Food Favorites from the 2018 Epcot Festival of the Arts

by on January 18, 2018

2018 Epcot International Festival of the ArtsIt’s a new year, which means it’s already time for a new festival full of fun flavors at Walt Disney World. Following the rousing success of last year’s inaugural Epcot Festival of the Arts, 2018’s fest returns with thirteen food booths featuring incredible culinary creations from around the globe. During the festival’s opening weekend, I had a chance to try so many great new and returning dishes, and today, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorites from every booth with you, including a few of the more interesting drinks on offer at the festival. As always, click on each image to see a larger version!

The Painter’s Palate (Odyssey Festival Showplace)

  • Trio of Croissant DonutsTrio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts
    • Whipped Boursin Garlic and Herb Cheese
    • Chicken Salad with Shaved Fennel and Fresh Herbs
    • Spicy Tuna with Wasabi and Seaweed Salad

The return of the savory cronuts brings another killer trio to snack on in the festival center. Who doesn’t like garlicky cheese on a buttery croissant? Bonus: the chicken salad here is really awesome – not too saucy, full of savory and sweet counterpoints from the well-seasoned chicken and the fennel. The spicy tuna cronut seemed like an odd mash-up of cultures before I tried it, but I was sold after one bite.

  • Gallery BitesGallery Bites: A Trio of Hors d’Oeuvres
    • Chilled Shrimp with Cucumber Cream Cheese on a Crostini
    • Traditional Deviled Egg with Candied Bacon
    • Crispy Truffled Risotto Ball with Stone-Ground Mustard

If cronuts aren’t your thing, this snacky trio is a slam-dunk. A good old fashioned deviled egg with a sweet (albeit a bit chewy) piece of bacon, an addictively crispy-chewy truffle arancini with spicy mustard, and a perfectly poached shrimp on toast make for a solid serving of elevated goodness, if you’re in search for a substantial snack.

  • Popcorn and Beer FlightPopcorn and Beer Flight

I did not expect a beer flight to feature as one of my favorite drink picks of the festival, but with individual popcorn pairings, it was too novel to pass up. Alongside a pilsner comes a few bites of sweet and smoky bacon barbecue popcorn; with the IPA, a zippy jalapeno ranch flavor popcorn; and with the brown ale, my favorite, a tangy buffalo blue cheese popcorn.

The Deconstructed Dish (Showcase Plaza)

  • Deconstructed BLTDeconstructed BLT with Crispy Pork Belly, Tomato Jam, and Soft Poached Egg

Though I wouldn’t necessarily say this’ll satisfy a craving for a good ol’ fashioned BLT, this dish is certainly tasty. A sizeable portion of pork belly and a perfectly runny soft poached egg combine with tangy and sweet tomato jam to create an umami bomb of a snack. The herbaceous pesto smeared on the plate is somewhat reminiscent of the “green” flavors of the lettuce in a BLT, and while I do miss the crunch of toasted bread, the richness of the egg and pork belly more than make up for it.

  • Deconstructed CheesecakeDeconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake – Whipped New York-Style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries, Sugar Cookies, and Micro-basil

Think of this as cheesecake pudding with toppings – the whipped cheesecake definitely has the tang you’d expect from a typical New York-style cheesecake, but the sugar cookies and strawberry topping donate a bit of sweetness to the party. The addition of the micro basil is a fun and artsy touch, making the plate pop visually and flavor-wise.

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Epcot Festival of the Arts Food Studios Menus Released

by on January 11, 2018

Epcot Festival of the Arts


Wow! This weekend kicks off the second annual Epcot Festival of the Arts which is returning from January 12 through February 19. This festival really celebrates all things artsy and one of the key components of the Epcot Festival of the Arts is the incredible food and beverage options which can be found a the Food Studios kiosks that are located around the World Showcase promenade. Let me tell you that I am not overselling it when I say that these dishes and beverages really are serious works of art.

Today, I have the different menus of the different Food Studios, as well as the other unique dining options that will be available for Guests throughout the Festival.


