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Epcot Festival of the Arts: A Complete Guide

The Epcot Festival of the Arts takes place annually at Walt Disney World Resort in January and February.

It features various forms of arts, including performing arts, culinary arts, painting, drawing, and more.

This year, the Epcot Festival of Arts takes place from January 12 through February 19, 2024.

The event is included in the cost of park admission, so there is no need for an extra ticket, even if you’re an annual passholder!

Sound like something you’re interested in? Check out this guide for help planning your visit to the Epcot Festival of the Arts.

Best time to go to the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Vertical photo of a display for the Epcot Festival of the Arts with a large rainbow and paint tube, with Spaceship Earth in the background.
Photo by Meg Frost, All Rights Reserved.

Honestly, there’s never a bad time to go to this festival. It’s rather short, so you only have a little over a month to choose from.

That said, you may want to choose when to go based on crowd levels or when your favorite artist or performer will be there.

The first weekend of the festival is a holiday weekend for most in the US, as Martin Luther King Jr. is on Monday, January 15.

So I would expect it to be crowded as folks will be on a mini vacation – especially those of us from the colder states looking for a warm getaway.

Toward the tail end of the festival, you have Super Bowl Sunday, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day all within a week.

I would expect that time to be slightly crowded, particularly the last weekend of the festival as many folks have Monday, February 19 off from school and work.

Overall, in between the opening and closing weekend will be average to slightly lower crowds.

The more Disney fills up its slow seasons with fun and unique things to do, like this festival, the less of a slow season it becomes. But, at the very least, it’s not as bad as the sweaty summer crowds!

Check out these monthly planning guides for more tips on visiting Disney World in January and February:

Where to stay for the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Photo of the Tangled lantern festival mosaic at Disney's Riviera Resort.
Photo by Meg Frost, All Rights Reserved.

If you’re visiting Disney World mainly for the Epcot Festival of Arts, maximize your time by booking a resort nearby.

Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, as well as the Boardwalk Inn and Villas, are all within walking distance.

If you’re more of a Marriott fan, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels are also within walking distance.

The next best option would be to connect to Epcot via the Skyliner.

The 2 closest resorts on the Skyliner lines are Disney’s Riviera Resort and the Caribbean Beach Resort.

The Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts are also on the Skyliner. However, they’re just a bit further and require a transfer whereas the Riviera and Caribbean Beach don’t.

What to eat & drink at the Epcot Festival of the Arts

As with all of Epcot’s festivals, there are tons of limited edition food and drink available.

At this festival, Disney refers to the festival food booths as food studios. Food and drink are, after all, culinary art!

The food studios are located all throughout the World Showcase, as well as in World Discovery and World Celebration.

Rather than give you a full menu, here are my top 10 recommendations on what to try and where you can get everything.

  1. The Artist’s Table in USA: Hummingbird cake
  2. Deco Delights in Port of Entry: Espresso martini
  3. El Artista Hambriento in Mexico: Tostada de Langosta (lobster)
  4. Figment’s Inspiration Station in the Odyssey building: Rainbow cake with freeze dried skittles
  5. Goshiki in Japan: Sushi donut, Masu sake (comes in a souvenir cup!)
  6. Joffrey’s Coffee in World Discovery: Pistachio Palette Cold Brew
  7. The Painted Panda in China: Silk Road hard lemonade with lavender-coconut syrup
  8. Pastoral Palette in Germany: Black forest cake, Beef short rib
  9. Pop Eats in Port of Entry area: Grilled cheese & tomato soup
  10. Vibrante & Vívido between Morocco & France: Passionfruit daquiri

Best things to do at Epcot Festival of the Arts

The Epcot Festival of the Arts is packed with tons of artsy things to do, like shopping for Disney art pieces, watching musical performances, learning how to draw, trying unique food, and more.

Before you book your trip, be sure to continue reading through this guide – especially this section.

There are some experiences that are only available on specific dates – mainly performances and artist meet-and-greets – so you may want to read through to see if that helps you choose your dates.

And with that, let’s move on to all of the fun things to do at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts.

Shop for art!

Photo of a small Tinkerbell figurine for sale at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts.
Photo by Meg Frost, All rights reserved.

One of the big draws to this festival are the temporary galleries set up throughout the park that sell Disney inspired artwork.

There are drawings, paintings, photographs, statues, figurines, and even furniture! I’ve got my eye on the Tinkerbell figurine pictured above.

Give the galleries a browse and you just might find the perfect piece of art for your home.

Disney on Broadway performances

Photo of a man performing on a stage with musicians and a mural from Lion King on Broadway in the background.
Photo by David Roark, courtesy of Disney.

One of big draws for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is the Disney on Broadway concert series. 

