By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Category — q. Reviews

Review: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Our most recent stay (our third, in March 2017) confirms that Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, one of the Epcot resorts, is the seventh best deluxe resort at Walt Disney World for first time family visitors.

You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.

However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.

Among the deluxe resorts, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort has a lot of positives.

It stands out for sharing with the Beach Club Resort the best pool among the Disney-owned resorts, sharing with the Beach Club and the BoardWalk Inn convenient access to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and also sharing with these resorts a short walk to dozens of table service dining options located in these resorts, at the Swan and Dolphin, on the BoardWalk, and in Epcot.

(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)

One of the principal negatives of the Yacht Club–tired, beat-up rooms–is being fixed by a refurb that is expected to be completed in 2017.

The other principal negatives–inconvenience to the Magic Kingdom, bland theming, and weak counter-service offerings–remain, although when the Yacht Club’s gift shop opens from a refurb this spring, better counter service may be on offer.

This review has 6 pages

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT


Standard rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are sized in the middle of the deluxe resorts.

They are larger than those at the Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, but smaller than those at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the other monorail resorts.


Most of these rooms sleep five–two each in two queens, and another in convertible sofa. Some rooms have just the two queens, and rooms with one king bed are also available.

You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.

After their refurb, I expect these rooms to have the same floor plans and furnishings, but different colors and details, as those in the recently refurbed rooms at sister resort the Beach Club.

For a photo tour of an un-refurbed Yacht Club room, see this, and for more on accommodations at the Yacht Club, see this. Come back in later 2017 for a refurbed room!

DINING AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

The Yacht has two table service restaurants. Yachtsman Steakhouse is a terrific–but expensive–option. The less expensive and simpler Captain’s Grille (below) is dull but with excellent value (for Disney…).

More dining is within walking distance at the Beach Club. There, Beaches and Cream is a wonderful burger and ice cream shop, but far too small for the demand for it. The Cape May Cafe has Minnie and other characters, but not Mickey, at breakfast, and an OK seafood buffet at dinner.

Quick service dining is quite limited, with just small venues at the back of the distant Beach Club gift shop and by the main pool, plus pastries and coffee in the lobby bar in the morning.

However, the preview art for the re-opening soon Yacht Club gift shop suggests it will have more quick service options than has historically been the case.

For more on dining at the Yacht Club, see this.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

The Yacht Club and Beach Club share the best pool complex at any Disney-owned resort (the Four Seasons has the best overall pool complex on property).

Hot Tub Disney's Beach Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Known as Stormalong Bay, there’s actually three pools in the complex, plus a stunning water slide.

There’s also a smaller pool at the Yacht Club, plus two smaller pools at the Beach Club.

For more on Stormalong Bay, see this.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

On this basis, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the seventh-best deluxe resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.

Kid Appeal.

The kid appeal of the Yacht Club Resort, such as it is, comes from its pool and beach, not its design, architecture, or theme.

Stormalong Bay, the pool that the Beach Club and Yacht Club share, is the most fun and kid-appealing pool among the Disney-owned resorts.  

Otherwise, nothing about the design or architecture of the Yacht Club shouts out that it was built for kids, and in fact it feels formal and austere to many of them.

Convenience. Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is the seventh-most convenient of all the Walt Disney World resorts in carrying out the itineraries for first-time family visitors on this site.

All of the Epcot resorts are convenient to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot is a moderate walk from the Yacht Club, and the Studios are a longer walk or a boat ride away.  (Epcot can also be accessed by boat.)

The other two parks are accessed by buses, which are shared with some of the other Epcot resorts.

Map Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S BEACH CLUB RESORT

This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms.

This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms.

The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.

On the map, the Yacht Club Resort is on the left, the Beach Club is center-right, and the Beach Club Villas are at the top right. The walkway to Epcot is at the far right, and the boat dock shared by the Beach and Yacht Clubs is at the center in the lake.

The room areas of the Yacht Club–at the left on the map–are in a long, narrow building with only two elevator banks, one central, and one on the left side.

As a result, some rooms on the left side of the Yacht Club can be a hike from the main pool and central services and restaurants area–and from Epcot.

