Back on November 21st, 2016, Disney announced that a new Festival would be arriving at Epcot. Running on Fridays through Mondays from January 13 – February 20, I thought the event fit Epcot’s theme perfectly and added a lot of fun and interesting things to do.
Now that the Festival is over, I’m not sure if this post is more or less useless than it would have been had it turned up a couple of days after the Arts debuted.
But it’s 99.9% likely that the Festival of the Arts will return next year, so if you are planning a trip sometime between mid-January and mid-February then this may offer an idea about what to expect. And if not, you can at least laugh at my drawing of Winnie the Pooh.
The Disney on Broadway shows in the American Gardens Theater ended up being my favorite aspect.
The 25ish minute shows were scheduled three times each evening and featured legit talent. This is the original Broadway Mary Poppins and Tarzan and they were fantastic.
You can sample a performance here. New performers appeared every two weeks, so local visitors could return and see new people and hear different songs. I don’t have much use for the Flower Power or Sounds Like Summer concert series, but I made a point of seeing the Broadway show whenever possible. Really terrific stuff.
The popular Animation Academy, long gone from Hollywood Studios, made a return.
This time it was offered in the old Vision House space in Innoventions East (buy Bosch). Hopefully next year, Disney can figure out a way to increase capacity or the number of shows offered. The class only lasted nine minutes but they were scheduled 45 minutes apart, requiring a wait of about 25 minutes to get a seat in a lot of cases.
I’m so sorry. But it is fun to draw along with the animator and you’ll either come away with a “free” souvenir or years of torment as people constantly remind you of that pooh you drew that one time.
Luckily, there were real artists spread throughout World Showcase creating art and answering questions.
The same artist later in the day.
The artists would spend some time in a Pavilion and then take up residence in others throughout the day.
Chalk art in the United States while it’s still legal here.
Disney also set up a variety of these photo opportunities where you get to be a part of a famous painting.
Guests had the opportunity to get in on the action with this large “paint by numbers” mural.
Basically, you picked up a brush and some paint that corresponded to small boxes with numbers on them on the mural.
Then you could find five to seven of those boxes and do your part to create the larger mural.
Meanwhile, the professionals were working on this.
The living statues were popular.
Maybe they will set up a similar thing with bloggers for Flower/Garden.
A number of notable artists were on hand to sign their work and meet fans.
And different kinds of art were available to look at and purchase.
There were quite a few more than this.
As in past years, a scavenger hunt was offered at a minimal cost.
Guests had the opportunity to pay $6.99 for the map and then hunt around each World Showcase Pavilion trying to find these paintings.
Then you put the sticker for that painting onto the map.
After completing the activity, you bring the map back to one of the locations that sells them and can choose one of these magnets. “The Scream” proved to be most popular.
Speaking of Figment, the merchandise was largely on point.
The painting in particular.
The Festival Center was in the Odyssey Building.
I was impressed by the value Disney was offering for their paid events. This $39 flower arrangement class included a Minnie coffee mug that’s currently in stores for $16.95, in addition to the Festival of the Arts reusable bag that’s pictured towards the lower left corner of the frame, in addition to taking home a very nice assortment of flowers that would cost you $100+ if Disney delivered them to your room. Of course, you are doing most of the work yourself during the 60-minute class. Very fun.
Also in the Festival Showplace were small Herb Ryman and Mary Blair exhibits:
There were only about eight pieces per artist, but the concept art in particular was really cool to see in this large size. Hopefully we’ll see bigger exhibits next year.
Back outside, the characters met alongside pieces of art featuring their likeness.
Those visiting the various Kidcot Fun Spots could choose to decorate this painter’s palette.
Of course, food and drink were involved, the items of which I reviewed shortly after the Festival started. Unlike Flower/Garden/Food/Wine there were only a handful of kiosks, but I thought what each offered was quite good. And because there were so few, they didn’t typically get in the way like the 35+ kiosks you see during Food/Wine might.
For posterity, here are the links to each kiosk review:
- The Painter’s Palate
- El Arista Hambriento
- Cuisine Classique
- The Artist’s Table
- The Masterpiece Kitchen
- Decadent Delights
- Pop Eats
Overall, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is something to look forward to next winter for anyone able to visit between when the Festival starts in mid-January and ends in mid-February.
I’ll see you at Flower and Garden next week.