Friday was the first day of the first-ever Epcot International Festival of the Arts. I didn't really know what to expect when it was first announced, but it has similarities to the former Festival of the Masters that ran for 38 years at Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs). The Epcot festival celebrates art and offers food booths; classes (both free and paid); a Figment scavenger hunt; chalk art; Broadway concerts and more! Due to rain, we didn't see a few things Friday - including the concert - but I'll update this article after our visit on Monday and we will give a full overview on Mousesteps Weekly #214 this week. We experienced a lot of the festival, there is so much to see and do! The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is a weekend event, from Friday - Monday each week and lasts through February 20th, 2017.
Here are some tips on what to see and do!
1 - Figment's Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt. For only $6.99, this is a fun way to spend an hour or more around World Showcase. The prize is one of four Figment art magnets, and there is a discount for Annual Passholders. We bought four maps so that we could collect all four magnets. This scavenger hunt is not quite like other hunts that have included the Remy Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt during Epcot Food & Wine Festival. The artwork is not visible from the main walkway. That is the only hint I'm giving here! We did find them all, which was usually easy after the first few.
Not part of the scavenger hunt, Figment topiary (he was originally promoted for the upcoming Epcot Flower & Garden Festival)
Figment Topiary Video:
Figment's Brush with the Masters information
Figment in one of the artwork pieces in the scavenger hunt
2 - Disney on Broadway Concert Series - Each weekend during the festival, Broadway performers (the first two weekends are Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland) perform songs from Disney shows including Tarzan, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid and Newsies. The concerts last about a half hour.
3 - Food Studios - As with other Epcot festivals, food and drinks are a pretty big part of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. There aren't as many booths as the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, with upwards of 7-10 dedicated booths and a spattering of other food items around World Showcase locations (like Opera Cake in Le Halles Boulangerie). But there are some delicious choices. One favorite item of our group was the Choriqueso Taco served with Chihuahua Cheese, Red and Green Peppers over a Corn Tortilla and garnished with Poblano Peppers and Micro Cilantro in Mexico. It was a little spicy for me, but still very tasty. We ended up splitting food items with friends for about half the booths, and then went to Via Napoli for a regular lunch.
Pop Eats! Food Studio
Almond Frangipane Cake from Pop Eats!
Food from The Painter's Palate in the Odyssey Festival Showplace
4 - Animation Academy - we haven't done this at the Festival yet, but were told it is just like what you'd have found at Disney's Hollywood Studios previously or currently at DisneyQuest. A Disney artist teaches the class, and it is included with admission. I've always enjoyed this and we plan to take a class on Monday.
Animation Academy in Innoventions East
5 - Participate in Seminars and Interactive Workshops - Interactive Workshops are an added charge, and include Floral Arranging, Gesture Drawing Class and more. Each day is different, but workshops are often repeated on other weekends. These cost $39.00 and Annual Passholders and DVC Members do receive a discount. There are also free seminars, and those include Tea Discovery, Watermelon Carving and Photography 101. We went to one seminar on Friday, and it's well worth stopping by!
6 - Living Statues, Community Showcase Performances, Chalk Art & More - Around the festival, guests will find art in action. It could be chalk art (we didn't see it on Friday, likely due to the rain), or the living statues, or artists practicing their craft. I really enjoyed some music that was at the Fountain View Stage, and that will continue through the event. American Music Machine also sings at the Fountain View Stage.
7 - Purchase Festival Merchandise - There is a modest amount of merchandise with Figment on it, including a Tervis mug and t-shirts. Plus, there is a lot of art for sale, especially around World Showcase. You can meet Disney artists, including Don "Ducky" Williams, who is at the Festival every weekend.
Figment Tervis tumblers
8 - Visit the Mary Blair & Herb Ryman Galleries - While not huge galleries within the Odyssey Festival Showplace, they showcase the artwork of two of Disney's most influential artists. Disneyland wouldn't have been what it was without Herb Ryman, and he came out of retirement to work on Epcot (all of the artwork is of Epcot). Mary Blair's art here is from her "south of the border" visit with Walt Disney and other Disney artists.
Herb Ryman Epcot concept art
Mary Blair artwork
9 - Character Meet & Greet Artwork - Several character meet and greets around World Showcase feature artwork, including the Snow White meet and greet in Germany as well as Donald Duck in Mexico.
Donald Duck artwork in Mexico
Snow White and her artwork in Germany
10 - Special Photo Opportunities Put You in the Art! - The lines could be long for the photo ops that include "The Screamer", but they definitely can be worth stopping for!
Epcot International Festival of the Arts photo op
Epcot International Festival of the Arts
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