So you should ask for a room as close to Epcot as possible. The current room request form won’t allow for that–but you can call and ask!

BEST FOR:

Any first time family visitors who can afford it, but can’t get into or don’t want to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort or the Beach Club.  Here’s what we say in The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017 about the difference between the sister resorts the Yacht and Beach Club:

Yacht Club vs Beach Club from The easy Guide

WORST FOR:

Families seeking the highest degree of kid appeal. Families too large to fit even its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

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April 18, 2017   No Comments

Theming and Accommodations at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, see this.)

 Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

THEMING AND ACCOMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

There are currently 8 official Disney owned and operated deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. In their recommended order for first time family visitors, they are

  1. Polynesian
  2. Wilderness Lodge
  3. Animal Kingdom Lodge
  4. Contemporary
  5. Beach Club
  6. Yacht Club
  7. BoardWalk Inn

Many of these also offer Disney Vacation Club (“DVC”) studios and villas, all for rent to the general public–see this for more on the Disney Vacation Club resorts. The Yacht Club has no DVC offering, but next door sister resort the Beach Club offers the Beach Club Villas.

THE THEMING OF DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort opened in November 1990, and in 2009 completed a major renovation. A badly needed refurb is under way, and expected to be completed in 2017.

According to Disney World’s website, the Yacht Club

“…[features] lush landscaping and the formal grace of a grand New England yacht club.

Designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern—known for his East Coast beach houses—this splendid 5-story Resort transports Guests to the summertime Shingle Style hotels of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. (Sister resort Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a more relaxed, pastel-toned edifice next door; the 2 share many amenities.)

Public areas, guest rooms and suites are adorned in dark wood and wicker furniture, portholes and simulated captain’s wheels. Cast Members are decked out in ship’s crew regalia, including navy blazers and captain’s hats.”

Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
The architect (and former Disney board member) Stern on his own website also talks about the Yacht Club in its context with the Beach Club:

“While both hotels draw their inspiration from America’s architectural past, each has a unique identity.

The Yacht Club is reminiscent of the rambling, shingle-covered seaside resorts that were built toward the end of the last century in New England towns such as Newport, Marblehead, and Bar Harbor.

The Beach Club is lighter, more airy in expression. It is modeled on the many Stick Style cottages and resorts that could be found in towns like Cape May, New Jersey.”

(For more on Stern’s role in Walt Disney World, see this.)

Well, I have a couple of issues with this.

First–and yes, do laugh at me for arguing with Stern, the master, about his signature Shingle Style–vernacular Shingle Style has a few more curves than the Yacht Club. Rounded turrets and eyebrow dormers are common elements missing in the Yacht Club.

But more to the point–these two resorts just aren’t that different.

Yes, the Yacht Club is a tad more formal, and yes, the Beach Club is a hint lighter. …but some of the discussions about these two resorts make it sound as though they were comparing the Grand Floridian and the Wilderness Lodge.

In fact, the Yacht and Beach Clubs are more like one another in theme, style, decor, layout, and rooms than are any other pair of deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World.

And this makes a bit of sense, considering that they are really just one building with mirror-image hotel wings, designed for conventioneers. The similarity of the rooms–which will re-emerge after the Yacht Club comes out of its refurb–makes convention room assignment much simpler.

Map Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

See the map.

The Yacht Club rooms and lobby are on the left, the Beach Club rooms and lobby on the right, and in between is shared space used for restaurants, kitchens, and other shared support activities.

Above this central shared space on the map is the shared convention center, and below it the shared spectacular pool, Stormalong Bay.

Note that the room wings are essentially mirror images of each other, and of course the room layouts themselves were identical (other than colors and details) until the Beach Club refurb, and will, I expect, become identical again after the Yacht Club refurb is complete.

What’s different between the two resorts in terms of theme is a set of small choices of decoration and decor, which do establish a difference but just don’t add up to much.

Here’s what we say about this in our book:

Yacht Club vs Beach Club from The easy Guide

So yes, the Beach Club is the better choice for most families.  But if you need Stormalong Bay or the easy access to Epcot, but can’t get into the Beach Club, don’t let the talk of formality keep you from bringing your kids to the Yacht Club. Yes, there is a tiny difference, and yes the Beach Club is preferable–but the Yacht Club is just fine for families!

