Starting today and continuing for six weekends, Walt Disney World has introduced the new Festival of the Arts, bringing culture and culinary excellence to Epcot. Adding to the already mouthwatering lineup of the International Food and Wine Festival and the always gorgeous Flower and Garden Festival, this new offering brings vibrant entertainment and delightful eats Fridays through Mondays through Feb. 20, 2017.
Colorful artwork from many talented artists lines the walkways of the World Showcase while a giant Figment topiary looks on to Future World on the backside of Spaceship Earth. Pieces of Disney history from legendary artists Mary Blair and Herb Ryman are also on display in the park. Lectures and hands-on sessions take a deep dive into animation.
But while painted arts are lovely to look at, this festival really shines in two other art forms: food and music.
Building on the popularity of the Food and Wine Festival, the Festival of the Arts features five unique food booths, each with an eclectic menu that puts an emphasis on presentation and plating as much as bold flavors.
Hear more from the executive chef behind these masterful creations:
Among the best of the best for foodies during the festival are the trio of savory Croissant Doughnuts at The Painter’s Palate, the Deconstructed Reuben at E=AT^2, the Cloudem Silver Sparkling Wine at Pop Eats!, and the Mushroom Risotto and Charcuterie Palette from The Masterpiece Kitchen.
They say you “eat with your eyes” first – and during the Festival of the Arts this is certainly true. The chefs in each booth quite carefully prepare and plate every single dish, even if there’s a long line. They are slow and meticulous. Their attention to detail will surely please the biggest food fans, but may frustrate those simply looking to grab something quick. These dishes are meant to be enjoyed slowly, savoring each beautiful bite. And it’s fun to watch them make each one.
Beyond the grub, Broadway talent straight from New York are performing each weekend in the America Gardens Theatre stage at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. on each festival day. Today, the talents of Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”) took the stage and dazzled fans with songs not only from those hit musicals but also a variety from Disney’s catalog.
And those who want to take home some souvenirs will not be disappointed with this festival – especially any fans of Figment, as Disney’s merch specialist Steven Miller explains in the video below:
If there is a downside to Epcot’s new Festival of the Arts, it’s in the animation lectures held in the Odyssey pavilion, which are a bit too rudimentary for seasoned Disney fans who likely already know exactly how animation cels are inked and painted. But these sessions are included with admission and offer guests a free pin to take home, so it’s not all bad.
The Festival of the Arts never steals attention from the rest of Epcot, but perfectly inserts itself in the gaps between big attractions, allowing guests to enhance their day at the theme park with a bit of culture and plenty of good eats.