Every year Walt Disney World’s Epcot springs to life with the International Flower and Garden Festival. This year the festival runs from March 3rd through May 16th and offers lots of imaginative horticultural displays throughout the park. Each year there is a theme and this time it is Celebrate the Great Outdoors. The main entrance at Epcot always has a grand display for the festival and this year’s features Mickey, Minnie, and pals camping, hiking, and enjoying nature. As always, this main planting bed is a lot of fun and sets the tone for the entire park’s gardens and topiaries. While character topiaries are always the main draw, nature inspired exhibits are littered all over the Future World as well as World Showcase for guests to enjoy.
In addition to the topiaries and displays throughout the park, there are also special events and demonstrations during the festival. Open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the former Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World has been converted into Garden Town where guests can view a film called Making of the Flower and Garden Festival, do some shopping, or watch a gardening demonstration by several experts who are on hand. Several events designed to give avid gardeners tips and tricks from experts will take place during the festival in this building. Do you have questions about your home garden? “Master Gardeners” from the University of Florida will be on hand in the pavilion to answer your queries. Scheduled events include exhibitions like “Easy to do Water Features” and “Creating Back Yard Retreats.” These demos are very popular and guests should arrive well before their start time. There are also several demonstration areas, play spots for the kids, and merchandise kiosks scattered around the park.
On top of all of those free festivities, guest can also enjoy free concerts at the American Gardens Theater at the American Adventure. The Flower Power Concert Series features bands from the 60s and 70s performing three times daily on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through May 16th. Acts like Davy Jones, Starship, and Chubby Check will have folks dancing in the aisles. Shows begin at 5:15, 6:30, and 7:45 so don’t miss out!
There are also several special events which come at an extra cost. I have never taken part in any of these so I cannot give an opinion on them. For $59 guests can participate in Garden Explorations — Epcot Gardens of the World Tour. On Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays throughout the festival this tour provides gardening enthusiasts with Disney horticulturists to guide them through special displays and exhibits. The newest addition to the events line up is the Garden Town Breakfast which combines cooking and gardening demonstrations for those who have a passion for both. The menu even features produce grown in the Land Pavilion! The breakfast will be offered three times during the festival at a cost of $60 per person.
For the last few years I have been lucky enough to catch the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. I have always enjoyed this event and this year was no exception. The topiaries are always beautiful and bring a special element to the park for a few weeks each year. I love how the topiary characters featured in each country tie into the character’s home. For example, Peter Pan and company can be found in the UK and Belle and the Beast a featured in France. One of my favorite parts of the festival each year is the butterfly house set up between near Test Track. This year it was renamed as Fawn’s Butterfly House and up to 700 butterflies will flutter around guests as they marvel at their beauty. Another feature I look forward to each year is the floating planters and the beautiful “Floral Mosaics” plantings on the banks of Future World’s ponds.
If you can make it to WDW during this special celebration I highly recommend roaming around Epcot enjoying the topiaries and other displays. Guests do not have to have green thumbs to enjoy this unique festival. Walking around World Showcase (drink in hand optional) checking out the character floral arrangements makes for a lovely spring afternoon. And if you are really into gardening head over to Garden Town to see some of the demonstrations and do a little shopping.
Next week I’ll take a look at a restaurant off the beaten path…