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

Disney's Yacht Club Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

All Disney deluxe resorts have standard rooms; concierge rooms, which Disney calls “club” rooms; and suites. (See this for more on suites at Walt Disney World.)

At Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, standard and club/concierge rooms sleep either four or five, in two queen beds, or two queens and a day bed.

Standard rooms are well appointed and nicely proportioned, and unlike at the Beach Club, all come with substantial balconies.

The only issue with standard Yacht Club rooms is how beat up they are, which the current refurb will address.

There’s a detailed photo tour of a standard Yacht Club room later in this review.

King bed rooms that sleep two or three (the third on the day bed) are also available.

CONCIERGE ROOMS, DELUXE ROOMS, AND SUITES AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

I generally advise against special room types for first-time visitors, as they won’t be spending much time in their rooms. However, they may be well worth it for families intending to spend more time at the Yacht Club Resort than implied by this site’s itineraries.

TikimanPages.com has a great discussion of the value of concierge rooms here. Though focused on the Polynesian, it applies to any deluxe resort.

Most Yacht Club concierge rooms (Disney calls them “club” rooms) are the same size as the rest of the resort’s rooms.  However, there’s also an option called a “Deluxe” rooms, and several types of two-bedroom suites.

Disney's Yacht Club Deluxe Room

Deluxe rooms don’t offer any more sleeping capacity–they just give you more space, and more separate spaces, for your family to live in. Deluxe rooms (which used to be called junior suites) are about 60% larger than standard rooms, and include two queens and a semi-private sitting area.

Disney's Yacht Club Turret Suite

The two-bedroom Turret Suites have an unusual shape and layout–with one of the bedrooms connecting the other spaces.

Disney's Yacht Club Captain's Deck Suite

There’s also two-bedroom Presidential and Admiral suites, each with ~2000 square feet and the two-bedroom Captain’s Deck Suite, with ~2400 square feet.

For more on suites, see this, and for more on larger families seeking deluxe options, see this.

Note that to all the capacity figures above you can add a child under three in a crib. A crib fits nicely between the dresser/TV and the closet.

PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S YACHT CLUB RESORT

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April 18, 2017   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Refurbed Standard Room at the Disney World Dolphin

For the first page of this review of the Disney World Swan and Dolphin, see this.

REFURBED STANDARD ROOMS AT THE DISNEY WORLD DOLPHIN

Rooms at the Dolphin are being refurbed, and this photo tour is of a refurbed room. The main elements of the refurb are a simplified bath, new dresser and table, and different fabrics and finishes. Refurbed rooms have kept the full beds and single sink that make Dolphin rooms less family-friendly.

For a photo tour of an un-refurbed Dolphin room, see this.

The room layout is traditional with a bath on one side of the entry and a closet on the other.

The closet is large but not as engineered for capacity as are those in Swan rooms.

Next to the closet is a small station with a coffee service on top and a shelf below. The mini-fridge that used to be here has shifted into the main room.

The divided bath has a single sink in an outer space…

…with some amenities in shelving between the studs.

Sink Disney World Dolphin from yourfirstvisit.net

This layout adds simplicity and space to what used to be an angled sink and vanity area.

Beyond the sink area you’ll find in their own space a toilet and tub/shower combo.

Deeper in the room the bed side offers two full beds. Note the easy chair beyond them.

Here’s the beds from the back.

Between them is a small bedside table.

The other side of the room has a dresser, TV, and a table and chair.

This side of the room from the back. The table can serve as either a dining or games table, or a desk.

The dresser has four medium-sized drawers.

At one side of the dresser you’ll find this mini-fridge

Dolphin rooms have a variety of views, and most don’t have balconies.

Our room did have a balcony, and from it I could see glimpses of the Hollywood Studios Star Wars fireworks!

AMENITIES AT THE DISNEY WORLD SWAN AND DOLPHIN

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April 11, 2017   No Comments

Review: Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

RIVERS OF LIGHT AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM

Rivers of Light is the new, much anticipated evening show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It opened in mid-February 2017, and I had the chance to see it in early March.

