Today we’re covering everything you need to know about Epcot’s Festival of the Arts in Walt Disney World. Following the episode are daily updates from Shannon and Heather’s recent trip, including a stay at Disney’s Polynesian Villas.
Day 1: 14:24
Day 2: 24:41
Days 3&4: 26:02
Festival of the Arts
This is one of our favorite festivals but it is only about 5 weeks long. It begins typically in mid January and ends at the end of February. This year it will end on February 20.
We do not commit as many resources to this festival because it is so short, but we do love it! The weather is one of our favorite parts of this festival. It is even chilly!
Festival of the Arts is a celebration of arts including culinary, visual, and performing arts. The theming is fun and colorful – we love it! The outdoor kitchens are called food studios to celebrate culinary arts.
This festival has 16 food studios, which is much less than other festivals. This means the lines are very long for this festival. The food is presented in fun and colorful ways.
There is a scavenger hunt for this festival called Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine. If you purchase certain items from the list, you can redeem it for a special prize.
The Figment Popcorn Bucket is back this year. It is now available for mobile order, which will help with the very long lines! You can order up to 2 per account and they are $25. You can pick them up in the Odyssey building.
The performing arts are celebrated in the Disney on Broadway Concert Series. This takes place on the American Garden Theatre. Every day of Festival of the Arts there is a pair of Broadway stars that perform 3 times per evening. They will perform songs from Disney Broadway shows.
These performances used to happen only on the weekends, but now there are performances each night. It is fairly easy to see the shows on the stage. Dining packages are available but we do not think they are necessary. If you get in line 30 minutes early, you should have no problem getting a good seat.
Other shows are available certain days of the week. This includes Visual Art and Performance and takes place on the stage by the World Showcase Plaza. These performances are on Thursday-Sunday and some Monday. You can find the schedule in My Disney Experience.
Art Defining Gravity is another performance available. You will want to check My Disney Experience for times and schedule.
The visual arts are available in different ways throughout Epcot. There are 3D photobox paintings you can get inside and have your photo taken. Magic Shots are also available throughout the festival. Figment can be found everywhere!
Artists use chalk to draw art throughout Epcot. Sometimes these are 2D and some are 3D. There is an area for children to draw chalk art as well.
There is a paint by number mural as well. You can choose a color and paint 6 squares of the mural. The mural changes every week or so. When you exit the area, you will receive a bookmark showing the completed painting. This year, it is near the Imagination Pavilion.
Figment’s Brush with the Masters is a $9.99 scavenger hunt that you can purchase. You will find different art pieces with Figment. Add the sticker and redeem the prize for completing the hunt. (Pro tip: you can purchase and redeem the scavenger hunt at the same time without completing the hunt.)
There are artists and booths available throughout Epcot. You can find lots of different art pieces with a Disney theme.
You can also create your own art. This year I did spin art and was able to create artwork. Another option is Animation Academy where you can learn from an artist to draw an animation. We were able to draw Mickey Mouse – really fun! The pace is fairly quick, which may be difficult for little ones.
Day 1 (January 10)
We flew in on January 10. This was after Southwest had travel issues and our flights were fine.
We are staying in a studio in the Villages section of the Polynesian. This is an easy walk over to the Ticket and Transportation Center to get to Epcot. It’s also very convenient to Magic Kingdom.
We like these rooms because of the split bathroom situation. One bathroom has a toilet, sink, and tub/shower combination. The other has a sink and a shower. The bathrooms are also large enough for a pack ‘n play for families traveling with young children.
The room also has a queen bed, a queen trundle bed, and a fold down single bed for a child. The rooms all have a balcony or patio. They are nicely themed, but they aren’t not Moana themed.
The first stop was the Magic Kingdom to ride the train! This was very exciting. However, less than exciting, the Christmas decorations are still up at Magic Kingdom!
The train was lovely and it will be an early night in the room to prepare for an early morning tomorrow. We mobile ordered dinner from Kona Cafe which is incredibly convenient because they bag up your food and you just grab it.
Our dinner was delicious and we finished the night with cupcakes from Captain Cooks.
Day 2 (January 11)
We started the day at Animal Kingdom. We purchased Genie+ and lightning lanes at 7 a.m. but we had a slow morning after that.
We took a Lyft at 9:30 a.m. to Animal Kingdom and went to our lightning lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris. After that, we took the train to Conservation Station. We did Affection Section and the Gorilla Falls trail.
Our next stop was Pandora where we used lightning lanes to ride Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage before going to Satu’li Canteen for lunch. We love Satu’li Canteen because it is delicious food and feels more like a table service restaurant than quick service.
We had a lot of luck churning through lightning lanes. Once we tapped in for one, we were able to book another one fairly close. We used lightning lanes for Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR.
We like to sit in the middle toward the top so we used standby for the Finding Nemo – The Musical. We do not think Genie+ is necessary for Animal Kingdom, but it does make things easy. We were able to do everything we wanted and leave by 3:40 p.m.
We left Animal Kingdom and went to Ohana for dinner. We’d originally planned to eat at Epcot, but when an Ohana dinner reservation became available, we did that instead. It was a really wonderful experience.
After dinner we went to Magic Kingdom for Extended Evening Theme Park hours. It was a chilly evening and it’s perfect for Magic Kingdom.
A few nights a week there are Extended Evening Theme Park hours for Deluxe resort guests. These are typically at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. You enter the park as usual and before you get in line for a ride, one person scans their magic band and everyone rides.
This evening we were able to ride most rides with little to no wait. We did not attempt to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train because the line was consistently long.
Even though we were out until 1 a.m. Disney transportation was available because of Extended Evening Theme Park Hours.
Day 3 & 4 (January 12 & 13)
We skipped our Ohana breakfast reservation and instead got some sleep after a very late night the night before. We left our resort for Hollywood Studios at 10:30 a.m.
The weather is just perfect and we stopped for lunch at Brown Derby Lounge. We had delicious salads and sat outside.
We spent January 13 at Epcot for the opening of Festival of the Arts. The weather was much cooler at Epcot than it was the day before!
The activities each year are relatively the same. The food booths have very long lines. We got grilled cheese and tomato soup at the Pop Eats! booth.
You can get the popcorn bucket via mobile order at the Odyssey building, which is a wonderful option. It makes the lines at least somewhat less.
We did a variety of activities at Festival of the Arts in the cold. We went to Rose and Crown for dinner with the dining package to see the Broadway performers. There was much too much food.
A dining package is not required at all and probably not worth it. We were able to switch out time from 8 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. which was wonderful.
We ended our night (and trip!) at Spaceship Earth to see the evening show. There were 4 different shows – Beacons of Magic, the anniversary show, Rainbow Connection, and the new Festival of the Arts Figment show.
Epcot and Hollywood Studios did not have Christmas Decorations but Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom both did.
Links for this episode:
- 2023 Guide to the Festival of the Arts at Epcot
- EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
- Complete Guide to Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
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