1. Life & Culture

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.

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.