2024 Festival of the Arts (FOOD) Trip Report

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend at my favorite Epcot festival, Festival of the Arts, and wanted to share food photos/reviews. :yum: I had finally convinced my sister to accompany me to Disney so that she could experience Disney through my food-centric lens. She’s been to Epcot before but didn’t get to focus much on the food as her family is all about the attractions. Not so with me! As Disney Food Blog puts it, “Food IS a theme park!” As it was only the 2 of us (instead of my usual family of 5), I was also able to try out the Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs. So we were all set for a pretty fabulous weekend trip.

But for weather. :unamused:

It actually didn’t snow much (and accumulated very little in NYC) but it was enough to delay our flight about 2 1/2 hours. In the grand scheme of things, that wasn’t too bad (nothing like the nightmare from my first Disney trip when our flight was cancelled and the airline booked us on a flight 2 DAYS later), but it still sucked. The flight delay cost us a leisurely evening exploring Gran Destino but I’m grateful our flight wasn’t outright cancelled.

We arrived at Gran Destino a little after midnight (and were thus too late to nosh at any of the lounges like I had originally planned). But we were happy with our beautiful room and went to bed ASAP to get an early start the next day.

Day 1 of Gluttony:

We shared a light and fluffy chocolate croissant from Barcelona Lounge in the morning and fueled ourselves with a Café Bombon (Espresso and Sweetened Condensed Milk)


Walt-approved :smile:

Surprisingly, there was only 1 other guest on the bus we caught to Epcot and we were through Epcot security by 7:53am for Early Entry at 8:30am. We rope-dropped Soarin’ and I was super excited as it was my first time with the California version. Don’t hate me but I actually prefer the World one. I like the transitions between the scenes more in the latter and I find the different world locations more interesting. But I’m still glad to have experienced the original Soarin’.

After Soarin’, we walked through the (new to us) Moana Journey of Water exhibit. I think it’s a nice addition to Epcot- relaxing, pretty, and educational in a fun way. I can imagine it would be refreshing, too, in the summer. On a side note, this was a freak weather weekend in Orlando as it went down to the 30s at night and was only in the 50s during the day. Despite it rising to the 50s during the day, it still felt cold enough that we kept our WINTER jackets on pretty much all day and had to bundle up in hats, scarves, and gloves at night. Never thought I’d do that in Disney World. We thought that perhaps the cold weather would keep people away but the sunny weather must’ve won out. Most of the lines for the food booths built up quick, much faster than when I attended last year’s Festival of the Arts (also on a regular weekend). Perhaps it was because this was only the second weekend of the festival whereas I went during the fourth weekend of last year’s.

As we waited for the food booths to open at 11am, we browsed the World Showcase while looking for various chalk art characters and hidden Figments.

First food booth:

L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise


Frozen French Martini: Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord liqueur, pineapple, orange, and grape juices with lemon-lime foam. This was tasty with a bit of alcoholic kick.


Duo de Saumon Hot and Cold: Vol-au-Vent de Saumon et Epinards, Sauce Chardonnay (Puff pastry with salmon and spinach and a chardonnay-shallot sauce, served warm) and Saumon Fumé Mousse et Aspic, Blini et Fromage de Chevre (Salmon mousse, smoked salmon, dill, and flaxseed biscuit, served cold).
If you like salmon (and sushi textures), you’re more likely to appreciate this dish. I enjoy trying unique items so I really liked this offering.


Moelleux aux Noisettes, Croustillant Noisettes, Coulis Framboise et Mangue (Molten Valrhona chocolate cake, hazelnut crunch, and mango-raspberry coulis)
Decent chocolate dessert but not my favorite of this trip. It wasn’t bad but it also didn’t leave much of an impression.

Vibrante & Vívido Encanto Cocina


Passion Fruit-filled Mango Cheesecake with coconut-pineapple cake, dragon fruit gelée, and dragon fruit-strawberry sauce, Chorizo and Potato Empanada with turmeric aïoli and annatto aïoli, and Coconut and Passion Fruit Smoothie.
The cheesecake and smoothie were very fruit forward and enjoyable. The smoothie paired especially well with the mildly spicy empanada. This was one of my favorite booths because the drink, savory item, and dessert were all solid hits.

