The 2020 International Festival of the Arts at Epcot



The 2020 International Festival of the Arts at Epcot

The 2020 International Festival of the Arts runs January 17th –  February 24, 2020.

festival of the artsLots More to See, Do and Eat During the 2020 Festival

  • Grab a paintbrush and add color to a wall mural along World Showcase Plaza.
  • Join Figment’s Brush with the Masters, a scavenger hunt where the friendly dragon has painted himself into famous pieces of art in each World Showcase pavilion.
  • Marvel at and purchase works by Disney’s iconic artists with displays throughout World Showcase.
  • Watch visiting artists as they create new pieces, from Disney-inspired works to creative art across diverse mediums.
  • Create festival-inspired T-shirts and candles.
  • Explore the Green Landing Family Play Zone where Wall-E and Eve invite the entire family to enjoy a lush, green environment built for exploring.
  • Jump into photo-ops located throughout Epcot, such as the Peter Pan Storybook installation by the United Kingdom pavilion where guests can flap their fins in Mermaid Lagoon or get their pirate on at Skull Rock.
  • Indulge in new culinary fun at the Le Cellier Brunch in the Canada pavilion, a leisurely prix fixe bounty each Saturday and Sunday in the relaxing Canadian chateau. Reservations required.

Three new films will debut at Epcot on the starting day of the festival. Guests can enjoy the “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” at the France pavilion; “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” at the Canada pavilion and “Awesome Planet” at The Land pavilion.

Minnie Ears Arts

New 2020 Festival of the Arts Minnie Ears! ❤

     “Where everyone is an artist.”


Disney paintings everywhere!


A new wall mural is painted every day.  (Free event)


It’s fun to see it started in the morning, then come back in the late afternoon and see all the progress made on it.

festival of art

We chose the blue color, #7.  You are supposed to paint at least 4 squares in your color.  The festival passport is free.


Christian sent us this postcard from the day he went to the Festival last year as a cast member.


Free postcard when you’re done painting. The Faces of Figment the day we were there.


Some Festival merchandise.


Special LE Magic Bands for the Arts Festival.




Figment’s treasure map for Brush with the Masters.


Figment’s mug with spoon.


The coolest things during the Festival are the Living Sculptures!


There are 6 of them. So cool!


So cool!


There are male and female living sculptures.


Silver, gold, and rose gold metallic colors.  Amazing!


More things to see and do at the Festival:


Artists at work.  They paint from opening to closing, when it’s not raining.

Festival highlights include:

  • Artist appearances
  • Artful photo ops
  • Workshops and seminars with visiting artists
  • Commemorative merchandise
  • Community arts musical showcase
  • Culinary masterpieces
  • Destinations DiscoveredTour
  • Disney on Broadway Concert Series
  • Gallery exhibits
  • Interactive mural
  • Living statues
  • Walking chalk gallery
  • Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt
  • Kidcot Fun Stops
  • World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered Tour

Cookie painting!  We tried this sugar cookie!

The Festival of the Arts features several unique food booths, each with an eclectic menu that puts an emphasis on presentation and plating as much as bold flavors.


Pop Tarts, $4.50. We also got a slice of the Almond Cake.  $4.50


Paint your own pop tart (with icing!).  Ian says that this is the best poptart that he’s ever tasted!


Ian’s colorful poptart. It was very good!

Original artwork will be on display at the Odyssey Festival Showplace located in the Odyssey building near the entrance to World Showcase.

In addition, chalk artists will reproduce classic works on canvas as well as park sidewalks, Epcot Living Statues literally come to life and guest performance artists create magic on the spot—with only a wave of their paintbrush!

The America Gardens Theatre offers the free Broadway Concert Series, with songs from Aladdin, Newsies, The Lion King and more. Guests can sing along to sensational, show-stopping renditions of unforgettable Disney hits… bravo!  Visit the America Gardens Theatre stage at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. on each festival day to catch the Disney on Broadway Concert Series.

