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Where the Art is — Epcot’s Festival of the Arts returns for a second year

Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 3:19 pm





By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

The weather is cooler, the holiday crowds have vanished. It’s time for a party Disney-style.

The newest Epcot festival, the International Festival of the Arts is back at the theme park with more food, music, fun and art. It continues through Feb. 19.

Note: The Flower & Garden Festival is expanding once again and will have an earlier start in 2018 to Feb. 28 at Epcot.

There is no doubt about it, this is the best time of the year to go to Disney and the Festival of the Arts makes it all the more enticing.

This is only the second year for the festival and it already seems like a natural fit in the popular Epcot festival lineup. The festival is daily this year, with special entertainment offerings held each weekend.

Even though it is all about the art, and you will find all kinds of arts activities throughout the theme park, Epcot is really known for its creative food dishes and unique drink experiences at each of the park’s festivals.

The many kitchen stops include:

Cuisine Classique — There are several choices here including a red wine braised short rib (with broccolini, baby tomatoes and aged balsamic); seared Corvina with braised ratatouille and lemon-thyme beurre blanc; Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie.

The Artist’s Table — Roasted Pork Roulade with butternut square puree, marble potatoes and baby carrots with a red wine sauce. (This was a favorite choice at a media preview last week). Also featured pan-seared scallop with chorizo, roasted red pepper coulis.

Pop Eats! — Inspired by modern art, the fare here includes chicken roulade with apples and sage served with warm brie fondue; shrimp ceviche with lime mint float; Pop’t Art, modern-design sugar cookie.

The Masterpiece Kitchen — Featuring artisan cured meats and cheeses; smoked salmon tartare and caviar; wild mushroom risotto with aged parmesan, truffle shaving and zinfandel reduction; and Triple Chocolate Mousse, chocolate crunch, dark chocolate sauce and gold leaf from the Epcot master pastry chef.

Decadent Delights — White chocolate and purple sweet potato mousse with salted caramel and maple meringue with coconut; chocolate caramel mousse bar with flavored meringue kisses; S’mores tart, house-smoked buttermilk chocolate cake with chocolate mousse.

Each of the kitchen locations includes a nice assortment of beer, wine and more.

Another major highlight at this year’s festival in the Disney on Broadway Concert Series. Each weekend, the American Gardens Theatre will host performances from award-winning Disney on Broadway musicals, each Friday-Monday. Showtimes are 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

Admission to the shows are included with Epcot admission, but you can upgrade the experience (and get priority seating) with a concert series dining package.

Diners have their choice of breakfast, lunch or dinner at Epcot restaurants before attending the show.

Celebrity performers include: Kevin Massey (Jan. 19-22), who starred in the title role of Tarzan on Broadway; Kara Lindsay (Jan. 19-22), from Newsies; Kissy Simmons, Jan. 26-29 and Feb. 2-5, who starred as Nala in The Lion King and Alton Fitzgerald White (Jan. 26-29 and Feb. 2-5), who had more than 4,000 performances of playing King Mufasa in The Lion King.

There are additional performing arts all around World Showcase during the festival including live performance art, international music and variety arts, living statues, marching bands and more.

Each week at the festival there will beseminars featuring Disney and the arts.

This weekend’s highlights include:

The premium workshop, painting with a Disney artist at the Odyssey Events at Pavilion. It starts at, Saturday, and includes a continental breakfast. Stroll through World Showcase before it opens and capture an Epot landscape on canvas with the guidance of a Disney artist. Cost is $259 plus tax.

Once Upon a Doll features Linda Rick from Precious Moments at Odyssey Showcase. Build your own fairytale inspired doll and learn the process behind the creation of Precious Moments dolls. The workshop begins at a11 a.m. Friday, (and Saturday) and it is $39 plus tax.

Hip Hop: The Evolution of Flow with Charles Griffin, founder of the Central Florida Composers Forum. The seminar starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday, at Odyssey Take a deep dive into hip hop’s nearly 50-year marriage between poetry and rhythm.

The Art of Disney Topiary featuring Debbie Mola, from Disney’s horticulture team. The 1:30 p.m. seminar is Saturday at Odyssey Festival Showplace. Learn how one-of-a-kind Walt Disney World topiaries are made and discover tips for creating your own horticulture sculptures at home.

From Concept to Creation with John Coulter, WonderGround Gallery Artist will be at the Odyssey at 4:30 p.m., Saturday. He will discuss how his background in theatrical costuming and design has influenced his whimsical painting style and unique attention to detail.