Peanut Adventures, Issue 15 (Festival of the Arts)
Epcot has been getting some flack in recent years. I keep hearing people scathingly refer to it as the "Experimental Prototype Festival Center Of Tomorrow." I must be missing something, because WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT THE FESTIVALS?! True, there are honestly only a few scattered weeks of the year now (plus most of the summer) that don't have some kind of festival going on (and I'm just waiting for them to announce a summer festival at this point). Our favorite is still Flower and Garden (D asks for violet lemonade all year round), but Festival of the Arts is quickly rising up in the ranks for us.
This Saturday was our first visit to the Festival of the Arts for the year, and priority number one for D is always the scavenger hunt (we do these every time they are offered at the festivals, it's a great way to get kids involved in World Showcase exploration). They've expanded the offerings at the festival this year when it comes to seminars and events, so I feel very confident in saying YOU CANNOT COME CLOSE TO DOING EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO DO IN ONE VISIT. There's an art walk, there are tons of art vendors selling fine art, amazing classes and seminars (including the former permanent Hollywood Studios attraction: Animation Academy), Broadway stars performing nightly, living statues, and other interactive art exhibits throughout the world showcase AND Futureworld.
We grabbed our art hunt map right off the bat. It's around $8 and you can get an AP discount on it.
We met up with some friends, and D explored Colortopia for the first time (it's a permanent attraction at Innoventions, and I have a feeling we'll be going to see it a lot more now).
There were artists working on major sidewalk pieces near the former Universe of Energy attraction. D got to talk to one of the artists about what he was working on.
There was a huge area for guests to make their own sidewalk art. D made Figment.
One of the first major interactive exhibits when you get to the World Showcase is the tile mural. They are completed and a new one is started every 2-3 days. Guests are handed a paintbrush and a numbered paint, and you get to paint tiles by number. And it costs nothing. D loved it.
*The rest of this trip to Festival of the Arts was spent doing the Art Scavenger Hunt mentioned above. Below will be spoilers for the locations of the art. Without hints, it could easily take you all day to complete this, or be faced with a very frustrated child who is stomping their feet refusing to leave a country. Most of the art is relatively easy to find, but a lot of it is in non-obvious places, so let this be a fall back if any of you struggle to find some of the art pieces.*
Contrary to our usual traffic patterns, we ended up going counter clockwise (I blame the mural, since it was in that direction, and D was instantly taken with it). That made Canada our first country. D vividly remembered the painting hunt (after I repeatedly assured her it WASN'T the egg hunt that we do at Flower & Garden).
We meandered around some of the art stalls, but D was definitely focused on finding the paintings. Now that she remembered the paintings, she grabbed my hand and dragged me directly to the spot it was in last year. Good call, kid.
D also remembered that there is a different coloring sheet at Kidcot stations during the festival, so she grabbed one in the UK and made me stop AT EVERY KIDCOT STATION AFTER so she could color a little bit more and get stamps around the world. Of course. Onward to France! (D says "New York" every time she sees the Eiffel tower. I have no idea why.)
If you haven't noticed yet, this hunt is all about finding famous pieces of art that originated in the country and then incorporating Figment, the Festival mascot, into the painting. Figment's incorporation into the Monet in France (with his reflection waving back at him) is probably my favorite.
Conveniently enough (for D) many of the paintings are placed near the Kidcot stations in each country. D also made googoo eyes at the kid-sized belly dancer costumes for sale in Morocco. Lawwwwwwwd...
Ok quick side note: my kid was able to recite each country of the World Showcase when I asked her which one was next, but when I asked her at home (as part of her homework) to recite the months of the year in order? She struggled. Oy.
D loves wandering the shops in Japan, she particularly loves to fawn over the Gudetama plushes. This painting was one of the hardest to find.
There are a lot of photo ops throughout the showcase that allow you to climb into famous paintings. This was the one D wanted to stop for. She informed the Photopass as we were walking up "excuse me, we're doing one together but then we are going to do another shot just of me." Oh ok, Miss Diva.
Onward to Italy!
Around the time we made it to Germany, the crowds were starting to grow. Germany in particular was a ZOO. We wiggled our way back to the Teddybär store.
This painting was also a bit sneaky in its placement. We moved on toward the China Pavilion, a country that D has been so enamored of lately (it might have something to do with her learning Mandarin at school).
D keeps asking to go see Mulan when we are there, but her line has been craaaaazy. D also made a beeline for the Norway pavilion shop where she'd remembered the painting from last year (note, some of the paintings were in the same place, some were a little different, it's the same with the Eggs every year. The eggs are harder, though, because they can be inside OR outside, while all the paintings are indoors).
I tried to get her to make the Home Alone face for this photo. She refused.
Mexico is always a favorite. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Dia De Los Muertos exhibit they'd set up in the entry way in honor of Coco. D was really excited to about it, too.
MAP DONE! TIME TO CASH IN FOR OUR REWARD (*note that you don't have to complete the map to get your redemption gift*). Last year we got a really cute magnet of the Figmonalisa painting. This year? NEW STUFF!!!
D was so taken with these glitter pins, I suspect she might try to talk us into doing this more than once this year.
We'd time it just right to take a spin on Soarin' with our FastPasses for the first time in ages, then we called it a day.
D is already planning our second trip to the Festival, most likely doing the Art Walk with the passport (there are art rubbings you can do in each country to complete the passport) and with a visit to the Animation Academy.
We can't wait.