The show-stopping schedule currently features:

  • Jan. 17, 20, 21 and 24 – Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)
  • Jan. 18, 19, 22 and 23 – Heidi Blickenstaff (“The Little Mermaid”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”)
  • Jan. 25 – Special performance featuring Simmons, White, Blickenstaff and Lee
  • Jan. 26, 28, 29; Feb. 1, 2, 5 and 6 – Kara Lindsay (“Newsies”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
  • Jan. 27, 30, 31, Feb. 3, 4, 7 and 8 – NEW! Liana Hunt (“Newsies”) and Adam Jacobs (“Aladdin”)
  • NEW! Feb. 9 – Special performance featuring Lindsay, Massey, Hunt and Jacobs
  • Feb. 10, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22 and 23 – Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”)
  • Feb. 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20 and 21 – NEW! Syndee Winters (“The Lion King”) and Michael James Scott (“Aladdin”)
  • NEW! Feb. 24 – Special performance featuring Brown, Strickland, Winters and Scott.




The 2020 Festival of the Arts.


Epcot’s Festival of the Arts

Some photos from the 2019 Festival of the Arts:




This flowerbed was gorgeous! So colorful!





Amazing amount of flowers planted ahead of the International Flower and Garden Festival.



They had these cool life-sized paintings all over the World Showcase.


By the France Pavilion.


So pretty at night too!


We love the way they illuminate Spaceship Earth at night!


two disney sisters1

Cheers to the new year! #2020

We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Both are available on in paperback and Kindle:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale and Adventures in the Animal Kingdom.

Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

book Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link:

Have a magical day!


Mickey Arts

Meeting Mickey and Goofy at Epcot.


The Massive Tree Farm at Disney World

Disney World tree farm

The massive Tree Farm at Disney World from the air.

If you’ve been to the Cast Connection building located off of Western Way and Bear Island Road, you’ve driven by the massive Tree Farm that supports Disney World operations.

A few of the greenhouses at the Tree Farm.

A few of the greenhouses at the Tree Farm.

The Disney Tree Farm is where a variety of plants, trees and shrubs are grown for use in the parks and resorts on property.  Think of all the stuff Disney grows in there year-round!

All the pretty topiaries from Epcot’s 2019 International Flower and Garden Festival are stored there for next year’s festival.

Let’s take a quick look at the topiaries being moved from Epcot to the farm starting tonight. It’s a big job!

belle beast epcot france

Let’s Dance!  Belle and the Beast

There are over 70 topiaries being moved back.  This is where they were located at Epcot for the 2019 International Flower and Garden Festival:


Completely new is the Bo Peep figure, flanked by three wide-eyed topiary sheep.  These characters can be seen in “Toy Story 4,” coming to theaters on June 21st.


Lady and the Tramp were in Italy.

In the France pavilion, Kermit pedaled past with baguettes in his bike’s basket. The festival team made a few adjustments to the frog figure, which previously was seen playing the banjo. Nearby, Miss Piggy stared in a scene that screams “moi.” She was ready for her close-up and flanked by three mirrors.

“We only could do that because he was already sitting on the crates last time so he was almost in the right pose,” Darden says. “We didn’t have to create a whole new character.”


Kermit riding a bike!


Miss Piggy waving.


Daisy was in front of her garden of daisies.


Queen Elsa and Princess Anna.  Look at their hair!!!

Festival Blooms – Future World East and West Lake

Fantasia – Future World West

Ranger Mickey & Friends – Future World

Figment – Future World behind Spaceship Earth

Stitch – Fountain-side of MouseGear

purple martin

Look right behind Buzz Lightyear and you can see the Purple Martin birdhouses.

Disney Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear

Disney Pixar’s Cruz Besouro from the – Near Test Track

Phineas and Ferb – Near Odyssey Bridge

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto – Showcase Plaza

Anna and Elsa – Norway

Bromeliad Dragon – China

Panda presented by Disneynature – China

Lion King

Christian at the Lion King topiaries.

The Lion King Featuring Mufasa, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Sarabi, Simba and Timon – The Outpost between the Germany and China Pavilion


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Germany

Lady and the Tramp – Italy

Disney Pixar’s Woody – The American Adventure

Beauty and the Beast – France

Belle – France

The Three Caballeros – Mexico

Winnie the Pooh and Friends – United Kingdom

Peter Pan, Tinker Bell & Fairy Houses from Pixie Hollow – United Kingdom

Bambi and Friends featuring Bambi, Flower, and Thumper – Canada

Mickey & Minnie Located between Future World and World Showcase

Bambi & Friends Featuring Bambi, Flower and Thumper Located at the Canada Pavilion


Peter Pan and Captain Hook.


Lovely!  Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip dancing at sunset.


Mickey and Minnie in front of sunflowers…my favorite flower!


Cogsworth & Lumiere


Christian and Caroline went to the Festival twice this year. So much good food to try!