Combining floats, boats, colors, water, lasers, fire, music and song, Rivers of Light is not as dramatic as the evening shows at the other three parks, but much lovelier, and I consider it a must see.

It is currently showing four times a week—Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On April 8, it shifts to being on every night–at least through the summer–and some evenings will have multiple shows.

Start times vary depending on the time of sunset. Over the next few months and the summer they range from 7.15 to 9.15p. The second show, when available, begins 75 minutes later. A delightful pre-show begins 15 minutes before show start.

It occurs in a lagoon between Expedition Everest and Dinoland.

While there are a few small areas from which you can get off-center views elsewhere in the lagoon, the best views and all seats are in a dedicated amphitheater that Disney has built along the shore here.

The amphitheater seats about 5,000 of the 30,000 people in Animal Kingdom on an average day—a number that will likely go up quite a bit this summer after Pandora: World of Avatar opens.

Half of the amphitheater (on the Expedition Everest side) is dedicated to FastPass+…

And a fair proportion of what’s left goes to those who have booked special Rivers of Light dining packages at Tusker House or Tiffins.

As a result, even on nights with two shows, fewer than 5,000 people will be able to see Rivers of Light via the stand-by line. So FastPass+ or the special Rivers of Light dining package (which guarantees you nice seats on the Dinoland side) will be by far the best choice for most.

Those on a one-day visit to Animal Kingdom—especially after Pandora opens in late May 2017—will be best served by buying the dining package.

This is because you can’t add FastPass+ until after you used all the ones you pre-booked, and you will use your FastPass+ for Rivers of Light so late that little or nothing will be available after it ends.

Those with two days in Animal Kingdom should get a FastPass+ for Rivers of Light.

My co-author Josh has more info on the dining packages for Rivers of Light—plus much better pictures of the show—on his site easyWDW.com here.

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March 9, 2017   No Comments

Disney After Hours for 2017

Disney After Hours 2017 from yourfirstvisit.netDisney After Hours, an expensive way to see a bunch of Magic Kingdom rides with hardly any waits, has returned for 2017.

Not something I’d recommend for first-timers, this event is well worth it for returning visitors who can afford it and can stay up through it.

It’s currently on the calendar for most (but not all) Thursday nights into early March—specifically, February 2, 9, and 16, and March 2 and 9.

It “begins” at park close–the February dates are 8-11p, and the March dates 9p-12MN–but ticket holders can officially enter at 7p, and unofficially, I believe, can enter at 4p.

Prices for most people are $119 per adult or child. There’s also a deal of $89 per Annual Passholder/Disney Vacation Member adult or child (plus tax for both). The general price of $119 is about 20% less than last year’s price.

The number of tickets sold is quite limited. As a result, you can enjoy a number of Disney World rides with almost no wait.

It’s hard to communicate just how empty Magic Kingdom is.

I attended the party Friday January 27th and here’s a shot of the area between Peter Pan and the Carrousel during the afternoon that day:

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And later during the event:

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The boarding area for it’s a small world during the event:

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The boarding area for Splash Mountain during the event:

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The TTC parking lot about half an hour before event end:

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If you know the Magic Kingdom well and are willing to move quickly, you can see quite a bit during the period from when you are let in to event end.

My test of the event last April is here, when basically I saw almost every headliner at Magic Kingdom, plus more.

In my 2017 test of this event Friday January 27, I tried to act less like a power user and more like what I thought the “typical family” might act like—specifically by starting in Fantasyland and going from there to Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland.

(Note that I don’t actually recommend this approach. You’ll see lower crowds if you start with Adventureland and end your night in Fantasyland. See below.)

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Moreover, I intentionally arrived just before the event’s official beginning, as would those who aren’t aware that they can enter the park before the event, and knocked off after about two hours, figuring that I was about 50% more productive than the typical family, who would spend some time bickering outside the restrooms and eating ice cream (you get free ice cream, popcorn, and water and soft drinks at the event).

