We are barely out of the Christmas season, but a new festival has started at Epcot. It’s the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts. Like the other festivals, it has been modified to keep guests and Cast Members safe. There are a few things missing, but there is still so much taking place that you might not notice. I had a chance to check it out on opening day, January 8. I love this festival, and the modified version did not disappoint.
You will want to pick up a Festival Passport when you first enter the park. If that is something that you aren’t comfortable with (or you just don’t want to carry it) you can also access the information through the My Disney Experience App. In the passport you can learn about the different options this year. The menus for the Food Studios (festival kitchens) are printed in the passport. You’ll also want it if you plan to participate in the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine. With that you will purchase items from the five participating booths, stamp your passport at each one, and receive a sixth item for free. It’s as easy as it sounds.
There is no Disney on Broadway Concert Series this year, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no entertainment! Voices of Liberty perform a new show called “The Disney Songbook” in the America Gardens Theater. That is also where you’ll find Mariachi Cobre. The America Gardens Theater is home to Animation Academy as well, which is where you can learn to draw a classic Disney character. The JAMMitors moved to Canada during the Taste of Epcot Festival of the Holidays, and they continue to perform there daily.
There is more entertainment in World Showplace. That is where you’ll find two unique offerings. Art Defying Gravity is a demonstration of strength and acrobatics. That runs daily. One of my favorite parts of Festival of the Arts has also moved into World Showplace. It’s Visual Art in Performance. Artist Trevor Carlton takes an almost blank canvas and creates one of your favorite Disney characters right before your eyes! It’s a high energy show that you have to see for yourself. It takes place Thursdays through Sundays. The Epcot Pianist also performs daily in World Showplace.
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I have one gripe about the entertainment this year, and it has nothing to do with the performers. In the Festival Passport it states “For showtimes, visit the My Disney Experience App”. Voices of Liberty, Mariachi Cobre, and the JAMMitors all have their times listed, but I couldn’t find the times anywhere for the acts inside World Showplace. I also couldn’t find the times posted anywhere at Epcot. I hope that this changes soon, because these are shows that you don’t want to miss.
There are over a dozen Food Studios this year, mostly around World Showcase. A couple are located inside of the World Showplace building. Returning favorites include Pop’t Art and Crème de Brie en Petit Pain. There are plenty of new creations this year. You’ll find Remy’s Ratatouille, Mediterranean Flatbread, and Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam, among other future classics.
The popular paint-by-numbers mural has returned. This year it is located near The Land Pavilion. The Chalk Art Galleries are on the bridge to World Showcase. The photo ops where you can be part of a famous work of art are located all around World Showcase. When I was there I didn’t see PhotoPass photographers at any of them. That’s a shame, because asking a stranger to take a picture with your phone isn’t a good idea right now. Disney has also made the construction walls part of the festival. There are butterfly wings in more than one place. With Drawing on Inspiration, two Imagineers have shared their takes on classic Epcot attractions. This can be found on the construction walls in Future World West.
Scavenger hunts have become an important part of all festivals at Epcot, they are fun for anyone. For the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts, it’s Figment’s Brush with the Masters. You can purchase a map, look for Figment, and receive a prize. I’ve seen plenty of adults searching, the scavenger hunts are not just for kids.
Of course, if you love art, you are sure to find the perfect piece to purchase and take home. There are artists and booths located throughout the park. If you enjoyed watching Trevor Carlton, the piece that he painted for the show will be available in World Showplace. There is also extra merchandise for the festival. Much if it features Figment.
These are some of the highlights of the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts. It runs through February 22. Entrance is included in the price of admission. If you’ve never been to the Festival of the Arts, 2021 is the perfect time to visit. You’ll soon see why this festival is so special.