The Deconstructed Dish (Showcase Plaza)

Delicious dishes that dazzle


  • Deconstructed Reuben with shredded corned beef, Thousand Island dressing, pickled red cabbage, and a rye curl
  • Deconstructed BLT with crispy pork belly, tomato jam, and a soft poached egg
  • Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped, New York Style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries and Sugar Cookies with Micro-basil


  • Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake with Maple Bourbon Cream, a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon
  • Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake with Maple Syrup, a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon (non-alcoholic)
  • Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
  • Pop-Artsicle: Red, White and Blue Frozen Slushy (non-alcoholic)


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Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable to Close at Epcot

by on January 10, 2018

Circle of Life

©Rikki Niblett

Well, it’s time we say goodbye to the Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable film that is shown at The Land Pavilion in Epcot. The attraction will close after over 20 years on February 3.

The film, for those who haven’t seen it, is an edutainment offering that stars Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon, from The Lion King. The film spotlights the environmental inter-dependency of all creatures and demonstrates just how easily the ecological balance can be upset. The 20 minute show is certainly an enlightening one, although also a little be sobering too. (And the many who napped there will also miss the dark respite.)

There is no word on what exactly what will be replacing the film. For the temporary time being, it appears that the theater will be used by Disney Performing Arts  to host student workshops and performances.

New Musical Acts Announced for Epcot This Winter

by on December 21, 2017



Epcot’s World Showcase is an authentic display of entertainment acts. Each one showcases different talents that pertain to something to do with that country. This winter, three authentic acts will take the stage, bringing great offerings.

First is Matboukha Groove. This band is a returning act that performs a unique and entertaining fusion of World Music styles. Guests will be able to catch Matboukha Groove at the Morocco stage from January 1- July 1.

Over in the Germany Pavilion, catch Groovin’ Alps. They are a high-energy German percussion band and brand new to Epcot. Groovin’ Alps brings the sounds of the mountains to Epcot with Bavarian folk tunes played on items found on a dairy farm and they will be performing from January 10 – March 27.

Finally, Bodh’aktan will be returning once again to rock out on the Canada Pavilion’s Mill Stage. Bodh’aktan mixes Quebecois, folk, and polka to make fantastic rock and dance music. They will be performing from January 12-28.

Which new act sounds most intriguing to you?

Garden Rocks Artists Announced for 2018 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

by on December 21, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

It may be the first day of winter, but I’m thinking about spring. Why? Because this week we learned which artists will be coming for the 2018 Garden Rocks Concert Series, part of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

The annual springtime event, the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, will run from February 28 through May 28. That’s 90 days of flowers, topiaries, food, demonstrations, seminars, and, yes, the Garden Rocks Concert Series!

The Garden Rocks Concert Series (which was formerly known as the Flower Power Concert Series) shows take place on Friday through Monday evenings at the America Gardens Theatre in the American Adventure Pavilion.

This year, many favorite performers will be returning, but there will also be quite a few new artists from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. They all are going to be ready to rock! Here is this year’s line up:

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Holidays Around The Parks: Epcot Edition

by on December 8, 2017

It’s that time of year again when theme parks roll out their holiday decorations to celebrate the season in their own magical ways. Whether you’re a fan of the mouse or the boy who lived, there is something for everyone this holiday season when it comes to décor in the parks. Today we’re going to take you on a tour through Epcot as we explore some of the elements that make Holidays Around the World one of the grandest, joyous celebrations of the holidays in Orlando.

One of the newer offerings this season is the Cookie Nook, located inside the former Odyssey building. As the name implies, you can find a wide selection of scrumptious Christmas cookies to pair with local brews that have a holiday flair to them. Having grown up in Titusville, I must recommend the Playalinda Brewing Company’s Sparkling Christmas Coffee Blonde, which emits a robust coffee flavor for a lighter beer. Holiday gifts are also available for purchase at this location.

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Artists Announced for the Disney on Broadway Concert Series

by on December 6, 2017

Disney on Broadway Concert Series


The Epcot Festival of the Arts is a celebration of all things art. That includes visual art, culinary art, and theatrical art. Which means that during this unique festival, the park collaborates with Disney Theatrical to bring favorite music and Broadway talent who will perform at the America Gardens Theatre singing the award-winning music of Disney on Broadway, including ‪The Lion King‪, Newsies, and Aladdin. The shows will take place Fridays through Mondays from January 12 through February 19.