As we continued counter clockwise around the World Showcase, we also had fun looking at the art displays.

And being amused by the items in the Japanese Mitsukoshi Dept store.


We wanted to try out more of the food from the festival but balked at the crazy long lines. So we kept walking and searching for a more palatable line. We rested for a bit on the benches inside the China Pavilion before browsing the Shanghai Disney exhibit in the House of the Whispering Willows.

We needed another seated break (we did a total of 28000 steps by the end of the day!) so we rode the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico after a less than 10 minute wait. We then bypassed the huge lines at the booths clustered near the entry into World Showcase, hoping that the crowds were starting to die down at the booths in Future World. No such luck but we were pretty hungry by then so we bit the bullet and joined the long food lines.

The Deconstructed Dish


Deconstructed BLT: Pork belly, onion bread pudding, watercress espuma, and tomato jam
The pork belly was nicely crispy but I could take it or leave it with the onion bread pudding.


Deconstructed Key Lime Pie: Flexible Key Lime Curd, “Key Lime” Mousse, Graham Cracker Cake, and Meringues. Yummy, just like last year, but of course, you have to enjoy the tartness of key lime to like this dessert.

We forewent the Deconstructed Strawberry Mint Julep as we planned to try the listed Frozen Watermelon and Dragonfruit flavored Slushies at the nearby Refreshment Station. But when we got there, they only had typical Slushy flavors that you can find in any theme park. So that was a bit of a disappointment.

Cuisine Classique


Beef Wellington: Mushroom duxelles, prosciutto, and puff pastry with red wine demi-glace
A tasty dish, especially with the sauce. But not that memorable.


Cast Iron-roasted P.E.I. mussels with sautéed tomatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs
Decent serving size and quality, considering it’s being served in a theme park at a counter service.

El Artista Hambriento (The Hungry Artist)


Carne Asada: Chipotle-marinated beef sirloin, grilled queso fresco, Nopales salad with queso fresco foam and chicharron dust and Smokey Banana Bliss Margarita: Ten to One Rum, Ilegal Mezcal Joven, banana purée, and lime juice
A bit chewy but the flavor of the beef was really good. However, this beef dish was quite pricey for the small portion. The margarita was delicious and unique- I’d definitely recommend it!

Before heading back towards World Showcase Plaza, we enjoyed a bit of the Disney on Broadway Concert with the cast of Frozen (Cassie Levy and Patti Murin) in the American Pavilion.

Pop Eats!


Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
I would’ve rather had the Pimento Cheese, Fried Green Tomato, and Bacon version of the grilled cheese but my sister was getting pretty full by then and I knew from last year’s experience that I wouldn’t be able to finish that version myself. So we split the basic Grilled Cheese. Truthfully, there really isn’t anything special about this Grilled Cheese or the Tomato soup. If you have a hankering for grilled cheese, I’d recommend the more interesting version. But note that it’s pretty heavy/filling and won’t leave you much room to try more food.


Rock the Dots White Chocolate and Orange Mousse with vanilla bean chiffon cake
This I LOVED. Favorite dessert of the trip. Not too sweet, a bit of crunch from the hard chocolate drizzle, and the mousse is smooth.

We then returned to Future World to ride Spaceship Earth (a first for my sister!) and to enjoy Moana Journey of Water at night.

And seriously, SE is spectacular at night.

We had more time to kill so we also rode the Seas with Nemo (basically a walk on). I had to search a bit around the still existing Wall-Cot before I found the new area in World Celebration. Pretty but much smaller than I expected considering all the coverage from Disney bloggers when it first opened.

We then planted ourselves on the cold stone seating areas on the bridge leading to World Showcase to wait for Luminous. We probably could’ve gotten closer to the railing (and thus a better view) as we were there pretty early but we wanted to beat a swift exit after the fireworks. I was determined to enjoy Gran Destino a bit before the shops/lounges closed for the night. While we waited, I also took a few pictures of the nearby chalk art. I was in awe over how much detail the artists were able to convey with chalk.


After Luminous, we hoofed it to the buses and had time to stop by Panchito’s in Coronado Springs and Dahlia Lounge. The latter was pretty crowded (the indoor portion that is. NOBODY was on the outdoor deck because it was just too cold) but we were able to snag the last open table.

