Epcot International Festival of the Arts Review- Part 2
Earlier this week, I posted Part 1 of my two part review of this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which I attended earlier this month. While Part 1 focused on the activities and cuisine found in Future World and Showcase Plaza, Part 2 will now journey into World Showcase, where there was a lot of fun to be had, including an Art Walk, a Disney on Broadway Concert Series, even more delicious food and drink offerings, and even a Figment inspired scavenger hunt. Let’s check it out.
Figment PhotoPass “Magic Shot”
Throughout Epcot during the event, PhotoPass photographers have a special “Magic Shot”, featuring Figment holding an oversize paintbrush. Quite a few different PhotoPass photographers have this option at their disposal, so just ask! My friends Danielle, Lauren, David, and I got one taken with Figment outside of the International Gateway.
Artful Photo Ops
Throughout World Showcase, PhotoPass photographers are set up in front of recreations of famous paintings, where guests can step into the painting and help recreate it… sometimes with funny results. Below are my attempts at recreating everything from “The Birth of Venus” to the “Mona Lisa”.
In all eleven countries of World Showcase, guests can take their Festival Passports and collect stone rubbings. Each rubbing is based off an artform popular in that country, like literature in the United Kingdom, gargoyle statures in France, or totem poles in Canada. While this was a fun project to do, there needs to be some kinks worked out, as rarely did the rubbings come out perfectly on the paper. Sometimes it was the angle that the rubbing was set up at, and others it was the mere intricacy of the rubbing.
“Meet & Greet” Paintings
At almost all of the Meet & Greets around World Showcase (with the exceptions of Anna, Elsa, and Jasmine), special paintings grace the area. Each painting is either of the character appearing or, in the case of Alice, their creation…. or in the case of Donald, a self portrait (obviously). My favorite one was probably of Belle (done by Maurice), which had a beautiful and elaborate easel to go along with it.
Figment’s Brush with the Masters
Scavenger hunts during the Epcot festivals have become a very popular thing for families to do, and this year’s hunt for the Festival of the Arts revolves around Figment… which meant that I was totally doing it. For this hunt, guests have to find special paintings where Figment has “imagined” himself into. Each of the eleven countries of the World Showcase has a painting, and some are easier to find than others. Maps for the scavenger hunt can be purchased for $4.99 at numerous locations throughout the park. Here is a look at some of the paintings. Obviously, I am not going to share all of the paintings, nor their locations, so as to not spoil the hunt for everyone.
Now, whether you finish the scavenger hunt or not, you can redeem your map for one of four Figment themed pins. I LOVE that this hunt has the pins back, as previous hunts recently have had less desirable items. I ended up purchasing four maps in order to get all four pins.
Disney on Broadway Concert Series
Each weekend throughout the festival, members from the Disney on Broadway community grace the stage of the America Gardens Theatre for a concert featuring songs from the Disney on Broadway library. This first weekend was supposed to feature the husband and wife duo of Kevin Massey (Tarzan) and Kara Lindsay (Newsies). However, a last minute death in the family meant that Kara had to be elsewhere, so with only a few days to spare, Tarzan‘s original Jane, Jenn Gambatese, filled in. While I was hoping to see Kara, Jenn did not disappoint, and I am fans of both of them from my years of seeing them on various Broadway stages.
For their concert, which changes given who the visiting guests are, songs were sung from Tarzan, Aladdin, Newsies, and the newest Disney musical coming to Broadway, Frozen. The show, running about 40-45 minutes, was great. I ended up seeing it three times throughout the weekend. Below are some of the pics I got while sitting with some friends, who came in for the concert specifically, in the front row.
Click thumbnails for larger versions.
World Showcase Cuisine
El Artista Hambriento (Mexico)
While the Tacos de Puerco were tasty, I am not sure that it was worth the price I paid for it. This booth was very popular because they were serving Margaritas as well.
The Painted Panda (China)
Here I decided to go with the whimsical Coconut Panda Rice Cake, which was cute and tasty! I never got back around to the Painted Panda again, but if I did I probably would have gotten another rice cake and probably the shrimp dish, which I heard was delicious.
