All About the 2020 Epcot Festival of the Arts
For the fourth straight year, Epcot will host an art exhibition during the winter. Don’t get confused, though. This event offers much more than just illustrations of Disney characters. Epcot’s park strategists have divided the presentation into three forms of entertainment, each of which will justify your park visit. Let’s talk about the 2020 edition of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts.
About the Festival
The festival began in 2017, although it wasn’t an everyday event at the time. After the first year proved successful, Epcot switched it from a Friday-Monday schedule to a daily one for 2018. Since then, Disney has transitioned it into a five-week presentation that embraces artistry in all forms.
The 2020 Epcot International Festival of the Arts will run from January 17th through February 24th, giving you over five weeks to sample all of the creativity on display. Epcot divides the theme into three styles: Visual Arts, Culinary Arts, and Performing Arts.
Cast members proudly display the Visual Arts throughout Epcot. You’ll notice all forms of illustrations and paintings as you wander through the park.
The Culinary Arts exhibit the same traits as other food kitchens that you’ll find at Epcot during different festivals. Yes, it’s a fancy term for a bunch of international cuisines that will dazzle your taste buds.
Finally, the Performing Arts draw large crowds, as Disney hosts Broadway musicians. These highly skilled singers belt out classics from Disney shows and movies. Everyone loves these performances, so you’ll face a battle to acquire tickets. Once you’ve got them, you’re in for a real treat.
Now that you know the basics, let’s do a deeper dive into each of the festival’s three styles.
About the Visual Arts
In recent years, Disney has done a better job of freshening up the look at its parks. Purple Walls and the like enable park guests to publish social media clout-grabbing images within the park. Disneyland claims the title of most popular Instagram sight on the planet, with Walt Disney World high on the list, too.
This form of social media recognition brings free publicity to the parks. So, park planners have sagely leaned into the premise. During the Festival of the Arts, cast members receive encouragement to flex their creative muscles. Employees craft works of art worthy of social media acclaim.
As an Epcot regular, you can take your time as you roam across the park, discovering the many works of art on display. Disney takes the concept of Visuals Arts seriously. The World Showcase exhibits countless sights that will cause you to grab your phone instinctively.
You can grab a picture in front of a Figment wall or study a painting resting on an easel. Art is everywhere you look during the festival. At one point, you may notice some illustrative interpretation of a scene from a beloved Disney movie. Elsewhere, you might see a modern take on a classic painting.
Some of the imagery even includes interactivity. PhotoPass Magic Shots and festival exclusives guarantee that you’ll capture unforgettable keepsakes from your trip. In fact, cast members get into the spirit so much that some of the concrete areas feature chalk illustrations!
You can and should take hundreds of pictures during a Festival of the Arts visit. Plan your day such that you can explore the park to your heart’s content.
About the Culinary Arts
Even the food at the Festival of the Arts looks dazzling. Disney encourages its chefs to splash color onto everything. Some of the cookies on sale during the event mirror an unfinished painting. Colored icing evokes images of splattered paint on walls.
Remember, folks. You’re at a Disney theme park, and the company takes its theming seriously. So, the festival cuisine must dazzle you with its appearance. You should always eat with your eyes during a fine dining experience. However, you’ll do this more at the Festival of the Arts than at any other time in your life.
Don’t think of the dishes up for grabs here as cuisine. They’re better described as edible art instead. Disney has already posted the menu for each food studio. Some sites have even published images of many of the dishes. Take a gander to appreciate the detail involved with many of these entrees and desserts.
Several examples have grabbed my attention. The Pop’t Art sugar cookie returns this year. Imagine a cookie shaped like a Pop-Tart but with an amount of icing that only an eight-year-old would add. Meanwhile, a Canadian panna cotta dessert looks like the petals of a pink rose. And a Japanese bean paste dessert somehow looks like edible koi!
While I’ve fixated on the appearance of the dishes so far, I should also touch on their novelty. Disney chefs demonstrate their flair and ambition during this festival. They invent unholy abominations unique creations like a sushi donut.
Sure, the Paintbrush Churros are back, but you should also explore menus to unearth potential treasures like Sopes de Barbacoa. Imagine a volcano-shaped stack of beef with a cheese that looks like icing. I have no idea whether it’s good or not since I’m not that ambitious. It looks impressive, though!
My advice for the festival has remained the same since its inception. As a Disney Vacation Club member, you have visited Walt Disney World enough to try many of the restaurants. During the Festival of the Arts, you should skip these places and satisfy your cravings at the food studios. Adventure is out there!
About the Performing Arts
When you ask past visitors about the Festival of the Arts, they’ll emphasize one facet over the others. The Performing Arts includes a series of musical interludes that blow people’s minds. It’s as if Broadway stars invade Walt Disney World for a time.
Disney, as a company, is quietly one of the most dominant forces on Broadway. Many of the musical interpretations of Disney movies like The Lion King have become blockbusters. That show famously sold out every performance for many years.
With that sort of track record, Disney’s employed many of the brightest stars in the industry. At the World Showcase, the Disney on Broadway Series highlights the intersection. These performers happily take a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth to sing some of their best-known numbers.
Here are some examples. Heidi Blickenstaff has portrayed Ursula in The Little Mermaid and recently appeared in the musical version of Freaky Friday. Meanwhile, Adam Jacobs garnered acclaim for his work as Aladdin from 2011-2017. And Syndee Winters co-starred as Nala in The Lion King.
Of course, Winters also has some fans from her work as one of the early cast members in a little play called Hamilton. All three of these performers will appear during the Disney on Broadway Series. Clearly, the festival hires Broadway talents of the highest order.
This casting comes with a natural aggravation. Demand is extremely high for tickets to each presentation. The World Showcase hosts shows at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. each night, and each one will sell out. You should consider one of Disney’s Broadway Concert Series Dining Packages to guarantee a seat. Otherwise, you risk missing your favorite performer(s).
Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White
- January 17th
- January 20th and 21st
- January 24th
Heidi Blickenstaff and Gavin Lee
- January 18th and 19th
- January 22nd and 23rd
Heidi Blickenstaff, Gavin Lee, Kissy Simmons, Alton Fitzgerald White
- January 25th
Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey
- January 26th
- January 28th and 29th
- February 29 1st and 2nd
- February 5th and 6th
Liana Hunt and Adam Jacobs
- January 27th
- January 30th and 31st
- February 3rd and 4th
- February 7th and 8th
Liana Hunt, Adam Jacobs, Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey
- February 9th
Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland
- February 10th
- February 12th and 13th
- February 18th and19th
- February 22nd and 23rd
Michael James Scott and Syndee Winters
- February 11th
- February 14th through 17th
- February 20th and 21st
Ashley Brown, Michael James Scott, Josh Strickland and Syndee Winters
- February 24th