Ponche de Frutas (Pomegranate Juice, Sweet-and-Sour, Pineapple, Blackberry, Lime, Soda Water) and Hibiscus-Mint Limonada (Minute Maid® Premium Lemonade, Hibiscus-Grenadine, Mint and Soda Water). I had the former and have loved it ever since trying it at Toledo during my last trip to Disney.


Croquettes with Jalapeño-Cilantro Pistou and Warm Churros with Chocolate Sauce
The croquettes were interesting (mushy inside with crunch on the outside) but I don’t think I would order them again. If you want croquettes, I’d advise trying the ones from Jaleo instead. The churros were unfortunately very greasy and heavy. The chocolate sauce was also nothing special. In all, the drinks were good but the 2 food items we ordered were a miss.

I may have wished for better luck with the food in Dahlia Lounge but this was a pretty great Epcot day. Onto the next day!

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What a fun day! Thank you for sharing. Your food pictures are gorgeous!

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I was sad that I missed out on Deconstructed Dish this year, but not so much now that I see the poached egg has been replaced by onion pudding. Ew lol. There was also no chalk art when we went…don’t know if it was too early or cold or what but it was disappointing. Those nighttime pics are awesome!

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What a treat to stumble across this - I love your trip reports, you have such beautiful, mouth-watering photos! Looking forward to following along.

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So fun. Thanks for all the pics and details!

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Maybe it had been raining/rain was forecasted the day you went? It’s sad when all the hard work done for the sidewalk chalk art washes away. But the “Chalk Full of Character” characters hidden around the World Showcase are decals, I believe. Fun free scavenger hunt!

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I love a food pic trip report.

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Day 2 of Gluttony:

As it was our checkout day, we hung back just a bit in the morning so that we could soak up the view from our hotel room in the daylight before we left for good.

A great view while sipping Mocha Lattes! It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to enjoy Gran Destino more. I’ve eaten at both Three Bridges and Toledo on previous trips and they are both solid choices for food quality and ambiance, the latter being better for a special date night while the former is more casual.

We took the bus to Epcot and were window shopping in a mostly empty Creations Shop by 9am. I was still hunting for a particular festival pin but didn’t find a good variety of the various festival pins until later in the day in a tiny festival kiosk in World Showcase. Since we didn’t have any luck in Creations and the food booths didn’t open till 11am, we walked to Norway for a light breakfast.


The quintessential Mickey Cinnamon Roll from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

We then headed to Karamell-Küche to stock up on edible souvenirs to bring home before the lines built up later in the day.


Caramel Pretzel Cookie


Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt


Chocolate Caramel Cookie


Gingerbread Cookie Sandwich


From Weinkeller in Germany, I got to try a shot of the Mozart Chocolate Liquor.
Yummy but probably a one and done for me as it’s pretty pricey for a small shot.

As we made our way back to the cluster of food booths near World Showcase Plaza, we found a few more hidden Figments and admired more pieces of art for sale.

Then onto the food booths!

The Craftsman’s Courtyard


Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with caramelized onions and mushrooms, blue cheese fondue, and arugula on a grilled French roll
This was delicious but a small portion size. I think I ate my half in 3 bites.

The Painted Panda


Silk River Hard Lemonade with vodka, lavender-coconut syrup, and lemonade
This was my favorite alcoholic drink of the trip. Light, refreshing, and not too sweet. Just right.

I didn’t bother with the food at this booth as I’m from NYC and have access to better (and cheaper) Chinese food on a daily basis. But I was impressed that Disney is trying to offer more unique Chinese items. A word of advice to those eyeing the Sesame Balls- I LOVE these when buying them in NYC’s Chinatown but you have to like mochi-like chewy textures AND red bean paste (it’s sweet, not like what you think regular beans taste like). They are best when served super fresh so I’m not sure how well Disney is executing these.

Pastoral Palate


Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib with parsnip purée, broccolini, baby tomatoes, and balsamic glaze
I really liked this dish as the beef was tender and flavorful.

I bypassed the Italy booth because again, I’m from NYC, and there’s awesome Italian food to be had there. Plus, none of the listed items looked particularly innovative. The fried cheese with the different dips is cute aesthetically but didn’t seem worth it for the price. Same goes for the funnel cake specialty. I LOVE funnel cake. Put it with ice cream, I’m poised and ready to eat with gluttonous abandon. But $12 for such a tiny portion? Nah.

