The ABCs of the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Disney World has just launched its first Epcot Festival of the Arts, and the event is a nifty blend of three types of art: visual, performing and culinary. Technically called Epcot® International Festival of the Arts, the event started on January 13 and will continue over the following five weekends, ending on February 20.

Most of you read this blog for food tips, so I'll save those for last. Here are other ways to get your culture on during the inaugural Epcot Festival of the Arts:

Epcot Festival of the Arts: Visual Arts

Plenty of artists make their living reinterpreting Disney characters into various art forms. During the Epcot Festival of the Arts, you'll get to see some of those artists create new work before your eyes. Here is Joe Kaminski, whose edgy artwork makes excellent merchandise. 

Vendors around the World Showcase sell their wares, from official Disney prints to photography and books constructed of handmade paper. Disney itself, and the Arribas Brothers and Wyland Galleries that sell around Disney World, also have temporary shops set up. You won't find the kind of artisan goods that made the now-gone annual Festival of the Masters special, but this is Year 1. Give the festival time to expand its merchandise offerings.

 These flowery paper crafts were among the most interesting of the Epcot Festival of the Arts.

These flowery paper crafts were among the most interesting of the Epcot Festival of the Arts.

 Wyland Gallery jewelry

Wyland Gallery jewelry

But ... ta-da-dum ... the Epcot Festival of the Arts has these what they call "Artful photo-ops." Basically, classic paintings are replicated in human size, and you can step into the picture for a photo. Here are a few examples with people who happened to be posing as I walked by.

 Mwah!

Mwah!

 Well hello Georgie!

Well hello Georgie!

 Isn't it a scream?

Isn't it a scream?

Epcot Festival of the Arts: Performing Arts

Epcot frequently has concerts at its America Gardens Theatre, and during the Epcot Festival of the Arts the performers will be singers who have performed in Disney plays on Broadway. Here's a typical marquis.

 Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland are among the Broadway headliners performing at night.

Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland are among the Broadway headliners performing at night.

Pair that with a treasure hunt, and you'll have no trouble keeping the kids entertained during your visit.

 Using this sheet, children seek clues via the Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt.

Using this sheet, children seek clues via the Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt.

Epcot Festival of the Arts: Culinary Arts

And then there's the food. Replicating the themed kiosks called Marketplaces at the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the Epcot Festival of the Arts has six food "studios." Here are some culinary highlights.

 This quirky Reuben sandwich with a "rye curl" is sold at the studio E = AT^2.

This quirky Reuben sandwich with a "rye curl" is sold at the studio E = AT^2.

 I absolutely loved these savory sandwiches. They're called Croissant Doughnuts and they're filled with herbed whipped cream, chicken mousse, or spicy tuna with Sriracha mayonnaise. They're sold at The Painter's Palate.

I absolutely loved these savory sandwiches. They're called Croissant Doughnuts and they're filled with herbed whipped cream, chicken mousse, or spicy tuna with Sriracha mayonnaise. They're sold at The Painter's Palate.

 We all got a kick out of this Sidecar cocktail. See that orange peel garnish? It's really made from white chocolate. It's sold at The Masterpiece Kitchen.

We all got a kick out of this Sidecar cocktail. See that orange peel garnish? It's really made from white chocolate. It's sold at The Masterpiece Kitchen.

 This scallop from The Artist's Table is pan-seared and plated with chorizo, roasted red pepper coulis and a Parmesan crisp.

This scallop from The Artist's Table is pan-seared and plated with chorizo, roasted red pepper coulis and a Parmesan crisp.

 Breakfast in a glass: This E = AT^2 offering is called Deconstructed Breakfast. It's a creamy, sweet and savory mix of a Twinings Apple Chai tea shake with cream bourbon, a waffle crisp and candied bacon.

Breakfast in a glass: This E = AT^2 offering is called Deconstructed Breakfast. It's a creamy, sweet and savory mix of a Twinings Apple Chai tea shake with cream bourbon, a waffle crisp and candied bacon.

 Here's a typical Studio menu board, in this case Cuisine Classique.

Here's a typical Studio menu board, in this case Cuisine Classique.

 I'm pretty sure this its the Popping Bubbles cocktail from Pop Eats! Disney had it on display at the media event and I failed to get details, but it is so fun-looking I had to share.

I'm pretty sure this its the Popping Bubbles cocktail from Pop Eats! Disney had it on display at the media event and I failed to get details, but it is so fun-looking I had to share.

So that's it.  Not really. The Epcot Festival of the Arts has several more components and you can get a full rundown here. Whether you simply watch an artist create, or make it a mission to experience all the offerings, you'll ultimately agree that the Epcot Festival of the Arts is a welcome supplement to the theme park.