Top 6 Interactions at International Festival of the Arts

Walt Disney World Tickets , Epcot , Orlando , Seasonal Events , Expert View Column
Top 6 Interactions at International Festival of the Arts
By ATD’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
Epcot is quickly shedding its title as “the educational park” in favour of a new title: Festival Central. With the addition of the International Festival of the Arts this year an Epcot day represents even more value for money, and there are six special interactions you won’t want to miss!

As of 2017, there are only two months during which Epcot does not have a festival (we’re looking at you, June and July), and while the Flower and Garden Festival (March-May) and Food and Wine Festival (August-November) are long-time favourites, the brand-new International Festival of the Arts (January-February) has proven itself a worthy contender, not only for the chance to purchase original works, but for the interactive elements that allow guests to be part of the creative process.

 

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Here are 6 interactive experiences you must not miss:

Paint! Think you can’t create a masterpiece? Think again! There are two massive murals being created in the park, one of them by “show finishers” from Disney’s Scenic Shop. It’s 7 feet high, 110 feet long, and although it would normally take a week to complete, the artists will stretch it out to cover the full festival, which means they have plenty of time to chat with guests.

 

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But your chance to be the artist can be found at the entry to the rose garden, behind Club Cool, where guests are given a (free!) pot of paint and a brush, and let loose on a colour-coded canvas to fill in the squares with their chosen hue. When the festival ends the picture all those squares create will have revealed itself. (Is drawing more your thing? Head to Innoventions and try your hand at drawing a Disney character.)

 

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Performance Art! This is your chance to get truly creative. There are four opportunities to be part of a masterpiece, starting with “painting” a Festival backdrop, then on to three classic works of art, where guests are invited to literally step into the painting. Photographers encourage guests to ham it up as The Scream, Mona Lisa, with Washington Crossing the Delaware, and Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party.

 

 

Festival of the Arts

 

Find Figment! Art might be boring if you’re under the age of 8, but Epcot isn’t about to leave out its youngest guests. For $6.99, kids can participate in the Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt, looking for the little purple dragon with a big Imagination, hidden in framed paintings. Each World Showcase country has one, and if budding art aficionados find them all they’ll win a special prize.

 

Festival of the Arts

 

Make A New Friend! Street entertainment is nothing new, but this is Disney, so you know it’s going to be kicked up several notches. Harkening back to Epcot’s early years, the Living Statues have returned, this time in the form of three “metal” statues guests can pose with. But watch out…you never know when they’re going to move!

 

Festival of the Arts

 

Bring It Home! Odyssey Festival Center offers interactive workshops and seminars as varied as Valentine Card Making to The Art of Disney Topiary. Learn how to carve a watermelon, make soap, photograph fireworks, or just make the food you present your friends and family look great on the plate.

You’ll also find three small art galleries here, including the work of Disney Legends Mary Blair and Herb Ryman, and some yummy treats to help keep your stamina up for a full day of artistic immersion.

 

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Talk to an Artist! One of the best interactions at Festival of the Arts has to be the chance to talk to genuine Disney-approved artists, and we were fortunate to spend some time speaking with Disney’s top-selling artist, Rodel Gonzalez, who told us, “I am local now for about a year, but I am originally from the Philippines and I moved here from Los Angeles. This is my first festival at Epcot, but I have done shows at Disney before, notably at the Wyland Gallery at The Boardwalk, as well as shows in St Augustine and Key West. I am fortunate to have a licence for Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars, plus I also do my own art.

How did he get chosen for the Festival? “Disney asked me, through the Wyland Gallery, if I wanted to be a part of it. The Collectors Editions are the sole publisher for Disney fine art, and I was fortunate enough to be one of their top-selling artists.”

How does he decide on a painting? “I first select a movie, and the characters I want to do from it, as well as the scenes I want. It has to be consistent with the movie’s storyline. As long as it is consistent, Disney’s Commercial Products department are very sympathetic. What I like to do with my art is paint it as if you have your own camera when the movie was shooting. I like to think, ‘What if I was underneath that bridge when the Seven Dwarfs crossed, and what would it look like?’ It is almost like having deleted scenes from that movie. Some characters are really limited to their habitat, like Winnie The Pooh. He has to be in 100 Acre Wood; you can’t put him in Japan, for example. But Mickey and Minnie can be just about anywhere. You still have to represent them in the right way, but as long as you follow the guidelines, it is fine.”

 

Festival of the Arts

 

Rodel was working on a painting as we spoke, and we asked if he could reveal what it would be. “With this current work I am thinking about putting Bambi in there, but I have to finish the background and then see where I can place the characters. Sometimes I watch the movie again to get it clear in my mind, and some scenes I Google. Most of the time I tend to wind the movie forward to specific spots, and then I can add my own spin to certain scenes that people cherish. This is the most rewarding part of the creative process, going from a blank canvas to what I envision in my mind, and that’s where the joy of the artist comes through for me, where I get my satisfaction from. Once I have completed it, it is now a chance for someone else to enjoy it. There are some pieces I don’t want to let go, that are really special to me, but usually I am happy once the piece is finished, and I can let it go.”

 

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If you missed the inaugural festival, don’t worry; with the positive response it has received it will certainly be an annual affair, and one we will look forward to each year. Mark those calendars for 2018, and we hope to see you there!

January and February are great months to visit Walt Disney World - not only will you get to experience this amazing festival, you'll also enjoy a quieter park and mild weather! To book tickets for this year or next, click here.

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