These concerts feature performers that you see in Broadway productions singing medleys from Disney Broadway productions.

The Disney on Broadway performances take place at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM, and 8 PM.

Dining packages are available that combine dinner and reserved seating at the Disney on Broadway show.

Dinner includes 1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert or 1 buffet, depending on the restaurant chosen.

Participating restaurants include:

  1. Akershus Royal Banquet
  2. Biergarten Restaurant
  3. Coral Reef Restaurant
  4. Garden Grill
  5. Le Cellier Steakhouse
  6. Regal Eagle Smokehouse
  7. Rose and Crown Dining Room
  8. Spice Road Table

Here’s the schedule and performers for the 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Arts:

January 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 22 & 23Caissie Levy and Patti Murin, both from Frozen on Broadway
January 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24 & 25Gavin Lee (Beauty & the Beast) and Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid)
January 26, 28 & 29
February 1, 3, 5 & 6
Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins) and L. Steven Taylor (The Lion King)
January 27, 30 & 31
February 2, 4, 7 & 8
Josh Strickland (Tarzan) and Kissy Simmons (The Lion King)
February 9, 11, 12, 15, 18Mandy Gonzalez (Aida) and Michael James Scott (Aladdin)
February 10, 13, 14, 16 & 17Bradley Gibson (The Lion King) and Shoba Narayan (Aladdin)
February 19Bradley Gibson (The Lion King), Mandy Gonzalez (Aida), Shoba Narayan (Aladdin), and Michael James Scott (Aladdin)
2024 Disney on Broadway Performances at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Visual artist meet-and-greets

Photo of several paintings for sale at the Epcot Festival of the Arts featuring characters like Figment, Goofy, Dopey, and Winnie the Pooh.
Photo by Meg Frost, All Rights Reserved.

Another feature from the festival that you might want to schedule your trip around are the artist meet-and-greets, which take place at various locations around Epcot.

In addition to meeting your favorite artist, you can buy their artwork at galleries set up all throughout Epcot.

To find out when your favorite artist is available, check this schedule.

Take fun photos

The Epcot Festival of Arts includes fun photo ops around Epcot where you get to step into life-sized replicas of famous artwork like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or photo props like the Wish storybook seen above.

Disney PhotoPass photographers are stationed here during the day to help capture your photo.

If you have the Memory Maker package, these photos will show up on your My Disney Experience account, where you can download the photos for up to 45 days after your visit.

However, these cast members will also take photos with your phone or camera. You just won’t have access to magic shots, special borders and graphic add-ons, and the like.

Musical solo performances

At the World Showcase Plaza, solo musicians will perform throughout the day.

Musical artists featured in 2024 include:

  1. Don Black (saxophone)
  2. Victor Espinola (harp)
  3. Dominic Gaudious (digeridoo)
  4. Nicholas Marks (guitar)

Showtimes for these performances are available in the My Disney Experience app.

Art Defying Gravity acrobatic performances

Photo of two acrobats performing on a stage in the World Showcase plaza at Epcot.
Photo by Meg Frost, All Rights Reserved.

Each week, Saturday through Wednesday, you can see acrobats perform at the World Showcase Plaza.

Performance times will be available on the My Disney Experience app under ‘Art Defying Gravity.’

Expression Section: A Paint-by-Numbers Mural

Photo of a small strip of paper showing an Expression Secton mural with the full-sized mural in progress in the background.
Olga Thompson/Disney

Over in the World Nature neighborhood in Epcot, you can participate in a paint by number mural from 11 AM through 5 PM daily.

At the Expression Section, as Disney calls it, you’ll be given a small pot of paint and a number.

Then, paint in a few squares with your given number. It’s that easy!

The best part: this activity is totally FREE!!

Once you’re finished, a cast member will give you a small bookmark-sized photo of what the painting will look like finished.

According to the cast member I spoke to, it takes just a few days for a mural to be finished by guests, so every few days a new design goes up. How fun!

Animation Academy

The popular Animation Academy activity, which is currently held at Rafiki’s Planet Watch in Animal Kingdom, will also be held at Epcot during the festival.

In this FREE activity, you can learn how to draw a Disney character from actual Disney artists!

The experience takes place at the America Gardens Theater at 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM daily.

This year’s list of artists providing the lessons include:

  1. Brian Blackmore
  2. Luke Consolo
  3. Matthew Dewater
  4. Justin Dring
  5. David Holbrook
  6. Hannah Loflin
  7. Alex Maher
  8. Michael Montgomery
  9. Andy Quiles
  10. Sarah Schmidt
  11. Lon Smart

I’ve participated in the Animation Academy in the past and had a blast learning how to draw Minnie Mouse and Dante from Coco!