Here’s my results (times are when I got to the ride):

  • Barnstormer 9p
  • Dumbo 9.05
  • Mad Tea Party 9.14
  • Winnie the Pooh 9.19
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 9.25
  • Under the Sea–Journey of the Little Mermaid 9.32
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel 9.44
  • it’s a small world 9.53
  • Peter Pan 10.08
  • Haunted Mansion 10.18
  • Big Thunder Mountain 10.40
  • Splash Mountain 10.50
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 11.10p

Note that if you could have matched my pace, you would still have had time to ride Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, and perhaps, Seven Dwarfs again.

DSC03487

If you want to see a lot of Magic Kingdom rides with low or no waits, it is well worth it. The challenge is fitting it into your already existing plans and budget.

Like most things at Disney World, a successful visit to the event comes from careful planning.

The best strategy is to

  • Do what Josh and I call in our book “Anytime Rides” (that is, rides that typically have low waits all day long) until near the time of the event
  • Do “First or Last Hour Rides” (that is, rides that typically have low waits at the beginning and end of the day, but high waits in between) just before the event, and
  • Do rides that are typically high-wait during the event itself.

Moreover, during the event, target the west side of the park first, then Tomorrowland, then Fantasyland.

Do it this way for a couple of reasons

  • Most people’s first targets will be Tomorrowland or Fantasyland, so you’ll see lower crowds by starting in Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square
  • The only ride where other people are essential is the Jungle Cruise, giving another reason to put Adventureland early
  • Small children at the event will be sinking as the night grows later, so put Fantasyland last

Depending on how you value your time and money and design your visit, doing the After Hours event will either save a hotel night and day of eating (if you are at a deluxe, that itself will pay the extra cost of full price tickets), give you an extra day at another park, or give you an extra day off.

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Taking full advantage of the minuscule waits requires the ability to stay up somewhat late, a good plan, sound knowledge of Magic Kingdom, and brisk movement.

For these reasons I can’t recommend it to first timers.

But the After Hours event can be a very good idea for returning visitors who know the Magic Kingdom well and want to grab an extra day out of their trip.

A NOTE FOR THE ENRAGED

The Disney World fan community, in general, gets enraged by only two things:

  • Things Disney does
  • Things Disney doesn’t do

The After Hours Event, after it was announced last year, enraged many people. Almost all the reasoning behind the enragement was speculation that something, somehow was being taken away from regular park guests and given instead to the rat-finks who could afford the quite expensive tickets for the After Hours Event.

In 2016 this reasoning was comically inept, as nothing in fact was taken away from regular guests.

There’s a bit more to the rage for the 2017 event, however.

Over the relevant weeks in January-March 2017, the Magic Kingdom in fact closed/is closing on average an hour and 17 minutes earlier on event nights than it did on the equivalent nights in 2016 (yes, I’ve corrected this for the changing dates of Presidents Day).

A third of this reduction in operating hours available to the general public (three of the nine fewer hours) is on one night, the Thursday before Presidents Day, when Magic Kingdom was open until 11p in 2016 and is open only til 8p in 2017. Three more of the “lost” hours have already passed—one on January 20th and two on January 27th. The next biggest impact is March 9, open til 11p in 2016 and 9p in 2017.

That said, it seems worth noting that on non-event nights in February 2017 (March 2017 does not yet have a firm calendar), the Magic Kingdom is open, on average, 58 minutes fewer than the same days in 2016…so it’s not only the event nights that are seeing shorter hours…

 

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January 31, 2017   24 Comments

Review: The Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Epcot’s International Festival of The Arts is a new-for-2017 event happening in Epcot’s World Showcase Fridays through Mondays until February 20, 2017.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts from yourfirstvisit.netThe Festival kicked off on January 13, and I had a chance to see it this past weekend.

The Festival combines

  • Great, albeit pricey, dining
  • Dozens of kiosks with art to view and buy
  • Interactive opportunities to paint, be photographed into great art, and play with silly living statues
  • Seminars and other sessions
  • Music–some casual, some distinctive presentations from the Disney on Broadway team

Disney calls it a mix of “visual, culinary and performing arts inspired by cultures from all around the world…a global masterpiece.”

