by Janet Jonus
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts brings together the best in visual, performance, and culinary arts for a unique, FamilyFun vacation.
Epcot at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando Florida welcomes guests to the International Festival of the Arts from January 18th through February 25th. The annual Festival celebrates Art from around the world. With more concerts, more activities, and more food, this year’s Festival is a must-do event. (Plus it gives you a reason to escape the cold winter weather!)
Explore a World of Art!
Browse the Galleries spread throughout Epcot curated by current and former Disney artists. Explore the art of animation through the years. See the amazing artwork created by Disney artists and imagineers, and the work of other artists that inspire the Disney artists.
In addition to galleries highlighting the works of Disney artists, the Pavilions of the World Showcase have their own galleries. The American Experience Gallery has the artwork of Native American communities. The Mexico Pavilion has art celebrating Dia de Muertos. The Stave Church Gallery in Norway has the native artwork that inspired Frozen. The Bijutsu-kan Gallery in Japan has an exhibit detailing the origin of the Japanese “Cute” Culture. The Moroccan Gallery of Arts and History delves into the native art of the region. The Chalk Gallery has a truly unique exhibition of forced perspective chalk art and live recreations of famous works of art in chalk.
If you are looking for a hands-on experience, the International Arts Festival has plenty of offerings. Artists from around the world present 30-minute seminars about their art and how to recreate it at home. Disney artists and artists from around the world will hold workshops in the visual. Learn to paint or arrange flowers or draw animations and more.
Indulge your inner artist by participating in the many “regular person”-friendly activities. Grab a brush and help create a “paint-by-numbers” wall mural in the World Showcase. Take an Art of Animation drawing class from Disney animators. (FamilyFunPittsburgh recommends this. Kids as young as eight can recreate their favorite Disney characters under the direction of Disney’s talented artists.) Complete art projects at the Kidcot Fun Stops. FamilyFun Pittsburgh recommends Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt. Buy a map and head out into Epcot’s World Showcase. Look for Figment hidden in a work of art in each country. Collect all of the Figment stamps and get a special artful gift.
Watch an Amazing Performance!
Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts has celebrates performance arts too.
New to the Festival this year is Disney on Broadway every day. Join Disney Broadway stars as they perform classics and hits from the Disney Broadway series. Enjoy all of your favorite hits from shows like “Aladdin”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Little Mermaid”, and “Frozen”. Showtimes are 530, 645, and 800PM nightly. Add on a Dining Package to make your evening extra-special.
Stop by the Pavilions in World Showcase and enjoy performances from around the World. See the crowd-favorite Bodh’aktan in Canada. Watch amazing feats of acrobatic skills in China. Enjoy live performance art, living statues, marching bands, and more.
Enjoy Edible Art!
It is a common adage that you “eat with your eyes”. At Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts art and food come together in a delightful, and tasty, masterpiece. The Food Stands are FamilyFun Pittsburgh’s favorite part of the Epcot Festivals. We love to sample the unique food offerings from each of the stands. Every dish is a “small plate” and costs around $10-14. (It’s a Disney vacation!)
At the Festival, food becomes art. At The Painter’s Palette Food Stand, enjoy a Mickey and Pluto White Chocolate “Painting” with a chocolate easel or a smoked salmon and cream gateau with egg yolk cream, paddlefish caviar, and micro-herbs. The Artist’s Table Food Stand has Beef Wellington with Mushroom Bordelaise, Fennel Cream, and Roasted Baby Vegetables or the Artist Palette Chocolate Chip Cookie or the Sipping Chocolate Flight of White, Milk, and Dark Chocolates.
The Deconstructed Dish has deconstructed BLT’s, Reubens, and Strawberry Cheesecake. Cuisine Classique features Braised Short Ribs, Corvina with Ratatouille, and the Artist Palate Chocolate Chip Cookie. The Masterpiece Kitchen serves a charcuterie plate with cured meats and cheeses, a Wild Mushroom Risotto with aged Parmesan and Truffle Shavings, and a Vanilla-Rose Water Pistachio Panna Cotta.
Pop Eats serves a beautiful Almond Frangipane Layered Cake that is truly a beautiful work of art. Decadent Delights is really decadent desserts including a Lemon and Blood Orange Tart and the addictive Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Pretzel Crunch.
The Pavilions of the World Showcase have special featured menu items to try out too. Each Stand also features specialty drinks – alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Close out your evening at Epcot with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. This Epcot Classic will be retired later this year before Disney unveils a new night-time spectacular.
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is included with admission to Epcot.
There is plenty to see and do at Epcot outside of the Festival. FamilyFunPittsburgh highly recommends Spaceship Earth, in the giant “Ball”. Explore the history of communication from prehistoric times through the digital age. We also love Living with the Land in The Land Pavilion. If you have the time, take the Behind the Seeds Tour in The Land Pavilion. FamilyFunPittsburgh loved this tour. Learn how Disney imagineers and scientists design and grow the food and plants in The Land Pavilion. While you are in the Pavilion, you will want to ride Soarin’ Around the World.
Fans of Frozen will want to head to the Norway Pavilion for the Frozen Ever After ride. Meet Anna and Elsa at the Meet and Greet in Norway. Ride the Seas with Nemo & Friends in The Seas Pavilion.
Bigger kids will love Mission: Space and another FamilyFunPittsburgh favorite, Test Track. Design your own car and then monitor it as you go through the testing labs and race it around the Test Track. See how your virtual design did against all of the designs that day. (FamilyFunMom’s Orange Slushie is always in the top three for efficiency for the day!)
Epcot is one of the four major parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida. To plan your trip and for more information, visit the Disney site at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/