EPCOT Festival of the Arts
EPCOT Festival of the Arts
The ECOT Festival of the Arts is one of our favorite festivals at Disney World. There are Broadway performers, musical performers, professional artists painting Disney pieces, and more. Overall, this festival adds a lot of extra magic to Epcot. This post covers all that the Festival of the Arts has to offer as well as our recommendations.
What is the EPCOT Festival of the Arts?
The Festival of the Arts is an event that is held primary in the World Showcase area of EPCOT. The festival celebrates all forms of art. We cover all of the festival aspects in detail below, but here is a quick overview.
Similar to other festivals, there are various food booths. These booths offer food and drink items that are exclusive to the festival. The food items are not only delicious, they are also meant to be beautiful and feature the culinary arts.
Instead of a concert from a specific band (as is common with the other festivals), the Festival of the Arts highlights Broadway and the performing arts. The Broadway singers are amazing. In addition to the Broadway singers, there are a variety of other musical performers taking the stage throughout the day.
Keeping with the theme, this festival has various art booths. The art booths are unique to the Festival of the Arts and they display the work of professional Disney artists. Disney takes it one step further and the actual Disney artists are at many of the booths. The artists are happy to talk with guests and answer questions. Lastly, there are various photo ops found throughout this festival.
Check out our Vlog from opening day of the 2020 Festival of the Arts below.
Dates for 2020 Festival of the Arts
We attended opening day of the 2020 Festival of the Arts! For 2020, the Festival of the Arts runs from January 17 to February 24. Most festival activities start when the World Showcase opens. Festival Passports are a great way to keep track of all of the different items available through the festival. Festival Passports are free and available at the entrance of the theme park and at most of the festival booths.
Is the Festival of the Arts Fun for Adults?
Yes, we highly recommend checking out the Festival of the Arts. The festival is included with Epcot theme park admission. We view the festival as a really fun addition to Epcot that is definitely worth taking advantage of. That being said, we wouldn’t book a trip solely to come to the Festival of the Arts. Instead, think of it as a bonus that makes Epcot even better for an already planned trip.
The festival is meant for adults. Many of the food and drink options are geared towards adults, with most of the drinks being alcoholic. Also, there tend to be more adults meeting the artists and watching the Broadway performers.
Atmosphere and Art
The Festival of the Arts adds a fun atmosphere to Epcot. While not as dramatic of a change as the Flower and Garden festival, the festival does bring some additional decorations to Epcot. Walking around and seeing all of the art and fun photo ops adds a little bit of extra magic to the Epcot theme park.
Meet the Artists
One of our favorite aspects of this festival is that there are professional Disney artists. The artists are at the various art booths throughout the World Showcase. You often can find the artists painting, however, they are also happy to answer questions and talk with guests.
We are amazed by the talent of Disney artists. There is a huge variety of art which makes it fun to look at all of the different art booths. The Festival of the Arts provides a really unique opportunity to see and interact with all of the artists. The photo below is with one of our favorite Disney artists, Rodel Gonzalez.
Festival of the Arts Photo Ops
The Festival of the Arts includes fun photo opportunities. Throughout the World Showcase, guests can take photos and be a part of famous works of art. Some of the Photo Ops have cast members taking PhotoPass photos, while others may not have anyone working at them. Even if there is a PhotoPass cast member, they can take a photo with your phone if you ask.
One thing that all Epcot festivals have in common are food booths. However, the types of food booths and the drink and food items change with each festival. The dishes are “tasting size.” This means that the portions are small. The benefit of the tasting size is that you can try a lot of different items. The downside is the cost of trying the different dishes adds up quickly.
One unique aspect about the food at the Festival of the Arts is more time is dedicated to making the dishes look pretty. If you’re on social media, this festival provides plenty of fun food items to share. Many of the food items are mini pieces of art. Disney posts a full list of the booths and the items at each booth on their website.
Food to Try
As a disclaimer, I have a sweet tooth. Because of this, my favorite item from this year’s Festival of the Arts is the Lemon and Blood Orange Tart from the Decadent Delights booth. The tart has a strong lemon flavor, but overall, I thought it was light and delicious. I will definitely get another one of these when we are back at the festival.
My favorite non-dessert item is the plant-based bratwurst from the Refreshment Outpost. This booth is located in the African Outpost section of the World Showcase. The bratwurst is covered in a spicy turmeric aioli, coffee barbecue jackfruit and a slaw. This dish is a great plant-based item. Heck, this dish is great even if you ignore the fact it is a vegan option. The flavors are really interesting and work well together.
Jeff’s favorite food item from the festival is the Mediterranean flatbread. The flatbread is from the Mosaic Canteen booth in the Morocco pavilion. The flatbread is made with zaatar, olive oil, artichokes, olives, mozzarella, and feta cheese. The portion for this dish is pretty large and Jeff thought the the dish was delicious.
