Most Epcot festivals are packed with locals on the weekends. Events like Food & Wine have grown so big, it takes more than a single day to do all of it. Especially if you're trying to get on all the attractions too. However, Epcot's Festival of the Arts is the best in so many aspects. First of all, the crowds are not overwhelming. Like most Epcot festivals, the weekends do see an influx of locals. But during this time of year, the bump up in crowds is minor. I would just try and avoid Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and Presidents' Day weekend if you can. Just to be safe. Secondly, it is very manageable to experience most of this event in a single day. Of course you can stretch it out into two days to really soak in all the offerings. But if you're itinerary only allows for one day at Epcot and you want to see some stunning art on top of a ride on Soarin' Around the World, don't worry. You can plan a great single day during this festival. It's all about timing.
Most Disney veterans know that you should get a Festival Passport to all the Epcot events. But here at Festival of the Arts, the Times Guide is crucial. This will give you not only the times of standard park offerings and event entertainment, but also provide a listing of all the artists that will appearing for the day at the various art booths around World Showcase. If you already have a favorite Disney artist, it is a good idea to find them on social media or check and see if they have their own website. Most artists will post a schedule of their appearances during the festival and it's a great way to work these timings into your Fastpass+ strategies and dining reservations.
Another big must is to pre-book the paid-for workshops. I was lucky enough to experience the Ink & Paint Workshop at the Festival ShowPlace, which was fantastic. However since seating is limited to about 75 people, these workshops tend to sell out by the time you arrive. A bonus though is that Annual Passholders get a 10% discount on them, along with other perks around the park. But if you are on a budget and hoping to do just the free offerings, at least check out the Animation Academy. This is a free workshop where a Disney artists will walk you through drawing a classic Disney character. But I suggest doing one of the later showings in the day, when there are less crowds.
Most of all, you must take in all the little details. Most of you know that I love to slow down and smell the roses while traveling around Walt Disney World. There are dozens of references to other movies, historical facts and of course hidden mickeys. Here at Festival of the Arts, those hidden details continue with little works of art, painted right onto the buildings inside the pavilions. If you're heading down the little street in the France Pavilion towards the patisserie, look on a wall on the right hand side above the Vin de France entrance. You may catch some cute little Aristocats on display.
Epcot's Festival of the Arts truly is a gem. A breathtaking collection of art work, with the opportunity to meet the artist themselves. Delicious food presented in a way that will make you think you're dining at a gourmet restaurant. But best of all, a great lineup of entertainment; from watching an artist produce a painting in mere minutes to the Disney on Broadway Concert at the American Gardens Theatre. Which is perhaps the best piece of live entertainment in all of Walt Disney World.
Have you been to the festival? What are some of your top tips to best tour the event?