I highly recommend this activity. Not only is it free, but it makes for a great souvenir that you can frame at home.

Whoever says Epcot isn’t for kids is so totally wrong! There are tons of kid-friendly activities, even for toddlers.

For example, at this Epcot festival, there is a section roped off for kids to draw on the sidewalk to their heart’s content.

Head on over to the bridge by the World Showcase Plaza between 11 AM to 5 PM daily for this fun activity.

Professional artist sidewalk chalk art

Speaking of chalk artists, across from the kids chalk art area, the sidewalk is lined with chalk art by professional artists. Perhaps in the future, one of the kid artists will join them!

Artwork includes Disney-fied versions of famous art pieces, Nat Geo inspired portraits, and artwork inspired by well-known pieces.

This year I was able to catch a few artists prepping some new drawings as I was exiting the park. It was so cool to see the start of the process (sketching) considering how many of the pieces ended up.

As you can see in the photos above, many of the pieces looked like paintings or even photographs, rather than chalk drawings!

Watch artists create art LIVE!

If you’d rather see art being created instead of creating it yourself, then you’ll want to check out Art in Performance.

On select dates, mostly Thursday-Sun, you can watch a Disney artist draw or paint a character.

The demonstration takes place in the World Showcase Plaza throughout the day, with times available on the My Disney Experience app.

This year, the artists include:

January 12-15, 18-21, and 25-28Trevor Carlton
February 1-4, 8-11, 15-19Stephen Fishwick
2024 Art in Performance Schedule

Find hidden art

Throughout the World Showcase, you just might find a few surprise chalk paintings of Disney characters.

This makes for a fun (informal) scavenger hunt, plus they make great photo ops!

Give it a try while you’re perusing the World Showcase, trying all the fun festival food and drink.

Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt

Closeup of a sign for Figment's Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt.
Photo by Meg Frost, All Rights Reserved.

In true Epcot fashion, a scavenger hunt is available during the festival – this time featuring everyone’s favorite Epcot character, Figment!

For $9.99 (plus tax), pick up a map with stickers at Creations Shop, Port of Entry, or World Traveler.

Once you’ve gotten your map, you can embark on an adventure to find Figment hiding in various works of art around the World Showcase.

Each time you find Figment, you add a sticker to your map. Once you find them all, bring your completed map to Disney Traders or World Traveler to trade it in for a special surprise!

Available while supplies last.

The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine

Closeup photo of the artist palette cookie from the Epcot Festival of the Arts food carts.
Harrison Cooney/Disney

Another fun way to taste your way around the festival is on the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine. If you can’t decide what food to try, this is an easy way to start off!

This fun food stroll involves trying at least 5 snacks from a specified list.

Each time you try one of the treats, you can get a special stamp to add to your festival passport. Once you try at least 5 of the treats, you can trade your passport in for a free artist palette cookie (pictured above).

In 2024, the list of treats include:

  1. Deco Delights: Neopolitan dessert trio
  2. The Deconstructed Dish: Deconstructed key lime pie
  3. Figment’s Inspiration Station: Blueberry pastry w/ purple icing (it’s like a fancy Pop Tart)
  4. Gourmet Landscapes: Verjus-roasted beets with goat cheese, blackberry sauce, pecans, and lettuce
  5. Pop Eats: Grilled cheese & tomato soup
  6. Pop Eats: Pimento cheese, bacon, and fried green tomato grilled cheese & tomato soup
  7. Vibrante y Vívido: Chorizo & potato empanada

You don’t have to complete the stroll in one visit, so you can take your time over your vacation or come back throughout the month if you’re a local.

Final tips for the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Before I wrap up this post, here are a few key tips for making the most of your time at the Epcot Festival of the arts.

Grab a Festival of the Arts passport

Photo of the 2024 Epcot International Festival of the Arts passport with Spaceship Earth in the background.
Photo by Meg Frost, All rights reserved.

Once you get to Epcot, grab a festival passport near the park entrance. You can also get them at many of the souvenir shops, near the cash registers.

This pocket-sized booklet includes menus for all of the festival booths, as well as an overview of free and premium activities, such as the Figment scavenger hunt.

It’s totally free and much easier to quickly check menus and schedules compared to the My Disney Experience app.

I wish they would make booklets like this for other events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Jollywood Nights, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

While you do get pamphlets that are the same size as the park maps, I find these smaller booklets easier to use and refer to.

I think it’s a combination of the small size, as well as the fact that each page focuses on just 1 or 2 things.

Download the WDW Food & Wine app

If you’re at the festival to try all the delicious food and drink, you’re definitely going to want the WDW Food & Wine app.

