Get your paintbrushes ready for the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts! This festival highlights creativity in all forms — the visual, performing and culinary arts. Back for its seventh year, the festival runs from Jan. 13 to Feb. 20, 2023, and the best thing is that the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is included with regular park admission. We attended on the first day and are here to paint the full picture of the best eats and acts to enjoy during the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, plus our top tips to make your visit a masterpiece!
Besides the almost-too-pretty to eat food (I said almost ... ), our favorite aspect of the festival is taking in all of the amazingly talented artists. There are so many booths full of beautiful paintings for sale (Leap has to remind me that we really don't have the wall space for all of them) and lots of live performances to check out. Plus the Disney on Broadway Concert Series returns — we love seeing our favorite Disney classics sung by Broadway stars!
Overall, in my not-so-humble opinion, this festival is EPCOT's best. Entertainment abounds with live performances, art being created on-site and so much more. It's not just the Disney artists showcasing their art ... you can exercise the right side of your brain too!
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Variety Acts
Art in Action
Everywhere you turn at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, you’ll find inspiration. Not being personally graced with artistic talent myself, watching art come alive is fascinating for me. Tons of artists can be found around the park, whether creating something new on the spot, talking with guests or signing their work. We highly suggest taking the time to chat with the awesome artists. The creativity is truly astounding! What’s even cooler is that you can purchase art pieces to take home with you.
What's wonderful about the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is that the art spans beyond Disney. You can watch artists create both 2D and 3D chalk art inspired by famous paintings in addition to beloved Disney characters. (You can find the Chalk Art Galleries on the bridge to Showcase Plaza.) There are more than 100 Disney and visiting artists displaying their work, so it's easy to find something for every frog family! And keep an out for drawings of Disney characters hidden throughout World Showcase (our favorite one is inspired by "Luca" near the fountain in Italy)!
The whole family can get in on the action during the EPCOT Festival of the Arts' interactive activities. Everyone can grab a paintbrush and help create a larger-than-life mural with Expression Section: A Paint by Number Mural, typically open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. near the bridge to World Showcase. With Figment's Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt, tadpoles can search for Figment hiding inside famous works of art at each World Showcase pavilion. Maps are available for purchase at select locations such as Port of Entry, Creations Shop and World Traveler. Once completed, return to Disney Traders or World Traveler for a surprise!
Tadpoles and fully-grown frogs alike can create their own art pieces at a Spin Art Experience, available between Refreshment Outpost and Germany. Guests can jump on a stationary bicycle connected to a spinning drum, where you spread paint onto paper, choose from four colors and mix to your heart's desire. One experience costs $19 and two experiences cost $30 (with an optional frame for an additional $10). Your finished piece is ready for pickup after drying.
Free Animation Academy classes are back! During these classes, you can learn to draw some of your favorite Disney characters. Taking place daily at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre, guests simply pick up a clipboard with paper and a small pencil and find an available seat. A Disney animator walks guests through how to draw a Disney character, with instructions filmed on the big screens so they can easily follow along.
The whole family can get in on the art action with these creative and interactive experiences. Take a look at our favorite activities for kids during the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts!
Throughout the day, various performances occur at the World Showcase Plaza (at the entrance to World Showcase near Disney Traders). A favorite of ours is the "Visual Art in Performance" show, which features Trevor Carlton, a visiting visual artist painting Disney characters within minutes on stage. He always hypes up the audience as he paints along to high-energy music. This year, we watched him create a Donald portrait right before our eyes! Showtimes are typically at 12:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., but the performances do not hoppen every day of the festival.
Alternating on the same stage is "Art Defying Gravity", a duo of acrobats that demonstrate a show of strength and dexterity. Showtimes are typically at 11 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., but check the My Disney Experience app, as the show may not be available each day.
Disney on Broadway Concert Series at EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
We’re no Broadway connoisseurs, but our Frog Family has fallen in love with the Disney on Broadway Concert Series! Getting to see a variety of Broadway stars perform at no additional cost really adds value to the festival for us. If you have theater-loving tadpoles in your family, you won’t want to miss the show. All of these performers will blow you away with their talent and have you singing all night long! These performers dig deep into Disney classics and offer a unique style. Our favorite part is hearing songs exclusive to the Broadway shows ... not included in the original films!
Performances typically take place nightly at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. That means you can sing and dance every day of the week! We'd suggest arriving about 30 minutes early to get good seats, but most nights you can grab a seat in the back just before showtime. If you'd like to guarantee a prime seat in front, dining packages are available for booking. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-Fest or visiting ArtfulEpcot.com. Participating restaurants include Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, Garden Grill Restaurant and Rose & Crown Dining Room.
