Festival of the Arts has easily grown to become many guests favorite Epcot festival to attend throughout the year. It is easy to love all that the festival celebrates, visual, culinary, and performing arts wise. The festival is in it's fifth year (making it Epcot's newest festival) and this years dates are January 8th through February 22nd, 2021. Most of January and February have lower crowds and the weather is cooler which also makes attending the festival much more pleasant, however, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day still are still likely to be busy.
The artwork at the festival is so much fun. There are many different styles and many very talented artists. You can even find some of the artists available to autograph the pieces you purchase and many locations throughout the park allow you to watch the creative processes happen live. They also have a giant Paint By Number Mural over in Future World where the former Mouse Gear area was that you can take part in. The sessions for the paint-by-number murals are from 11:00am to 5:00pm daily during the entire festival and it is free to participate. For an extra cost you can also participate in an adorable spin art activity where one guest will pedal the bicycle and the other guest will pour the paint into the bucket by the handle bars to create their very own original art piece. We also found our favorite festival merchandise that features Figment the dragon from the "Imagination" pavilion.
Although there are many great food and beverage choices at Festival of the Arts, we can only eat and drink so much, so this blog is all about our own personal choices during our time there. Some of our choices were hits and some were misses, but when your primary job is focused around trying different items, how can you complain? Our first stop was Masterpiece Kitchen in the Canada Pavilion. Here we tried the Wild Mushroom Risotto served with aged parmesan, truffle shavings and zinfandel Reduction. This was an immediate hit. We loved the flavor and this is also a great vegetarian option. The cost for this plate is $9.25. We also opted for the Vanilla, Rose Water, and Pistachio Panna Cotta. The pictures do not do this dish justice, it is a truly splendid presentation and very reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. The rose comes with raspberry filling and a pretty sparkly glitter raspberry sauce that you can dip into the pistachio crumbs on your plate. We also considered this dessert a hit, although Panna Cotta does have an odd gelatin like consistency, so some may not love it. This will cost you $8.00.
Our next stop took us over to the Deconstructed Dish in the Showcase Plaza. Here we tried the Deconstructed BLT which consists of crispy pork belly, a soft-poached egg, brioche, watercress espuma and tomato jam, it costs $7.00. The pork belly was flavorful but we wish we had a bigger piece. The egg was a nice touch and we enjoyed the tomato jam so this was a hit. We also went with the Deconstructed Reuben with rye popover, corned beef, Gryuère panna cotta and brined brussels sprouts with broken thousand island dressing, costing you $6.75. Typically we are not fans of the Reuben sandwich however we actually liked this plate so another hit! Lastly, while we were here we decided to grab the Rainboba which is a non-alcoholic fruit bursting boba with sparkling water beverage. To be completely honest, it was nothing special but we loved the keepsake Figment cup so we went with it. The pricing for this is $8.00 and even with the cute cup, we are not sure it is not worth the price.
With so many hits so far, we were bound to have a miss, and we did over at POP Eats. We opted for the Tomato Soup with grilled cheese for $5.00. A few days ago we had originally seen the tomato soup served in an adorable little POP themed paint can and for the importance of a good picture, it was one of the main reasons we ordered it. The soup is no longer being presented in that cute can, it comes to you in a paper cup. It was a chilly day so we were looking forward to a hot cup of soup, sadly it was barely lukewarm and the grill cheese was very bland. But again, how can we complain when this is our day job?
We are always suckers for a pretty drink, so when we saw the Sea Butterfly from the Painted Panda in China we knew we had to stop and try it. It's a Butterfly Pea Flower infused cocktail with Lychee syrup, vodka, light rum, and magic boba pearls. The cost for this beverage is $12.50. It was another miss, we just did not find it as tasty as we hoped it would be. We will say they are heavy with the alcohol they put in it so you do get a good bang for your buck but as far as taste goes, it was just missing something. That being said, what a pretty picture it makes, don't you agree?
We had another hit over in Italy at L'Arte di Mangiare with the L’Aragosta: Lobster ravioli with vanilla-saffron cream sauce and shredded chili peppers. I am not personally a fan of anything spicy so I was skeptical trying something with chili peppers but the spice was so faint I was able to tolerate the dish and found the lobster to be very tasty. We did however find the price of $15.00 for three raviolis to be a little high, but the presentation of the Hidden Mickey made up for it.
Our next stop was over at the Artist's Table in the American Adventure pavilion. Here we selected the Pan-Seared Scallop with chorizo, roasted red pepper coulis, and parmesan crisp. This dish, although very small, was a hit. The scallop was tender and the flavor was spot on. Another great perk is that this option is also Gluten/Wheat friendly and costs $7.00. We also tried the Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate-Chip Cookie that costs $5.50. Flavorwise this was a total miss, the cookie was super bland, but if you have a young child with you they would probably enjoy painting it with the cute paint brush and frosting they give you. I mean, who says you can't play with your food?
Over at Goshiki in the Japan pavilion it was a no brainer for us to go with the Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped Sushi featuring salmon, tuna, shrimp, cucumber and sesame seed over a decorated plate of Wasabi Aïoli, Sriracha and Eel Sauce. We are huge sushi fans and this was an instant hit! The fish was so fresh, it basically melted in your mouth. The presentation is great too, in the shape of a donut, this is one of the prettier sushi dishes we have seen. This will cost you $8.25 and we feel it is totally worth it.
By the time we got to the Mosaic Canteen in the Morocco pavilion, we were ready to bust, but we knew we had to squeeze in one last bite of something. We went with the Mediterranean Flatbread with Za’atar pesto, artichokes, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes and fennel cream. It is hard to say if this was a hit or a miss, because we were so full. Typically we love everything that is on this flatbread but it just did not pop. Maybe it was because we had eaten so much in such a short time or maybe it was a real miss, we think you should be the judge and try it next time you are visiting during the Festival of the Arts. This dish costs $5.75.
It is also worth mentioning how much we love the character cavalcades that pop up throughout the day in Epcot. Although these are not special to the festival, it does make it that much more fun to see one while enjoying your food and beverage. We are privy to the Princess Promenade Character Cavalcade which travels around the World Showcase in a horse-drawn carriage to greet guests.
If you would like to obtain more information on visiting Epcot during the Festival of the Arts then reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here!
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