Here is a list of performers for the 2018 Disney on Broadway Concert Series:

January 12 to 15
Performers: Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey
Songs from: Tarzan, Aladdin, Newsies and Frozen

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Details about the 2018 Epcot Festival of the Arts

by on November 28, 2017


I am super happy to see that the Epcot Festival of the Arts is returning. Debuting last year, the festival celebrates everything artistic. This includes visual arts, culinary arts, performing arts, and so much more.

The festival has been expanded for 2018, with it taking place every day this year, from January 12 through February 19. During the Epcot Festival of the Arts,  Guests will be able to see some gorgeous works of art in person. They will also be able to participate in seminars and watch the creative process live. There are multiple food booths called Food Studios located around the World Showcase promenade which features dishes that are serious works of art. Finally, through a collaboration with Disney Theatrical, favorite music and Broadway talent will perform at the America Gardens Theatre singing the award-winning music of Disney on Broadway. (Which I recently shared details about how you can now book the Disney on Broadway Dining Packages.)

Here is the rundown of what you can expect to experience at this year’s Epcot Festival of the Arts:

Featured Exhibits

There are not only Featured Exhibits that contain unique artwork, but many of the World Showcase pavilion’s artwork is also highlighted. These Featured Exhibits can be seen in the Odyssey Festival Showplace.

  • Disney’s Iconic Artists  – Study pieces that are responsible for creating so many childhood memories.
  • Disney-Inspired Original Art – Take home original artwork created by some of Disney’s most beloved artists.

Pavilion Exhibits

  • American Heritage Gallery – American Adventure: Journey through 400 years of African-American achievement.
  • Art of Disney – Future World West: Purchase work by popular Disney artists as well as Festival merchandise.
  • Bijutsu-kan Gallery – Japan: Delve into the origin and evolution of “kawaii,” Japan’s cute culture.
  • Gallery of Arts and History – Morocco – Check out the unique designs of time-honored crafts.
  • House of the Whispering Willows – China: Discover the wonders of the new Shanghai Disney Resort.
  • Mexico Folk Art Gallery – Mexico: Celebrate the traditions of Día de Muertos.
  • Stave Church Gallery – Norway: Observe art representational of the culture that influenced Disney’s Frozen.
  • Chalk Gallery – World Showcase: Watch imaginative chalk artists recreate works by famous masters.

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El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia Now Performing at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

by on November 28, 2017


Have you had the chance to see Coco yet? Well, to tie the film into its Mexican heritage, the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot has introduced a new musical act for a limited time.

El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia is a musical act that was inspired by the film and they will be entertaining Guests through January 6. The group gets their name courtesy of  the town of Santa Cecilia, which is featured in Coco.  El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia will perform songs from the movie including “Remember Me” and “The World Es Mi Familia.”

In addition, a new interactive exhibit and festive dioramas that showcase scenes from the film will be added to the Mexico Folk Art Gallery. Currently the gallery features an exhibit called Remember Me.

Coco is now in theaters.

Full Menus for the Epcot International Festival of Holidays

by on November 22, 2017

Epcot International Festival of Holidays

©Rikki Niblett

This year, the Walt Disney World Resort has introduced a new holiday festival. Well, sort of. What was previously known as the Epcot Holidays Around the World is now known as the Epcot International Festival of Holidays. With this name change comes a few additional bonuses, one of which is brand new Holiday Kitchen Marketplace Booths where you can try holiday delights from around the world.

Here are the 12 different Holiday Kitchens and their menus:

Alsace Holiday Kitchen – France Pavilion


  • Napoléon de Saumon Fumé, Brioche á l’aneth: Smoked Salmon Napoleon in a Dill Brioche
  • Le Réveillon de Noël: Turkey Breast Stuffed with Mushrooms and Chestnuts with Sweet Potato Purée
  • Bûche de Noël au Chocolat: Slice of Chocolate Chirstmas Yule Log


  • Spiced Rum Punch Slush: Spiced Rum, Rhum Clement V.S.O.P., Orange and Pineapple Juice with Cinnamon
  • Merlot & Cabernet Blend, Château de Bechuad, Saint Emilion
  • Holiday Kir: Sparkling Wine and Monin Cranberry Syrup
  • Champagne Brut, Nicolas Feuillatte

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