This app, created by a fellow Disney fan, includes menus for all Epcot festivals, and gives you a way to plan what to get, as well as track what you got.

You can even add ratings, notes and photos, kind of like a diary. It’s super easy to use and FREE!

Download the WDW Food & Wine app: iOS / Android

Spring for the Memory Maker add-on

Photo of the Wish-themed perspective chalk art photo op at the Epcot Festival of the Arts.
This photo was best taken in the evening to prevent shadows & was drawn in a way to make it look like you were sitting on the branch with Asha! | Photo by Meg Frost, All rights reserved.

If you love getting photos to cement your memories at Disney World, I recommend adding the Memory Maker PhotoPass to your vacation package. Or if you have an annual pass, spring for the Memory Maker add-on.

The Memory Maker pass gives you free downloads of ride and PhotoPass photos for up to 45 days after the photos are taken.

This includes the super popular Magic Shots, where special elements are added into your photo, like Tinkerbell in your hand or Stitch breaking through the ground.

It also includes access to borders and graphics that you can add to your photos before downloading them to add a little extra razzle dazzle.

If you purchase Memory Maker at least 3 days before your trip, the advance purchase price is $185. But, if you just want Memory Maker for 1 day, it’s $75 in advance.

Lastly, if you decide during or after your trip that you want Memory Maker, the price increases to $210.

Use the Disney Dining Plan or a gift card to stay on budget

Photo of signage for Figment's Inspiration Station at Epcot, with an image of Figment the purple dragon.
Photo by Meg Frost, All Rights Reserved.

It is super easy to go off the rails budget-wise trying all sorts of food and drink, plus buying souvenirs, when attending a festival at Epcot.

If this is something you struggle with, I recommend employing one of two strategies: the Disney Dining Plan or a pre-loaded gift card.

The Disney Dining Plan returns on January 9, so you can use it at the Epcot Festival of Arts if you’re attending in 2024.

If you get the Quick Service plan, which has 1 snack credit per day, you can use your snack credit on the festival snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.

But if you have the regular Disney Dining Plan, you can take advantage of both the snack credit and table service credit at the festival. I recommend using the table service credit on a Disney on Broadway dining package.

Now that the Disney Dining Plan has changed from previous years’ allotment, it’s not as big of a saver for the festivals.

If you know you want to try more than one or two items per day, a better option would be to load a Disney gift card with your dining and souvenir budget. And once you’re out, you’re out!

Get a MagicBand+

Closeup of the 2023 Epcot International Festival of the Arts MagicBand+ featuring Figment.
Photo by Amy Smith, courtesy of Disney.

Isn’t the Festival of the Arts MagicBand+ pictured above so cute?!

If you’re staying at a Disney World resort, you can order your MagicBand in advance at a slight discount. Both MagicBand and MagicBand+ are available for purchase.

Alternatively, you can pick one up once you get there or use one you already have!

The MagicBands make it easier to access rides via Genie+ or lightning lanes if you have any. Plus, you can hook it up to your credit card for quick and easy payment.

And the MagicBands interact with the golden character statues placed throughout the park.

I suspect, but have not yet confirmed, that they will also interact with the new nighttime show, Luminous: The Symphony of US, that will be in place just a few weeks before the festival starts.

Check out the Epcot Festival of the Arts merchandise

Last up, don’t forget to pick up a souvenir or 2 to remember your visit to Disney World for the Epcot Festival of the Arts. 

Festival merchandise includes spirit jerseys, Munchlings, tumblers, MagicBands, hats, and other fun offerings. Many of them feature Figment and the Orange Bird, two characters that are unique to Disney World.

For a super unique souvenir, many artists sell paintings, drawings, dolls, sculptures, and other forms of art, at booths spread throughout the festival.

But, the most popular souvenir the past few years in a row has been a limited edition Figment themed popcorn bucket!

After super duper long lines with with several hours wait time, Disney wisened up and created a mobile order for this souvenir, which you can get at Figment’s Inspiration Station.

Guests are also limited to 2 per person to help prevent resellers from buying them all up like they did a few years back when this started!

Have you been to the Epcot Festival of the Arts yet?

The Epcot Festival of the Arts is quickly becoming one of my favorite Disney events, thanks to cooler weather, lower crowds, and lots of fun food and art.

Will you be visiting this year or have you gone in past years? Let me know what your favorite part of the Festival of the Arts is in the comments below.

About the author

Photo of Meg Frost on Buzz Lightyear: Space Ranger Blast at Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Photo by Meg Frost, All rights reserved.

Meg Frost is the creator of The Park Pixie, where she covers Disney World, Disney+, and Disney fandom.

She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami in Florida.

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This post was originally published February 5, 2022. It was last updated February 2, 2024.

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