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Visiting Our Favorite Epcot Festival – Festival of the Arts

This is your magical guide to the best of the best, Epcot’s Festival of the Arts! It is no secret that Epcot is our favorite Walt Disney World park here at Theme Park Today. Largely due to the vibrant seasonal festivals where guests can sample cultural dishes and partake in festival merriment. Festival of the Arts happens to be the one festival I attempt to travel to every year no matter what! I think it’s truly a little spark of magic to kick off the year and my favorite Epcot festival by far.

No matter what EPCOT festival you attend, the list of things to see and do will seem never-ending. That’s why we have created this blog post to help you better plan your vacation at EPCOT for Christmas in 2024! If you’re in the beginning stages of planning your next theme park vacation and need additional help or are looking for discounted theme park tickets, check out our trusted travel partner The Park Prodigy!

Festival of the Arts 2024

Festival of the Arts is a seasonal event at EPCOT that runs only for a month in the late winter. It happens to be my favorite festival, since I am a person who dislikes the intense Florida heat and loves rainbows, art and everything colorful. That’s why the Festival of the Arts is at the top of my list for many reasons to visit EPCOT, and it’s not just because I am obsessed with Figment. (Deemed the FARTS (Festival of the Arts) mascot!) We also interchangeably use FOTA when talking about Festival of the Arts, as well!

Event Overview:

  • The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is a tribute to creativity and the power of imagination. It combines visual, culinary, and performing arts inspired by cultures worldwide, transforming EPCOT into an artistic wonderland.

The basics of FOTA:

  1. When
    • Typically held from January to February, this annual event spans several weeks, providing ample opportunity for visitors to explore and enjoy. The festival’s offerings are included with regular park admission, though some experiences and workshops might require a separate fee or reservation.
  2. Visual Arts:
    • Art aficionados can immerse themselves in a world of galleries, exhibits, and live art demonstrations. The festival features a broad range of art forms, including classic, modern, and unconventional works. Guests can also interact with artists, watch the creative process in action, and even commission personalized pieces.
  3. Culinary Arts:
    • Culinary delights are a cornerstone of the festival. Food Studios around the park offer artistically crafted dishes and beverages that are as visually appealing as they are delicious. These offerings are designed to reflect various art styles and cultures, providing a taste of international cuisine.
  4. Performing Arts:
    • The festival is renowned for its high-caliber performing arts lineup. Guests can enjoy live musical performances ranging from local bands to renowned acts, theatrical performances, and unique collaborations between artists and musicians. The Disney on Broadway Concert Series is a highlight, featuring stars from Disney’s Broadway shows.
  5. Interactive Workshops and Seminars:
    • Guests looking to unleash their own creativity can participate in interactive workshops and seminars. These sessions are led by professionals and cover a range of topics, including drawing, photography, floral arrangement, and even the art of Disney. Some workshops may require an additional fee and advance registration.
  6. Artful Photo Opportunities:
    • The festival offers unique photo opportunities with artful backdrops and interactive installations. “Artful Photo Ops” allow guests to step into famous paintings, creating fun and memorable photos.
  7. Exclusive Merchandise:
    • Limited-edition festival merchandise includes apparel, accessories, home décor, and collectibles featuring artwork from the festival. Art enthusiasts can also purchase prints, sculptures, and other pieces directly from the artists.
  8. Special Exhibits and Installations:
    • Each year, the festival features special exhibits and large-scale installations, some of which are interactive or offer a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Disney films and attractions.
  9. Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt:
    • This family-friendly scavenger hunt features Figment, the playful dragon, and takes guests on a journey through the park to find famous works of art.

The Festival of the Arts is not just an event but an experience that celebrates the joy of creativity and culture. It’s a perfect blend of entertainment, education, and inspiration, making it a must-visit for anyone attending EPCOT during its run. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and enriching experience, the Festival of the Arts promises something special for everyone.

Why I love Festival of the Arts:

While others love to drink around the world, I eat around the world. The Festival of the Arts has the most creative and colorful menus, which I love! Every year there seems to be an incredible popcorn bucket – Figment-themed for the last two years. There is also a focus on the fine arts, with captivating performances that you seek out, instead of happen to just stumble upon. From daring acrobats to dancing artists, there is a performer that will dazzle you here at FOTA!

I also enjoy that Disney has ironed out the flaws when it comes to special merchandise with mobile ordering. I love that you can get merchandise promised to the end of the festival (no more 6 hour lines for Figment popcorn buckets!) The exclusivity of it, the cool weather and rainbows everywhere is why I will continue to plan my Disney World trips during the Festival of the Arts.

