Epcot International Festival of the Arts Review- Part 1
While down in Walt Disney World on vacation earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the opening days of this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which is being held daily from January 12th through February 19th (though some event offerings are only on select days/ weekends). During this festival, guests are immersed in a wide variety of artistry around Epcot, from chalk art and live performance art, to special music, food, and drinks curated for this event.
In its’ second year, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts has grown significantly from last year’s inaugural year. So much, in fact, that I will have to split this review into two parts. This first part will focus on events, happenings, and cuisine found throughout Future World and Showcase Plaza, with the second part focusing on the World Showcase and what it has to offer. Shall we get started?
Epcot Festival Map
As with most special events at the Disney Parks, this festival has a special Epcot map. This map not only shows the locations of the normal offerings Epcot has, but also the special festival-exclusive offerings.
Odyssey Festival Showplace
The main “hub” for this festival is the Odyssey Festival Showplace, located at the former Odyssey Restaurant (the building between Test Track in Future World and the Mexico Pavilion in World Showcase). Within the Odyssey Festival Showplace throughout the festival are seminars and talks by Disney Artists, the Animation Academy (where guests can try their hand at animating a Disney character), the Art of Disney Attractions Posters exhibits, two “pop-up” merchandise locations, and the Painter’s Palette food stop (which I will review further down below).
The highlight for me here was The Art of Disney Attraction Posters exhibits, which took both a behind the scenes look at some of the iconic posters we know and love, as well as how similar attractions are represented in poster form around the world. Here is a look at the exhibit.
Click on thumbnails for larger images.
Throughout the festival at various locations, guests can purchase limited edition item commemorating the event. One of the most popular set of items for the event this year are the pins, most of which feature Figment, who took it upon himself to “imagine” himself into some famous paintings. While full sized versions of these paintings are featured throughout Wolrd Showcase as part of Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt (I will review that in Part 2), four of them have been recreated in pin form, LE 2500 each.
Additionally, a Limited Release pin featuring Mickey’s silhouette in a graphic paint design (one of the festival logos) is available to purchase.
For Annual Passholders, a selection of exclusive merchandise is available to purchase. I purchased a few of these items including another LE 2500 Figment pin (silver border instead of gold), a button set, and a Figment Tervis tumbler.
NOTE: Four additional Figment pins were released during the event as part of the Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt. I will share a closer look at those Limited Release pins in Part 2.
Over in Future World East between the entrances to Mission: Space and the former Universe of Energy building, artists daily are creating fun artwork using chalk. While I was over there, things were a bit busy and crowded for me to get some decent shots of what was going on. However, I did take a fun look at this perspective chalk art. It was currently off limits to actual photo ops with it, but it was still interesting to stand on the correct spot to see what the artist wanted you to experience.
Artists of Tomorrow
Located in the south part of the Future World West building that houses the Epcot Character Spot (right next to the rear entrance to Coca-Cola Club Cool), the Artists of Tomorrow exhibit featuring the up-and-coming artists of tomorrow… artistic children and young adults working at honing their skills to become the next great artist.
Fountain View Plaza
Personally, I have not seen anything done on this stage (located on the south end of the Fountain of Nations) in well over a decade. However, throughout the festival, live entertainment from acrobatics to music to living statues grace this area. Also might be the reason why the Fountain of Nations is not cranked up to full working order, so as to not get the stage wet (this was a problem back during the very short lived show Splashtacular).
Located in Showcase Plaza, this activity gives guests to opportunity to help paint a giant Figment mural one of several different colors. Painting a few blocks at a time, over the course of a couple of days, the murals get filled in…. and then reset for another round.
Future World/ Showcase Plaza Cuisine
For the cuisine part of this review, my Pop! Vinyl figures of Figment and Chef Remy joined me.
The Painter’s Palate
At the first stop, located inside Odyssey Festival Showplace, I decided to get creative and get the White Chocolate Figment Puzzle. Served on a Artist Palette, it comes with a paint brush, “paints”, and sugar decorations so you can decorate your own Figment, if you wish.
These next three locations were the ones located in Showcase Plaza prior to actually entering World Showcase.
The Deconstructed Dish
This was one of my favorite stops by far, and I ended up swinging by there twice. The first time, I got the Deconstructed Reuben. The second time, I got the Deconstructed BLT and the non-alcoholic version of the Deconstructed Breakfast. All three dishes were yummy, but I wouldn’t have minded more candied bacon. Everything is better with bacon!
For those of you interested in recreating the “Deconstructed Breakfast”, recipe cards for the Twinings Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake were being given out at the booth. Here is a snapshot of the recipe.
Next door, the Refreshment Port is serving up a special for the festival, a Croissant Doughnut, which is filled with pastry cream and colored pearls. Though it looked delicious, I did not partake. I did, however, try their newest offering… a Poutine covered in Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (a fan favorite of many) and cheese curds. While this is not technically a festival exclusive dish, it is a new item and no word on how long it will be around.
At this stop, I was feeling in a Figment-y mood, so I got the White Chocolate and Purple Sweet Potato Mousse. It was really good, but clearly everyone else wanted the S’mores Tart, which was the best seller by far every time I passed by that location.
At this stop, I got both savory and sweet with the purchase of the Sous Vide Poulet Rouge Chicken Roulade and the Almond Frangipane Cake. Both of these dishes were were delicious.
Well, that about does it for this first part of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts review. Stay tuned for the next, and last, part… which will be here in a few days.