Disney’s Festival of the Arts

I just turned 50 in January, and my hubby did back in August when travel was right out, so we headed to Disney last week for a big celebration. 8 glorious days. Two in each park. Perfect! We didn’t realize the Festival of the Arts was going on at Epcot! Even better! There are little stands scattered throughout the World Showcase that generally have 2 entrees, a couple of beverages and a dessert. They are little taster plates and mostly in the $6-$10 range, so you can have fabulous bites around the world, kind of like global tapas. We had a fantastic time. Let me tell you all about it!

Let’s get covid handling out of the way, since we’re all thinking about it and wanting to stay healthy. They have it all down! They take everyone’s temps at the gates, enforce masks over mouths and noses, and have everything socially distanced like the workings of a fine clock. You walk into the movie experience and every other row is closed, and in the rows open, 4 seats on and 4 seats off. The lines are marked. Lines are super long and constantly moving, one tape mark at a time, so the mileage is more than usual. We’d much rather walk than stand, so we actually preferred it. Everything is ultra organized and enforced, so you won’t see someone with a chin diaper making you irritated because you’re a rule-follower. People are in good spirits and well-behaved. I’m so impressed! We’d give Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom A+ ratings, and Epcot and Hollywood Bs. At Hollywood, excited adults under the Millennium Falcon and excited kiddos in Toy Story land make it harder to keep to the 6 feet. The first day we were at Epcot was a Sunday and we’d give it an A. The second day it was a Saturday and much more crowded. Since there’s no real structure to movement like lines, it was a lot messier. For comparison, I’d give our local grocery stores Ds. You’re on the cynical end of the spectrum? No problem. We can look at it that way, too. Everyone there, with the exception of locals, has plunked down a handsome pocketful for their adventure. A week at Disney, once you’ve bought all your tickets, food, and an Airbnb or Disney stay, usually runs our family of 4 somewhere between $3000 and $5000. You know that your temp will be taken each day. If someone in your party has a fever, you’ve just spent an awful lot of money to sit in a hotel for a week. It’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to stay healthy so you can enjoy that vacation you booked. And you don’t want to spoil anyone else’s vacations. So people are being great.

Let’s talk about the parks!!! I’ll take you Epcot’s Festival of the Arts first!

Vibrante & Vivado was our favorite both for entree and dessert. The blue corn pupusa had outstanding flavor and was huge! I had to enlist the help of our oldest kiddo to finish it. The passion fruit mousse with dragon fruit jam had the perfect sweet and tart balance and was wonderfully refreshing. To be fair, the hub and I only split this and one other dessert the whole trip, but this would beat anything! LOL! And youngest kiddo loved her smoothie.

The Artist’s Table was fantastic! We adored the little beef wellingtons with darling pickled vegetables. Our youngest loved her scallop. And the beer flight was perfect! I’m not usually a stout fan but that one was delicious. We’re definitely looking for the vanilla the next time we head over to Total Wine.

The Masterpiece Kitchen had the prettiest food. That salmon stack! <3<3<3 The mushroom risotto is the same as Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion. The panna cotta had a Turkish delight vibe.

Goshiki had sushi donuts. These were darling and delicious! I think it may be the only thing all 4 of us ordered.

Lobster ravioli and a margarita with limoncello and tequila. All the yes! L’Arte di Mangiare.

El Artista Hambriento. The chile relleno was divine. My husband was jealous with his pork belly, so I gave him half of mine.

Cuisine Classique. We loved the braised short rib. The coq au vin was okay. They offered frozen rose and a rose flight. I’d love to try that one, but the hubster needed a grapefruit beer in Germany.

Mosaic Canteen. My baby loved the Mediterranean flatbread. Yes, there’s a bite missing. She suffers from impressive hanger. 😀

This was our least favorite. The flavor of the croissant was nice, but it should really be called croissant shaped roll with truffle filling.

They are making a Ratatouille land behind the French pavilion. You can see a bit of it over the wall. There’s going to be a Remy the rat ride!! Here’s a little more of the Epcot fun in case you wanna come with!

Hollywood! Oooooh! That new Star Wars land is amazing!!!!

The Rise of the Resistance ride is the best thing ever. You must get in a virtual line at 7 on the dot in the morning to ride it. If you miss it because you were 10 seconds late the first time, there’s a second chance at 1pm. I’ll bet these times will vary over time, so be sure to check what’s current. We drew group 157 the first day and didn’t get on until 7 at night right at closing. The second day we drew 100 and got on at 4pm, which was much more civilized. In any event, it is absolutely worth getting up at 5 am for!!!

There’s a full size Millennium Falcon you can walk around (not in), and a ride where you’re either a pilot, gunner, or engineer on the Millennium Falcon.

We ate at Docking Bay 7 one day and the pot roast is really nice. You can’t see it, but there’s lots of kale and mushrooms underneath. My baby loved her veggie balls over hummus. My husband had the tip yip and said it was okay, but it looks pretty bad. I think he was just really committed to the name.

Oga’s Cantina is overpriced, but too neat to miss! We had some kind of charcuterie that I called a Star Cutie board because I’m a dork. I think one of the meats was actually Spam. The other offering was veggie chips with a chimichurri dip and that was tasty. The cocktails were fun, and the water has boba at the bottom and must be on dry ice, because they were smoking. For us the highlight was the droid dj, DJ R-3X.

A little more Hollywood. The new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway where the Great Movie Ride used to be is wonderful and charming.

Magic Kingdom

We ate at the Jungle Cruise Skipper Cantina the first day. That place is fabulous! It’s right across from the Jungle Cruise ride and just as ridiculous! My hub ordered an appetizer called Pao de Queijo, a tapioca-based Brazilian cheese bread. I’m usually disinterested in appetizers <I know!> because I can never finish my own plate, so I didn’t snap a pic <I know!>. It was phenomenal! I snapped a pic of the receipt to make sure I’d remember the dish name. If you have a fave recipe of that dish, please shoot it to me! I’ll go scan Gran Cocina Latina to see if it’s in there.

The second day we ate at Tony’s. Fabulous!

Animal Kingdom

The Avatar ride is still the best! We were bummed last time we went that they got rid of “Simba 1! Simba 1!” on the safari ride. They’ve made it a lot more educational, so we love it again. A flock of flamingoes is a flamboyance, a group of giraffes is a tower, and a bunch of zebras is a dazzle. Yeah. Just learned that.

We ate at Yak and Yeti the first day, and Yak and Yeti’s quick bar the second day. Both really nice, but way more produce at the first!

Downtown Disney Springs has these little goodies on offer. Yeah. Grogu! 😀

We rented a three bedroom and bath Airbnb so the kids, 16 and 20, would have their own space. This beautiful room went unused so they could share the Mickey bunkbed room.

If you leave the park early any day, there’s a Giordano’s in Orlando.

Souvenirs? I got Laila perfume at the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, but I found it on Amazon, too! It was about the same price.

We’re back home and missing it already!! Cheers!