The Art & Flair of Epcot by Mary Pavlou

 Introduced in 2017, The Epcot International Festival of the Arts was a lush, delicious, and interactive festival that took me by surprise. Originally when this festival debuted I felt distaste towards Epcot's new year-round festival approach, but I figured I would hold off further judgment until I could experience this for myself.  When I first moved to Florida we came right into the swing of the Food & Wine Festival and without a moment to breathe The International Festival of Holidays began. I am probably not the only person who felt  Festival Fatigue . In my opinion, the IFoH felt like Food & Wine leftovers with a few more toy booths, plus the usual Epcot Holiday offerings. That being said, the #ArtfulEpcot festival was a refreshing palate cleanser before the incredible Flower and Garden Festival this coming February.

Introduced in 2017, The Epcot International Festival of the Arts was a lush, delicious, and interactive festival that took me by surprise. Originally when this festival debuted I felt distaste towards Epcot's new year-round festival approach, but I figured I would hold off further judgment until I could experience this for myself.  When I first moved to Florida we came right into the swing of the Food & Wine Festival and without a moment to breathe The International Festival of Holidays began. I am probably not the only person who felt Festival Fatigue. In my opinion, the IFoH felt like Food & Wine leftovers with a few more toy booths, plus the usual Epcot Holiday offerings. That being said, the #ArtfulEpcot festival was a refreshing palate cleanser before the incredible Flower and Garden Festival this coming February.

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 Maybe I'm a bit bias, but the Festival of Arts has the best main entrance display I've ever seen at Epcot. 🌈

Maybe I'm a bit bias, but the Festival of Arts has the best main entrance display I've ever seen at Epcot. 🌈

 With Figment being such a recognizable ambassador for Epcot, do you think we could bring back or honor the original vision of the Imagination! Pavilion? 

With Figment being such a recognizable ambassador for Epcot, do you think we could bring back or honor the original vision of the Imagination! Pavilion? 

 Unfortunately, the Festival of Arts is the most expensive festival yet. On the bright side, there are plenty of things to do without paying and treats to enjoy on a budget.

Unfortunately, the Festival of Arts is the most expensive festival yet. On the bright side, there are plenty of things to do without paying and treats to enjoy on a budget.

Food I Ate

 Almond Frangipane Cake from  Pop Eats!  - 4.5/5 This was the first treat I tried during the festival and it set the bar high. I’m typically the type of person to buy food based on how it  looks  and I’m glad to say that this cake tasted just as delicious as it looked. 

Almond Frangipane Cake from Pop Eats! - 4.5/5
This was the first treat I tried during the festival and it set the bar high. I’m typically the type of person to buy food based on how it looks and I’m glad to say that this cake tasted just as delicious as it looked. 

 Scarlet Blossom from  The Painted Panda  - 3.5/5 This refreshing mango wine cooler with strawberry syrup and ginger ale cost a pretty penny, but tasted as if the alcohol was missing. I would much rather purchase a peach iced tea at the booth next door and save my alcohol money for something else. 

Scarlet Blossom from The Painted Panda - 3.5/5
This refreshing mango wine cooler with strawberry syrup and ginger ale cost a pretty penny, but tasted as if the alcohol was missing. I would much rather purchase a peach iced tea at the booth next door and save my alcohol money for something else. 

 Coconut Panda Rice Cake from  The Painted Panda  - 2/5 Don’t be fooled by this adorable Panda because it’s something that you can easily make at home. Skip it! The coconut flavor was hardly there and the Panda was just too small for the price you pay. 

Coconut Panda Rice Cake from The Painted Panda - 2/5
Don’t be fooled by this adorable Panda because it’s something that you can easily make at home. Skip it! The coconut flavor was hardly there and the Panda was just too small for the price you pay. 

 Taiyaki Dessert from  Takumi Table  - 3.5/5 Taiyaki is a traditional Japanese treat that is either sweet or savory. The one from Epcot is sweet with red bean filling, sesame cream, and a raspberry sauce. I was really excited to try this out, but wasn’t too happy that they drowned the poor fish in so much whip cream. The quality, overall, wasn’t as outstanding as the kind you’d get from an actual Japanese street vendor. 

Taiyaki Dessert from Takumi Table - 3.5/5
Taiyaki is a traditional Japanese treat that is either sweet or savory. The one from Epcot is sweet with red bean filling, sesame cream, and a raspberry sauce. I was really excited to try this out, but wasn’t too happy that they drowned the poor fish in so much whip cream. The quality, overall, wasn’t as outstanding as the kind you’d get from an actual Japanese street vendor. 

 Chirashi Sushi & Haupia Peal from  Takumi Table  - 4/5 This duo of salmon and tuna with the coconut tapioca was a delight. However, if you’re the type of person who usually goes to sushi bars then this isn’t out of the ordinary. I gave this dish a high score for the plating alone.

Chirashi Sushi & Haupia Peal from Takumi Table - 4/5
This duo of salmon and tuna with the coconut tapioca was a delight. However, if you’re the type of person who usually goes to sushi bars then this isn’t out of the ordinary. I gave this dish a high score for the plating alone.

