There is a festival for every season at Epcot. And we love it! I know there are critics out there but we really enjoy most of the festivals. It can get a little crowded but they offer the opportunity to explore the park in a different way. Here is a look at a year of festivals at Epcot, what you can expect, which are our favorites, and why we love them.
Festival of the Arts
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is the shortest but so worth the visit. We went for the first time this year and had so much fun. It doesn’t quite top the list yet but it has potential. The Festival of the Arts is ending soon but it is never too early to start planning for next year! Here’s some of our favorite parts of the festival.
Every Epcot festival has a passport you pick up at the entrance and a few other spots throughout the park. Inside the passport for the Festival of the Arts you’ll find the Art Walk. In each World Showcase Pavilion you’ll find a spot to add some art to your passport with a rubbing. The passport gives you hints on where to find them. It added a little something extra and really encourages you to explore the pavilions and the exhibits that are there year round. Plus it’s free!
Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt
Another fun way to explore the World Showcase pavilions is Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt. This one costs $8.99 but at the end of your scavenger hunt you get your map stamped and you pick out a pin. I think it was well worth the money. We had a lot of fun tracking down the paintings and taking photos.
We LOVED the Animation Academy when it was at Hollywood Studios. If you miss it or never had the chance to experience it, make sure to stop by the Festival Center. It lasts around 20 minutes and you’ll learn to draw a Disney character. It’s also free and it makes a fun souvenir.
Hands-On Wall Mural
Another free activity! Each week there is a new mural that guests get to bring to life. It is basically a giant paint by numbers. You are assigned a number and a color. Once you find a spot you paint 5 squares.
They ask if you are tall to pick a spot near the top to leave more room at the bottom for kids and those of us in wheelchairs. It was a lot of fun and you get a postcard that shows what the finished product will look like when you are done.
Once the murals are completed, you can find them in Epcot. The Figment one found a home on the construction wall near the Universe of Energy.
Fun Photo Ops
Throughout the World Showcase you will find some really fun Photopass spots where you get to be a part of the art. If you aren’t familiar with the pieces there are photos available if you want to pose like the painting. Or you can just have fun and freestyle it. 🙂
Overall we think the Festival of the Arts is a great addition to Epcot. So many of the activities don’t cost any extra. And there is something for everyone to enjoy. For a more detailed guide head over to Disney Tourist Blog.
Flower & Garden Festival
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is our second favorite. The park is absolutely beautiful with flowers and topiaries everywhere. It’s a fun time to visit and we try to go every year. This year’s festival will run from February 28 to May 28 2018. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the festival. These are a few reasons why we love it. (And make sure to check out our Grown-Ups Guide to the festival.)
The 2018 Flower & Garden will feature 15 outdoor kitchens. The food during the festival has always been our favorite (it beats the Food & Wine Festival in my opinion) but we’re on a plant based diet these days. It looks like there might be a few vegan options but I’m guessing we’ll need to find another reason to love the festival. I don’t think that will be hard but we still get to have most of the drinks! If you want to see what we loved last year (there are a few items that will be back) check out this post about the best eats and drinks at the Flower & Garden Festival. You can also find the menus here.
The horticulturists at Disney outdo themselves every year. The topiaries are absolutely gorgeous. We love just strolling through the park to find them and take photos. No attractions necessary! You can see photos from last year in our topiary display post and find out what to expect this year. We’ll be back again this year so expect an update in March.
Food & Wine Festival
Here is where we tend to disagree with most people. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is not really a favorite. In fact if we miss it I don’t mind. It can get super crowed and there are just so many Global Marketplaces it can get overwhelming. So the plant based diet probably comes in handy for the last one. 🙂 But there is at least one thing we really enjoy.
These low cost seminars are worth the money in our opinion. We’ve attended several and even when they aren’t great they are good. We did a tequila tasting one year where they kept wanting us to yell boo yah! and I don’t think we learned anything. But the craziness made it fun and we still talk about it today. Our favorite by far introduced us to Pavan. The drinks were delicious and we did actually learn a thing or two. We also recommend going to the Moet & Chandon seminar if it is available.
I don’t think you can make a bad choice. The 2018 options are not available yet but you can see what was offered last year at Disney Food Blog. The Beverage Seminars are usually under $20 a person and registration opens up over the summer.
Festival of the Holidays
Festival of the Holidays (formally Holidays Around the World) is our favorite festival at Epcot. Like the Flower & Garden Festival, it has Holiday Kitchens but the food isn’t the centerpiece of the festival. It’s the storytellers. Each pavilion in the World Showcase features a storyteller that represents the holiday traditions of that country. Some will seem familiar, like Germany and and the United Kingdom, and some probably highlight traditions you have never heard of before.
We typically pick one day and do nothing but visit the storytellers. If you get a times guide you can make a game plan for the day since each one has a different schedule. You’ll have to hop between countries quite a bit but it’s worth it. It’s also fun to grab a snack and drink from the Holiday Marketplaces while you are there.
If you can’t make time for everyone we recommend you make time for Italy, China, Germany, and Norway. The United Kingdom and France are great too but I would just pick one if you are pressed for time.
Are you planning on visiting any of Epcot’s festivals this year? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!