TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

Enjoying The Arts

Dave Hodges, Blogger, Podcaster, Travel Expert

12 February 2017

For those of you who listen to The Disney Exchange podcast, you probably wouldn’t guess that I am a big fan of the Arts. I love stage shows, plays, music, and artwork. The past couple days I have had to pleasure of spending time at the inaugural Festival of the Arts at EPCOT, Walt Disney World. I have been to EPCOTs Flower and Garden Festival and The Food and Wine Festival many times, but with this being the first art festival I was very curious if it would the same as the other two. It was not.

Let me start off by saying the Food & Wine Festival as well as the Flower & Garden Festival are all about the food for me. I was pleasantly surprised that the Festival of the Arts was not about the food. At least not for me. I was actually disappointed in the food options. None of the food really sounded good and I chose to only partake in a couple items the first night I was there. When I arrived on the first night, Anne and I wanted a little snack just to tide us over before our reservation at Flying Fish. This snack consisted of “Roasted Pork Roulade with Marble Potatoes and Baby Carrots, with a Red Wine Sauce featuring Melissa’s Produce” and “Pan-Seared Scallop with Chorizo, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, and Parmesan Crisp”. Both were tasty, but the scallop was my favorite. As for the rest of the food option, I did not have them.

Roasted Pork and Pan-Seared Scallop from The Artist’s Table

Photograph by Dave Hodges

Now that we’re past the least enjoyable, but definitely not terrible, part of the festival, let’s talk about the actual art. The first night we were there we drove in late that evening just to make it in time for the Disney on Broadway performance at the American Gardens Theatre. I had seen some of the performances via Youtube so I was already excited to catch a live performance. The night I was there the performers were Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgeral White. Both were phenomenal performers. They did a few numbers from The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, but most of it was from a show I had not heard of, Aida. All the songs were great, but I was disappointed that it only lasted about 25 minutes. I could have listened to them sing all night. Once we were done there we headed off to our ADR at Flying Fish and then back to the room for a good nights sleep in preparation for the following day at the Festival.

Sometimes we only see how people are different from us. But, if you look hard enough you can see how much we’re all alike. -Jasmine (Aladdin)

Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White perform Hakuna Matata from Disney’s The Lion King at EPCOTs Festival of the Arts

Vide by Dave Hodges

The following morning (early afternoon), we hit EPCOT to make a complete trip around World Showcase and see what the festival had to offer. We chose to go in the direction of Canada first. As all normal people do. During the walk, we stopped at each food booth to check out the menu and ogle other people’s food as they received it. We were not impressed with the options. First, we stopped at the Painter Palet in the Odyssey Festival Showplace. This was a fairly small location to try and cram a mass amount of people, but that’s just how Disney rolls. The menu consisted of Croissant donuts with stuff on them that should not be mixed with any donut. There was a Margherita Flatbread that looked like any other flatbread you could get in the parks and some sweets which didn’t seem too exciting. As I said before, this was not about the food. As we walked we ran across a ton of artwork that was just phenomenal. Some of it was a little scary, but still beautiful in its own right. We did end up purchasing a print and the artist just happened to be there signing the artwork. I was excited because we found the art we liked the best at this one place. Needless to say, our day was complete before we even made it to Canada, but we continued on. Over the next 90 minutes, we wandered and talked to artists and CMs and anyone who made eye contact. We stopped for a wonderful show in Japan and just enjoyed the journey. It was almost like we were at an outdoor art studio. After the walk, we purchased out annual pass and festival specific merchandise and then drove home. Happy to have made it to the festival. Overall it was a wonderful experience and very different from the other two festivals at EPCOT.

In the end, if you find yourself in Orlando in February, as long at there is a 2nd annual Festival of the Arts, I would highly recommend that you stop by EPCOT for a day and take in all the art the festival has to offer. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still a great time.