Since we’re friends, I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone before. I’ve never been to the Festival of the Masters. This being the 36th year, that means I’ve missed it for 35 straight years, 26 of which I’ve actually been alive to miss.
Disney describes the Festival as:
The 36th Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels® is a vibrant, open-air art festival in the Downtown Disney area. Featuring more than 150 award-winning artists, this world-renowned show is a highly anticipated annual event for Guests, artists, collectors and art lovers.
Showcasing one-of-a-kind and limited-edition painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more, this prestigious show is ranked among the country’s finest outdoor art festivals. And there’s a lot more to enjoy, like amazing chalk art, live music, specialty foods and family-friendly activities.
Let’s check it out. Very quickly, I will say that if you are an artist or know one of the artists that would prefer that photos of your work not appear on the internet, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don’t think Disney has ever met a ledge, railing, or building that it didn’t want to hang a wreath on. This one is on the top of the Cirque du Soleil “tent.”
Most of the exhibitioners will be on the West Side of Downtown Disney, of course assuming it’s still called the West Side next year (wink).
There were three information stations set up. Of course, you would first have to find one of these information stations in order to get the map with the information station locations. Anyway, you can pick up a booklet with the list of exhibitors, food/drink locations, and a fair number of advertisements. Since the Michaels chain of craft stores was sponsoring the event, there was also an opportunity to pick up propaganda. Let me know if anyone wants information on the Creatology Coloring Playhouse and Rocket or the Topping Tornado.
Haunting sculptures from Steven Olszewski:
Best of show. My guess is that he’s related to famed Disney artist Robert Olszewski. It would be fun to have a house where you could put one of these sculptures and people wouldn’t ask you, “Why do you have that, bro?”
The West Side is packed with exhibitors.
Just about everywhere that you could put one.
Cirque du Soleil was out and about offering free face painting and a short meet and greet on Friday.
The Festival Gourmet booth in the following picture. As we’ll see later, most of the Downtown Disney restaurants were out offering food samples and most of the quick service locations are probably better than any of these “gourmet” offerings. Good for a quick snack though, assuming the other food isn’t to your tastes.
Nothing wrong with it – most likely.
Downtown Disney is decorated for the holidays.
Live music at the House of Blues and the usual Happy Hour throughout the restaurant. Half price appetizers and big discounts on drinks – can’t beat it on Disney property (other than Portobello – more on this later).
Disney had a lot of fun activities for kids throughout Downtown Disney. This was a too-small “Animation Academy” similar to what you’ll find in the Animation Building over at Hollywood Studios:
Fun if you can get a seat.
Pretty heavy crowds, but it’s easier to navigate in the daylight. Like most things Downtown Disney, the morning is always quieter. Since the event runs from 10am – 5:30pm (5pm on Sunday), plan to arrive before 10am should you wish to avoid the crowd. It wasn’t unmanageable on Sunday afternoon, but the booths make the walkways narrower, which only adds to the, “it’s crowded” feeling.
This caught my eye.
There was a nice diverse collection of different types of art.
Paintings are fine, but this kind of stuff is always more interesting to look at (in my opinion).
Just like the Food/Wine Festival over at Epcot:
Too rich for my blood.
The Downtown Disney stores that specialize in artsy merchandise get into the act by hosting artist meet and greets and signings as well.
The line was out the door.
Interesting stuff. And a nice reflection of my receding hairline (no additional charge for that).
Wolfgang Puck Cafe was out with several interesting options:
Better food, bigger portions, and cheaper prices than you’ll find at the Food and Wine Festival over at Epcot.
Something Silver is now open in Magic Masters spot. Sorry to see it go since it was always fun to walk in and check out some tricks. Realistically, no one ever bought anything though.
A look back toward the AMC Theater and Cirque du Soleil.
A crowded walkway.
And a fun live band on the balcony above.
FROGMAN signing. You can’t make some of this stuff up.
Busy up here too.
