Over the past few weeks I’ve been adding some #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday pictures to the Disney Over 50 Facebook and Instagram accounts. I love looking back. Many of the pictures that I’ve added are from rides or attractions that no longer exist. Some aren’t missed, like The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Others, like The Great Movie Ride, people do truly seem to miss. There has been a lot of change at Walt Disney World in the 13 years that my family and I have lived here. Some changes have been hits, while others have missed the mark. I thought it might be fun to write a short series on these hits and misses.
If you’re keeping score, here’s what I’ve come up with so far. I’ve called both Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and the Flotillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom hits. Two of the misses are no longer around, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and Harmonious. I also put Disney Genie+ in the miss column, even though we all know that’s not going anywhere. I’ve also mentioned Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. That’s a hit, a miss, or a little bit of both, depending on who you’re talking to.
I’m going with another major hit today. In fact, this is one of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World. I’m talking about the Epcot International Festival of the Arts.
Epcot used to have two annual festivals; Flower & Garden in the spring and Food & Wine in the fall. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays was at that time called Holidays Around the World, so it wasn’t officially a festival. Summers were without anything special at Epcot, and so was the beginning of the year.
In 2017, all that changed, when the Epcot International Festival of the Arts debuted. That first year it took place only on weekends! If you want to take a trip down memory lane, read the original announcement from Disney Parks Blog.
There is so much to love about the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. There is art around every corner, much of which you can buy if you’d like. There are unique live performances. Foods that look almost too good to eat are available for sale. There are photo opportunities galore. The Disney on Broadway Concert Series features pairs of Broadway stars, performing songs from their plays. It is all so much fun.
Another thing that I like about the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is the time of year that it takes place. There’s always a bit of an emotional fall after the holidays are over, but then Epcot’s most colorful festival starts. It always takes me out of that January slump.
Speaking of January, some of the nicest weather of the year takes place in Central Florida while the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is being held. The days are comfortable and the evenings are cool enough for a sweatshirt. That’s my favorite type of weather, and it’s perfect for strolling across Epcot, looking at all the displays.
My favorite of Epcot’s four festivals is the Flower & Garden Festival, but the Festival of the Arts is a very close second. I’ll usually go several times a week! It’s short enough too that I will appreciate it each time. By the end of the Flower & Garden Festival, I’m usually ready to move on, but that isn’t the case with the Festival of the Arts. Because it’s a short festival I want to enjoy it as much as possible. It’s almost like I don’t want to blink because it will be over.
If you’ve never been to the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, it runs each year from the middle of January until mid-to-late February. The 2024 dates are January 12 through February 19. Unlike 2017, it now runs daily. If you have been to the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, you probably understand why I call this one a hit.