Guide to the 2024 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

EPCOT International Festvial of the Arts

The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is my favorite of EPCOT’s annual festivals. From the uniquely Disney art displays, to the Disney on BROADWAY Concert Series, photo ops, and plenty of interesting eats, this festival is truly not to be missed.

While I think it’s EPCOT’s best festival, it’s also the shortest. If you plan to attend this year’s event, you really only have a couple of weeks to do so. As such, I’m sharing a full guide to the Festival of the Arts to help you make the most of your next trip.

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
Credit: Disney

When is this year’s EPCOT International Festival of the Arts?

This year’s festival runs January 12-February 19, 2024.January into the beginning of February is a great time of year to visit Walt Disney World. You typically have fewer crowds during these weeks save for a couple of exceptions.

These include the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which runs January 3-7 and the long weekends around Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 15 and Presidents Day on February 19. Late February may also bring some excess crowds due to school vacation weeks in some parts of the country, but these crowds while still noticeable are typically less than spring break or April school vacation week.

If your schedule is totally flexible and going to Festival of the Arts is your priority, I would go from January 21-February 3. These two weeks would get you away from both long weekends, the marathon crowds, and any chance of running into a busy school vacation week.

The only other potential downside now that we’ve minimized the crowds would be that several attractions and experiences are under refurbishment during the winter months. These typically include at least one of Disney’s water parks (or both if the weather is cold enough), and water attractions like Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or previously Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom. [The latter is currently closed anyway, and will reopen later in 2024 as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, an all-new attraction inspired by The Princess and the Frog (2009)].

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Where should I stay for the festival?

Close to EPCOT is the obvious choice here, but I have some extra suggestions depending on your interests and budget.

If you’re able to splurge, one of the deluxe resorts in the EPCOT Resort Area would be the way to go. That way, in addition to the FriendShip boats that also go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’d be able to take a short walk between the theme park and your resort. These resorts include Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort, and the not-Disney-operated so perhaps slightly more affordable depending on your room and travel dates, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

In 2019, the Disney Skyliner opened, offering a new form of easy, complimentary transportation to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Many of the Skyliner resorts are more moderately priced than ones closest to EPCOT, and the Skyliner makes it easy to get to both parks without waiting on a bus. These resorts include Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

If you are trying to stay on a budget at the Festival of the Arts, Pop Century would be my pick, unless you need the space of the suites that comes with a stay in most rooms at Art of Animation.

NOTE: The Disney Skyliner will be undergoing a refurbishment this January, so if you opt to stay at a Skyliner resort, you may want to adjust your dates slightly. Here is the refurbishment info according to Disney’s official website:

From January 16, 2024 through January 21, 2024, Disney Skyliner will be closed for routine maintenance. Disney Skyliner service to and from Disney’s Riviera Resort and International Gateway at EPCOT will remain closed through January 27, 2024. During this time, complimentary bus service will be available.

Disney on BROADWAY Concert Series
Credit: Disney

Disney on BROADWAY Concert Series

The Disney on BROADWAY Concert Series is one of the most exciting parts of the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. The series started off as a weekend-only event, and has since grown to include performances throughout the entire festival with multiple showings per day.

At this event, guests can experience live performances by some of the most renowned Broadway stars who have performed iconic roles in Disney productions, including Caissie Levy and Patti Murin from Frozen, Josh Strickland from Tarzan, and Michael James Scott from Aladdin, just to name a few.

Performances take place in the America Gardens Theatre at the American Adventure pavilion with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. To save a seat for a performance, you may want to consider booking a dining package (for an additional fee), which includes a meal at select EPCOT restaurants plus early access to the seating area ahead of your show.

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Scallop

Food Studios

No EPCOT festival is complete without new ways to taste your way around World Showcase (and the rest of the park!) and Festival of the Arts has some of the most unique options you’ll see at Disney World all year.

EPCOT will be enhanced with 16 new food kiosks during the event, with dishes and specialty beverages inspired by various themes from the art world. New for this year, guests can try Beef Wellington, roasted mussels, beer, and cocktails at Cuisine Classique (located near Test Track) along with returning favorites like Figment’s Inspiration Station at the Odyssey, and Pop Eats (near Port of Entry).

Foodies visiting EPCOT for the event can also participate in The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine. During the walk, you can earn passport stamps for trying at least five (of seven) dishes around the festival and receive a complimentary cookie at the Deco Delights Food Studio upon completion.

Performance at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
Credit: Disney

Live demos and artmaking opportunities

Finally, what makes the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts so special is all of the artmaking opportunities, both in the form of live demonstrations by professional artists and ways for the whole family to get involved in making art of their own.

This year’s festival includes the following events at World Showcase Plaza:

  • Live music with performances daily
  • Acrobatic performances Sunday-Wednesday
  • Live painting demonstrations select dates
  • Professional chalk art galleries

For more interactive ways to let your creativity shine, guests can get involved with:

  • Animation Academy (aka learn to draw a Disney character at America Gardens Theatre)
  • Paint by Numbers Mural at Expression Section
  • Immersive photo ops inspired by real works of art (select locations around EPCOT)
  • Kids’ chalk art
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
Credit: Disney

Tips for visiting EPCOT during the Festival of the Arts

Start planning now. Whether it’s booking your hotel stay or planning the dishes you definitely want to try, planning ahead for any EPCOT festival is always the way to go.

Don’t miss the art! Food kiosks are a major highlight of any EPCOT festival, but the artmaking and galleries are really what makes this event standout. Don’t consider the festival “done” during your trip until you’ve checked out all it has to offer.

Purchase a mini festival gift card. You can find these at merchandise locations around the park during any EPCOT festival. They’re basically tiny gift cards attached to bracelets. It’s so much easier to load these up for the day then to pull out your wallet or phone every time you make a purchase.

Prepare to spend $$$. As with any EPCOT festival (or trip to this park in general) you’re likely going to want to spend more once in the park than most other locations around Walt Disney World. This stings a little less if you’re ready for it, so I always recommend trying to set aside some extra cash ahead of your trip.

Pick up a festival passport and use the My Disney Experience app. Posts like this one are great for planning but when you’re on the go in the park, you’ll find everything you need to know plus all of the updated details in the festival passports and Disney’s official app.

Take lots of photos and have a magical time!

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