When is the Epcot Festival of the Arts?

The 2024 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is scheduled to take place from January 12 to February 19, 2024. The Festival of the Arts is included with your regular theme park ticket and can be enjoyed in EPCOT park.

Related post: What Entertainment and Activities are at EPCOT Festival of the Arts?

What Can You Do at Epcot Festival of the Arts? – Activities & Entertainment

No matter where you are in Epcot, you’ll have something to do at the Festival of the Arts. Right away when we entered the World Showcase, we were able to watch Art Defying Gravity, a highly impressive acrobatic group. This stage also hosted a few artists with live painting demonstrations which was right across from the Chalk Art displays. Throughout the day we could find artists fine-tuning the chalk art for guests to enjoy, as well.

What to see:

  • Live Artist Demonstrations
  • Art Defying Gravity (acrobatic group)
  • Chalk Art (live artists)
  • Art Galleries with featured artists

Are there special characters for the Festival of the Arts in Epcot?

There were not any special characters out for the Festival of the Arts. Since this year happened during the 100Years of Disney celebration guests were able to meet Figment in the Imagination Pavilion. Figment is the official mascot of Festival of the Arts, but his meet and greet was not specific to the festival.

Related post: What is Figment from Disney?

Disney Broadway Series

We do have an entire guide to the Broadway Series, and you should check it out for more in-depth info. With that being said, I did see Heidi Blickenstaff perform in January and was blown away by her talent. The Broadway Series tends to be one of the biggest draws for fans to visit during the festival, and it was a popular concert! Listening to her sing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” was one of the highlights of my night and think the Broadway Series should not be missed by those visiting FOTA.

Who is performing at the Festival of the Arts Broadway Series?

  • Caissie Levy and Patti Murin (“Frozen”): Jan. 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23
  • Heidi Blickenstaff (“Freaky Friday” and “The Little Mermaid”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins” and “Beauty and the Beast”): Jan. 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24
  • Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins” and “Beauty and the Beast”) and L. Steven Taylor (“The Lion King”): Jan. 26, 28 and 29; Feb. 1, 3, 5 and 6
  • Kissy Simmons (“The Lion King”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”): Jan. 27, 30, 31; Feb. 2, 4, 7 and 8
  • Mandy Gonzalez (“Aida”) and Michael James Scott (“Aladdin” and “Tarzan”): Feb. 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19
  • Bradley Gibson (“Hercules” and “The Lion King”) and Shoba Narayan (“Aladdin”): Feb. 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19

Related post: What are the Festival of the Arts Epcot Concerts? – Disney Broadway Series

What Kind of Food is at the Festival of the Arts?

I mentioned earlier that the food is one of my favorite parts of the Festival of the Arts, and that is the truth! I was disappointed this year when I saw that some booths had only one or two items, with a major cutback on food offerings this year. With that being said, I believe it was the right call because the quality of food this year was the best yet! I would love to see more vegetarian-friendly options at all of the Epcot festivals, but with that being said – quality over quantity!

Our favorite items from Festival of the Arts 2024:

  • Neapolitan Dessert Trio – $5.25
  • Mozzarella Fritta – $8.50
  • Red Wine-Braised Short Rib – $8.75 (meat-eater approved)

There were many other dishes, like the tostada at the Mexican Booth, as well as the Rainbow Cake at Figment’s Imagination Station. Here is a more in-depth review of everything we ate while at the Festival of the Arts. Everything that we had was really good, but we suggest grabbing a festival passport while you’re there to highlight dishes you want to try!

Related post: What’s the Latest with the Epcot Construction?

Should I go to the Festival of the Arts at EPCOT?

Yes, you should go to Festival of the Arts! I hate to say it, but if you’re planning a trip to Disney World and don’t like crowds or heat, this is the festival for you. As someone who loves the lower crowds in January, I want to gatekeep how much I love this festival. Just know that FOTA falls during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, which will make it much more crowded than a normal weekend.

Why should you go? It will give you a unique experience inside of a Disney park, especially if you have never visited during a festival. Festival of the Arts transforms Epcot into more than just a theme park. That’s why if anyone ever asks me what my favorite Epcot festival is, its FARTS every time. Especially with the improvements that Disney has made to Epcot, it is a no-brainer!!!

Related post: Complete Guide to the Beverly Drink at EPCOT

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