The Festival of the Arts returns in 2019 for a 5.5-week run from January 18th through February 25th.
The Festival has quickly become a favorite of many, particularly those who thought Flower and Garden’s three-month spring run and Food and Wine’s 76-day fall extravaganza were cut a little short.
This year, the Festival Showplace and each of the Food Studios are open daily from 11am through 9pm. During the first year of the Festival, three years ago, the kiosks were only open on the weekends.
If you’ve visited an Epcot Food/Wine/Flower/Garden Festival over the last few years, then you know the general idea behind the food and drink options. But Festival of the Arts brings a unique attention to detail with a focus on vibrant colors and bright flavors presented artistically. For any of the other Epcot Festivals, the charcuterie above would be pre-plated with generic offerings and a lack of accompaniments. For Festival of the Arts, each meat and cheese is sliced fresh inside the Studio and plated with care. There’s fresh herbs placed on top of the capocollo which is placed on top of a tangy sauce. There’s fresh honey on top of the blue cheese, pecans served alongside the brie, and pickled onions next to the prosciutto. You typically pay an extra dollar or two for the quality of the ingredients and the attention to detail compared to similar Food/Wine offerings, but both should be worth the extra cost on the recommended items that follow. The above is $14 worth, but it rivals the quality of most Disney restaurants, where you’d pay a similar amount of money. Having the opportunity to try and share a number of dishes around World Showcase is a lot of fun, particularly on warm days with cool evenings that make up much of the Festival’s run.
With the exception of the occasional wine, the website has reviewed every single food and drink item at this year’s Festival. If you find a wine that does not taste like wine, please email email@example.com and I’ll rush over and give it a taste. If it does, in fact, taste like wine, then you can expect a bill in the mail.
Here’s an example of what France is offering this year in the form of L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise.
Below are the links to the individual Food Studios that you’ll find situated around World Showcase, beginning with Pop Eats! on the walk to the Mexico Pavilion and continuing in order through Decadent Delights and then the Painter’s Palate inside the Festival Showplace/Odyssey building and Taste Track across from the exit to the ride that it’s named after.
- Pop Eats!
- El Artista Hambriento
- The Painted Panda
- Refreshment Outpost
- Cuisine Classique
- L’Arte di Mangiare
- The Artist’s Table
- Funnel Cakes and Block & Hans
- Takumi Table
- Mosaic Canteen
- L’Art du Cuisine Francaise
- The Masterpiece Kitchen
- Refreshment Port
- Deconstructed Dish
- Decadent Delights
- The Painter’s Palate
- Taste Track
Each item is photographed, described, and then rated on taste and value relative to the other Festival offerings.
The Website’s Favorite Items
Below, you’ll find our favorite items. As always, tastes differ and there’s no guarantee that something won’t change during the Festival’s run. Consider it one (very important) data point in your Festival food research.
Wild Mushroom Risotto – The Masterpiece Kitchen
This risotto is all kinds of rich and creamy. Unbelievably good. A real “masterpiece,” if you will.
Vanilla, Rose Water and Pistachio Panna Cotta – The Masterpiece Kitchen
This is light and refreshing with a pleasant fruity vanilla flavor and that perfect panna cotta texture that’s soft and creamy without being thin and mushy. The Rose Water serves largely to bring out and enhance the flavors of the berries and vanilla, creating a naturally sweet dessert that tastes great, particularly in warmer temperatures.
Chocoflan: Creamy Mexican Custard – El Artista Hambriento
Dirt cheap by Arts Festival standards, this sub-$5 dessert marries the sweet flavors of caramel with the lusciousness of the dense chocolate cake underneath. Delicious and take advantage of a rare home run from Mexico.
Kung Fu Punch – The Painted Panda
Almost everything in China is horrifically overpriced this year, but the $9 Kung Fu Punch moves over from the Food and Wine Festival. Featuring Vodka, Triple Sec, and sweet tropical flavors, it packs a surprising punch as cast members are typically heavy-handed with their pours.
Salted Caramel Funnel Cake – Funnel Cake Stand
While not technically from a Food Studio, this gigantic, deliciously-sweet Funnel Cake is out of this world and exclusively offered during the Festival of the Arts. Share it among four or five people as it’s huge – easily five or six times the size of most other Festival desserts. A real guilty pleasure.
Carmel Road Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir – The Artist’s Table
On value and quality, this is the best non-sparkling wine served at the Festival – fruity and surprisingly spicy with a smooth finish.
Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl – L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise
At almost nine bucks, price versus size comes into play here, but this remains a very fun, very satisfying dish with the chewy bread bowl surrounding the creamy, salty cheese inside.
Molten Chocolate Cake with Pure Origin Valrhona Chocolates
This is a good example of how much the Festival of the Arts differs from other Festivals. Almost all of the plating is completed inside the Studio, first with the swirls of chocolate sauce underneath. The cake is then placed on top, before another cast member delicately squeezes colorful dollops of fruity sauce around the cake and then it’s finished with a couple twists of a powdered sugar mill. Beautiful, rich, and decadent.
Frosé – L’Art du Cuisine Francaise
I don’t think a slush has ever made a “Best Of” list at any Festival, but this is a deliciously refreshing drink with a subtle sweet peach flavor that perfectly masks the bitterness of the Côtes de Provence Rosé Wine, while still allowing the floral bouquet to show through the vodka. Surprisingly nuanced.
Lobster Chips – Refreshment Port
This is a big portion of fresh, crunchy, salty chips covered in a rich and creamy Lobster Cheese sauce with plenty of chunks of lobster placed on top. It’s a bit removed from the theme of the Festival, but I think you’ll enjoy the flavors and the portion for the price. There’s plenty of art to enjoy elsewhere around World Showcase.
Caramel Cream Tart – Cuisine Classique
A good size, this sweet dessert has a lot going on with a couple of cream puffs on top, in addition to the sweet caramel custard surrounded by the lightly crispy exterior. Table service quality.
Pan-seared Scallop – Artist’s Table
A little bit of spice and everything nice, the red pepper coulis adds a delicious complexity to the perfectly-seared scallop topped with a deliciously crispy, cheesy cracker. And it has a flower on top. Tender and flavorful.
Deconstructed BLT – Deconstructed Dish
The rich, creamy egg contrasts beautifully with the crispy pork belly that’s so tender it will melt away in your mouth. A couple of incredibly decadent bites. Top three dish.
Overall, there is a lot to delight at this year’s Festival of the Arts. Hopefully these reviews offer an idea about what to expect.