10 Reasons To Attend Festival of the Arts at Epcot

Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Epcot International Festival Of The Arts

Epcot has a brand new festival in 2017 called Epcot International Festival Of The Arts.  If Epcot knows how to do one thing well it’s how to put on an excellent festival!  The Food and Wine Festival & Flower and Garden Show have proven to be big hits for Epcot.  Now Epcot takes on the Arts!

To be honest, I’ve always felt like all of Disney World has been a showcase of the arts.  Disney World is a showcase of the performing arts, architectural arts (is that a thing?), decorating arts and culinary arts.

With Epcot Festival Of The Arts, Epcot brings the arts specifically into the spotlight, focusing on Performing Arts, Culinary Arts and some really awesome Art Galleries.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts runs Friday-Monday from January 13th – February 20th and is included with Epcot admission.

Day 1 of Epcot Festival Of The Arts

As soon as Disney announced this new festival I immediately added the first day to my calendar.  What an incredible opportunity to get to do something brand new at Disney World!

Even though the day was gray, overcast and misting the day was rather bright in all other regards.

As you enter Epcot be sure to pick up one of the Festival of the Arts passports / guides.  This will give you details about specific festival events taking place throughout World Showcase.  It also gives you details of the culinary arts and where you can find all of the yummy desserts created for the arts festival.

#artfulepcot

A photo posted by Allie E (@ae1203) on

Odyssey Festival Showplace

As I headed to World Showcase it began to rain, so I darted into Odyssey Festival Showplace just to get out of the rain.  And what a great surprise awaited me with one of the galleries there!

The Mary Blair Gallery features the artwork of this iconic Disney artist. There were tons of concept art on display! Seeing the process of how an attraction / movie / event goes from ideal, to concept to reality has always intrigued me.  The creativity of Mary Blair blows me away!

As I walked through another gallery I noticed the pieces were for sale. It gave me a whole new idea on how to decorate another area of my home!  Throughout the festival you’ll see lots of tents with art for sale.  Trust me, the Disney lover in you will have a buffet of art pieces at your disposal.  I hope your home turns out as beautiful as mine!

Various complimentary seminars are included with admission at 1:30 and 4:30, though I did not participate because of a FastPass+ conflict!  Interactive Workshops and Tours are available too.  For the true art lover, Epcot’s International Festival Of The Arts has a LOT to offer!

And another surprise too!!

The Liberty High School Theatre was the first high school to perform at the Epcot Festival of the Arts and I was lucky enough to catch their show.

These students are so incredibly talented! Performing “Raise Your Voice” and other parts of Sister Act! they showed class, style and finesse! It blows my mind that this much talent comes from one single high school!  It’s safe to say the arts are alive and well at this high school.

Since you missed this incredible production at Epcot’s International Festival Of The Arts I’ve included a YouTube video found on their Facebook Page.

Culinary Arts at Festival of the Arts

Epcot has a delicious reputation when it comes to food.  Matter of fact, I believe Epcot is a 365 day a year showcase of the culinary arts.  And for this festival, Epcot gets some extra brownie points.

The festival guide has a full page layout of photographs from some of the most beautiful food you’ll find in the festival.  They may look pretty, but did the chef’s pull it off when it came to taste.

I was on a mission to find out!  Here are a few examples of how Epcot knows how to make food both beautiful and delicious!

 

These special treats are found all throughout World Showcase in temporary tents.  The tents and food offerings are a bit more sporadic than what you experience at the food and wine festival, but the quality is just as impressive and the visual presentation of the food is definitely a focus.

Epcot definitely pulled it off!  They created art that is both delicious and beautiful!  I love that Epcot included the culinary arts in such a big way.  It’s just a gut feeling, but I’m sure this aspect of the festival will expand as the festival matures.

There is so much good artsy food at Festival Of The Arts I will circle back around to the food… you know it’s the real reason I was excited about this festival!

Disney On Broadway Concert Series

Disney On Broadway Concert Series at Festival of the Arts

Art has a way of moving you.  For me, this is especially true when it comes to music and the performing arts.  When you combine music, Disney and Broadway, you know you’re going to get something spectacular!  The Disney On Broadway Concert Series combines them all for an amazing show!