As a Disney cast member, Christian has been to the Festival a lot this month and his roommate is working at it!

It's a 27/7/365 operation that is constantly growing the next season's flowers and plants.

It’s a 24/7, 365 days of the year operation that is constantly growing the next season’s flowers and plants.

For every three trees you see in the Magic Kingdom and the other parks, there is one “behind the scenes” tree growing at the huge Tree Farm that is similar in size and looks.

These trees are kept in case a tree is damaged by wind or lightning during a thunderstorm – it can be replaced that night without anyone knowing it was missing!

To meet some of the horticulture cast members, take a Behind the Seeds tour at The Land in Epcot:  Behind The Seeds Tour.

Behind the Seeds Tour at The Land.

Behind the Seeds Tour at The Land.

How Horticulture Cast Members Keep Walt Disney World Looking Beautiful

Landscaping is an essential part of the appeal of the Disney’s theme parks.

The WDW resort sits on 25,000 acres of what was essentially Florida swampland, and all plant life has to deal with the hot, humid Florida climate and a host of hungry insects.

Disney established a huge nursery and tree farm, and experimented with different plant species until it found ones that looked appropriate and were capable of thriving.

Nowadays, some 4,000 acres are landscaped across the resort’s theme parks, hotels, golf courses and other public areas. An army of more than 600 Cast Members is responsible for maintaining this acreage, and carries out a wide range of tasks to do just that.

Flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot

Beautiful flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot for the International Flower and Garden Show in the spring.  This area will be re-sodded June 5th.


All these flowers are dug up and composted when the International Flower and Garden Festival ends in June.  30 million blooms!

Eight Great Roles for Cast Members with Green Thumbs:

1.  Setting up the Flower & Garden Festival in the Spring

Cast Members produce thousands of floral displays and over a hundred topiaries in advance of the event.

These vegetables will be served in the restaurants at Epcot!

These vegetables will be served in the restaurants at Epcot!

2.  Feeding the Guests

The plants in Epcot’s The Land Pavilion are not just for show. More than 30 tons of fruits and vegetables grown in the pavilion are served at Walt Disney World restaurants every year, including lettuce, cucumbers and peppers.

3.  Creating Edible Landscapes at DAK

The animals that roam around the savannas are browsers and grazers, and the landscape provides plenty of options for them to chew on. Cast Members have to constantly add plants to the savannas to replace those that have been gobbled and to keep the animals interested. Disney also “cheats” by introducing thousands of pounds of pre-cut leaves every week, to discourage the animals from devouring all of its pretty plants.

4.  Planting Species from all over the World

The team plants around three million bedding plants annually across 300,000 square feet of flowerbeds, as well as tending to 175,000 trees and more than four million shrubs. There are 13,000 rose bushes alone at the resort.  There are over 3,000 species of plants representing flora gathered from all over the United States and more than 50 foreign countries.


Christian and Mitch walking around the World Showcase enjoying the Festival. Flowers everywhere!

5.  Creating Topiaries

A team of around 30 Cast Members staffs the nursery, which produces more than 4,000 hanging baskets every year. It also produces the topiaries that add to the theme of the various theme parks and resorts, with more than 200 designs.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins topiary at the Grand Floridian

6.  Carrying out Daily (and Nightly!) Maintenance

Cast Members at Walt Disney World are up bright and early, allowing them to carry out maintenance tasks by the time guests arrive. Every day, they weed gardens, chop dead heads off flowers and replace withering flowers with new ones.  When a theme change is demanded, i.e., from Halloween to Christmas, the Cast Members work through the night to completely transform the garden flowers overnight.

7.  Mowing the Lawn

There are 2,000 acres of turf at Walt Disney World, and all of its gets mowed at least twice a week. This requires an astonishing 450,000 mowing miles every year to keep the grass in shape.

8.  Setting the Scene

The landscaping sets the scene in every area of WDW’s theme parks.

For example to recreate the lowlands surrounding Mount Everest for Expedition Everest’s Forbidden Mountain, more than 900 bamboo plants, 10 species of trees and 110 species of shrubs were planted.

We <3 The Land at Epcot!!

We ❤ Living with The Land at Epcot!

Growing corn.

Growing corn.


We’ve written two books about our time working and playing at Disney World.

Both are available on Two Girls and a Mouse Tale and Adventures in the Animal Kingdom.

