Last week, I was able to surprise my husband Jonathan Diaz with an exclusive experience at Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts, where we took a Plein Aire workshop with Disney animator Todd Bright. That morning, we woke up at 5 am to get ready for the workshop; from our resort, we took a Disney bus to Epcot. Arriving at 7 am to the park, our small group was escorted to the Odyssey building for breakfast and to meet the artist Todd Bright.
We were treated like royalty by the Disney staff members as they escorted Jonathan and I to the Italian Pavilion where we would paint gondolas and the Epcot park view. It was a beautiful day– the World Showcase and at our painting locations, all the easels and supplies were setup to be ready to paint! It felt like Jonathan and I had the entire park to ourselves (at least until 11 am). Todd was an excellent instructor demonstrating a step-by-step process of how to paint with oils and came around to help each artist one on one.
Jonathan told me he felt like he was back at Design & Architecture Senior High, the school where we met. And, it reminded me of my painting class with professor Hodges Soulieu at Ringling College of Art and Design– also where Todd Bright attended college. We painted the entire morning until the park opened and we started to get swarms of visitors looking at our work.
Thanks to Todd Bright and the Disney staff for this incredible experience. It was truly an unforgettable birthday surprise for Jonathan. Another childhood dream checked off the list!
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