Unofficial Guide to the 2021 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts

2021 Epcot Festival of the Arts featured

Ever since the Walt Disney World Resort reopened last spring, visitors to Epcot have been enjoying socially distanced editions of the park’s popular seasonal events. That’s now carried into the new year with the January 8th kickoff of the 2021 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts, and we’ve got the full scoop on this fifth annual edition of #ArtfulEpcot.

Get a socially distanced taste of arts from around the world with our Unofficial Guide to this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts. (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)

Although it only launched in 2017, Epcot’s Festival of the Arts has quickly become one of our favorite seasonal events in Orlando. This year’s “Taste of” event, much like the modified Food & Wine and Holiday Festivals that came before it, omits the headliner entertainers and some interactive experiences, but it still retains much of what fans have loved in the past.

2021 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts passport
Don’t forget to pick up a Festival passport on your way into Epcot.

To begin our Unofficial Guide to this year’s event, watch this video for an overview of the 2021 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which runs now through February 22nd:

The welcome display at this year’s Festival of the Arts at Epcot’s main entrance isn’t the most elaborate we’ve ever seen, but the recent unveiling of the park’s new retro-inspired fountain at the foot of Spaceship Earth more than makes up for it.

The author (center-right) poses with the original Epcot fountain circa 1983-1984.

The brand-new fountain, whose Plexiglass pylons hearken back to the original 1980s design, looks even better after dark, when LED illumination brings it to life.

2021 Epcot Festival of the Arts Artwork, Artists, & Experiences

Pandemic restrictions prompted the Festival to put its usual artist workshops and presentations on pause, but there are still plenty of opportunities to observe artwork being created, to interact with actual artists, and even to contribute to a mural’s creation!

For starters, the ever-popular Expression Section paint-by-numbers mural has been moved onto a construction wall outside The Land pavillon.

To participate, you’ll first need to wait in line to pick up a paintbrush and paint.

Then you’ll be assigned an individual portion of the mural to paint on. In this manner, guests are kept at a safe distance away from each other while working.

Here is what the mural looked like after the event’s opening weekend:

Epcot’s chalk walk between Future World and World Showcase hosts talented artists, who create water-soluble tributes to famous masterpieces.

You can also put yourself inside a masterpiece with the Artful photo ops around the park. Just plan on bringing a partner to help snap your pics, since Photopass cast members aren’t available to assist at this time.

Additional Festival of the Arts displays around the center of the park also make for great photo backgrounds.

These new murals along the Future World construction walls pay tribute to past Epcot attractions.

Be sure to snap some shots in front of the butterfly wings and Figment horns painted on the construction walls that surround Future World.

Galleries of professional artwork that guests can purchase and take home have spread around the park, with several moved into open-air tents.

Visit Enemy Ink’s screen printing tent near Italy for a reasonably priced piece of wearable artwork to take home.

You’ll regularly find artists sitting near their creations, and they are always happy to chat with collectors—from a safe distance, of course.

Additional art galleries and artist meet-and-greets can be found inside the World Showplace pavilion between Canada and the United Kingdom.

2021 Festival of the Arts Live Entertainment

Concerts featuring Broadway performers, who were previously a centerpiece of Epcot’s arts celebration, are off the agenda for this year’s event, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t live entertainment to look forward to, starting with the return of the Jammitors to Canada’s Mill Stage.

They’re currently performing their Jammin’ Chef’s show, with the addition of paint-spattered smocks and some groan-worthy art puns.

Inside the nearby World Showplace, you’ll find stages that host acrobats and pianists on a rotating schedule.

Over at the American Gardens theater, you’ll find a full daily performance schedule, including interactive drawing lessons and shows from Mexico’s mariachi musicians.

The must-see live show at Epcot’s 2021 Festival of the Arts is clearly The Voices of Liberty, who have traded in their colonial costumes for contemporary clothing as they pay tribute to “The Disney Songbook” of musical movie memories.

There are two different song lists that rotate throughout the day, so you may want to see this one twice! Here’s a full performance of one of the Voices of Liberty: The Disney Songbook sets for you to enjoy from home:

2021 Epcot Festival of the Arts for Kids

Unfortunately, up-close encounters with Disney characters remain off-limits, but you will be able to see Mickey and friends during periodic drive-by cavalcades around World Showcase.

Also look for surprise distance character appearances in select areas, such as Alice’s pop-ups in the UK gardens.

Alice is posing near a portrait of the White Rabbit. You can find more fun paintings of Disney characters—which originally accompanied meet-and-greet locations—now positioned outside the nearby bandshell.

For $7.99, families can purchase a map and participate in Figment’s scavenger hunt, which has returned.

2021 Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts Food and Merchandise

Last, but certainly not least, this year’s Taste of Epcot’s Festival of the Arts includes plenty of reasons to eat, drink, and shop your way around the world. Just be prepared to wait in line if you visit on a busy weekend, as many of these items feature elaborate presentations that can take a bit of time to prepare.

Opening day lines were long for the Festival of the Arts food booths, but actual wait times are typically under 20 minutes.

Here’s a photographic guide to some of the goodies that await you:

Pop Eats tomato soup (in a souvenir can) was just okay, but the bacon & Brie sandwich that comes with it was worth waiting for.
Shrimp ceviche (also from Pop Eats) packs a lot of big bright flavors into a disappointingly skimpy portion.
Smoked salmon gateau from Masterpiece Kitchen is like upscale lox and cream cheese, making it one of our perennial favorite picks.
The Artists Palette chocolate chip cookie, found at Festival Favorites inside World Showplace, was underwhelming. The large chocolate chip cookie itself is fine, but it has a big chunk taken out, and the 3 blobs of colored icing have sweetness but no flavor. The plastic paintbrush is pretty much useless as well.
The unctuous Pork belly pastor from El Artista Hambriento pairs nicely with Tulum artisanal cerveza. Use the boniato mash to mop up all that spicy sauce!
Sichuan mala shrimp from China’s Painted Panda is one of the prettiest dishes at the Festival, but it’s also one of the most expensive. Is it worth $10.50 for 2 mildly spiced, medium-size shrimp and a glass of greenery?
Vegans rejoice! This filling, flavorful plant-based bratwurst sausage, topped with barbecued jackfruit and turmeric sauce, can now be found at Epcot’s African Outpost.
Remy’s Ratatouille from World Showplace Festival Favorites is another solid pick for plant-eaters. The lovingly layered dish packs great flavors; unfortunately, my veggies were a bit undercooked.
Need a sweet pick-me-up? Joffrey’s has a new selection of seasonal coffee-based beverages that have so much chocolate syrup and candy in them, they’re practically cocoa.
These $8 roasted lamb chops from Morocco’s Mosaic Canteen are reasonably priced (by Epcot standards) coated in exotic harissa spices; I just wish they were cooked medium-rare instead of well done.
The Mosaic Canteen mouskoutchou—a rich orange cake with cinnamon-chocolate mouse—was the best dessert I tried by far. Better still, it’s on this year’s Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine.
Collect five stamps from select food booths to earn a complimentary cookie.

Finally, after your belly is completely full, don’t forget to check out this year’s festival souvenirs before exiting the park, including some exclusive Figment-themed items available only to Annual Passholders.

For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.


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