On Jan. 12, the 2nd Epcot International Festival of the Arts opened to guests with daily celebrations of art in many forms including visual, culinary and the performance arts. Guests can have their art and eat it, too, at 13 Food Studios surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon. They can view art by the masters and express themselves at multiple interactive art workshops, then see stunning performances of strength acts, Living Statues and other live entertainment.
And every Friday through Monday, guests can share the America Gardens Theatre with Broadway stars who’ll belt out tunes from beloved shows like “The Lion King,” “Tarzan” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Here’s what they’re saying about this year’s expanded Epcot International Festival of the Arts:
- Epcot Vice President Melissa Valiquette: “The Festival of the Arts has become a passion project for our team, and we hope our guests will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it. It’s bigger, brighter and better than ever!”
- Epcot General Manager Dave Kesting: “This year is all about more – more days, more artists more food . . . . There’s so much for everybody this year; it’s a festival for guests of all ages.”
Disney on Broadway Concert Series at America Gardens Theatre:
- Marsha Jackson-Randolph, Disney Entertainment, on the Disney on Broadway Concert Series: “You are seeing world-class artists, and there is something so enchanting about the intimacy of this particular theater.
- Broadway singer-actor Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”) – who performed Jan. 12-15 and returns Jan. 19-22: “These audiences are ready for this! They’ve been in the park all day . . . so they’re ready to sit down and just enjoy the good old songs that they know and some new songs; yeah, they are going to have a great time!”
- Broadway singer-actor Jennifer Gambatese (“Tarzan”) – who performed Jan. 12-15, about the Disney on Broadway concert experience: “I would describe it as 28 minutes of pure delight! It’s just a nice little sort of half-hour journey through a few of the shows in the Disney on Broadway catalogue, and they are sort of snippets from each show, a couple of big rousing anthems . . . . It’s quite a treat to get to revisit the Tarzan material with my buddy, Kevin!”
Festival Culinary Team
- Epcot Culinary Director Gregg Hannon: “For this festival, we have redesigned our presentations to make them more picturesque, more sophisticated, so that when you get your dish, it will be something that you would want to take a picture of, like a piece of art.
- Rick DeCicco, Epcot Proprietor of Festivals and Events, who oversees festival beverages: “Rosé wines are very, very popular right now, and we have great offerings like the Pinord La Dama Reserva Familiar Brut Rosé. Actor-celebrity Drew Barrymore is quite engaged as a winemaker, and we’re featuring her Carmel Road Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir.
Festival Merchandise Team
- David Whitaker, Disney Parks Senior Merchandiser for Art & Collectibles: “We have pulled all our creative resources together for something that is unique to Disney. This is something we can own, and a lot of artists this year have added art with international flavor – representations of scenes around the world. We have 141 artist signings scheduled, music, painting – this is a festival on steroids.”