That’s a stretch, but with better food than past Food and Wine festivals, and better visual appeal than past Flower and Garden festivals, it is, by far, my favorite among all the Epcot festivals I’ve attended, and I highly recommend it for returning visitors.

First-timers will enjoy it as well, but will find that it adds crowds to Epcot’s World Showcase on the days it is open.

EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS DINING

Dining opportunities are particularly concentrated at the entrance to the World Showcase, but are also found in the Odyssey Festival Showplace (between Test Track and Mexico—the Showplace is the centerpiece of the Festival) and scattered through the rest of World Showcase.

The Festival of the Arts offers the best dining ever seen at an Epcot Festival. Waits are long as much food is prepared while you wait, and prices are also high. The value for money is also very high, and with many $7+ items available for a snack credit, the festival provides the single best argument in years for you to buy the Disney Dining Plan.

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I had a chance to try the Charcuterie Palette from the Masterpiece Kitchen…

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…the Savory Doughnuts and darling Mary Blair Chocolate from The Painter’s Palate…

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…and half of co-author Josh’s deconstructed BLT from E=AT^2 (that’s not, I think, a typo). Because nothing says deconstructed BLT better than a poached egg…

Detailed reviews of the dining options are on Josh’s site easyWDW.com:

EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS SHOWS AND GALLERIES

Art, fittingly, is everywhere at the Festival of the Arts.

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Begin in the Odyssey Festival Showplace, which includes brief exhibitions of the work of Herbert Ryman and Mary Blair.

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The Ryman work is stunning. For more on Ryman, see this.

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The Blair material is focused on her early South American work.

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While mildly fun and historically very important in the life of the Walt Disney Company–and suiting the Festival’s international theme–it is much less interesting than her later work, which you can find here  or, even better, here  .

All over World Showcase are tented kiosks offering mostly Disney-related art to browse through and buy:

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EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS INTERACTIVE OPPORTUNITIES

There’s lots of opportunities for simple play.

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In front of the Future World stage you can find living statues that will mess with you and your kids (check the Times Guide for showings)…

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There’s an opportunity to play with a paint-by numbers canvas on the way to Canada…

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Scattered through World Showcase are opportunities for you to join famous works…

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These folks in France are from the “toxic employee” list.

There’s also some Figment thingy that I paid no attention to, but is a bit of a variant on the Kidcot concept—buy a map and stickers, find Figment-themed picture frames and Figment within them, add the appropriate sticker to the map, and turn the map in for a prize.

EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS SEMINARS AND SESSIONS

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Formal seminars happen at the Odyssey Festival Center at 1.30p and 4.30, and less formal sessions happen there during the day–check your Times Guide.

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Over in Innoventions East you’ll find The Animation Academy, an animation drawing class, where you learn to draw a Disney character under the tutelage of a real animator.

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Some have reported that all will end up with a great drawing, but irl your results will vary.

Winnie the Pooh

My Winnie the Pooh is above…

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…and above is Josh’s Winnie the Pooh. No, he was not trying to add Darth Vader elements; this was just the best he could do.

EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS MUSIC

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Music at the Festival includes both performances at the Future World stage (see your Times Guide for show times)…

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…and a more interesting set of brief Broadway concerts in the evenings at the American Gardens Theater, at 5.30, 6.45 and 8p.

Presented by the Disney on Broadway team, the concerts showcase songs from Disney Broadway productions sung by Broadway stars.

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I saw Kerry Butler (who was Belle in Beauty and the Beast) and Kevin Massey (Tarzan) singing songs from Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, and The Little Mermaid.

These two will be returning next weekend, and then the rest of the February dates will see Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White doing songs from The Lion King, Aida, Aladdin, and the Little Mermaid.

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Passholders and DVC owners can get priority seating, which you are supposed to do ahead of time, but we had no trouble grabbing day of. Your mileage may vary.

The area to do so and/or pick up your reserved badges is in Innoventions East.

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Those with priority badges line up on the Japan side of the pavilion. There’s a stand-by line as well, on the Germany side.

As you can probably tell, I love this Festival…and hope it returns next year!

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January 30, 2017   No Comments