I’m all about Epcot having a festival for (nearly) every season, and the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is in my opinion the most underrated. There are so many different ways to explore this festival that you could easily spend at least a weekend there.
This festival is one of Epcot’s shortest, running January 18-February 25, 2019, so you may need to move your schedule around a bit more to make the trip, but if you do it’s totally worth it! Also new for 2019, the Broadway Concert Series has expanded with performances seven days a week! If you’re in the midst of planning your next trip, or if you’re wondering if this festival is for you, keep reading to catch up on my five must do’s for Epcot’s most vibrant event.
Book an art seminar
I recommend booking at least one seminar regardless of which Epcot festival you’re planning on attending. The seminars are easy and often affordable ways to have a hands-on experience and learn more about some aspect of the festival. (You can read about our most recent experience at a seminar during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival here.)
The seminars and workshops for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts cover topics from sketching to calligraphy, and everything in between. This year’s workshops also include floral arranging, ink and paint animation, flipbook making, and more! Classes start at just $39 per person, making them one of the ‘cheaper’ ways to get more out of the festival, and you can view a full list of offerings here or make reservations here.
Attend a performance during the Broadway Concert Series
I sometimes think the concerts during Epcot’s festivals are a little hit or miss (in that they entirely depend on the band that’s playing during your visit, and at least with my track record it’s almost never one of the ones I would have loved to see). The Broadway Concert Series is different though– You can’t really get this kind of glimpse of a Broadway musical performance at least live without footing the bill for a Broadway show, but this series does just that.
If there is a performer you want to make sure you see, book the dining package. It works the same as it does for the other festival concert series (and Candlelight Processional) in that you pay slightly more for a buffet or pre-fixe dining experience in the park in exchange for early seating into the performance. Prices vary by the restaurant, so you can probably find something within your budget or a nice restaurant for a splurge if that’s what you’re looking for instead. Learn more about the Broadway Concert Series and find a list of performers here.
Taste your way through outdoor kitchens
The outdoor kitchens are really one of the best parts of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts! They’re similar in concept to Epcot’s other festivals, but the artful twist makes their offerings much more unique. Every booth is themed around a different concept of art and it makes the dishes even more memorable as a result.
While this festival is not focused on food, the outdoor kitchens (literally and figuratively) bring a lot of flavor, so you shouldn’t miss them. Grab a festival guide on your way into the park to check out the menus, and snack (or drink) around the park during your visit to get the full festival experience.
Stop for artsy photo ops
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts has some of the best pop-up photo ops anywhere at the Walt Disney World Resort. During this event, you can grab lots of photos of yourself in classic works of art. It’s a really unique opportunity to get some pictures with paintings that you may have never gotten the chance to see in person.
Memory Maker is a particularly good value during this event because there are so many of these photo ops. On top of your usual park icons, character meet and greets, and other locations, your Memory Maker purchase would include all of these photos taken with a PhotoPass photographer during the festival.
Check out exhibitions and interactive art-making opportunities
Take your time exploring the festival to see what interactive art-making projects and demonstrations are happening. Last year we stumbled upon a sidewalk artist creating a masterpiece near the entrance to the park, and we helped contribute to a paint by number mural.
Many of the best parts of this festival can be found in the details, so slow it down and take a moment to really check out everything that’s happening during your visit. More of a planner? Consult your festival guide (find it near the maps by the entrance or most merchandise locations) to see what exactly is happening during your visit.
Have you attended the Epcot International Festival of the Arts in the past? Planning a trip this year? Let us know in the comments!