The 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts is now underway! This is the park’s best special event of the year, and one of the relatively new annual highlights at Walt Disney World. In this post, we review the snacks and desserts at Artful Epcot’s Food Studios, share everything you need to know, including what to try and avoid, and much more!
For starters, this post focuses solely on the culinary arts at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts. We’ll have other posts concerning other aspects of the event soon, but we want to underscore this up front: buying food is not essential to enjoying Festival of the Arts. Sure, food is great and snacking around these booths is fun. However, prices border on obscene and portions are small.
Moreover, there’s so much substance to this event beyond food, and most of it is totally free! You can watch artists create art right in front of you, peruse booths and galleries, attend free seminars, participate in the creation of art, and so much more. Festival of the Arts is great in spite of the food, not because of it. If you’re interested in knowing what not to miss in terms of non-food offerings, read our 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts Tips & Strategy post.
This year, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts runs now through February 25, 2019 at Walt Disney World. The Food Studios are all located in World Showcase, and these booths open each day from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., which gives you just enough time to grab some last minute desserts before camping out to view the farewell season of IllumiNations.
We’ve purchased everything on the menus at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts (except for a couple things that were sold out–but we’ll be returning for those). For the most part, the food we tried was very good, but very overpriced, even by Walt Disney World standards. You can read about our favorites in our Best Food at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts list.
Additionally, here are our booth rankings (ordered from best to worst), followed by the best item at each one:
Each link above opens in a new tab, so you can read the full review and plan on the fly for what you want to eat at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts. (Note: we haven’t yet reviewed every booth, so a few Food Studios are missing.)
The top 6 have menus that are strong pretty much from start to finish, whereas everything else (for the most part) has at least a strong item or two. As for France, perhaps we’re being too hard on it due to high expectations, but it was a colossal disappointment this year for us.
Generally speaking, the cuisine at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts is very strong. There’s a level of attention to detail on most of these items that is truly artful.
While waiting for your dishes at the Food Studio pickup windows, you can see the culinary teams put the finishing touches on each item or prepare them from scratch, and it’s a really cool process–it’s actually fun to watch this. On this same note, pretty much everything is freshly prepared, or close to it.
Because it’s during Walt Disney World’s off-season (and probably due to the pricing), demand is a lot lower at each of the Food Studios, so more care can be given to each dish.
Consequently, this is Epcot’s best festival, food-wise. Ironically enough, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival arguably has the weakest lineup from a culinary perspective due to demand and the need to churn things out quickly.
The big downside to this is hinted at above, and it’s pricing. I didn’t take the time to go through and average things out, but I’d hazard a guess that the average item price is around $9, which is about a $2 per item premium over Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival…which is already criticized for its high prices.
Keep in mind that these are primarily ‘sample-sized’ portions, with each plate being around one-quarter or one-third the portion of what you’d get at a counter service restaurant. This all goes without saying for Epcot regulars, but in case you’re new to the Epcot ‘Festival Scene’, it’s definitely worth noting.
Prices at Epcot’s 2019 Festival of the Arts are not just high by real world standards, but by “normal” Walt Disney World standards–and even by the standards of other Epcot festivals.
You’re unquestionably paying a premium for the festival experience, and you’re also paying a surcharge for the aforementioned attention to detail, quality, and lower output of each booth. Whether the food is ‘worth it’ is a personal question, but it’s a hard sell for us.
This is of little concern if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan and are simply burning snack credits on these items. However, we should also note that–unlike other Epcot festivals–a good number of items are excluded from the Disney Dining Plan.
In fact, you’ll find entire booths that are excluded from the Dining Plan, as everything on the menu has been deemed “too expensive” to qualify as a snack credit.
If you’re paying out of pocket, starting with some ‘stomach filler’ is a great strategy, and then only doing a handful of items (at most) after that is probably wise.
This will make you far less likely to ‘casually’ drop $100/person as you slowly taste your way through World Showcase. You might laugh at the idea of spending over $100 in a day on snacks, but it is far easier than you might think if you’re not paying attention.
Speaking of stomach filler, some of the best options for this are at Taste Track and Refreshment Port. This is becoming a common thread about these festivals.
This time, these two locations are specializing in lobster-heavy comfort foods that both taste great. Additionally, the peanut butter cake pictured at the top of this post is available at Sunshine Seasons, and it is fantastic.
That covers the broad strokes of what you need to know before eating your way around the world during the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts. We’ll return throughout the event for updates here and there, but this post coupled with our individual booth reviews cover pretty much everything you need to know in terms of what to buy and what to avoid.
We’d again stress that you don’t need to purchase anything to have a great time at Epcot during Festival of the Arts. Well, there are several beautiful pieces of art (including some in relatively inexpensive post card sizes!) that you should consider buying, along with some cool Figment merchandise, but you don’t need to buy any food. If you choose to do a ‘food stroll’ around World Showcase, hopefully our resources help you make wise decisions so you don’t waste any money or Disney Dining Plan snack credits!
Do you have any favorite snacks from the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts? Any least favorite items? Do you think the food is worth the high price tags given the attention to detail, or is it all still overpriced? What are you looking forward to trying at the Food Studio booths? Any questions? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts in the comments!