The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival began a couple of weeks ago on March 1 and runs through May 29.
The Flower and Garden Festival is best known for its topiaries, over 70. The topiaries are mostly the same as in the previous year, with a couple of great additions. They left the new Festival of the Arts Figment topiary in place but now surrounded by a colorful kaleidoscope of flowers.
The Belle topiary in France also received an update this year and now features the same incredible facial detail as Snow White, Anna, and Elsa. Noticeably missing this year were the dancing Cinderella and Prince Charming and Aurora and Prince Philip topiaries. I hope that these will return in future years with updates similar to Belle’s.
The Outdoor Kitchens are also back this year as are Festival favorites, including the Candied Strawberries, Frushi, Dole Whips, Spicy Pineapple Hotdog, Dole Whips, Smoked Pork Ribs, Beef Brisket, and warm chocolate cake. Some tasty new additions include the Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer, Maple Popcorn Shake, Carne Asada, and the Key Lime Tart. There is also a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic at all of the Outdoor Kitchens.
There are also many exhibits and gardens set up around the park, such as the Extraordinary Orchids in Mexico, the Floating Mini Gardens on the waters between Future World and World Showcase, the Bonsai Collection in Japan, and many more. There is also “Butterflies on the Go,” where you can walk through a tent housing many different types of butterflies and their favorite flowers.
Back this year and expanded for the duration of the Festival is the Egg Scavenger Hunt. Guests can purchase a Scavenger Hunt map, and after they find all of the character-themed eggs, redeem a prize. Each country in World Showcase will have one egg hidden somewhere around the Pavilion.
There are also tours that guests can take, most at an additional charge, to learn even more about the gardens and plants around Epcot during the Festival. These include the Gardens of the World Tour, the English Tea Garden Tour, and the Royal Tea Garden Tour. The Behind the Seeds Tour at The Land is available year-round, but especially appropriate for this time of the year.
There are also seminars and how-to demonstrations at the Festival Center on Friday through Sunday for those looking to learn more about horticulture. There is a wide variety of seminars and presentations which are all complimentary and seated on a first-come, first-served basis. There are too many to list here, but Disney has a schedule of all the events.
Finally, each day at the Flower and Garden Festival includes concerts from an artist or band from the past. The Garden Rocks Concerts are at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm. This year’s line up includes:
- March 3 & 4: Jon Secada
- March 5 & 6: Dennis DeYoung featuring the music of STYX
- March 10 to 13: The Pointer Sisters
- March 17 & 18: Simple Plan (NEW)
- March 19 & 20: Plain White T’s
- March 24 to 27: Night Ranger
- March 31 to April 3: Little River Band
- April 7 to 10: Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice
- April 14 to 17: Gin Blossoms
- April 21 to 24: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
- April 28 & 29: Expose (NEW)
- April 30 & May 1: Berlin featuring Terri Nunn (NEW)
- May 5 to May 8: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
- May 12 to 15: The Guess Who
- May 19 to 22: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- May 26 to 29: The Spinners
There are also dining packages available that will give you reserved, preferred seating for the Concerts. Dining Packages range from $50 to $76 depending on the restaurant and whether you’ll be having lunch or dinner and are available at the following restaurants:
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Biergarten Restaurant
- Coral Reef Restaurant
- The Garden Grill Restaurant
- Nine Dragons Restaurant
- Restaurant Marrakesh
- Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
- San Angel Inn Restaurante
- Spice Road Table
- Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
- Tutto Italia Ristorante
- Chefs de France
- Tokyo Dining
- Teppan Edo
- La Hacienda de San Angel