Get Artsy at EPCOT!

Walt Disney World Tickets , Epcot , Orlando , Expert View Column , Seasonal Events
Spaceship Earth lit up in rainbow colours behind a sign reading Festival of the Arts
By’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
Disney’s big Arts Festival is back, with even more to enjoy in 2024

Everyone likes a festival, right? And we especially love a festival when it takes over EPCOT for a few months. Not only do we get an extra reason for visiting, but that whole post-New Year gloom is wiped away in an instant.

Yes, it is the earliest start to the year for any Disney festival, but it makes perfect sense. Walt Disney World Resort guests have pretty much given EPCOT’s fiesta touches their seal of approval with ever greater visitor numbers, and we are not about to argue with them.

In fact, with the New Year ushering in some pretty unseasonal weather in Florida (it’s been wet and stormy for much of the past week), we’re delighted to see a quick antidote to the Sunshine State Blues.

It is certainly true that the advent of a festival of park-wide proportions is a major shot in the arm, and even the locals are keen to come back to the park, especially as the big crowds of the Christmas and New Year period are rapidly disappearing.


A shop filled with art for sale and colourful Disney-themed merchandise


It is also a fact that the International Festival of the Arts – to give it its proper title – was introduced in order to jazz up EPCOT’s profile during the January-February lull, and it has succeeded to great effect.

This year, the eighth annual presentation of this artsy extravaganza is kicking off its six-week programme with more of what it does best – live arts shows in the visual, performing and culinary arts.

And, just because it has only been around since 2017 doesn’t mean it lacks the allure and pizazz of its older brethren. We would go as far as to say this celebration of different kinds of artistry has quickly become an EPCOT mainstay, and a terrific reason to visit the park at this time of year.

For 39 straight days, from January 12 to February 19, Walt Disney World Resort’s second park offers a chance to revel in things like Broadway concerts, special food features, incredible displays of acrobatics and agility, and creative artists at work.

Here’s how it lines up in 2024:


Art in Performance

Stop by the festival kiosks throughout World Showcase to watch artists in action and find the perfect piece of art to hang in your home. Browse through a variety of collections by 10 featured artists, including Festival regulars such as John Nadeau and Shane Grammer. You will find pieces that feature vibrant designs, unique takes on popular Disney scenes and characters, plus much more. You may even discover your new favourite artist! 


A family watching a man paint a stylised picture Mickey Mouse on a canvas sat on an easel


Live music is also now a part of the Festival, and featured musicians this year include Nicholas Marks on guitar, Victor Espinola on harp, Don Black on saxophone and Dominic Gaudious on digeridoo, who can all be found periodically on the special performance stage in the Showcase Plaza area (right in front of the main lagoon).


Art Defying Gravity 

Head straight to the Showcase Plaza stage for daily demonstrations of the performing arts. Gymnasts, acrobats and body-builders are front and centre for a series of eye-popping displays featuring grace, agility and strength that are straight out of the Cirque du Soleil handbook (and, if you haven’t seen the Cirque show Drawn to Life at Disney Springs, you are definitely missing one of the best stage performances in Florida).


Art in Cuisine

This is arguably the feature that grabs most people’s attention – and tastebuds. Get ready for 16 ‘Food Studios’ scattered around the park, from deconstructed delights to gourmet stations, all with an avant-garde touch in both food and beverages. There are a further four regular food outlets that offer special dishes for the occasion, including some delightful chilled beverages at Joffrey’s Tea & Coffee Company. 


Someone wearing a purple tie-dye jumper holding a plate of colourful desserts


Notable new dishes for 2024 are the Grilled Pork Belly at The Craftsman’s Courtyard and Neapolitan Dessert Trio from Deco Delights, while some of our returning favourites include the Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib and Deconstructed Key Lime Pie.


Disney on Broadway

Of course, one of the true headline events is this genuine concert series at the America Gardens Theatre in the American Adventure pavilion. Performing three times each evening (at 5:30, 6:45 and 8pm), these superb 35-minute concerts feature genuine Broadway artists from hit shows such as The Lion King, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. It offers the kind of performance quality you are unlikely to witness outside Broadway and the West End and is hugely popular, hence you need to arrive early (and probably join a fairly lengthy queue) in order to get a good seat.

Other essential annual elements include the family-friendly Expression Section, a huge paint-by-numbers mural guests are invited to take part in; Animation Academy, with the chance to learn to draw various Disney characters with an animation artist at the America Gardens Theatre each day at 12:30 and 1:30pm; and the eight Artful Photo Ops, where you can step into a scene from a well-known painting, such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and a forest scene from Sleeping Beauty.


A woman and young boy posing inside a large picture frame in front of a background designed to look like they are in a painting


For children, there is also the World Showcase-wide scavenger hunt, Figment’s Brush with the Masters, where a series of Figment-themed photo frames are hidden around the main lagoon (there is a charge of $9.99 for this, for the essential map and stickers). 


As we like to say every year, we remain big fans of this particular Festival as it encourages the ethos EPCOT was originally built to showcase – an appreciation of the world around us and its incredibly creative side.

So, if you’re here in the coming few weeks, take a tip from us and plan a day at EPCOT just to enjoy the Arts. Yes, there are great rides and attractions that all vie eagerly for your attention, but there is real merit to just enjoying all this prime live entertainment.

Oh, and don’t worry if you miss this particular Festival. In EPCOT, they are now like London buses – there will be another two or three very soon. The International Flower & Garden Festival starts on February 28, closely followed by the Food & Wine Festival in July!


What is YOUR favourite EPCOT Festival? Tell us about it on the friendly Community Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram.

Walt Disney World Tickets , Epcot , Orlando , Expert View Column , Seasonal Events