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link:

Have a magical day!



Giant Chinese Cotton Candy Arrives at Epcot!

cotton candy5

Giant Cotton Candy is here!!!!

Take my money, Disney, take it all!  🙂


The famous giant cotton candy trend that originated on the streets of China in 2015 has made its way to the 2019 International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.

cotton candy4

Go big or go home I say!!!  #5 please!

Making its debut this week, the Chinese Cotton Candy is available in 5 colorful shapes, in 2-layer, 3-layer, 4-layer, and an awesome 5-layers of cotton candy!  Whoo-hoo!!!!!

cotton candy

Aurora Blossom, $12

cotton candy3

The higher the candy, the closer to god!  Heavenly!

The pièce de résistance is the stunningly beautiful 5-layered Spring Fantasy Cotton Candy ($15).

Watching the cotton candy artist make each of these lovely candy pieces is a show in itself! [Video link below.]

Available at the Lotus House at the China Pavilion in Epcot.

cotton candy1

It takes just 2 minutes to make these beauties!

cotton candy2

Spring Fantasy Cotton Candy!

cotton candy

Whoa!  ❤

Watch Video Link Here:  Making Chinese Cotton Candy Blossoms

One of us LOVES cotton candy; it’s her favorite park treat!  (Hint:  She orders Cotton-Tini drinks at the T-Rex Cafe at Disney Springs!)


How to make a Cotton-tini…Step 1: Get some cotton candy and put it in a glass.


Step 2:  Pour some cotton candy vodka liquor over the cotton candy.

I really feel that I would be good at making these giant blossoms with just a little bit of practice! Seriously!

cotton candy3

Now, that’s good fortune! 🙂

cotton candy

Up until now, you could only get cotton candy at the Magic Kingdom.


Tinkerbelle’s ice cream cone with it’s cotton candy skirt!


We’ve written two books about our time working at Disney World.

Both are available on

Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

book Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link:

Have a magical day!




Two Disney Sisters

cotton candy2

Getting some cotton candy on every visit! Yum!

The Purple Martins of Epcot

Purple Martin

The Purple Martin “apartments”.

When we were at Epcot last month, the Purple Martins had just returned two weeks earlier, around January 25, 2019.  It was fun to see their nesting boxes all set up for them.

purple martin

Look right behind Buzz Lightyear and you can see the Purple Martin birdhouses.


Purple Martin

Look for the sign.

Right before Epcot’s annual International Flower and Garden Festival each year, Purple Martins, the largest of the North American swallows, fly 3,000 miles to return to comfy white homes behind Epcot’s Mouse Gear to start their new families, typically arriving in late January.  (Some “early birds” have been spotted arriving at Epcot right after Christmas!)

Purple Martin

One female Purple Martin’s 6 month migration route from June 1st – January 30th. 3,000 miles from Disney World to Brazil and back again!!

To Purple Martin enthusiasts, these feathered travelers, who spend their summer into early winter in warm Brazil, are captivating not only because of their beauty, but also because they are so social. They are actually not purple in color but a deep blackish-blue that in a certain light can look a deep purple.

Purple Martin

All the gourds are labeled to monitor their nesting success.

As crowds gather to enjoy the flower festival, the Purple Martins go about their daily routine of raising their next generation, paying no attention to the hustle and bustle of nearby guests.

Some guests imagine that those white PVC gourds with an alphabet letter on them are cameras or special lighting fixtures on a white pole, but they are actually safe havens for birds who sometimes have to battle other sparrows and starlings for the treasured space. The letters help identify each gourd for documentation by the Animal Programs team.

Purple Martin

These birds are super busy all day long!

Purple martins are dependent on man-made housing to nest, a situation that has existed for hundreds of years when local Native Americans first hollowed out actual gourds and hung them on trees.

Purple Martin

The 60 Purple Martin houses at Epcot.

The Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians put up poles with hollow gourds around their villages for the Purple Martins to nest in. Early settlers continued the practice and also started making “bird houses” shaped like human habitations.

With increased urbanization, the number of people putting up Purple Martin houses declined from the 1950s through the 1980s, but there has been a resurgence of interest in these birds and they are making a comeback from being a threatened species.

As part of Disney’s commitment to conservation efforts, there are more than 200 man-made white gourds on property. At Epcot, the temporary residences are located on stage between Mouse Gear and Test Track, while at Disney’s Animal Kingdom an area over twice that size exists backstage.

purple martin

Each birdhouse has multiple rooms for a total of 460 nest compartments.