The remodeled “flagship” Sunglass Icon is open after a brief refurbishment:
If my dream wasn’t to be in the guacamole business, I’d want to be in the designer sunglasses business. These things are like $150+.
Blink by Wet Seal is also open in the old Magnetron location:
Personally, I’m disappointed in the direction Disney has taken as far as its new tenants on the West Side. While I can appreciate the fact that these types of generic stores are more profitable than the Magnetrons and Magic Masters of the world, they certainly don’t add much to the Downtown Disney experience, which should be unique and a little offbeat in my opinion. It shouldn’t be comprised of stores you would find in your local mall.
This was a fun area where kids could decorate a free Mickey Mouse picture frame:
A fun thing to keep kids occupied during your stereotypical “But mom, this is so boring!” art festival.
Really, could it be?
Oh my gosh. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more dorky in my entire life. Really, “make your own pleather biker vests?” That kid in the lower right hand corner has the right look on her face. Pure terror at going out in public in one of these things. This is all at the Harley Davidson store.
$7.75 for a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? Geeze!
In Pleasure Island, Disney showcased some of its own art and popular artists.
Here’s who was available:
“Noah” is a big deal – I know that. He appeared at the ($285/person) “Room For 1 More” event about six weeks ago, painted something for about 15 minutes, and then auctioned it off for around ten grand. To his credit, he’s appearing here well after he’s scheduled to depart. Couldn’t tell you if that’s because he didn’t arrive on time though ^_^ Either way, the line was only a few people deep – a short wait and an intimate experience with the artists.
More Disney Artist Village:
A nice opportunity to check out some Disney “fine” art.
For Adventurers Club fans:
It’s the “Adventurers Hut.” The next best thing to the Club, I suppose.
Sadly Adventurers Club fans, should you wish to participate here, you actually have to buy something:
Such is life. This is actually a nice addition as there isn’t a place around Pleasure Island to buy a quick drink or snack!
More famous quote: “It was all started by a mouse” or “I am not a crook?”
An opportunity to decorate the world’s ugliest shoes.
The easiest way to tell if an artist is a “big deal” is to simply look at the price tag. Hmmmmmm, eight grand. Must be a big deal!
I guess it’s a good size painting too.
This looks like a lot of meals I’ve seen around Disney property. Only 5k for this one.
Graham Knuttel. A pretty big deal. Raglan Road had commissioned what I’m sure was a very expensive piece to hang over their stage inside the restaurant. Graham was actually there meeting and greeting as well.
Raglan Road with a presence.
I was going to pop into Portobello and order some Meatball Sliders at the bar (three for five dollars).
But they were serving them outside. How convenient. This is the best deal on Disney property. No doubt in my mind.
Fulton’s was also serving a few items.
Somehow I didn’t take a direct picture of the menu so I have to blow this one up!! BAD BLOGGER! BAD BLOGGER!
Unfortunately (also), I didn’t capture the size of this Lobster Bisque in Sourdough Bread Bowl. You can kind of see it in the picture above where the woman is carrying one away. If this was on the menu of a Food/Wine Booth at Epcot, it would cost about $75.00. That’s how big it is.
Excellent. I was starving (for an American that eats three large meals a day) and wanted to try a few other things, but this filled me up. *sad panda*
T-Rex – not something you would necessarily consider “gourmet.”
But a few nice options.
All of the booths had samples of what you would be served, should you purchase. You could get a better idea about what looked good and how large the portions would be. Those donut holes look good and it looks like you get about ten of them.
Lego had the local “Lego Users Group” on hand.
A lot of fun for kids to showcase their work.
Free Family Street Paining with chalk.
While we’re here, a few “new” holiday items:
This time a beautiful greeting card set featuring the Castle Dream Lights.
And an ornament stand:
We had seen everything else.
An awards show for the street artists that we’ll take a closer look at in a moment.
More holiday decor on World of Disney. Santa arrives tomorrow (November 18th)!
