Money MattersWalt Disney World (FL)

How Much Should You Budget for EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts 2023?

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EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts features a wide variety of free activities, arguably the most of any EPCOT Festival. But it does have Food Studios, and it’s easy to rack up a big bill on food. Want to get an idea of how much you might spend? We’ll help you quickly estimate based on your general approach to the Festival.

Festival at a Glance

I’ve already mentioned that Festival of the Arts has a ton of terrific things to do that are free; if you’d like to read more about them check out Erin’s Festival Preview. In this section we’re going to go over highlights and big-picture numbers of the not-free stuff, and then later we’ll get down to the brass tacks of estimating a budget.

Points of Interest

You could choose to do a Festival sampler based on the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine. Get a stamp in your Festival Passport for any 5 of the 7 dishes below, and you can bring your Passport back to the Deco Delights booth for a complimentary Artist Palette cookie. You don’t need to do get all the stamps in a single day; redeem your cookie any time before the end of the Festival.

  • Blood Orange-Braised Beet Tartare with Mustard Vinaigrette, Pickled Clamshell Mushrooms and Golden Beets at Gourmet Landscapes
  • Pan-Seared Scallops with Vanilla-Butternut Squash Purée, Brown Butter Cauliflower Purée and Lime Foam at Moderne
  • Chorizo and Potato Empanada with Turmeric Aïoli and Annatto Aïoli at Vibrante & Vivido
  • Deconstructed Key Lime Pie: Flexible Key Lime Curd, “Key Lime” Mousse, Graham Cracker Cake and Meringues at the Deconstructed Dish
  • Orange Mousse with Lemon Cake and Raspberry Meringues at Deco Delights
  • Almond Frangipane Cake layered with Raspberry Jam and Belgian Chocolate at Pop Eats
  • Pop’t Art: Sugar Cookie with Blueberry Filling at Figment’s Inspiration Station

Depending on which of the 7 dishes you choose, your cost will range from $26 to $31. Plus, you know, free cookie!

The Almond Frangipane Cake is a Festival icon, but we actually recommend you choose something else for your WWoCC stamp. It was kinda dry.

If stamps aren’t your thing, you could also make your selections based on our recommendations:

The Best Way to Spend $50 at EPCOT’s 2023 Festival of the Arts
Best Bets at the 2023 Festival of the Arts

There’s a single paid activity at Festival of the Arts: Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt. Collect a map for $9.99 and search for Figment as you’re strolling the Festival. You’ll find him hiding inside the artworks at each World Showcase Pavilion: put a stamp on the map for each location. When you’re done, turn in your map for a keepsake souvenir. Like the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine, the scavenger hunt can be spread over multiple days.

By the Numbers

This year’s Festival has 18 booths and a total of 55 dishes; one of everything will run you $385. The chart below breaks down the average and total prices for each booth.

Click to enlarge

Most booths average $5-8 per dish, with a few pushing up into the $9-10 per dish range. This represents a trend we’ve seen over the last couple of Festivals, with the prices for some dishes topping $10. That used to be unusual.

Italy has long been derided for serving banal food at an outrageous price per dish compared to the rest of the Festival, but it doesn’t stand out so much here. Two things have happened: the average price of several other booths has risen and Italy has come down at the same time. France now holds the crown for the most expensive booth, but it’s a little deceptive because there are four dishes at this booth whereas most have only three.

I also like to break down the dishes and see how the ingredients or type relate to the price. The bubble chart below shows how many dishes are in each category, and the average price.

Data labels include the price and the number of dishes in the group

One thing that really sticks out in this chart is how relatively inexpensive the desserts are. About a third of the dishes are desserts, and there’s a $2.50 gap between the median price of desserts and non-desserts. Often we see that Seafood is the most expensive category, but not this year.

Brass Tacks Budgeting

Now it’s time to focus on how to estimate your budget. To get started, we’ll need to think about how your trip to the Festival is going to go.

What’s Your Festival Game Plan?

Knowing whether you’re going to tackle the Festival by sampling entire booths or grazing individual dishes is key to using the estimates I’m about to give you. I can tell you what the average cost of 10 dishes will be, or the price range to visit 4 different booths. But you’ll be the one to say how many booths or dishes you think you’re likely to purchase.

Are you grazing the Food Studios or looking for meals?

When my family goes to the Festival we aren’t usually just going for the food, but we do tend to let our tasting substitute for lunch or dinner. Others look for substantial meals elsewhere and sample lightly from the booths for snacks. And of course, if you visit the Festival more than once you might be doing a bit of both.

If you’ve never been before, here are a few tips to help you estimate.

  • Many dishes are only a dollar or two more than an average Disney World snack. If you’re going to pass through and have each member of your family select one thing to try, don’t worry too much about making a Festival budget. Call those dishes your snack for the day and you’ll be close enough.
  • If you’ll be making evening visits, assume you’ll tend to visit booths and order one of each dish on the menu. Lines are longer in the evenings (especially on weekends), and you’ll find that’s a more efficient way to fill your stomach.
  • With picky eaters, you should plan to visit at lunch or in the early afternoon. You’ll be less likely to take the “one of everything” approach, so going when lines are shorter will help you out as you pick and choose.