Food to Avoid
The Sous Vide Chicken Roulade is the worst dish we tried at the Festival. This chicken is served with apples and brie fondue, blueberries, beet gel and garnished with beet chip crumbles and it is located at the Pop Eats booth. The chicken was really fatty and the flavor was not great. Sadly, we threw most of it out. We recommend passing on this dish.
As with the food, the festival drinks are tasting portions. There is a large a variety of drinks available at the festival. Some of the drinks are pretty, but many of them are just normal drinks. There are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. The alcoholic options definitely outnumber the nonalcoholic. In general, we feel that the festival drinks are not worth the high price given the small size. However, if there is one that catches your eye, go for it!
Drinks to Try
Our favorite drink from the Festival of the Arts is the Arendelle Aqua Lemonade from Fife & Drum. Fife & Drum is a drink stand in the America pavilion. The Arendelle Aqua Lemonade is a light blue drink made with frozen lemonade, cotton candy and ole smokey moonshine.
We were worried the drink would be really sweet, but the drink is delicious! As an added bonus, the drink is a decent size with a good amount of moonshine in it. The moonshine blended into the drink and you could barely taste it. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing haha. If you like frozen lemonade, we definitely recommend this drink.
Drinks to Avoid
Generally, we do not get many festival drinks. Why? Because they are tasting size and as a result we often don’t think they are worth the cost. Our advice is, if there is a drink you think sounds interesting or one you really want to try, then go for it. But if you want a bit of a better value, we recommend checking out our top 5 drinks to get at Epcot. These are drinks that are available all year. Since they aren’t festival drinks, they are larger and a better value. They are also delicious.
Broadway Concert Series
The Food and Wine Festival and Flower and Garden festival both have concerts that feature various bands. Most of the bands for these festivals are popular ones from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s. The Festival of the Arts is different. Instead, this festival features Broadway performers.
Most shows have two performers and the performers sing a mix of Disney songs. Typically, a few of the songs are from the Broadway productions they starred in. The dates for the different singers are on Disney’s website and in the photo above. The performances take place in the America pavilion at the America Gardens Theatre. There are three performances a night: 5:30, 6:45 and 8pm.
We highly recommend watching one of these shows. The singers are amazing. Also, you often can grab a seat just before show time if you don’t mind being towards the back. Either way, it is worth stopping by.
There is other festival entertainment throughout the festival. There are live statues that you can take a photo with. The stage when you enter the World Showcase may feature anything from a famous harp player to a talented high school band. For us, these performances are often ones that we stop at as we walk by and not something you need to plan for.
Disney does provide some details about the schedule for the other entertainment options on their website. They list it as Celebrate Art in Performance.
The Festival of the Arts has exclusive merchandise. The festival items are in most stores in Epcot. There are also booths around the World Showcase that sell festival-specific items. If you want to look at all of the festival items, the best place to go is Mouse Gears.
If you are a Disney World annual passholder, you can also receive a free magnet. Each annual passholder may only receive one magnet from the festival. You can pick up the 2020 festival magnet near Mouse Gears. Again, you have to have a Disney World annual pass and photo ID to get the free festival magnet.
The Festival is Free, But…
Yes, the festival is free with an Epcot theme park ticket. Checking out the art booths and the photo ops are free. The concerts are free. But the food and drinks, are NOT free. Most of the food and drinks tend to range in price from $5 to $9.
While the prices may not seem too bad at first, the catch is that the food and drinks are “sample size.” This means that you will need several dishes to make up a meal. As you try multiple food and drink items, the total amount of money spent can add up quickly.
Advice For Sticking To A Budget At The Festival
As a general rule of thumb, the drinks are the most expensive. The beers in particular are pretty small. If there is a drink that interests you, try it. But if you are trying to keep to a budget while exploring Epcot, one option is to get a normal beer/drink from an Epcot country (not a festival booth) and it will be a much better value. Be warned, any alcoholic drink in Disney is relatively expensive.
Another way to not to spend over your budget on festival food and drinks is to put money on a Disney gift card. The amount of money on the gift card will serve as your check to stay within budget at the festival.
A final suggestion is if you are on a Disney dining plan, you can use your snack credits at most of the festival booths. Look for the dining plan symbol on the festival booth menus. Depending on the item that you are getting, this can be a great value for your snack credit. (The more expensive the item, the better the use.)
Our Overall Recommendation
If the Festival of the Arts is taking place during your Disney World vacation, we highly recommend checking it out. Meeting the artists, seeing the Broadway singers, and the photo ops make the festival really fun. There are also a lot of different food and drink items to try. If you have been to the Festival of the Arts and have a recommendation to share, please leave a comment below. Also, if you have a question for us about the festival, please leave it in a comment below. Thanks for checking out our post!
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