Jeff and I are back in the Central Florida area, within reasonable proximity of Disney World. Back to taking full advantage of our annual passes!
Disney is a master at finding ways to entice you back to the parks. I’m sure a high-paid team of Disney Management huddles together, looks at the seasonal attendance patterns, and plots ways to suck you back in during the “low” attendance times. Nowhere is this more evident than at Epcot, which hosts a seemingly nonstop series of Festivals, each with their unique features. The Festival of the Arts at Epcot begins almost immediately on the heels of the Holiday Festival, running from mid-January through the end of February.
Epcot’s World Showcase area is ideally suited for special events like these. There is a large area to work with, several stages, and permanent “special event” kitchens scattered throughout the various countries. No matter the festival theme, each country can insert their own unique flavor.
The arts festival features displays of Disney-themed art (for sale, of course) throughout the world showcase. Mostly pictures/paintings, you can also find sculpture, jewelry, glassworks, bath products, even a “dye your own” silk scarf booth. You will often find the artist at their booth, working on their next creation. It’s fascinating to see each artist’s “take” on the iconic Disney subject matter. One unique art style displayed is the chalk sidewalk art. So ephemeral, it’s sad to know that it will soon be washed away in the Florida rain.
Guests have the opportunity to join in the fun at the “paint by numbers” poster. Each guest is given a numbered color and invited to fill in several squares. It’s cool to see the picture emerge over the course of the day. Once completed, a new poster is mounted and the completed artwork displayed elsewhere.
Another opportunity to join the fun is at a free interactive workshop at the Odyssey Festival Showplace. We took part in a 15 minute “draw a Disney character” workshop. Sitting at tables, a Disney animator instructed us line-by-line through a face drawing of the character Stitch. OK, mine turned out looking more like an evil don’t-feed-it-after-midnight Gremlin. But it was cool and rather giggle-inducing!
The performing arts are also represented at the festival. Local bands and musical groups perform at the festival stage while “statue guys” amaze and amuse. The highlight (for me) was the thrice-nightly “Disney on Broadway” show at the American Pavilion stage. Each night, two veteran Disney Broadway stars perform a selection of Disney Broadway show tunes. Each couple perform a different show. I caught two different shows over different visits, and they were both just awesome. My favorite part of all!!
I went several times to this festival. The folks you see in the photo are Marissa’s family, who played with us for a couple of visits. There’s so much to see, it can definitely keep you entertained for more than one visit. The food offerings at the special event kitchens change with each festival, aligning with the theme. Different singer/actors perform different “Disney on Broadway” shows throughout the festival. And all this is on top of the regular Disney rides, shows and displays. Disney really knows what it’s doing.
And that’s why we own Disney stock.