This concert series is incredible!

The Disney on Broadway Concert  Series takes place at the American Gardens Theatre in the World Showcase.  Shows are at 5:30, 6:45 & 8:00pm.  And I was lucky enough to catch the very first show!

Ashley Brown & Josh Strickland blew me away as they performed songs from some of Disney’s smash Broadway hits!  While I was not familiar with their names, I am totally familiar with their characters.  Robin was the original Mary Poppins on Broadway and Josh played Tarzan.

With tons of personality, their performances were fun, touching, engaging and mesmerizing.  My personal favorite was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Part Of Your World from Disney’s Little Mermaid was a close second.  But seriously, every single song was fabulous!  More than one of them brought me to tears.

The music of Disney is so powerful and this show was phenomenal.

Here’s the lineup for Disney On Broadway Concert Series

January 13-16 & 20-23 – Ashley Brown & Josh Strickland.   The performance includes songs from Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, Frozen, The Little Mermaid.

January 27-30 & February 3-6 – Kerry Butler & Kevin Massey.  The performance includes songs from Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Newsies, Aladdin.

February 10-13 & 17-20 – Kissy Simmons & Alton Fitzgerald White.  The performance includes songs from Disney’s Lion King, Aida, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.

Tip:  Dinner packages are available and I would suggest getting a dinner package for the best possible seating and guaranteed seating.  When word gets out how incredible this concert series is, it’s going to be difficult to get a seat.

Facebook Live of the final two songs from Day 2 of the festival

 

 

Galleries Throughout Epcot

As you stroll through World Showcase you’ll find lots of special tents and art galleries.  Take the time to walk through them to see a wide variety of the visual arts.  …and if you’re like me, you’ll have a whole new house decorated in complete Disney style!

There was a tent full of Star Wars art, one that appeared to be mostly from creatures under the sea, tons of Disney specific art and lots of non-Disney art as well.

With photo backdrops and wall mural paintings, your Instagram account will not know what hit them!  There are tons of photo ops all throughout Festival of the Arts!

Leaving On A Good Note – The Art of Smell

As I left the American Gardens Theatre I passed by one of the most yummy smelling places ever, the little kiosk where they sell funnel cakes.  But instead of the typical aroma a funnel cake, it was the most wonderful smell of Gingerbread.

Yes, the festival has a special gingerbread funnel cake that is certain to make the lobby of The Grand Floridian jealous!

Scattered throughout the park you’ll find over 15 spots that will tickle your nose, tastebuds and bring a smile to your face!  Even if you don’t intend to try all of the special menu items, take the time to look at how yummy and beautiful Epcot presents them!

And have no fear, the special drinks are as beautiful too!  These drinks will add some culture to your “drinking around the world” adventure!

Three Things I was Not Expecting From The Festival

1- The number of teens at the festival and taking part of it all was seriously impressive!  Whether they were there with school groups, theatre troupes or what, I’m not sure?  But it was really cool seeing so many expressing their enthusiasm and love for the arts.

Having a place to exhibit your talents and given a place to dream…well, it’s huge.  Thank you Disney for providing such a place!

2- I knew there would be performances by local artist, but did not expect them to be that good.  Liberty High School’s musical performance impressed the heck out of me!

3- The Photo Backdrops.  I had read that they would be available, but was truly impressed by how well they were done and the attention they received.  All of them had a line of people waiting for to take pictures.  The photos look so cool too!

 

10 Reasons To Attend Festival Of The Arts

  1. Disney On Broadway Concert Series
  2. Almond Frangipane Cake, Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie… FOOD!
  3. Epcot Living Statues
  4. Live Performance Art – see it created right before your eyes!
  5. Animation Academy
  6. Mary Blair Gallery
  7. Disney Original Art Gallery – This is Walt Disney history folks!
  8. American Music Machine – a cappella meets pop music.
  9. Photo Backdrops – you can be in a Monet!
  10. Four words:  Gingerbread Funnel Cake!

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