By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Review: The Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2018

By Dave Shute

Epcot’s International Festival of The Arts arrived in 2017 and returned for 2018. The 2018 Festival of the Arts is largely unchanged, except that most of its offerings (with the notable exception of the Broadway singers) happen all week long, rather than the Fridays through Mondays of 2017.

It began 1/12/18 and runs through 2/19/2018. I had the chance to see it last week, and here’s my report.

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, 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, especially on weekends


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 of any Epcot Festival. Waits can be 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.

In 2018 I had a chance to try the Charcuterie Palette from the Masterpiece Kitchen…

…the Roast Pork Roulade from the Artist’s Table…

…and the deconstructed Reuben from Deconstructed Dish. All were terrific, and detailed reviews and more specific recommendations of the best  dining of the Festival are on co-author Josh’s site


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

In the Odyssey Festival Showplace, you’ll find Disney attraction posters from theme parks around the world.  This is a let-down from last year’s exhibitions of the work of Herbert Ryman and Mary Blair, but those two set a very high standard…

Some of the posters.

More of them.

The posters are on both sides. One side has a little shop with books…

…and the other side has a little shop with festival merchandise.

I needed a hat…

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





There’s lots of opportunities for simple play.


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)…

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

…and scattered through World Showcase are opportunities for you to join famous works.

More of these.


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.



Also in the Odyssey Festival Center is The Animation Academy, an animation drawing class, where you learn to draw a Disney character under the tutelage of a real animator.

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 from last year is above…



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


…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.


I saw in 2017 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.

The schedule for the rest of the Festival:

  • February 2 to 5: Performers Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White doing songs from Tarzan, The Lion King, Aida, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid
  • February 9 to 12: Performers Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland doing songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies and Frozen
  • February 16 to 19: Performers Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland doing songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies and Frozen

Passholders and DVC owners can get priority seating, which you are supposed to do ahead of time. Pick up wristbands at the American Adventure.


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!

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1 Jennifer { 01.31.18 at 10:30 am }

CAN’T. WAIT. Although I assume it’s going to be an absolute zoo on Feb 17?

2 Dave { 02.01.18 at 12:26 pm }

Zoo zoo zoo.

3 Kelly B - Destinations in Florida { 02.01.18 at 9:47 am }

Sad they aren’t showing the Broadway music on a day we’ll be there, but I’m excited to take in the Festival next week!!

4 Jennifer { 02.04.18 at 3:47 pm }

Oh, well, it is what it is… Gosh, if only there was a place on the internet I could go for advice. Or maybe a guidebook written by two really knowledgeable individuals… If only…



5 Dave { 02.05.18 at 8:49 am }


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