Cuisine Classique (Germany)
At this stop I wanted to indulge my sweet tooth, so I got the Saint-Honore Tart, made up of a caramel cream tart and cream puffs. It was really good. However, the clear best seller at this location was the beef short rib dish, which was outselling the other dishes when I was there at least 8 to 1.
Nearby at the Refreshment Outpost, they had a special offering of a Chilled Shrimp dish. I was tasty, but a bit on the spicy side. However, not nearly as spicy as what they offer in that area during the Food & Wine Festival.
L’arte Di Mangiare (Italy)
Since I don’t do well with a lot of tomatoes, I opted for the Involtini di Salmone al Basilico dish. Personally, it was good (and I am not a big salmon person), but way overpriced for what you got.
The Artist’s Table (The American Adventure)
I ended up visiting this location twice. The first time I had the Roasted Pork Roulade, which was probably one of the best dishes I had at this festival. I ended up going back the second time to try the Callebaut Belgian Sipping Chocolate Flight… the white chocolate sipper just seemed off in texture, but was still very delicious overall.
Additionally, around the American Adventure pavilion, there are specials offerings including an Orange Cream Funnel Cake, an Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie, and a variety of alcoholic drinks and Block & Hans.
Takumi Table (Japan)
While the last salmon dish I had over by Italy I thought was overpriced, this Chirashi Sushi and Haupia Pearl dish was delicious and very much worth the price I paid.
Mosaic Canteen (Morocco)
I personally would have loved more feta cheese on it (I love cheese), but this Mediterranean Flat Bread was very good overall. I would have this dish again for sure.
L’art De La Cuisine Francaise (France)
To be honest, I did not know that pork rillettes were served chilled or at room temperature, so this Rillettes du Mans dish was different than what I was expecting, but very good. I am now a fan of rillettes.
The Masterpiece Kitchen (Canada)
The last stop of the culinary part of this festival brought us some Wild Mushroom Risotto, which was delicious. I had plans to come back to this location to try the Charcuterie Palatte, but that didn’t work out. Maybe at next year’s festival.
Meeting the Artists- Noah
One of the highlights for the festival overall was getting to meet Noah, a Disney artist that I have admired for a long time. Throughout the festival, he and other artists are scattered throughout World Showcase, set up with tents showcasing their work. Mainly on weekends, these artists are around to sign pieces and meet with their fans. I ended up caving in towards the end of my trip and picking up a print that’s part of his newest series “The Kid in Me”. This piece, “Yeti-Or-Not” features the kids riding the Matterhorn Bobsleds, featuring everyone’s favorite Abominable Snowman… Harold! Noah was kind enough to personalize the piece for me and take a (very sun drenched) selfie with me towards the end of the day. Love having this piece in my collection, and I am sure it will be joined by other prints of this series in the near future.
Overall, I feel this festival will become a popular staple in Epcot’s lineup of festivals, joining the already popular Flower & Garden and Food & Wine Festival. The biggest downside for me was that World Showcase in some locations felt very tight, especially if it was crowded. The location of the artists’ booths got in the way of the flow of the crowds in those areas. I think Disney might have to work on that for the future, especially when a good chunk of Future World over by the Imagination! Pavilion (utilized to the nines by the Food & Wine Festival) remained untouched for this festival.
Aside from that, it was a very enjoyable festival, and I look forward to possibly experiencing it again in the future.
If you took part in this year’s Festival of the Arts, I would love to hear your thoughts on the festival below. What did you like? What did you not like? Will you be going back?
Feature Editor for DisKingdom.com and PopVinyls.com.
Living in the NYC area, Travis has grown up loving a multitude of things, from Disney to Broadway to the fine arts… and beyond. He is the Press Reporter for such events like the NY Toy Fair and New York Comic Con. Additionally, he is also an amateur puppeteer, toy collector, avid movie goer, and carries his camera around wherever he goes.