2024 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
On Friday, January 12th, the 2024 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts opened to the public. After an hour, it was clear who was the star of this year’s show. Spoiler: it’s the same beloved EPCOT character as last year. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s festival and its star, Figment.
What Is the Festival of the Arts?
If you’ve been visiting Walt Disney World regularly, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. This section is more for the infrequent guests or those new to the DVC program. You’ve probably heard about this event and wondered why it’s so popular.
The short answer is that Disney emphasizes visuals and all forms of art during this event. During a visit, you’ll discover that even the snacks on sale at the Food Studios are visually stimulating.
You’ll dine at places like The Painted Panda and order foods like Sesame Balls with Red Bean Paste. Disney chefs have chosen the bean paste so that the plate will include a colorful red splatter akin to a paint spill.
Perhaps the most famous annual dish is the Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie. Disney uses the face of the cookie to recreate an artist’s palette, complete with splotches of frosting to resemble paint colors.
Remarkably, the food offerings represent only a small part of this festival, which celebrates art in its many forms. Animators appear this year and host demonstrations of them drawing various Disney characters. Also, some tutors offer training academies for would-be Disney doodlers.
Finally, we have the signature event of the Festival of the Arts. DISNEY ON BROADWAY brings performers from Disney’s Broadway plays to Florida. They sing their classics from various musicals at free shows. The catch is that this experience has grown so popular that you may need to purchase a dining package to ensure seats for the show.
What Are This Year’s Activities?
I already mentioned a few, but let’s talk about some of the returning favorites and changes for 2024. For starters, the Paint by Numbers mural is back. Cast Members will hand you a colored magic marker and ask you to fill in a few spaces on a wall. Over time, the full mural will reveal itself after enough artists have collaborated.
The EPCOT Scavenger Hunt has also returned. You’ll search for Figment art at each World Showcase pavilion. Then, you’ll add stickers to a map and present them to a Cast Member. A completed hunt awards a mystery prize at three locations, including Creations Shop.
Last year, you didn’t even need to finish the map to earn the prize. So, keep that in mind if you struggle during your search.
My favorite festival activity is also available this year. You can step into art via Festival of the Arts photo ops. The most charming one for 2024 allows you to enter a memorable scene from Mary Poppins and take your picture with some penguins!
Disney has added a scene from its 2023 animated film, Wish, if you want to sidle up to Valentino the goat. And you’ll be happy to know that the popular George Washington photo backdrop has returned as well.
Finally, I should mention that Disney has modified the Child Art option this year. It has weather-proofed the event by turning it into a chalkboard. Cast Members have indicated that kids can continue drawing in the rain now, which is a thoughtful change.
Why Is Figment the Star?
This scenario isn’t anything that Disney planned. However, fans have clearly voted with their wallets in naming Figment the star of this year’s event.
Park reporters and vloggers posted images of empty shelves. These posts were happening during the first hour of the event, underscoring the appeal of Figment.
Few of us have forgotten the Figment popcorn bucket fiasco two years ago. Festival fans stood in line for as much as eight hours.
Their goal wasn’t to ride one of EPCOT’s new attractions. Instead, all they wanted was a Figment popcorn bucket. Admittedly, I have one, and it is delightful.
Still, I’m happy to report that Disney sells this year’s popcorn bucket via a virtual queue. That’s a substantially less stressful process and a better overall use of your time.
Somehow, the popcorn bucket isn’t the star of the show this year, though. Disney is selling the Figment Skeeter Mini Convertible Crossbody Bag by Lug at Creations Shop and at shopDisney. You probably won’t find it in stock at either place.
Guests swarmed the shelves to snag the bags. Those shelves were legitimately empty and in need of restocking within 45 minutes of the park’s opening.
Cast Members indicated they had large supplies of the Figment bags (there’s a full-sized one, too), but shopDisney ran out by 10 a.m. on Friday morning. What can I tell you? People love Figment. He’s the belle of the ball at the 2024 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts.