Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2018

A couple weeks ago I visited Epcot during their International Festival of the Arts. Epcot has always been my favorite Disney park ever since I first visited Disney World when I was seven years old. I clearly remember being an impressionable wide-eyed youngster walking around the World Showcase at night, loving the international vibes and feeling so cosmopolitan! I'm sure that experience helped spark my love of travel. 

A living statue at Epcot's 2018 International Festival of the Arts

Above: A cheeky living statue at Epcot's International Festival of the Arts

2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts Passport

I've lived in Florida most of my life so with Disney an easy 2-hour drive away, I've visited Epcot at least a dozen times. When I heard about their art festival I was curious to check it out. I'm always interested in any excuse for celebrating the arts! 

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts encompasses the visual, culinary and performing arts.  The walkways are lined with booths full of art for sale, like you'd see at any typical art fair, except the art is almost all Disney-related. It was neat to see the wide range of art styles on display. Even though the artists were all influenced by (and/or directly depicting) scenes from Disney movies or parks, each artist injected their own unique style into their artwork. 

Art booth at Epcot's International Festival of the Arts

Above: One of the many art booths at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts

I especially enjoyed the artwork of Joey Chou, Jerrod Maruyama, Caley Hicks and Greg McCullough. I loved the painting of Epcot's World Showcase that Greg McCullough created as this year's official festival poster:

Painting of Epcot's World Showcase by Greg McCullough for Epcot's 2018 International Festival of the Arts

Although I didn't see the original, they were selling prints of all sizes (the image above is photo of a large framed print that was hanging on the side of his booth). 

And here's me holding a smaller print:

Thaneeya at Epcot's 2018 International Festival of the Arts, holding a print of a painting by artist Greg McCullough

A lot of the participating artists made appearances at various times throughout the 39-day festival. I didn't catch the name of the artist below, but it was cool to see some live painting:


There was a roped-off section near the front of the park where artists spent 3-4 hours per day creating chalk drawings on the ground, like this 3-D geometric Mickey. There was also a special section just for kids, where budding young artists could make their own sidewalk chalk art (for free)!

Chalk drawing at Epcot's 2018 International Festival of the Arts

In addition to all the fantastic artwork on display, there were also ample opportunities for everyone to get involved and make some art. Every day there were 3 free seminars on topics like wood carving, acrylic painting, storytelling, photography, stained glass, bronze casting, and so much more. There were also 3 daily interactive workshops with a $39 fee that enabled participants to get hands-on with various art materials while learning all about calligraphy, animation, cartoon portraits, flower arranging, doll making, mosaics, quilling, and more. We didn't have time to check out any of the seminars or workshops but it was cool that they were being offered! 

"Expression Section": Large interactive paint-by-number mural at Epcot's 2018 International Festival of the Arts

Another interactive opportunity was dubbed the "Expression Section", a super long paint-by-number mural, shown above. Partipants were given a small pot of paint with a number and a foam brush and they would find that number on the wall and paint in their squares. I took this photo at the beginning of the day so it was hard to tell what it would become. I read online that they change out the mural every week because it doesn't take long for all those squares to get filled up.

Throughout the park there were several "Artful Ops" - re-creations of famous paintings that people could step into and become part of the art (shown above). Disney PhotoPass photographers directed the partipants so their body language could match what was happening in the scene. My husband and I didn't participate but we snapped a couple pics as examples.

In addition to the visual arts, there were a bunch of performances throughout the day, from Disney on Broadway performances to acrobatics to these totally cool living statues.

The living statues came out several times per day, dressed in all-gold, all-bronze, or all-silver (with matching makeup), with outfits and props representing the various pavilions in Epcot's Future World. Living statues are most fun when they "come to life" and interact with the unsuspecting guests who pose for pictures in front of them, like the living statue that tried to push my hat off in the photo at the top of the post!

All of these performances were in addition to all the usual Epcot performances, like the Serveur Amusant in France, Chinese acrobatics, Mexican mariachi music and Japanese drumming. 

Creative cuisine was also a big part of Epcot's International Festival of the Arts. In addition to all the usual Epcot food offerings, there was a dizzying array of food and beverage options in booths spread throughout the park. We sampled a few treats, starting with the colorful, Mondrian-inspired Almond Frangipane Cake shown below. (Kudos to my husband for taking such an artistic shot!)

Almond Frangipane Cake at Epcot's International Festival of the Arts

Next we tried the Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie. We were surprised when the lady handed us a paintbrush to go along with it. She explained that we could use the paintbrush to mix the colors on the cookie and asked, "What do you think happens when you mix the red and the yellow?" We immediately responded, "It makes orange!" and her face lit up because she clearly didn't need to explain color theory to us, so she sent us on our way so we could mix the colors and devour the cookie:

That wraps up my summary of my visit to Epcot's International Festival of the Arts. It was good fun and it felt like there was a little something for everyone, in addition to all the usual Epcot performances, restaurants and rides. There were so many events, performances and activities that occurred during the festival that I didn't get to see them all but that's okay - I left feeling quite satisfied and inspired!

Thanks for reading & I'll catch you again soon!

Thaneeya in front of a refreshment booth in Morocco.

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