 Saumon en Croûte Façon Paul Bocuse from  L'Art De La Cuisine Française  - 5/5 Hands down, this was my favorite dish at the festival and worth the splurge. I bought this dish twice because the puff pastry was light, the sauce was the perfect addition, and the salmon was cooked perfectly. 

Saumon en Croûte Façon Paul Bocuse from L'Art De La Cuisine Française - 5/5
Hands down, this was my favorite dish at the festival and worth the splurge. I bought this dish twice because the puff pastry was light, the sauce was the perfect addition, and the salmon was cooked perfectly. 

 Frosé from  L'Art De La Cuisine Française  - 4/5 I was intrigued by this frozen cocktail because it had a little bit of everything I enjoy: rosé, vodka, and peach puree. I hadn't made my decision until I overheard a woman tell her husband, "get back in line, I could have 7 of these." Personally, I would not down 7 of these, but I did find it to be very refreshing!

Frosé from L'Art De La Cuisine Française - 4/5
I was intrigued by this frozen cocktail because it had a little bit of everything I enjoy: rosé, vodka, and peach puree. I hadn't made my decision until I overheard a woman tell her husband, "get back in line, I could have 7 of these." Personally, I would not down 7 of these, but I did find it to be very refreshing!

 Gallery Bites: A Trio of Hors d'Oeuvres from  The Painters Palate  - 4/5 This was a fun little dish that I devoured just a little too quickly, but enjoyed nonetheless.  My favorite of the three happened to be the risotto ball. 

Gallery Bites: A Trio of Hors d'Oeuvres from The Painters Palate - 4/5
This was a fun little dish that I devoured just a little too quickly, but enjoyed nonetheless.  My favorite of the three happened to be the risotto ball. 

 Pomegranate Mule from  The Painters Palate  - 2/5 Van Gogh vodka & pomegranate juice seemed exciting, but overall it didn't really thrill me. Probably my least favorite item at the festival.

Pomegranate Mule from The Painters Palate - 2/5
Van Gogh vodka & pomegranate juice seemed exciting, but overall it didn't really thrill me. Probably my least favorite item at the festival.

 Mickey & Pluto Edible Chocolate Easel from  The Painters Palate  I couldn't find myself purchasing these, but they were adorable, right?

Mickey & Pluto Edible Chocolate Easel from The Painters Palate
I couldn't find myself purchasing these, but they were adorable, right?

Exhibits I Enjoyed

 All throughout World Showcase were Artful Photo Op locations. Absolutely charming and hilarious even as a passerby.

All throughout World Showcase were Artful Photo Op locations. Absolutely charming and hilarious even as a passerby.

 It was a lot of fun watching guest follow the guidelines or break the rules at the photo op. 

It was a lot of fun watching guest follow the guidelines or break the rules at the photo op. 

 Each photo location also provided information on the original painting.

Each photo location also provided information on the original painting.

 This portrait in France allowed us to do whatever we pleased. It's fun to get really creative here. 

This portrait in France allowed us to do whatever we pleased. It's fun to get really creative here. 

 There was also Frida Kahlo photo opportunity, which didn't sit well with me. At the location, you can line up your face with Frida's iconic brow and I honestly couldn't distinguish whether this honored her or made a caricature of her?

There was also Frida Kahlo photo opportunity, which didn't sit well with me. At the location, you can line up your face with Frida's iconic brow and I honestly couldn't distinguish whether this honored her or made a caricature of her?

 Nearby, the Odyssey was the Festival Showplace since the original Wonders of Life Pavilion is under construction (rumored to reopen for the Flower and Garden Festival) This location seemed to fit everything just so, even though it was a little cramped. 

Nearby, the Odyssey was the Festival Showplace since the original Wonders of Life Pavilion is under construction (rumored to reopen for the Flower and Garden Festival) This location seemed to fit everything just so, even though it was a little cramped. 

 Another pleasant exhibit at the Odyssey was the Art of Disney Attraction Posters. I loved seeing my favorite attraction posters from Disney Parks all over the world. However, this seemed rather disappointing in contrast to last year's tribute to Mary Blair and Herb Ryman.

Another pleasant exhibit at the Odyssey was the Art of Disney Attraction Posters. I loved seeing my favorite attraction posters from Disney Parks all over the world. However, this seemed rather disappointing in contrast to last year's tribute to Mary Blair and Herb Ryman.

 I would like to argue that the Odyssey should've included just Epcot attraction poster art in honor of the 35th anniversary. 

I would like to argue that the Odyssey should've included just Epcot attraction poster art in honor of the 35th anniversary. 

 Some Cast Member created art was also featured at the Odyssey. 

Some Cast Member created art was also featured at the Odyssey. 

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 You can enjoy the Animation Academy, which gave me flashbacks of Hollywood Studios. Even though I didn't participate in any of the classes, everyone in the room seemed to enjoy themselves. 

You can enjoy the Animation Academy, which gave me flashbacks of Hollywood Studios. Even though I didn't participate in any of the classes, everyone in the room seemed to enjoy themselves. 