Here's a list of performers, including returning favorites and some festival newcomers! For more details and a video of this year's performance, check out our Disney on Broadway concert guide!
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Eats and Treats
If you know us at all by now, you know that we toadally live for the food at EPCOT’s annual festivals. This year, we will have 16 festival-exclusive Food Studios, offering tons of almost-too-pretty-to-eat food and drink.
New booths include Moderne, offering avant-garde menu items, and Figment's Inspiration Station at the Odyssey: Art, Food and Little Sparks Magic, offering items bursting with color and flavor.
We now have downloadable Festival of the Arts menus, organized in walking order for you to use during your visit. Click here to download!
The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine is back for 2023. Similar to the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays' Cookie Stroll, you receive a colorful culinary surprise if you get five menu items from the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine locations and get a stamp in the Festival Passport for each of them. You can redeem your complimentary Artist Palette Cookie from Deco Delights. This year, participating menu items include:
- Blood Orange-braised Beet Tartare (Gourmet Landscapes)
- Pan-seared Scallops (Moderne)
- Chorizo and Potato Empanada (Vibrante & Vivido: Encanto Cocina)
- Deconstructed Key Lime Pie (The Deconstructed Dish)
- Orange Mousse (Deco Delights)
- Almond Frangipane Cake (Pop Eats)
- Sugar Cookie with Blueberry Filling (Figment's Inspiration Station)
Not only is the food absolutely delicious, but the platters are oh-so-Instagram-worthy. Each snack and meal is a work of art both in taste and sight. Our favorites from the new Figment's Inspiration Station were the blueberry Pop't Art cookie (very similar to the classic tart from Woody's Lunchbox in Toy Story Land) and the Rainbow Cake topped with freeze-dried Skittles. Other favorite booths not-to-miss include Pop Eats!, Deco Delights and The Deconstructed Dish. The Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup from Pop Eats are always a hit with the tadpoles and Leap.
The Artist's Table in the American Adventure pavilion had all new items this year including the three-meat meatloaf, duck and dumplings and hummingbird cake. We can't wait to go back and drink the chocolate flight with white, milk and dark chocolate!
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Tips and Tricks
Here are our favorite tips for this year's EPCOT International Festival of the Arts:
- Pick up a free festival passport at the park entrance before you head in. It was perfect for planning our day! Everything you need to know is packed inside, including all of the Food Studios' menus and the locations for shows and activities (some showtimes can be found in the My Disney Experience app).
- Try scheduling your visit for Tuesday through Thursday mornings for lighter crowds. Locals tend to stop by on the weekends! Don't froget — if you're park hopping, you'll need a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park you'll be visiting — so if that's EPCOT, you'll need a Disney Park Pass reservation for EPCOT!
- If wanting the popular Figment popcorn bucket, be sure to place your mobile order early in the day. It is currently a mobile order exclusive and can be ordered in the My Disney Experience app exactly like you would a mobile food order. Once you reach your arrival window, you can head to The Odyssey to pick yours up.
- Find interactive photo-ops throughout World Showcase. You and your tadpoles can become part of classic masterpieces for fun family photos! Hop into famous artwork like "Sunflowers" by Vincent van Gogh, "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci and more.
- Share your snacks! Many of the festival flavors are quite unique and rich. Some flavors may be too intense to indulge in a full serving for yourself. Sample around the world and split, sip and savor flavors among your frog squad. This is the perfect way to introduce your little ones to exciting new ingredients and teach them about different cultures.
- In general, all of the artist tents and Food Studios are located by the main path near the lagoon (rather than inside the pavilions).
- Don’t froget about the other half of the Food Studios menus — the drinks! Parents can enjoy specialty adult beverages (Leap had a tough time picking among the many beer and wine options), while the tadpoles can sip on something too!
- We highly recommend watching the Broadway Concert Series. Sit back and relax as you listen to awesome Disney classics and original musical tunes by some of Disney Broadway's best!
- Find unique festival merchandise, special pins and more in the Festival Showplace and around the park. The Figment-inspired collection is full of vibrant colors featuring our favorite purple dragon. As always, we recommend creating a "wishlist" throughout the day and picking up all of your sought-after items at the Festival Markets on your way out.
- Be sure to catch the new projections on Spaceship Earth celebrating Figment, as well as the frog favorite "Rainbow Connection" sequence! They are available most nights once dark.
What excites you the most about this year's festival? Have a question about the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts? Ask away in the comments, and then hop over to purchase discount Disney World tickets.
Related: Guide to Walt Disney World Events