ֱ

Skip to content

Travel |
Arts and eats: How to browse through Epcot festival

Scenes from the first day of the 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Arts, in Lake Buena Vista, Friday, January 12. The festival showcases visual, culinary and performing arts with 16 art-inspired Food Studios; live art and animation demonstrations; live musical performances; the Disney On Broadway Concert Series; Disney artist galleries; sidewalk chalk art and interactive photo opportunities with classic paintings from history. The festival runs through February 19. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
Scenes from the first day of the 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Arts, in Lake Buena Vista, Friday, January 12. The festival showcases visual, culinary and performing arts with 16 art-inspired Food Studios; live art and animation demonstrations; live musical performances; the Disney On Broadway Concert Series; Disney artist galleries; sidewalk chalk art and interactive photo opportunities with classic paintings from history. The festival runs through February 19. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
Author
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

the first theme park special event of 2024, has launched. And there are notes to be made. It’s a brief fest by standards, running daily through Feb. 19, so act fast. The lineup includes hands-on artistic activities, interaction with artists, culinary arts and shopping.

Popcorn culture

What does it say about us as a society if the buzz at an arts festival centers on a ? I’m not angry; “bewildered” fits the situation better. But yet, another collision of collectibles and Figment, beloved Epcot dragon, can only lead to demand. On opening day, folks used lanyards to wear them around their necks, which is even more clunky than usual given the design’s pointy shapes based on the park’s Imagination pavilion. (Over the shoulder is a practical alternative.)

What we liked: the light-up factor and the ability to mobile order. What we are tired of: The meta social media posts where the proud owner holds the container in front of the building.

Disney sells the containers for $30 while supplies last. Online resellers are taking in between $60 and $75 for them, about what folks still are getting for the these days. (My brow gets furrowed when I see sellers throwing in a festival passport, which is free. Again, bewildered.)

Hall of frame

The Artful Photo Ops continues to be a crowd favorite, and the three new walk-in images were clustered together on the bridge that connects World Celebration and World Showcase.  It’s pretty roomy there, and you can knock out a trio of images quickly.

The “Mary Poppins-inspired penguin frame is fun, and many folks pose as if waddling along. (Advice: Stand behind the birds, but not in front of the tea time setting, if possible).

There’s a double-windowed storybook look from “Wish,” an animated film released by Disney last year that could go horizontal or vertical, single or double.

The forest scene from “Sleeping Beauty” allows for creativity around the tree. But does anyone else get Captain Hook vibes from the acrobatic animals?

The palette-style placards for each scene contain fun Disney film facts, including about the artists.

The Neapolitan Dessert Trio from Deco Delights, on the first day of the 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Arts, in Lake Buena Vista, Friday, January 12. The festival showcases visual, culinary and performing arts with 16 art-inspired Food Studios; live art and animation demonstrations; live musical performances; the Disney On Broadway Concert Series; Disney artist galleries; sidewalk chalk art and interactive photo opportunities with classic paintings from history. The festival runs through February 19. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
The Neapolitan dessert trio from Deco Delights is a new offering at Epcot International Festival of the Arts. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

Eats and ‘Encanto’

I had a personal goal of eating something new to me and something new to the fest, and doing this by standing in one line was preferred.

I hit the jackpot with Vibrante & Vivido: Encanto Cocina (the listing is in the very center of the passport, by the way).

The chorizo and potato empanada (new to me) had a little kick, of course. I wished I had opted for a fork and knife instead of finger-fooding it, as the drizzled aioli was messier than anticipated.

If you know me, you know I like fruit, and I like desserts, but I’m not a fan of fruit-based desserts. But this Food Studios’ passion fruit-filled mango cheesecake (new to fest) was tasty, not too tangy and light. Maybe hitting the chocolate wall over the holidays caused this improved attitude.

Other new foods on the to-do list: grilled marinated skirt steak with blue cheese fondue (Craftman’s Courtyard), puff pastry with salmon and spinach (L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise) and Minnie-inspired Rock the Dots white chocolate and orange mousse (Pop Eats).

By the numbers

The passport tells us that Expression Section, the produced-by-masses, paint-by-numbers mural, is in World Celebration.

That could be more specific since the piece has moved around with the needs of construction walls in this part of the park. But this year’s version is on a (temporary) black wall southwest of the new Walt Disney statues, and it faces the Imagination pavilion and the rose garden shortcut of sorts.

Painting begins at 11 a.m. daily.

Garden gains

After months and months of construction, not to mention a pandemic, some of the construction walls are gone from Epcot. There’s work to do, but the experience is giving new vibes yet continuing the nature and technology themes of the park.

We’ll withhold final judgment until the rest of World Celebration opens, but we’re ready to give points for additional — and varied — seating areas in the gardens, plus tables and charging stations. You might be able to chill there.

An unusual sight: After one of the recent rains, cast members were squeegee-ing the rounded, built-in tables.

Email me at dbevil@orlandosentinel.com. . . Subscribe to the Theme Park Rangers newsletter at .

More in Travel