The 2019 International Festival of the Arts is underway at Epcot and will run through February 25th. The annual art festival, now in its third year, is similar to Flower & Garden and Holidays Around the World. Each of the seasonal festivals feature a uniquely themed derivative of the annual Food & Wine festival.
An Epcot International Festival of the Arts Festival Passport provides a summary of almost everything you will encounter around the park in Future World and World Showcase. The festival passports are available almost everywhere you look once you enter through the touchpoints at Epcot. I know there are a lot of planners out there so below you will find a PDF version of the passport to study and plan your visit to the festival.
When one thinks of an art festival, you’d likely expect to encounter art and most of the food at the festival is no different. The culinary teams created dishes with artist flair and frequent Disney twists or in a layman’s term, glitter. We sampled our way around the festival with a few friends and while the dishes often looked great, a good percentage of the items were underwhelming.
The most unique dishes were found at Takumi Table near Japan.The sushi donut was a festival favorite and left the line looking more like a standstill on I-4 when the booth ran out of fish. The core of the dish is a rice shaped donut made and assembled in the booth using a silicon donut mold. The toppings are placed in the mold before the rice is packed into the mold. Then, the mold is inverted and voila, a Sushi Donut.
The Taiyaki, was the other dish available at Takumi Table. If you are like me, when you see a fish shaped item such as this you are likely thinking one thing, fried fish of some sorts. NOPE, the Taiyaki is a fish-shaped sweet pastry stuffed with red bean paste with sesame custard and whipped cream.
Those familiar with the Sake bar inside the Japan Pavilion will recognize the wooden cup below. At the festival booth, you can get the Masu Sake served in the traditional wooden cup. The great part is they write your name on the box and during our visit, one cast member wrote your name on the box and the other cast member who served the sake would say your name in English. I thought this was great and a subtle way to prove this is really your name. I trust them, but we’ve all seen movies or heard stories where someone gets a tattoo thinking it says something specific, but in reality it is a joke on the person.
Hands down, the best dish is one I bet a lot of people will overlook during the festival as they walk through Africa because it is located the The Refreshment Outpost. The Chilled Shrimp Quinoa dish was fantastic, or at least so I’m told since I’m deathly allergic to shellfish. Seriously, Emily found this to be full of flavor and almost too good to be true for the $6 price.
Near the Port of Entry, a refreshing Pop-Article can be purchased from The Deconstructed Dish. This is a non-alcoholic slushy that best resembles a bomb pop. Perfect on a warm Florida festival day & Isabelle enjoyed it!
You know when I see a dish like this, the first thing I do is I say would y’all look at this, ya know what I mean? Just look at this decadent delight, look at it, just look at it. The White Chocolate and Purple Sweet Potato Mouse is really a gallery worthy piece. When I say it looks too good to eat, I mean it. Seriously, it was ok, but it does not live up to the decadent hype.
The next item I tried was either going to be an A or and F with a name that starts with a pound sign or number sign. #RainbowSherbetGlitterDreamAle is a beer brewed specifically for the festival with a Disney twist AKA GLITTER. I will be completely honest with you, the glitter gimmick is great and it’s a good tasting beer. A little sweet, better as a dessert beer and fun purchase just for the novelty.
Along the walkway from Future World to Showcase Plaza you will encounter dynamic chalk art. I say dynamic because it rained last night plus the artists are out creating through the day.
Filed in the ‘I cannot believe Disney is not monetizing this folder,’ is the Paint-By-Number Mural. Each guest is given a sponge brush and a container of paint with a number.
Simply find the number and paint the specific number of squares you are told to paint. In our case, it was 2 squares on Saturday morning. Later in the day the number was increased to 5 when our friend got in line. As you exit, you are given a post card with the source art for the current mural. I really wonder how much Glidden is paying Disney for this because I am not joking. I bet if Disney monetized the paint-by-number mural, they could make more than they are with the sponsorship.
An Epcot festival is not complete until we participate in the scavenger hunt. During the Festival of the Arts, you can search World Showcase pavilions for Figment pairings. Figment’s Brush with the Masters is a $6.99 activity that is just as much for for us adults as it is for the kids. As a prize you are awarded one of three coloring books. By the way, this is considered merchandise. So, if you have a pass, membership, or some sort of credential that gets you a discount on Disney merchandise you can save on this activity.
Ah, the coloring book prize. There are 3 books and Isabelle chose the one with Figment on the front. Below is a downloadable PDF of the Figment coloring book from the 2019 Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt. We did not look inside the other 2 coloring books, but if we return and do this again I will scan and add them to this post.
Another nuance of the festival are characters subtly added around the pavilions. This can easily be another scavenger hunt to keep members of your group busy while others are standing in line at the various booths.
If you happen to have a few days around Walt Disney World before or after a cruise with some time and theme park admission, I’d recommend checking out the festival. I must say, I didn’t notice any Disney Cruise Line artwork on display like a did in the inaugural year. I’ll try to pay more attention during our next walk around the festival.
Have you visited Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts? What did you think of the event?