2021 Taste of EPCOT Festival of Arts Dates & Details
Walt Disney World has announced details and dates for the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, which will be a global celebration of the visual, culinary, and performing arts. In this post, we’ll share everything we know thus far, plus why Festival of the Arts is our favorite event of the year at EPCOT.
For those unfamiliar with it, the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is the newest special event of the year at EPCOT, with 2021 being the festival’s 5th Anniversary. (Time flies!) It literally came out of nowhere in its first year to make a strong debut despite scant details beforehand, and has improved every year since. Well, aside from the crowds–but those aren’t really “part” of the event…they just come with it.
Festival of the Arts immediately became our favorite event of the year at Epcot. It’s not even a close call, either. It cherrypicks the best elements of Flower & Garden and Food & Wine, while also adding elements that are much more interesting and substantive. Most importantly, Festival of the Arts is imbued with the spirit of the original EPCOT Center, and offers an atmosphere, sense of life, and is permeated with the characteristic creativity and curiosity of EPCOT Center.
In the years since, we’ve gone as far as to recommend planning a Walt Disney World trip around Festival of the Arts to some people. While January and February have fallen on our 2020-2021 Best and Worst Months to Visit Walt Disney World, that’s more due to the surge of crowds during those months that has happened over the last couple of years.
It might seem like an eternity ago now, but that was the other big story of early 2020 (right after Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance woes) before everything fell apart and Walt Disney World closed. (For a refresher, read Peak Crowds in Winter 2020 “Off-Season” at Walt Disney World.)
The good news for January and February 2021 is that at least some of those crowds probably will not materialize. Weeks around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day still will almost certainly be busy.
Additionally, all weekends will likely be busy. If you’re thinking about doing EPCOT on a Saturday or Sunday, our EPCOT Photo Report: Stay Away on Weekends is essential reading. It’s arguably the most important piece of advice for families visiting in the next few months. Those same ‘festival season’ trends apply during this event.
However, much of this year’s January and February crowd spike was driven by international travel, conventions, youth events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, and runDisney offerings. None of that will be happening in January or February 2021, making a visit to coincide with Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts (plus Florida’s best weather of the year, in my opinion) much more attractive!
Anyway, that’s our normal year “pitch” for the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. It is worth noting that the 2021 event will be continue the “Taste of” branding, suggesting that its offerings will be scaled back.
Here’s what we know about the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, which is set to begin on January 8, 2021 and run until February 22, 2021:
- Indulge in over 15 Food Studios serving culinary art all around World Showcase
- Explore and purchase the brilliant and diverse work of Disney and other invited artists on display in marketplaces encircling World Showcase Lagoon
- Step into the scene at special photo locations scattered around the park
- Participate in a paint-by-number mural that serves as a collaborative art project for all
- Watch as visiting artists create magic right before your eyes
- Catch performances by favorite EPCOT musical artists Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors.
- Join an artful scavenger hunt and search for Figment around World Showcase
- Shop for festival-exclusive merchandise
These are just preliminary, partial details. Walt Disney World has indicated it will release more details on the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts in the weeks and months to come.
Honestly, what was announced today sounds like the bulk of the event minus the Disney on Broadway concert series. This is a collaboration with Disney Theatrical that normally brings award-winning music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage in World Showcase.
Given that this is held in the same venue as the previously-cancelled Candlelight Processional and involves singing, our expectation is that this will also be cancelled. However, it is outdoors and crowds are significantly lower for this than Candlelight Processional, so it might be deemed safer. (It’s also less lucrative, so it might still be cut for budgetary considerations.)
In addition to the Disney on Broadway concert series, there are normally other premium events at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts called “Interactive Workshops.” These are usually held at the World Showplace Events Pavilion and are an upcharge.
Given that all of this was cancelled for the Taste of EPCOT Food & Wine Festival–a more popular event–we’re guessing the same will occur for Taste of EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts. That’s probably both a safety and resources issue. Our expectation at this point is that Walt Disney World tries getting the normal festival season back on track in time for the 2021 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival.
