Review of 2019 Disney’s Festival of the Arts
The sounds of Broadway’s most famous voices echoed through an art gallery opening on the Upper East Side at the start of the new year. New York City’s songstresses took a one-night reprieve from the Great White Way. They belted out classic tunes to an audience of guests eating and sipping specially-curated menu items.
A truer, more quintessential New York City evening I never thought I’d see…until I went to Florida! Disney’s Festival of the Arts is everything I’ve just detailed and more. Let’s see how my experience ranked!
Art Comes to Life in Lake Buena Vista
Living in New York City spoils a lot of things. Pizza and cultural experiences, like Broadway and world-class art galleries, are two of the top ones for me.
Although Walt Disney World is my favorite place on earth, I know my visits will NOT include much in the way of a New York-esque night out or any good slice joints, so I bid my New York City expectations goodbye. Epcot International Festival of the Arts is a celebration of the arts that, unless you visit a major city, you won’t find!
Art Comes Alive
Around every turn in World Showcase and through every corridor in Future World, you are surrounded by art. I had the chance to take part in the Animator’s Academy in the festival center! A Disney sketch artist led the group and showed us step-by-step instructions on how to draw Oswald.
If actually making the art isn’t the reason you’re visiting the Festival, there are ample opportunities to see pieces created by true industry professionals! I’m not only talking about the tents with works ranging in style from Disney character oil paintings to aluminum sculptures, but the art that you’ll happen upon too!
On the day of my visit, professional sidewalk chalk artists had taken over Epcot, and decorated Future World and World Showcase with character-inspired chalk drawings! If you or your kids want to take a crack at creating a chalk drawing of your own, you’re in luck. A special area will be dedicated to budding chalk artists in Future World for the entire duration of the Festival.
It wouldn’t be an Epcot Festival without them! The Outdoor Kitchens are back folks, and they’re returning with a lineup of the artfully-plated glory they’ve become known for! Not only is the food prepared at the Outdoor Kitchens, but this Festival features a perk unlike the others: platers.
Each kitchen has a Cast Member whose job it is to plate your food. It sounds a little silly, but one look at the works of art that are presented in edible form will stop you from questioning the validity of that position. The food really is that gorgeous!
I had the chance to taste an array of the offerings this year, but as far as creative plating and flavor go (which is the most important aspect after all), I have to give it to the mac and cheese cone and the peanut butter pretzel crunch. Have you ever seen a prettier dessert? I sure haven’t!
Broadway Concert Series
Walking through the festival in the heat of the day is one experience, and exploring the galleries and hearing a Broadway concert at night is another entirely! I felt just like I was back home when Kerry Butler and Kevin Massey took to the stage at the America Gardens Theatre, and the Festival took on a whole new feel!
It’s almost run-of-the-mill these days to have a ‘Broadway caliber show’ included with the price of a Theme Park admission. What’s rare is to have successful stars directly from Broadway on the bill! Kerry Butler and Kevin Massey brought the house down with their Disney set list, and no matter when you visit the Festival this year, you’ll have a chance to see a star straight from Broadway because shows run 7 nights per week!
It’s unusual for any Disney event, but since it’s only 3 years old, there isn’t a lot of information out there about the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. With opportunities to take seminars, like the animator academy I attended, at no additional cost, exclusive live portrait PhotoPass opportunities, Broadway concerts, and food and gorgeously-presented food beverage offerings…I say it’s a hit!
Everyone in your party will find at least one aspect to get excited about. A playground was installed for the tiniest of guests to explore. It just goes to show that everyone is welcome at Epcot. If you’ve visited the Festival in the past, let me know what your favorite component was! Leave me a comment below.
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