How many dishes make a meal?

If you’re planning on meals, the number of dishes per meal is going to depend on your appetite. Festival portion sizes will also play a role, but most people find that 2 or 3 dishes plus a dessert is a meal-sized combo. That’s per person, so if you’re going with a group and sharing to taste, multiply to get the total number in one “sitting”.

How many dishes are in your “meals” may affect how many meals you choose to make at the Festival. The three plates shown above are from the Deconstructed Dish, and the total cost is $19.75. Using the average prices for two dishes and a dessert would come to about $21.

For heavier eaters who might want to add another entree, that brings the price to $28.65, whereas a typical Quick Service meal in the parks ranges from $12-$16. If you’re watching your budget closely, that difference may determine how often you decide to take a meal at the Festival instead of a regular Quick Service.

Cost Estimation

Some families will visit the Festival once, and some will pass through a few times on their vacation. Some families think nothing of getting the same dish twice, while others are all about tasting as much as possible.

To get these estimates, I ran 100,000 simulations of selecting a target number of dishes or booths. The results form a statistical distribution, and we can pick out the average and get a sense of what you’ll typically pay. I assumed that dishes aren’t repeated, but it turns out that the results don’t change much if you allow multiple orders of the same dish.

Estimates for booths

The table below shows the raw numbers from the simulations. For each number of booths, we can see the minimum we’d pay, the max, the average, and two different ranges for what we’d pay “most of the time”. Half the time, we’d pay something in the range of the 4th column below, and 80% of the time we’d pay something in the range from the rightmost column.

Feel free to look at the numbers if they interest you, but it turns out we don’t need to use this chart.

Stats for sampling the specified number of booths at 2023 Festival of the Arts

Once we have the numbers, we can look at the trends. As it happens, after the first couple of booths, the means mostly lie on a straight line, and so do the high and low of the ranges. So we can use a tiny bit of math to convert our chart into a formula: multiply the number of booths by 22, then subtract 4, then add and subtract 17 to get the 80% range.

Let’s do 7 booths as an example. We’ll multiply 7×22 to get $154. We subtract 4 to get 150. Then the low end of the range will be $150-17 = $133. The high end will be $150+17 = $167. Looking at the chart, we see that the 80% range for 7 booths is $133-$168, and the mean is $150.

The $1 difference at the top end of the range comes from the fact that the means and ranges only “mostly” lie on a straight line. But remember that this is an estimate. A dollar or two difference isn’t going to make or break the accuracy here.

Estimates for dishes

For dishes, we again have a table with the raw numbers from the simulation. And it turns out that we again don’t need to use it unless we’ve got a very small number of dishes.

Stats for sampling the specified number of dishes at 2023 Festival of the Arts

Once again, the trends for the average and the ranges are pretty much linear. This time, our formula comes out to be: multiply the number of dishes by 7, then add and subtract $9 to get the end of the range.

For our example, let’s do 17 dishes. 17 x 7 = $119. Adding and subtracting $9, we’d expect that most of the time (80%) we’d pay between $110 and $128. Our numbers match up perfectly with the table here, but for different numbers of dishes we’d expect to see the same as we saw with the booths – differences of a dollar or two here or there.

One thing to be cautious of: remember that big gap between the prices of the desserts and the prices of the “mains”? Roughly a third of the dishes here are desserts, so you can expect that you’ll be closest to the average if you’re consistently eating 2 non-desserts for every dessert. If your taste is tilting towards the savory dishes, you can expect to come in on the high end of the estimate.

Don’t forget the drinks

Eating all that food is thirsty work, and drinks can be a significant expense. You can, of course, bring water with you, but if not then don’t forget to add in a bit for beverages. If you’re planning to drink water and won’t bring it with you there are two options. It’s for sale at all the booths, or you can ask at the counter of any Quick Service restaurant for a cup of free ice water.

If you’re looking for Festival beverages, several booths have mocktails or non-alcoholic offerings. These start at $4.50 but run all the way up to about $10 or so, almost as expensive as their boozy counterparts. Beer and Cider are generally $5.50 for a 6 oz. pour, $9.50 for a 12 oz pour, or $10 for a flight where they’re offered. Expect alcoholic cocktails to cost anywhere from $11 to $16.

What to Take Away

  • EPCOT Festivals are fun, but can be expensive. A “meal” consisting of 2 dishes and a dessert averages $21 and adding a third dish brings that up to $28.65. For comparison, an average quick service meal is $12-16.
  • Knowing how you plan to visit the Festival and how many dishes or booths you’ll try is key to estimating your cost accurately.
  • When you have an estimate for how much sampling you’ll do, simple arithmetic can give you a budget number you can be confident in.

Have you been to Festival of the Arts? Is the food a big draw for you, or do you focus on the free stuff? Let us know in the comments!


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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

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