This is the same stage that Minnie Mouse is standing on. Beginning the 18th, a nightly holiday dance party will take place from 7pm – 10pm.
Some of the chalk art.
The Florida Chalk Art Association offering to help kids make free friendship bracelets.
More free activities, this time presented by Family Fun.
Ghirardelli getting into the act helping kids make these poofy sundae looking things:
Teach my kids how to make me a real sundae please.
Disney Interactive showing off their newest game – Disney Universe.
Apparently the Pin Traders here is remodeled:
Seen many good men lost to pin trading in my day. Don’t buy one unless you’re prepared to buy 100.
The Downtown Disney Tree…somewhat disappointing this year.
A big circle of chalk art, this time created by area high schoolers:
Some impressive work.
We saw the silhouette cart at Magic Kingdom about two weeks ago:
The prices at Magic Kingdom were cheaper for one or two people, but here you get three copies instead of one. The price is also the same for three people and cheaper here for four people. Here’s that post to refresh your memory.
Should you be looking for the Cart, here it is in context. Look for it near Earl of Sandwich in the Marketplace.
Another fun, relatively inexpensive “memento opportunity” nearby.
The Christmas store. I waited a while for the girl that’s currently faceplanted into that candy cane to move, but she wasn’t having any of it.
I would guess the decoration instructions said, “Walk five steps…staple wreath….walk five steps….staple wreath….repeat until building covered.”
It’s not all about the animatronics at Rainforest Cafe. Since the food won’t entice you, they bring out live birds from time to time.
More comfortable than standing at the Food/Wine Festival. It’s Happy Hour at Raglan Road’s outdoor bar, which means $2 off draft beer.
More Knuttel. Those little ones on the right are only 2k. I guess when you charge prices that high, you only have to sell one or two. This website is for sale for one million dollars by the way. I can give you a little lesson about how to run it too. It would be a big lesson, but I only have enough knowledge for a little lesson. Okay, okay… for you, the price is $975,000.
I would say that outdoor seating at Raglan Road is 500% more popular in November than August, but when you multiply the zero people that would be outside in August by 500%, you still get zero people right? Anyway, this week has been pretty warm for November, but highs are still in the low 80s.
A DJ setting up at Paradiso 37, which is probably the most confused space at Downtown Disney. Is it a bar? A restaurant? A dance party? Just a mixture of awkward.
The neighbors already think you’re nuts with all of those Disney banners, flags, and inflatable Disney characters. Might as well put Disney art inside too since none of them are going to come over anyway.
A good look at the crowds. It’s a popular event and for good reason. It looks sort of “crazy” here, but it was easy enough moving around the crowds.
Deep thoughts, bro. Sort of played out though. Yours for $3,500.
Some fun vases from some of the more fun exhibitors.
Bummer, forgot my puppies in my other shorts.
A nice piece to put in my 34 square foot apartment. I feel like it would really give it some depth.
Something you don’t see every day:
Not sure what you would do with it….but it would be fun to have.
Too cool to make a snide remark about.
A little out there:
But how else are you going to win?
I guess this would balance out the Disney inflatables in the yard?
Current Disney Quest signage.
I had a lot more fun than I was expecting at the Festival of the Masters. The art for sale was diverse with a lot of interesting pieces. Nothing much that I could afford or would fit within the 17,000 covenants of the condo association, but looking is fun too. There were a bunch of fun and unique activities for the kids as well. It would be fun for them to come home with a picture frame or friendship bracelet they made themselves. The food was great with much larger portions and lower prices than you’ll find at the Epcot Food/Wine Festival.
The Festival of the Masters might not be an event that you’re looking to plan an entire vacation around, but it’s certainly an excellent bonus. If you’re in town on November 9 – 11, 2012 (the last weekend of the Food and Wine Festival), you might want to consider taking some time to check this event out as well, especially on a busy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. While it might look busy here, it’s nothing compared to what you’ll see at the Food/Wine Festival. Overall, a very pleasant event and one I would recommend attending if you have the opportunity.