PHOTOS - What's new and changed at the 2020 Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Jan 17, 2020 in "Epcot International Festival of the Arts"

2020 Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Celebrating the visual, culinary and performing arts - the 2020 Epcot International Festival of the Arts opens today, taking place from January 17 through to February 24 2020.

Here is a quick rundown of what's new and what's changed for this year's festival.

There is no festival center this year to host seminars this year due to the Odyssey hosting the Epcot transformation preview center, and Wonders of Life being converted into the new Play Pavilion. 

The Animation Academy will be hosted at the America Gardens Theatre twice each day, at 12:30pm and 1:30pm.

Also at the America Gardens Theatre, there are three new performers joining the Disney on Broadway Concert Series lineup - Sydnee Winters, Liana Hunt and Michael James Scott. View the full Disney on Broadway Concert Series line-up.

The Paint by Numbers mural is now located on one of the construction walls in-front of the former Fountain of Nations area.

Two new World Showcase atmosphere entertainment acts begin today, Lebendig in Germany and Atlas Fusion in Morocco.

Festival merchandise and artwork is available throughout the park and at the new Art of Disney location in The American Adventure.

Passholder magnet pickup is now located in the temporary Mouse Gear in the former Innoventions East building.

Musical acts and performances now take place on the World Showcase plaza stage instead of at the Fountain of Nations stage.

The Food Studio kiosks are back around World Showcase, you can view all the 2020 Food Studios menus and kiosks here.

Click the gallery for more pictures from the 2020 Epcot Festival of the Arts.

Three new Epcot films also debut alongside the Festival of the Arts - Awesome Planet at the Land pavilion, Canada Far and Wide at the Canada pavilion, and Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along at the France pavilion.

“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in the Canada pavilion is an update to the previous “O Canada!” film with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy. 

Although some may miss the comedic elements of Martin Short from the prior version, Canada Far and Wide remains very true to the original Epcot, and is worth a visit to see the changes. Sadly, the new seamless 360 degree projection system did not make an appearance in this version, although the projection quality seems improved.

“Awesome Planet” in The Land pavilion explores the spectacular beauty, diversity and dynamic story of Earth. In collaboration with the Disney Conservation Fund, the 10-minute film uses in-theater effects (including wind, scents and water) to tell the story of life on this planet and why it’s vitally important to care for it. “Awesome Planet” features narration by Ty Burrell, star of ABC’s “Modern Family,” and an original musical score. Special visual effects are by Industrial Light and Magic.

This new show is a welcome addition to The Land, following on from the former movie, Circle of Life. The show is lighthearted, but still conveys an important message.

Lastly there is the new “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in the France pavilion’s Palais du Cinémais. Directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, and invites guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. It also features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film.

Unfortunately the new show does not feature any live actors or characters, and falls far short of Walt Disney World's other sing-along based on Frozen at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The show uses only a fraction of the Palais du Cinémais screen, and comes off as something you might expect to see on a DVD bonus feature, not at a Disney theme park attraction.

Thankfully the pavilion's original movie, Impressions de France continues, but only plays from 7:30pm to park close. The sing-along plays from 11am to 7pm.

Discuss on the Forums
Article Posted: Jan 17, 2020 / 1:00pm ET