It’s one of the best times of year at Epcot – it’s Festival of the Arts season! This seasonal offering started in 2017 to add an offering to Epcot’s festival lineup between the Festival of the Holidays and Flower and Garden Festival. I’ve been to nearly every other Epcot festival, and I’ve always wanted to attend FOTA, but I’ve pretty much always been in school when the festival has gone on. This year, my semester started the week after it opened, so I was fortunate enough to attend opening day! It was super busy because of the release of a certain imaginative dragon-based souvenir food holder, but I absolutely loved everything I got to experience and am dying to go back in the future!
Since I know there’s tons to experience at Festival of the Arts, I thought I’d share my own guide to the can’t miss offerings for the 2022 season.
Stop for a Photo Op
There are so many photo ops around the park for this season! There are some giant pop-up photo ops, like the Mermaid Lagoon storybook and the Van Gogh painting at the entrance to World Showcase and Washington Crossing the Delaware right outside of the American Adventure, but there are also some adorable bits of hidden Disney magic around the pavilions! As you’re walking around, you might find some of your favorite Disney characters painted onto the walls and facades of World Showcase and it makes for some absolutely adorable pictures. Some are easier to stumble upon than others, so it could even become a fun little scavenger hunt!
Visit the Artists’ Tents
Every year, the festival brings in real artists, and you can even meet them! You can find festival-exclusive prints and originals, and even get them signed by your favorite artist. There are tons of different artists coming in throughout the festival, so if you’re looking for someone specific, you can check the schedule and galleries here.
While I was there, I got to meet Terribly Odd (also known at Michael Reyes). For those who don’t know, he’s the artist behind all of the incredible designs you see at Gideon’s Bakehouse! He was so sweet, took the time to really talk to me, and even signed one of my favorite Gideon’s menu cards. I also stopped by the Thomas Kinkade studios booth and found some prints I liked, and the WonderGround gallery and saw some really cute prints and postcards!
Try the Festival-Exclusive Food
The one thing I definitely didn’t get to do enough of was try the food at Festival of the Arts. Because of the crowds, most of the food lines ended up being super long. I did, however, get to try the Vanilla Donut with strawberry (practically everything) at the Donut Box. The donut itself was ok, but I fell in love with the strawberry ice cream! I also picked up the cutest little Figment spork for $2.50 with my donut.
If I had more time, I also would’ve loved to try the Sushi Donut from Goshiki in Japan, the Bombolini from L’Arte di Mangiare in Italy, the General Tso’s Chicken Shumai from The Painted Panda in China, the Almond Frangipane Cake from Pop Eats, and the Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie from Refreshment Port. You can visit Disney Food Blog to find a full menu of offerings for this festival season.
Do Figment’s Brush with the Masters
For the past few seasons, Epcot has offered a fun scavenger hunt with a prize at the end! You can buy the map at many of the retail locations around World Showcase. This year, it’s shaped like a little paint palette! On the back of the map, you’ll find the original paintings that correspond with a tangible painting that’s actually present in World Showcase. There’s one painting per country, and Figment has magically made his way into the ones in the World Showcase! Once you find the painting in each country, you place the sticker onto the corresponding frame on the front of the map. Once you’re done, you show your map at Disney Traders or World Traveler at International Gateway (the mouse heads on the map) for a fun prize that you can complete at home!
*Spoiler alert! If you’re interested in the prize, it’s a little paintable figurine! You can choose between Figment, Mickey, Minnie, and Daisy, and the kit comes with paint and a brush so you can just create! It’s so adorable and the perfect way to bring the magic of Festival of the Arts home.
Paint at the Expression Section
One of the most famous things to do at Festival of the Arts is the Expression Section. Not only is it a cool interactive experience, it’s free! If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s like a giant paint by numbers set. You get one color of paint and little brush, and are asked to paint about 5 or 6 squares of the associated color on the wall (all the boxes are numbered!). After you paint, you get a little bookmark of how the wall will turn out at the end of the day, and once it’s done, you can see something you got to help make! I believe there are four rotating paintings for the mural, each combining famous art styles with Epcot icons.
Watch the Live Demos & Broadway Performance
One of the most unique things about Festival of the Arts is the fact that there are a ton of live art demonstrations and performances throughout the day! I personally enjoyed seeing the chalk art being drawn on the walkway between Future World and World Showcase since it’s just so fun to see all the art being made right in front of you! There’s also a Disney on Broadway series that takes place on weekend evenings. I personally wasn’t able to see the show, but I’ve seen so many of the performers live on Broadway (since I’m from New York) and they’re all so incredibly talented!
Have you ever been to the Epcot International Festival of the Arts? If so, what are some of your favorite things to do and see?
Have a terrific day!