Epcot Flower and Garden Festival — Fun for the Entire Family
Review of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival provided by Liliane Opsomer, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids
Now through May 30th, guests can enjoy the annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. You do not have to have a green thumb to enjoy the festival. This is the 23rd edition of the festival and its longest ever.
For 90 days, the park welcomes Spring in a most spectacular and festive way. When riding the Epcot Monorail you will get a good overview of the beautiful flowerbeds and floating gardens, but nothing prepares you for the wealth of blooms and bursts of colors.
Upon entering the park, guests are greeted by the topiary of Huey, Dewey, and Louie, with their Uncle Donald and Daisy, celebrating fresh food, fun, and flowers. The inspiration for this display is taken from a 1943 Donald Duck comic book called The Victory Garden.
Topiaries Galore at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
I love topiaries and recommend you visit them all! Especially beautiful are the topiaries of Cinderella and Prince Charming in front of the clock at the France Pavillion, Lady and the Tramp at the Italian Pavilion, and Fantasia in Future World West.
An absolute must is the Ranger Mickey Mouse topiary, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. Ranger Mickey can be found in Future World.
Frozen fans will enjoy Anna and Elsa, located at the Norway Pavilion. While you are there, check on the progress of the Frozen Ever After ride and the Royal Sommerhus, a meet and greet location that is currently under construction. Who knows, maybe the attraction will be open while you visit. Make sure you report back to us!
Young boys will enjoy the Buzz Lightyear topiary near Mission Space; Woody, of Toy Story fame, at the American Adventure; and the Living Desert Road Rally play area featuring Mater and Lightning McQueen.
All kids will love the new “Fab Five” play garden featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck topiaries. The Harmony Gardens Musical Playground includes drums, chimes, and xylophones built into children’s outdoor climbing systems.
There are so many gardens to see that it seems impossible to visit them all. However, make sure to check out the Butterfly Garden in Future World, as well as the Shakespeare Garden and the English Tea Garden in the United Kingdom Pavilion.
Two New Outdoor Kitchens Join the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
In 2013 Outdoor Kitchen booths were introduced. Scattered around World Showcase, they serve small plates of foods and speciality drinks, much like a mini Epcot Food and Wine Festival. My favorite booth is Fleur de Lys at the France Pavilion. Who can resist an Alsatian Onion Tart with Sautéed Onions, Fresh Thyme, and Rosemary on a Flaky Puff Pastry Crust, not to mention the La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush with Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka, St. Germain Liqueur, and White and Red Cranberry Juices?
There are two new booths this year. La Isla Fresca at World Showcase Promenade serves Jamaican Braised Beef with Pigeon-Pea Rice and Jerk-Spiced Grouper or Chicken with Mango Salsa, Tres Leches with Guava Purée, Red Stripe Jamaican Style Lager, and Frozen Simply Tropical™ Juice Drink with Cruzan Mango Rum. The drink is also available sans alcohol.
The Cider House serves Field Greens salad with greens harvested from The Land pavilion, heirloom apples, Stilton cheese, and dried blueberries. Also offered are House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare and Freshly Baked Lemon Scone with Crème Fraîche and Mixed Berries. Guests can try three different kinds of ciders, a Cigar City Brewing Tampa-style Lager, and Snakebite—a mix between the Tampa-style Lager and McKenzie’s Black Cherry Hard Cider.
There are a total of 13 Outdoor Kitchens; if you are on a Disney Dining Plan, you can use one snack for each small plate.
Throughout the festival there are themed weekends with special activities, such as an Art in the Garden Weekend, an Outdoor Family Weekend, Earth Day Weekend, and much more. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Festival Center hosts seminars and presentations featuring Master Gardeners and gardening specialists.
Garden Rock Concerts Return to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
On weekends, enjoy the Garden Rock Concerts held at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the America Gardens Theatre. The lineup is as follows:
- 3/04 – 3/06: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
- 3/11 – 3/13: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
- 3/18 – 3/20: Little River Band
- 3/25 – 3/27: Village People
- 4/01 – 4/03: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- 4/08 – 4/10: The Guess Who
- 4/15 – 4/17: Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice *
- 4/22 – 4/24: Brian Howe, former lead singer of Bad Company *
- 4/29 – 5/01: Georgia Satellites *
- 5/06 – 5/08: Gin Blossoms
- 5/13 – 5/15: Darlene Love *
- 5/20 – 5/22: Night Ranger
- 5/27 – 5/30 (Monday): The Spinners
* New this year
At night, select gardens are illuminated and it is wonderful to stroll once more around World Showcase before getting ready for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Special for Annual Passholders
If you are an Annual Passholder, you can collect one of three special edition prints from Disney artist Don “Ducky” Williams. Pick up your print at Innoventions West behind Club Cool. You must show a photo ID and a valid annual pass or MagicBand. There is a limit of one print per Annual Passholder per month. Each month offers a different print. The Donald Duck Print was available when I visited and through March 31st. April visitors will receive a Goofy Print, and visitors in May will get a Mickey Mouse Print. Please note that prints will be distributed only while supplies last.
Did you visit the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival? What did you like best? We would love to hear from you.