 If art appreciation is your thing, throughout the Festival you have the opportunity to meet some of their biggest names. It was really great to see guests interact with these artists and experience live demos. 

If art appreciation is your thing, throughout the Festival you have the opportunity to meet some of their biggest names. It was really great to see guests interact with these artists and experience live demos. 

 That's the most amusing thing about the Festival of Arts, live art demonstrations are everywhere, and you can engage with the artists as well.

That's the most amusing thing about the Festival of Arts, live art demonstrations are everywhere, and you can engage with the artists as well.

 In Future World East, a brand new 3D chalk portrait and photo experience were created daily. 

In Future World East, a brand new 3D chalk portrait and photo experience were created daily. 

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 And if you're feeling inspired you can also create your own chalk art. 

And if you're feeling inspired you can also create your own chalk art. 

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 If you want to create a piece of Epcot art history then visit Future World East and Showcase Plaza where you can participate painting a wall mural at Expression Section. 

If you want to create a piece of Epcot art history then visit Future World East and Showcase Plaza where you can participate painting a wall mural at Expression Section. 

 This is a really fun paint-by-the-numbers experience that you can participate in. 

This is a really fun paint-by-the-numbers experience that you can participate in. 

 The murals changed periodically, so this is something worth checking out more than once. 

The murals changed periodically, so this is something worth checking out more than once. 

 Even if you're not artistic you can still get appreciate the art or use it as an interesting backdrop for photos. ☀️😎

Even if you're not artistic you can still get appreciate the art or use it as an interesting backdrop for photos. ☀️😎

 By far my favorite mural. I really wish they sold prints of this one. 

By far my favorite mural. I really wish they sold prints of this one. 

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 I really enjoyed the Expression Section because it's fun for all ages and it's a meaningful contribution, which is something the other festivals lack. 

I really enjoyed the Expression Section because it's fun for all ages and it's a meaningful contribution, which is something the other festivals lack. 

 Grab your passport! Another family-friendly  free  activity was the Art Walk. Collect stamps from each country around World Showcase. It's a rewarding way to experience the Festival without paying for event goods. 

Grab your passport! Another family-friendly free activity was the Art Walk. Collect stamps from each country around World Showcase. It's a rewarding way to experience the Festival without paying for event goods. 

 Each stamp is unique to each pavilion, which made it fun to collect them all!

Each stamp is unique to each pavilion, which made it fun to collect them all!

 You can also use the stickers provided in your passport after each visit at the booth. Or if you're like me, keep them in pristine condition for later use. 

You can also use the stickers provided in your passport after each visit at the booth. Or if you're like me, keep them in pristine condition for later use. 

 While visiting the Pavilions, be sure to find character easels. 

While visiting the Pavilions, be sure to find character easels. 

 Sometimes you'll see some familiar friends. 

Sometimes you'll see some familiar friends. 

Merchandise to admire

 Speaking of friends, visit the Festival Market scattered around Epcot for canvases, framed art, and postcards featuring some of Disney's beloved characters. 

Speaking of friends, visit the Festival Market scattered around Epcot for canvases, framed art, and postcards featuring some of Disney's beloved characters. 

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 As with any Disney Festival, there were plenty of limited edition merchandise for sale. 

As with any Disney Festival, there were plenty of limited edition merchandise for sale. 

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 Admittedly, I did not buy any of the merchandise this year as I liked last year's better.

Admittedly, I did not buy any of the merchandise this year as I liked last year's better.

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 One of the few Future World West exclusives was Enemy Ink, a create-your-own t-shirt booth. I was very excited by this because they create your shirt on the spot.

One of the few Future World West exclusives was Enemy Ink, a create-your-own t-shirt booth. I was very excited by this because they create your shirt on the spot.

 I also enjoyed the graphics chosen for these shirts, they were simple, but they had something for everyone. 

I also enjoyed the graphics chosen for these shirts, they were simple, but they had something for everyone. 

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 For me, this was the highlight of the merchandise because it's not every day you get to watch someone screenprint your very own shirt.

For me, this was the highlight of the merchandise because it's not every day you get to watch someone screenprint your very own shirt.

#ArtfulEpcot

 I personally believe Epcot is a living piece of art, even though it's ever-changing themes may contradict that. Still, the Festival of Arts is a reminder of what great artists, young and old, can accomplish. I think the message of the Festival of Arts is clear: together we can create something beautiful (and still get that booze money, right Disney?)

I personally believe Epcot is a living piece of art, even though it's ever-changing themes may contradict that. Still, the Festival of Arts is a reminder of what great artists, young and old, can accomplish. I think the message of the Festival of Arts is clear: together we can create something beautiful (and still get that booze money, right Disney?)

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 What are some of your thoughts about this year's Festival of the Arts? Are you ready for the Flower & Garden Festival?   See you there, Mary! (❛▿❛✿)

What are some of your thoughts about this year's Festival of the Arts? Are you ready for the Flower & Garden Festival? 

See you there,
Mary! (❛▿❛✿)