Ultimately, we’re pretty satisfied with the tentative lineup for the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. If you asked me two weeks ago whether this event would happen, I would’ve responded, “my bet is that it’s Festival of the Arts in name only, and is more about the food in 2021.” I know that because someone did ask, and that was my reply.
Without question, the 2021 event will be scaled back as compared to this year or any previous incarnation of the EPCOT Festival of the Arts. However, just the fact that it’s still happening and is more than just a rebranding of Food & Wine already is a small victory in my eyes. Walt Disney World is not going to resume normalcy all at once, with the flip of a switch. It’s a long road filled with incremental progress and aspects of the full guest experience gradually being restored. That’s exactly what is happening with the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Did you attend Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts in any of its first few years? Are you excited to experience the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts or will you be sitting this one out? Think the Disney on Broadway concert series will happen? Any tips you want to share to make the most of the experience? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
We have planned our trip for January. Your info is a great help and is getting our family psyched up about our trip. The bonus is the festival of the Arts going on. Awesome
This was the best news out of Disney that I have heard in awhile. I started planning a girls trip last January specifically so we could attend this event. When everything closed and I was still trying to plan the trip I had scaled it back and wasn’t even planning to go to Epcot anymore. As soon as this news came out today I added another ticket to our trip just so we can go to Epcot. I have been fortunate to attend this festival two years in a row now and I absolutely love it.
We’re doing pretty good with all our reservations so far. Two for Food & Wine (one just completed and one next month), one for Festival of the Holidays (plus DVC annual member meeting if it is still in the works), and now one for Festival of the Arts. We’ve got one more scheduled on our current AP, Flower & Garden Festival in May. I’m 70 and my husband is 67 and we had a wonderful time last week. We only did a few attractions at the three parks we visited (no DHS), but we did some real nice dining at the outdoor kitchens at Epcot, plus Tiffins and BOG.
I think the festivals are our favorite events at WDW.
Can’t wait! We’re staying at Yacht Club in January with the sole purpose of being able to walk to Epcot and HS. We already have 2 days booked at Epcot and can’t wait to enjoy this festival, as we haven’t been this time of year before. Now off to read your food reviews from the 2020 booths!
I. Am. SUPER STOKED to hear that the Festival of the Arts is a GO! It is, by far, our favorite festival.
Back in June, when we started seriously considering and shopping for an RV, I went ahead and reserved at Fort Wilderness for late January, into February. Yes, I am that crazy! Then, on a trip in September that had been planned since Before The World Went Crazyâ„¢, I asked a CM in the Art of Disney store about the Arts festival, and he was not encouraging. He said that by then, the artists should have all been booked and scheduled, and much planning done, but it hadn’t been. He was not optimistic that it would be happening at all, not even a scaled down version. I started making “what if” plans, to reschedule to the spring, if necessary, and hope that Flower and Garden would still proceed. Now I can book both! LOL
I just wish they included the Fort in all these amazing discounts!
Any idea on when disney plans to start selling annual passes again?
Sounds like fun but I hope the crowds are not too bad. It will be our first Disney World trip so I am a little worried. At least our reservations for Epcot are during the week at the end of the festival time. Do crowds tend to increase during the end of the festivals?
It will be interested to see what kind of crowds arrive for this. We were at Disney last February and the festival crowds at EPCOT were pretty awful. In hindsight we didn’t help ourselves by visiting on a Saturday, but we were doing one of the uncharge events and that was the day it was happening (we got to paint an animation cel of Pluto, it was AWESOME). Between what I saw last year and what Tom is saying about EPCOT currently, anyone with concerns about crowds/social distancing should definitely avoid going on a weekend.
I really thought I was going to miss this festival, given that most years it starts MLKjr weekend. I’m really excited that I already have a park reservation for day 2 of the festival. This sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully we can balance both the rides we want to go on and festival portion as Epcot first timers
This is exciting! Any idea for possible starting dates of Flower & Garden?