This year marked the inaugural celebration of the Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. I had the distinct honor of planning my sister’s birthday trip the same weekend and witnessed the festival firsthand. For those who haven’t gone, I would describe it as mix between the Food and Wine Festival, which is typically run between mid-September and mid-November, and the Flower and Garden Festival, which is typically run between mid-March and May. It had all the things that make the Food and Wine great: drinks, food and pretty things to look at.
Let’s start with the art. There were booths scattered around the World Showcase, as well as some displays in Future World. Artists from all over the world showcased their best art, all of which were Disney themed. All the featured artists had been given special permission by the Disney corporation to create Disney Fine Art. There are only 35 artists in the world who can say that.
The art itself varied greatly. Some gave a literal interpretation of Disney characters, where the picture looked like a scene from the movie where the character was featured. Most of the princess paintings took this approach. When it came to the classic Disney characters – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto – the interpretation varied. Some took a literal approach, while others took inspiration from comic strips. No matter the style, all the artists brought these characters to life, and for a small fee (the paintings ranged from $125 to $15,000) you could own part of the magic.
Now on to the food. Being the Disney addict that I am, I had visited Epcot a week before I enjoyed the Festival and got myself a little book that broke down all the food and drinks that were offered at the festival. I instantly wanted to try the Cronut Trio. The Cronut Trio featured three small cronut sandwiches, one had ahi tuna, another an herb cream cheese and the last one was filled with a cream of chicken spread. All of this appealed to me, and the minute I got to the World Showcase, I was on the hunt for this amazing Cronut Trio. I went to all the kiosks in search of this amazing food, walking along the countries and experiencing hunger only a cronut could fill. Finally, I asked a cast member to point me in the right direction, and I was finally able to get my cronut.
To say I was slightly disappointed is an understatement. The three sandwiches looked much larger in the picture on my booklet, but in the end, I was glad they weren’t. I bit into each one individually to gauge which one I liked the most. They were all ridiculously greasy, which I suppose is expected as croissants are greasy to begin with and then it’s deep fried in oil. The one on the far left of the photo was the ahi tuna cronut. I recently discovered my love for ahi tuna so I had no problem trying it, and it was the best of the three. The one in the middle was the one with the herb cream cheese, which had the most promise, because what doesn’t taste good with a little cream cheese? This was by far the saltiest thing I have ever put in my mouth. It hit me like a bomb, so much so that I almost spit it out. Needless to say, I made my dad eat the rest of it. The one on the right was stuffed with a chicken spread. Honestly, I wasn’t pleased. This little sandwich was also very salty and not appetizing at all. I made my dad eat this one too.
After my major disappointment with the food, naturally, I turned to alcohol. I tried a drink in “France” that was so delicious I regret not getting another one. It was a lemonade slushie with Grey Goose vodka, and it was great. I’m a huge fan of alcoholic drinks where you can’t taste the alcohol, and this fit the bill to a tee. It was perfect and refreshing for the 80-degree weather.
All in all, I can’t complain about the Festival of the Arts. I’m not the most artistic person in the world, so I truly appreciate the skill it takes to make these paintings. If you went to the Food and Wine Festival and thought the scene was too crowded (I did), I would recommend this festival for you. However, if you’re more into the food of Food and Wine than the drinks, maybe stick to the Food and Wine Festival. Although I really only have my cronut story to go on, the fact that I wasn’t willing to try anything else should speak for itself. If you love Disney art, this is definitely the place to be.