The Artist’s Table


Duck and Dumplings: Smoked duck breast, ricotta dumplings, baby vegetables, and duck jus
The duck was pretty good but the dumplings were flavorless. Odd.


Hummingbird Cake: Banana and pecan cake dipped in cream cheese icing with caramel sauce and warm pineapple compote
This dessert was (unsurprisingly) VERY sweet. It’s a pretty basic dessert that you can probably find somewhere in your hometown. If you have limited dessert stomach space, I’d recommend trying something more unique. But it’s a decent choice if you want a more straightforward cake with a bit of flair.
It’s way better than a standard Disney cupcake.

Goshiki


Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped Sushi featuring salmon, tuna, shrimp, cucumber, and sesame seed over a decorated plate of wasabi aïoli, sriracha aïoli, and eel sauce
Decent quality sushi and a picturesque presentation. Not that unique taste-wise but a fun photo.


Ichigo Mochi – Daifuku: Daifuku mochi filled with fresh strawberry, sweet azuki bean paste, and white chocolate served with strawberry cream
The mochi was a little on the dry side. I don’t think it would be a good intro to mochi if you’ve never had it. Get some mochi ice cream from an Asian grocery store instead (or Trader Joe’s!).

Side note: this festival severely lacked sufficient tabletops. I was very surprised at how few tables were provided in comparison to all of the previous festivals I’ve attended, including last year’s Festival of the Arts. If you’re noshing in the Japan area with food from Japan/America, I’d highly recommend taking your food up to the outdoor seated section of Katsura Grill. There are steps leading up to this tranquil garden setting a bit behind Kabuki Cafe. It’s usually pretty quiet there and has a fair amount of seating.

Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina


Chocolate Cake with pomegranate mousse and pomegranate whipped cream
I would’ve gotten the kebabs, too, (as I’ve enjoyed them and the accompanying carrot-chickpea salad in the past) but I was getting very full by this point. I was only able to take a few bites of this cake before saving it for my flight home. The chocolate cake portion was just ok. I was intrigued by the pomegranate mousse. It was interesting but not necessarily a must get.

We finished the lap around World Showcase and wound up at the last booth of our trip to finish up the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine. I’ve had the prizes before (the cookie and smoothie) and they aren’t anything special and not worth intentionally pursuing. But if you already have the stamps required, go nuts. As my daughter pegged it, the cookie tastes like “cardboard”. :grimacing: The smoothie is…a smoothie. Very fruity. But the Coconut Passion Fruit Smoothie at Vibrante & Vivido: Encanto Cocina is leagues better.

Deco Delights


Neapolitan Dessert Trio: Chocolate tart, vanilla bean cheesecake, and strawberry mousse
This trio is fun in that it gives you 3 different flavor profiles. Nothing will knock your socks off but it’s a nice variety.

On our way out, we rode Living with the Land for one last ride before saying farewell to Epcot.
I also added one more pair of ears to my collection in addition to a festival pin and hotel pin.


Heh. These ears are supposed to be conchas, a Mexican sweet bread, and I’ve been slowly collecting food-related ears themed to each country. 3 down, 8 more to go.

It was a great trip and I can’t wait to go again.

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Thanks for sharing! Loved seeing all the food and drink with descriptions!

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Thanks for sharing! Many things for me to look forward to! I’ll be arriving tomorrow. It’s my second favorite festival.

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Have a great time!!!

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Yes, your food reviews with photos and explanations are great, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize your photography skills! Every one of your photos is beautifully composed with a great background! Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us.

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I didn’t try the rock the dots dessert. It looks yummy!


Also, yum!

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I loved reading this, thank you so much for sharing. The pictures are great, you really captured everything is very appealing ways! I loved reading your thoughts + opinions too, especially as someone who hasn’t been to the Festival of the Arts. So glad you had a great trip!

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Food report! I got some extra pounds just by looking at these … yum :yum:

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Thank you so much! I have fun with food photos. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Loved this! And I learned a new word that from now on I will be using. “Noshed”

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Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are amazing.

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