The fam and I were back at the World last week and we had a blast! We were visiting for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and decided to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. This was our first time staying at the Fort, although we have visited the resort a handful of times over the years. Campers can rent a campsite but those without RVs (or tents) can rent a cute wilderness cabin. With the Fort being spread out over about 750 acres, renting a golf cart is basically a must-do, so we arranged for that beforehand. Parking right at the cabin was so handy, as was driving to/from the main bus stop as needed. It really added to the fun!
These cabins sleep up to six but I personally would keep that to 2 or 3 adults and 2 to 3 kids. There is a queen bed and set of bunks in the bedroom (so that sleeps four) and a pull-out sofa in the living room (for two more guests) but just one bathroom. We are a party of three adults and were cozy but fine, although I can’t imagine having another adult or multiple kids in the space. Having a small kitchen was also a plus and allowed us to have some groceries in the room for breakfast and snacks at the end of the day. I even saw deer at the resort twice on our trip, once right out of our bedroom window!
Like the other three annual Epcot festivals, the Festival of the Arts offers food booths throughout the park with small, tapas-sized food and drinks for purchase. The big difference is that the food at this festival is much more inventive and purposefully ‘pretty’ when served. We love to snack and some of our faves are pictured below and yes, that is a sushi donut! It is so funny to see guests coming in, grabbing their festival booklet, choosing their ‘roadmap’ of food for the day, and eating their way from location to location. Some guests come in with printouts from various websites with lists of the food options and checklists to make sure they don’t miss anything! We do something similar, albeit much less intense, by going through Disney’s list of offerings before the festival and making some rough notes on things we want to try. Being a vegetarian, my options automatically get cut way down (boo!) but there were some great fruit options this year. I only missed a really fun looking mozzarella dish from Italy this time but the line was INSANE so I passed (also boo!)
Since it is the Festival of the ARTS, you can’t miss all of the art being offered and created throughout the park. A variety of artists come in and showcase their work, including originals for the festival, and autograph pieces purchased during the event. This is a big highlight for us as we have followed some of the artists for years and love to see what they bring to the festival each January. There are also ways to create your own art, including the super fun paint-by-number mural before you enter World Showcase. This is a gigantic canvas, painted by guests and completed about every two days. Then the canvases are removed and stored and a new scene is set up for the next day. There are four scenes to paint throughout the festival. The picture below shows the four murals happening this year. I love the Starry Night one but it won’t come up until later in February. The one we were working on was the first one shown below with Figment in a pop art style. Each guest gets a paint brush and cup of paint, then is directed to the mural and paints a certain number of squares in an assigned section for their numbered color. Everyone really gets into it!
Our other favorite part of the festival is the chalk art that is created on the bridge into World Showcase. Chalk artists come in every day to create masterpieces for guests to enjoy. If it rains, the artists have a backup location to chalk and use canvases instead. This year, my daughter was invited to come to Epcot to chalk for the festival, which was such an amazing opportunity! She is in college and is majoring in art so this was a dream come true for her. There are about 15 people on the chalk art team this year, some chalking every other day and others coming in for a piece or two. Her piece was a recreation of Wassily Kandinsky’s Circles, so fun and colorful. They generally do recreations of masters but Leigh, Hailey’s art teacher and the main chalk artist for the festival, is allowed to chalk Disney characters (with some restrictions). Each piece generally takes about three to four hours to complete and is done with soft pastels. If you want to see some incredible work come to life during your festival visit, do not miss stopping by and watching these artists create some true magic!
We also visited Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios during this trip and had a fun thing happen for us while in line for Tower of Terror! We were in the Lightning Lane line for Tower, making our way around the outside of the Hollywood Tower Hotel to enter the building. We ran across Goofy, who was entertaining guests in the regular queue line. He looked at Hailey and then led her off with him around the corner. We were all a bit confused, until we saw where he was heading. His son, Max, was right around the corner and Goofy took Hailey to him! It was so incredibly cute and such a memorable moment. You see, Hailey has loved the Max character since she was little. Max’s love interest in The Goofy Movie (which we watched so many times) was Roxanne, who does resemble Hailey with the red hair. He has always been a hard character to find in the parks so this was super cool! Truly magical!
This trip was so much fun and really reminded me why I love all things Disney. The Cast Member interactions were incredible, we loved our little cabin, ate some delicious food, and enjoyed all of our favorite attractions and shows. Even as our daughter gets older and we visit more and more, our passion for Disney doesn’t change and we continue to make new memories to treasure forever. It is so nice to have an 18-year-old who still likes hanging out with her parents. Although, I think we’re pretty fun…
Until next time,