Of the four festivals of our beloved Epcot, I’ve only attended two. Despite being an avid WDW-goer, the holidays and spring are expensive and busy respectively, and I haven’t made it to Holidays nor Flower and Garden yet. However, I’ve been able to take in Arts and Food and Wine now, and feel like I can confidently inform you on which is better and why. Keep in mind I am an underaged painter, but I am basing this on more than alcohol and the fine art booths.
When I talk about the fests with people who have only been to Food and Wine, I typically describe Festival of the Arts as 60% of the food booths of Food and Wine with a bunch more stuff. The arts include music, performing arts, visual/fine art, and culinary art. This makes for a bunch of food and beverages that are equal parts delicious and beautiful. Refer to Rainboba or the peanut butter cake from Sunshine Seasons. You get to taste plenty of food and try many non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages as well. This is not the emphasis of the festival, but it’s a huge part. Plus, having the emphasis away from alcohol unlike Food and Wine makes for less drunk people hollering around World Showcase.
Food and Wine is great, but as someone with dietary restrictions (pescetarian and again, 20) makes it kind of like: I ate everything I can and wanted to eat, now what? While there are so many booths to try from even with these boundaries, I do feel more obligated to dedicate multiple days to eating just to fit things in, and then I feel like it’s over. Arts offers more than this. I might argue that there are more desserts which are always vegetarian (except for random dessert bacon occasionally) but there is also much more to do than eat. You can see chalk art, explore fine Disney art like paintings and prints and even meet the artists, watch acrobatic performances as well as other international entertainers, see Disney Broadway performers, buy your own art, see bands perform, take photos with live sculptures, take more photos with large frames and famous painting backgrounds, paint a massive color by number, etc. I feel that not only do I need multiple days to come back and eat a second and third brie bread bowl from France, but also to do all of the fun activities around Epcot.
My last point is the timing of the festival. The January/February timeframe in which Arts occurs is an incredible time to visit Disney in general, not just Epcot. Lines are shorter, now Villains After Hours is going with far smaller crowds, and the weather is far from extreme on either end. My family didn’t have early Fastpass booking because we stayed off property and were able to ride Soarin, Flight of Passage, Everest, Safari, Rise of the Resistance, Smuggler’s Run, Toy Story Mania, (at Villains) Space Mountain, Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, and more, without waiting more than 40 minutes (FOP always gets ya.)
Many have told me that flower and garden is their fave, and weakens the post Arts Festival sadness. I look forward to going and spending $20 on a photogenic cotton candy.
Hannah Bouchard is the co-creator for Completely Magic.