A new festival is coming to Epcot next month called the International Festival of the Arts, one that combines visual, culinary and performing arts.
The festival falls between Christmas and spring break, when crowds are typically light. Epcot has historically seen spikes in park attendance driven by festivals, especially its popular Food & Wine Festival in the fall.
Running weekends from Jan. 13 through Feb. 20, the arts festival will have work on display from both historical and current Disney artists with live art creation on site. There will be Broadway talent from Disney musicals such as The Lion King and Newsies. And in a nod to the chefs who put Epcot on the foodie map, there will be Food Studios (kiosks around the park), offering "creations that look almost too good to eat."
Attendance has declined in two of the past three quarters at Walt Disney World, but the theme park giant still managed to increase revenues by getting visitors to spend more when they visit. Spending rose in the parks because of higher ticket prices, as well as more money spent on food and drinks and special experiences like workshops or character meals.
Epcot has been extending the length of the Food & Wine Festival every year and now the International Festival of the Arts will keep its hold on foodies by emphasizing culinary arts along with painters and singers.
Disney on Tuesday announced a slate of interactive workshops for the new festival including a gesture drawing class, watercolor painting, calligraphy and floral arrangements. The workshops are $39 each Friday-Monday of the festival. You can also book a meal and get priority seating for the Broadway-inspired concerts. Prices range from $39-$69 for adults, $23-$41 for children.
You will be able to see the work of Disney historical artists like Mary Blair and Herb Ryman as well as current Disney artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos. There also will be live demonstrations from local artists during this event.
New art will be unveiled each weekend of the festival, which like Epcot's other seasonal festivals, is included with park admission.
The Broadway talent recently announced include:
Jan. 13-16 and 20-23: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland. They will perform songs from Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Mary Poppins and The Little Mermaid. Strickland originated the role of Tarzan in the Broadway production in 2006.
Jan. 27-30 and Feb. 3-6: Kerry Butler and Kevin Massey (Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Newsies and Aladdin).
Feb. 10-13 and 17-20: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King, Aida, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid).
Epcot admission is $97-$114; $91-$108 ages 3-9 (price based by season). 1515 N Buena Vista Drive, Orlando.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.