1. Arts & Entertainment

Epcot International Festival of the Arts is a salute to all art forms

The 39-day celebration of art, entertainment and food kicked off Jan. 17.
The food is art at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, including this cookie that looks like a painter's palette. [Walt Disney World]
The food is art at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, including this cookie that looks like a painter's palette. [Walt Disney World]
Published Jan. 23

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The fourth annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts kicked off earlier this month, bringing a mashup of all “art” forms, from food to paintings and performance.

Visual art can be found throughout the park. Artists from Disney Fine Art, the official studio of Walt Disney World, dance around and twirl as they create Disney characters in live speed-painting performances. Guests become art when they insert themselves into photo backdrops of famous paintings. Interactive spin art is also available. Guests pedal a bicycle that spins a canvas while family and friends flick paint at the moving target.

Guests at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts paint numbered squares throughout the day. [Walt Disney World]

This year, Epcot’s many construction projects worked in the festival’s favor. Barrier walls have been painted black and decorated with butterfly wings for colorful photo backdrops and used as easels for a giant paint-by-number project. Each day, clean paint-by-number grids are hung on the walls. Guests are given a numbered container of paint and a brush and instructed to paint five squares that correspond with their paint number. The project is located near the park entrance, so take a photo of the finished Figment-themed mural you’ve contributed to as you exit the park.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts' "sushi doughnut" is found in the Japan pavilion. [Walt Disney World]

Culinary art is also highlighted. Food kiosks throughout the park offer creative dishes, including a rainbow-colored “sushi doughnut” and jumbo paint palette cookies. Guests are encouraged to watch chefs create the artistically designed fare in front of their eyes. Dishes turn into art as condiments and sides are used to represent splattered paint, brushes or color wheels.

In addition, there’s entertainment of many varieties. World Showcase Plaza stage hosts musicians, speed painting and performing art. Epcot branched out this time around with Art Defying Gravity, a Cirque-style performance that incorporates hand balancing and graceful dance.

Guests at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts can insert themselves into famous works of art as a photo backdrop. [Walt Disney World]

Again this year, American Gardens Theater hosts the Disney on Broadway Concert Series. Lead singers from Disney’s Broadway shows combine efforts to present songs from Disney plays they’ve starred in. The featured acts are Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King), Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid), Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins), Kara Lindsay (Newsies), Kevin Massey (Tarzan), Liana Hunt (Beauty and the Beast), Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), Josh Strickland (Tarzan), Michael James Scott (Aladdin) and Syndee Winters (The Lion King).


Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Through Feb. 24. Included with park admission, which starts at $109. 200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista.


  1. This 2007 image released by G.P. Putnam's Sons shows author Clive Cussler riding in a classic car. Cussler died on Monday at his home in Scottsdale, AZ. He was 88. [UNKNOWN  |  Ronnie Bramhall/G.P. Putnam's Sons via AP]
  2. Lamb and lentil ragu [LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI  |  Special to the Times]
  3. Mojo pork with yellow rice, black beans and fried plantains is on the menu at Luv Child. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  4. Jewelry by Navajo artist Artie Yellowhorse, who will be at St. Petersburg's Red Cloud Gallery on Feb. 28 and 29. [Courtesy of Red Cloud Gallery]
  5. Paella and other seafood offerings will be offered at the SunWest Crab and Shrimp Festival this weekend in Hudson. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times (2018)]
  6. The Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival will return to Tampa on Feb. 29, running weekends through April 26. [Courtesy of Busch Gardens]
  7. Meaghan Farrell Scalise's "Head First II" was chosen as the featured image for the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, which will return to Tampa this weekend. [Courtesy of Gasparilla Festival of the Arts]
  8. "Emma" stars Anya Taylor-Joy, right, and Mia Goth. [Courtesy of Box Hill Films]
  9. Chad Mize creates doodle art on a car at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in Tampa in 2019. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  10. Erica Dawson is one of the featured authors at the Tampa Bay Publishing Conference, which will kick off in Largo on Feb. 27. [Courtesy of Kevin Kelii]
  11. EggFest competitors will cook on demo Big Green Egg grills at Tabellas at Delaney Creek in Tampa on Feb. 29. [Tampa Bay Times (2016)]
  12. Monica Bill Barnes and Company will bring "The Running Show" to Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus on Feb. 28 and 29. [PAULA LOBO  |  HCC Dance]