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