by Beth Keating
November 4, 2022
It really is a shame that the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is one of Disney’s shortest festivals, because it’s one of our family’s favorites. Between getting the chance to meet more than 100 working artists throughout the Festival, enjoying creative and visually beautiful dishes, and listening to some of the best voices Broadway has to offer, it’s a joy to visit the Festival. (Kind of wish it came before Christmas though, because we’ve been known to purchase a few fantastic pieces of artwork that we’ve had signed by the artists – those pieces would make great Christmas gifts!)
The Festival of the Arts returns on January 13 and runs just five weeks until February 20, 2023. Disney calls it “a global celebration of visual, culinary, and performing arts where guests can find inspiration and discover their own creativity in fun ways across the park.” We call it a colorful and engaging break to the post-holiday winter months.
Indeed, Festival of the Arts is one of the more interactive festivals at EPCOT, giving guests the chance to meet and chat with talented artists while watching them work in a variety of mediums; step into life-size recreations of famous paintings to have their own photo taken; learn to draw a Disney character at Animation Academy; join with thousands of other visitors in creating artwork by painting sections of a wall-sized mural; admire amazing chalk drawings that are fleeting in their existence; and learn about art on a scavenger hunt around World Showcase with Figment.
EPCOT itself is home to some phenomenal restaurants, and the Festivals give the Disney chefs an extra chance to shine. At this Festival, guests can nibble on true culinary works of art at 16 different “Food Studios.” (You probably know them as food booths.) Each year the Disney chefs outdo themselves in making these dishes even more stunning, and yummy, than the previous year. Some of our family’s favorite snacks and sampler-size dishes make their appearances during these few short weeks. Get your cameras ready, because many of these dishes are worthy of remembering in your family photo albums (or your Instagram feeds).
This year, two new Food Studios, “Moderne,” featuring “avant-garde” menu items, and “Figment’s Inspiration Station at the Odyssey: Art, Food, and Little Sparks of Magic,” will be joining the line-up. Disney will share the final Food Studios’ menu selections as the Festival dates get closer.
Music features a prominent role in the Festival of the Arts, and the America Gardens Theatre hosts the annual DISNEY ON BROADWAY Concert Series. The list of this year’s featured performers hasn’t been released yet, but in previous years, guests have been able to see singers from Disney’s best loved Broadway musicals. These are big-name actors and actresses, and they do not disappoint. If you haven’t had a chance to make your way to New York to experience these performances in person, Festival of the Arts is your chance to see (and hear) these stars for yourself. No doubt Disney will also be releasing dining packages for the concerts before too long.
In order to attend any of the concerts, or participate in the Festival, you will need both a valid theme park admission and a park reservation for the same date. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks, or check for updates on the Festival of the Arts page on the Disney website.
Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.