on food styling while viewing the art exhibits.  This presentation was not one I would have made of point of seeing, but it turned out to be very interesting.  I also had the pleasure of hearing Disney Ledged Marty Sklar speak about Imagineering. You never know who might show up!

Festival of the Arts - Seminar

The Festival Center also featured two wonderful art exhibits. One featured the artwork of Mary Blair and the other that of Herb Ryman.  Herb Ryman drew and painted some of the first concept art for Epcot, so it was great to see in person what I had previously only seen in books.  Mary Blair’s unique style inspired many of Disney’s animated movies. It was fitting to have some of her artwork on display for her South American travels, which helped inspire The Three Caballeros, who now have an attraction in Epcot. 

Festival of the Arts - Herb Ryman

Art Around the Park

There were also tons of artwork to see around the park, ranging from sidewalk chalk art to living statues.  I especially liked the living statues because they reminded me of a time when they would perform in World Showcase.  The statues were more than just something to look at as they would interact with guests.  Speaking of interactive activities, a hit among everyone visiting Epcot was the color by number mural.  It was great seeing so many guests participate in helping to complete these beautiful murals.

Festival of the Arts - Living Statues-2
Festival of the Arts - Paint by Number

Seeing all the artists doing their thing in the park added a level of interest to just walking around.  I didn’t get to see everything while I was there, such as the performance art and the various bands that were performing in Future World.  That’s not a bad thing. It gives me a good reason to go back next year.

Festival of the Arts - Artwork

Figment Scavenger Hunt

What would an Epcot Festival be without Figment?  He’s here at the Festival of the Arts too, but you’ll have to find him.  I don’t know if it was just me, but this scavenger hunt seemed a little more complicated than the Easter Egg hunt that they also do.  The scavenger hunt succeeded in getting me to explore all the pavilions of World Showcase.  It was also really cool seeing Figment make his way into classic paintings from around the globe.  Those who found all of the paintings (or who tried) received a magnet version of one of the paintings hidden around World Showcase.

Festival of the Arts - Figment Painting

Festival Marketplaces

There were also several food booths, but they seemed to be an afterthought when considering everything else there was to do.  Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning here because everything I sampled didn’t disappoint.  The Trio of Savery Croissants, Roasted Pork Roulade, Pan-Seared Scallop, Smoked Salmon Tartare, and Wild Mushroom Risotto were all great.  The food seemed reasonably priced for the portion sizes, which were more substantial than your average Food & Wine Festival portion size.  I did not like the Pop’t Art: Abstract Designed Sugar Cookie with Chocolate Hazelnut Filling.  The frosting topping was too thick and sweet. It completely overpowered the little Hazelnut Filling there was in the cookie.

Festival of the Arts - Canada Food

Overall, I think this was a great addition to the Epcot.  Some might complain that there are too many festivals at the park, but this festival is different enough than Food & Wine and Flower & Garden not to be redundant.  The quality of entertainment and activities for guests made this festival exceeded that of the other festivals where the focus seems to just be on eating and topiaries, respectively.  Art is so important to Disney, both in terms of parks and films, that it’s great to celebrate it over these few weeks.  I hope the Festival of the Arts is not only back next year, but expanded to the whole week and maybe even a couple of weeks longer. 

Festival of the Arts - Mural

I hope you found this Festival of the Arts Review helpful. We hope If you haven’t been to the Festival, try to get out there for the few days that remain.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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