With festivals running nearly year-round, EPCOT always has something different going on. The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, which runs in January and February, is one of our favorites. Focusing on culinary, performing, and visual arts, this festival is fun for all ages!
This year, the International Festival of the Arts is running from January 8 – February 22, 2021. As with all festivals at EPCOT, crowds are significantly higher on weekends when locals flock to the park, so we recommend doing EPCOT during the week if you can.
In 2020, the girls and I took a girls’ trip to Disney World and visited EPCOT to check out the festival. We had so much fun that this year I brought just the boys.
It’s been a couple of years since the boys visited EPCOT, so in addition to the festival stuff, they wanted to hit the rides as well. We arrived before the park opened – they let people in about 45 minutes early – and after taking a few pictures, made a beeline for Test Track. With one headliner out of the way, we decided to check out the festival offerings.
One of my favorite aspects of the Festival of the Arts is the famous works of art that you can pose inside. The boys LOVED climbing into pieces that they’ve seen or learned about in school and actually becoming a part of the art – at least for long enough to take a picture!
Throughout the park, there are various artists that you can watch as they create their works. We really enjoyed the chalk art and checked back on the progress several times throughout our day at EPCOT.
The chalk art lines the walkways and bridges before you get to World Showcase, and let me tell you, this stuff is IMPRESSIVE!
In addition to chalk art, the International Festival of the Arts is also about culinary art. Since I was traveling with three teen boys, they made it their mission to try as many things as possible.
DECONSTRUCTED DISH Deconstructed BLT: Crispy Pork Belly, Soft-poached Egg, Brioche, Watercress Espuma, and Tomato Jam
Overall, this one was probably a 7/10 for our crew. The flavors worked well together, but we would have liked a bit more toast for dipping in all the egg yolk!
DECONSTRUCTED DISH Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped New York-style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries and Sugar Cookies
This was quite possibly our FAVORITE dish at Festival of the Arts and definitely a 10/10. It wasn’t too sweet, and the sugar cookies added a nice crunch. This one is perfection.
DECONSTRUCTED DISH Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings of London® Chai Tea Shake with Maple Syrup garnished with a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon (non-alcoholic)
We all really enjoyed this one, too. It’s definitely on the sweet side, given that it has maple syrup (and candied bacon), and it was a solid 8/10.
REFRESHMENT PORT Lobster Poutine: Lobster, Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce, Pickled Jalapeños, and Citrus Cream
This one was most definitely a 10/10. Lots of big pieces of lobster and delicious flavor combos! This was probably the most filling snack that we ordered all day, and the pickled jalapeños offered some serious spice.
During a break from snacking, we watched this guy do this entire painting while he danced around to music. We were in awe of his ability to not only paint exceptionally but to do it while dancing around in front of an audience.
L’ART DE LA CUISINE FRANCAISE Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl
It’s melted cheese in a bread bowl, what’s not to like?! Another 10/10.
L’ART DE LA CUISINE FRANCAISE Croissant à la Truffle Noir d’Hiver: Black Winter Truffle Croissant
This one was a bit different, and we were most definitely split on liking it vs. not. Overall, I’d say this is a 6/10, but I think you’ll either really like it or really not; there’s not much in-between.
They loved snacking around World Showcase on this trip. We don’t often do festival food with five kids because the cost can really add up, but since this was a special trip (and what we were there for), we tried LOTS. Instead of ordering several of each option, we ordered one of everything we tried, and there was enough for everyone to have at least a bite (but usually more) of each.
VIBRANTE & VÍVIDO: Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam
I know everyone has raved about this treat but it really fell flat for us. Even looking past the smooshed presentation of our order, there was something about the texture that none of us really enjoyed. We gave it a 4/10 overall and would not order it again.
VIBRANTE & VÍVIDO: Coconut and Passion Fruit Smoothie (non-alcoholic)
The smoothie, on the other hand, was delicious! Definitely a 10/10, especially considering that you can keep the cute cup!
