The best festival of the year (in my humble opinion) is in full swing at Epcot right now.
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts started Friday, January 17th, 2020 and will run through February 24th. Have you booked your trip yet?
As you start planning and preparing for this newest addition to the Epcot festival line up (it only started in 2017), I've compiled my TOP FIVE recommendations in case you're trying to save a bit of money and not try everything.
In full transparency, I went into the festival weekend and anticipated trying nearly everything there. I thought, they have less booths and nearly everything has a focus on looking good and not just tasting good so it will be worth it and not super costly.
Oh, but I was wrong.
Festival of the Arts food and drink prices both spiked up this year compared to the past years and previous festivals. Food is costing on average $8-10 and drinks are costing $12-14, which is a $2 on average price hike from what items would typically cost at Food & Wine and Flower & Garden. Wow.
So I changed my expectations, and still managed to try something from every booth over the course of 4 days at the festival during opening weekend.
My best tip for you right away is to double whatever you planned on spending at the festival. Because your money will not go as far. And also, if you can, split items and their cost with someone else in your group. You'll save money and you won't fill up as fast.
Anyways, let's jump right into my top 5 picks from the festival. These are listed in no particular order (#1 is not necessarily my #1 overall). I like all of these about equally and for different reasons that I'll get into throughout the rest of this post. If you try any of these items, be sure to tag me in a photo/video on Instagram stories and share what you thought!
Deconstructed Reuben (Deconstructed Dish - Canada)
This one took me by surprise - a very good surprise. I wasn't sure I'd like because the ingredients sound on when listed together on a menu. But WOW. There's so much flavory and heartiness to this dish. I'm impressed. I also love all the food dishes at Deconstructed because they are, as the name implies, deconstructed. You'll find some of the best looking food here for that perfect Instagram photo!
This is also one of the cheaper food items, coming in at $6.75, so don't pass this up.
Frida Banana Daiquiri (Mexico)
This drink was so amazing that I got twice (on two separate days). It is pretty strong on banana flavor, so if that's not your thing you may not like it as much. It's definitely a bit strong on the alcohol, but not so over powering that you can't drink it because of the fruity flavor balancing it out. The soft yellow cover is a great look for it too.
This drink, however, is a perfect example of a price hike. It's $14 and isn't overly large nor is it super special like a France slushy or Mexico margarita. Somewhere around $9 would be a better deal for it, but it is good enough that I can look the other way on the price gouging.
Festival Cupcake (Sunshine Seasons - The Land)
Before I got to Epcot for the festival, I actually thought that this item wasn't coming back this year because it wasn't out on Friday for the first day and cast members were saying it wasn't returning. But then on Sunday afternoon, I started seeing some others on Instagram post pictures of it and sure enough, I found it inside The Land's quick-service area Sunshine Seasons in the bakery section. This peanut butter flavored cupcake tastes amazing and it looks beautiful. It's the epitome of what to expect from this festival.
The cupcake costs $6, which honestly isn't awful. You have to go a bit out of your way from the World Showcase to get it, but so worth the trip (and if you're riding Soarin' or seeing the new Awesome Planet show, you can grab it then).
Pollo ala Pirendello (Italy)
This item is so popular that Italy keeps running out of it! I had to stop by a couple times to try to get it before they had it, but don't give up! It's amazing. It's as good as the reuben (above) and there's a lot of meat plus it's stuffed inside with cheese and sauce. This was actually so good that a seagull ate my first one (because I was holding my plate up to take a version of this picture). Fortunately they gave me another one to replace it!
At $10, this chicken leg is again a little pricey but par for the course as well. Italy is definitely stepping up their festival game recently.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Funnel Cake (American Adventure)
I tried this by popular request from many Instagram followers who wanted me to review it (so I hope you're reading this!). This is basically two pieces of funnel cake with peanut butter ice cream in the middle, and then raspberry syrup over it for the jelly component. This ended up being a decent dessert and the ice cream definitely takes the cake (pun intended). I would prefer to have actual grape jelly on it or something and the funnel cake was a bit dry, but overall it was a perfect snack and a good twist on something always offered at the funnel cake stand in American Adventure.
This costs $9.50 and compares pretty evenly with other funnel cake offerings, when you account for the added ice cream component.
And there you have it! For just less than $50, you can get 5 great food (and one drink) option at the Festival of the Arts. Obviously there's plenty more to try and I'll be sharing some other favorites that didn't quite make the top 5 on Instagram over the coming days and weeks so be sure to keep an eye out for those.
What do you want to try first?