Spring is in full bloom at Walt Disney World, as Epcot presents its 26th annual International Flower and Garden Festival.
The festival started on Wednesday, with more to do and see than ever before.
Epcot has essentially become the “festival park,” with festivals happening one after another throughout the whole year. But what makes the Flower and Garden Festival most different from the others? The topiaries.
While the park features more than 70,000 blooms in private gardens and water displays to greet the spring season, the artful landscape of the topiaries is what truly brings Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival to life.
“We’re super excited about the entire festival, but always one of the best parts is our topiaries,” Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Horticulture Manager Eric Darden told the News-Gazette during an exclusive media preview.
Some returning topiaries include classic characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy, Chip ‘n Dale and Figment, plus animated feature film characters like Belle and Beast, Stitch, Captain Hook and Peter Pan. Other returning displays include the China Pavilion Pandas and an array of topiary flowers.
One of the most notable topiaries is the Lady and Tramp display, which is featured in a new location for the first time in 12 years.
New to the scene, to celebrate the premier of “Toy Story 4” (coming to theatres this summer), is a Bo Peep topiary. It is located in Bo Peep’s Training Grounds playground and garden, joined by (also new) sheep topiaries and returning Toy Story pals Buzz and Woody, who have received an upgraded look.
“Buzz and Woody aren’t new characters, but their faces are totally upgraded and improved, looking much more like the actual characters,” said Darden, as many of the characters have received upgraded looks this year.
Garden Rocks Concerts
The Garden Rocks Concert Series is welcoming more live performances than ever before, with 270 concerts covering multiple genres.
Some returning artists include The Spinners and Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, while new artists include TobyMac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Eddie Palmieri and Colin Hay of Men at Work.
All concerts take place in the America Pavilion’s outdoor theatre. Garden Rocks Dining Packages are available. See “Food and drinks.”
Food and drinks
Get ready for the change-over of international Outdoor Kitchens. The outdoor stands feature an array of delightful food and beverage options, from international selections to local Florida Fresh.
Outdoor Kitchen Spotlight: The Honey Bee-stro. This kitchen features all-natural food and drink infused with the nectar of the gods. You can read more about this kitchen in the online version of this article, at AroundOsceola.com.
Aside from the Outdoor Kitchens, guests can dine-in at Epcot’s sit-down restaurants and receive reserved seating for the Garden Rocks concerts. Garden Rocks Dining Packages are open for booking, and can be booked at FreshEpcot.com or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463.).
Another unique element of the Flower and Garden Festival is the exclusive guided tour option.
Want to learn more about the history and artistry of growing and blending tea? You can take a tour of the United Kingdom Pavilion’s tea gardens in the Royal Tea Garden Tour. The tour fee includes the tour and post-tour treats (tea and scones). Complimentary tours are also available on select days.
You can also learn about the landscaping and gardening techniques of Walt Disney World during the Gardens of the World tour. The three-hour scheduled walking tour explores the festival’s award-winning topiaries and gardens with a Disney horticulturist.
Guided tours require Epcot admission, and can be reserved on select days for an additional fee. For more information about both the complimentary and paid tours, or to reserve your spot, call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687).
With an Epcot festival always comes new merchandise. Some of this year’s festival-exclusives include pins, T-shirts, tote bags, baseball caps, socks, dishware and mugs.
But one of this festival’s best-sellers is expected to be the Violet Lemonade Minnie Mouse Ears. This Minnie Mouse ears headband features the classic black ears, with small violets across the band. This is part of the Violet Lemonade collection, designed from the very favored Violet Lemonade slushie drink, available in the France Pavilion only during the Flower and Garden Festival.
Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival is happening now through June 3. The 90-day event is included in general Epcot theme park admission. Tours, food and beverage, and other activities may be purchased separately.
For more information, visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/ and search “Flower and Garden Festival.”