VIBRANTE & VÍVIDO: Blue Corn Pupusa-stuffed with Cheese and topped with Shredded Pork, Guajillo and Árbol Chile Sauce, Cabbage Slaw, and Aji Amarillo Crema
A little bit spicy, and a whole lotta color, this one was a 7/10 for us. The blue corn pupusa was either overcooked or kind of old because we found it difficult to cut or even chew. But the pork + slaw + sauce combo was spot on.
GOSHIKI Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped Sushi featuring Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Cucumber and Seasame Seed over a decorated plate of Wasabi Aïoli, Sriracha, and Eel Sauce
Always a crowd favorite, the sushi donut did not disappoint. It was one of Lexie’s favorites last year, and the teen boy sushi lovers enjoyed it, too. This was a 10/10 for our crew.
FUNNEL CAKE STAND: Red Velvet Funnel Cake topped with Cream Cheese Icing and Pixie Dust
Nick is OBSESSED with all things red velvet, so this was a must-do for him, and he LOVED it – and ate the whole thing! According to him, it was a 10/10.
FUNNEL CAKE STAND: Funnel Cake topped with Oreos and a Slab of Ice Cream (not a Festival exclusive)
The other two are not red velvet fans and opted to share the Cookies and Cream funnel cake which they also loved! Another 10/10 from the teen boys.
Crossing the Delaware with General Washington – and using his phone to check for directions.
KARAMELL-KÜCHE: Caramel Corn (not a Festival treat but a must-do when we’re in EPCOT – check out more of our favorite EPCOT treats!)
REFRESHMENT OUTPOST: Warm Brown Sugar Stuffed Pretzel with Banana Soft-Serve and Chocolate Sauce
At this point in our walk around World Showcase, the teens were not very hungry, which is odd since that never happens at home, where they also eat constantly!. But still, they couldn’t pass the Refreshment Outpost without trying this pretzel, especially since we were all intrigued with the banana soft serve. And it’s a good thing we stopped because this treat was both decadent and delicious- another 10/10.
POP Eats: Tomato Soup with French Onion and Bacon Grilled Cheese
Another hit for our group! The sandwich was grilled perfectly, and the bacon makes the grilled cheese feel a bit more grown-up – but you know we still dipped it in the tomato soup! This was a 10/10 for us though I wish our soup had been served in the decorated can like I’ve seen elsewhere on the internet.
The 3D chalk art is one of the most impressive aspects of the festival. We walked by in the morning, and while we could tell it was a table, we weren’t really sure what exactly the finished product would be. And by late afternoon, it was pretty much done and very impressive. Nate Baranowski does some phenomenal work!
While we loved snacking around World Showcase, I honestly think watching the artists and seeing the finished chalk art was one of my favorite aspects of the festival.
Continuing with the immersive theme of the Festival of the Arts, many of the construction walls around EPCOT (and right now, there are a lot!) are wing walls. There are painted butterfly wings on the walls so that you can stand in front of them and pose for pictures.
They come in varying sizes, so there are butterfly wings for the little ones, too! Disclaimer: This picture was from the 2019 Festival of the Arts. Masks are currently required, even when taking photographs.
Another favorite at the International Festival of the Arts is the giant paint by number mural. You can get a little cup of paint and a sponge brush and paint five squares of the enormous mural. Over the course of a few days, it’s fun to watch the design come together and turn into a work of art. Disclaimer: This picture was from the 2019 Festival of the Arts. Masks are currently required, even when taking photographs.
After you paint your squares, you get a small print (like a postcard) of the image you helped create. Disclaimer: This picture was from the 2019 Festival of the Arts. Masks are currently required, even when taking photographs.
We stayed at EPCOT until park closing, and it was a fun day full of delicious food and beautiful art. In addition to all of the festival fun, we still managed to ride: Test Track, Mission Space, Soarin’, and Living with the Land. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to share the International Festival of the Arts with the boys this year! Have you been before?? What’s your favorite aspect??