There are approximately 60 houses at Epcot, and between 160 to 180 houses backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

In 2005, Disney’s Animal Kingdom set up their first six houses for Purple Martins and used speakers playing a recording of a special song that the male Purple Martins sing to attract other martins. It worked, and two pairs set up house, one pair in each of two martin houses.

DAK Purple Martin

Cast members discussing the Purple Martin conservation program at DAK.

The Purple Martin conservation program began more than fifteen years ago as part of a backyard bird garden exhibit for Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Show, and continues today.

Read more from Disney Parks Blog:  Purple Martins Return to Epcot


If the Flower and Garden Festival is going on, be sure to check out the Purple Martins!

Video of the Purple Martins nesting at our vacation cabin in Minnesota: 


We’ve written two books about our time working at Disney World.

Both are available on

Adventure Book Cover

Adventures in the Animal Kingdom

book Two Girls

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link:

Have a magical day!



flower and garden festival

Two Disney Sisters

2017 Easter Egg Hunt at Epcot and Disneyland


Disney’s EggStravaganza 2017!

From March 1–May 29, 2017, guests at Epcot can search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters and record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specially themed Egg-stravaganza map to represent that location.


Just follow the signs to buy a map!

Maps and stickers can be purchased for $5.99 at the entrance to World Showcase.

Note:  Easter Sunday is April 16, 2017 and special characters will be out and about for meet and greets, including Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny!!!!!

egg hunt

Epcot’s Egg Hunt map and stickers for 2017, $5.99

Maps and stickers can be purchased for just $5.99 at the following parks and locations:

Disney World

Epcot – Pin Central, Port of Entry (Showcase Plaza), Heritage Manor (The American Adventure) and World Traveler (International Gateway)

egg hunt1

Epcot’s map

Look how cute those mini prize eggs are this year!


2017  Maps for Disneyland Egg Hunt

And, Epcot isn’t the only Disney Park that’s holding an Easter Egg Hunt this year!

DLR easter

Easter Egg cake pops at Disneyland!

Disneyland Resort

The Easter egg scavenger hunt at Disneyland will take place from April 1-16, 2017, at Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park, and Downtown Disney District.

You can buy maps at:

Disney California Adventure Park – Elias & Co., Humphrey’s Service & Supplies, Off the Page, Oswald’s, Sarge’s Surplus Hut and Treasures in Paradise

Disneyland Park – Disneyana, Disney Showcase, “it’s a small world” Toy Shop, Little Green Men Store Command, Pieces of Eight, Pioneer Mercantile and Stromboli’s.

Downtown Disney District – Anna & Elsa’s Boutique, D Street, Disney Pin Traders, WonderGround Galleryand World of Disney Store

Disneyland Resort Hotels – Acorns Gifts & Goods, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa; Mickey in Paradise, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel; and Fantasia Shop, Disneyland Hotel


OMG, cute!

How to redeem by May 29, 2017:  A surprise awaits you!

Whether you choose to hunt for eggs or not, return your map to a redemption location for a special surprise – a mini Easter egg to remember your hunt by.  (You get to keep your map, they just mark it with a star!)


Epcot: Port of Entry


Disneyland’s Easter Egg Hunt starts Saturday, April 1st.  So fun!

Disneyland Resort: Disney Showcase in Disneyland park; Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure park; and the World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney District.


Finding an Easter Egg by China.

We loved doing the Easter Egg Hunt at Epcot! Finding Easter Eggs at Epcot: Where to look


2017 International Flower and Garden Festival

The extended  2017 International Flower and Garden Festival  runs March 1 – May 29, 2017 this year.

Flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot

Thousands and thousands of colorful flowers surrounding Friendship Bay at Epcot.  30 million blossoms!

There’s also brand new limited edition Flower and Garden Merchandise available throughout Epcot.


Some of the really cute items for 2017.


We love the D&B bags!

And, for the hungry, take a look at the all new Menu for the 2017 International Flower and Garden Festival, just $3 – $8 per delicious item.


So cute!



Here are some clues on where to look for the Easter Eaggs at Epcot:


Now it looks so obvious!!!


The cast members we asked followed us outside and laughed when we finally found it!


Triumphant Elly!  1st egg found!!





















These Easter pins are so cute!


dole whip

Two Disney Sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale


Two Girls and a Mouse Tale