The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival grows bigger and better every year, and this year it expands to a full three months of topiaries, garden talks, outdoor kitchens, delicious food and more.
The 23rd Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival starts on March 2 and runs through May 30, expanding it from the usual 75 days all the way up to 90. That gives you more time to explore the gardens, admire the topiaries, and sample the creative dishes. Want some specifics on what you can do when you visit Epcot during the festival? Here’s just a sampling:
Visit Two New Outdoor Kitchens: La Isla Fresca offers a taste of the Caribbean, with dishes like Jamaican Braised Beef with Pigeon-Pea Rice and Jerk-Spiced Grouper or Chicken with Mango Salsa. Over at the Cider House, you’ll feast on a Field Greens salad with greens harvested from The Land pavilion (it doesn’t get much fresher than that!), heirloom apples, Stilton cheese and dried blueberries. That dish paisr well with blueberry hard cider from Plant City, FL. Old favorites are back, too, many of which have new flavors. The eleven other Outdoor Kitchens include Urban Farm Eats, Pineapple Promenade, Fleur de Lys, Florida Fresh, Taste of Marrakesh, Hanami, The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews, Primavera Kitchen, Lotus House, Bauernmarkt and Jardin de Fiestas.
See New Topiaries: For the first time every, Huey, Dewey and Louie make an appearance in topiary form. The scene, which will be at the Epcot front entrance, is inspired by a 1943 Donald Duck comic book called “The Victory Garden.”
Enjoy a Musical Playground: In the new hands-on Harmony Gardens musical playground, you’ll find topiaries of Disney’s Fab Five, with band leader Mickey, plus Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck topiaries. The playground will have interactive drums, chimes and xylophones that allow kids to can create their own musical sounds, They can also play on innovative outdoor climbing systems with safe, but challenging, net-based structures. The popular Cactus Road Rally play garden is also back for a return engagement, with Disney-Pixar topiary pals Mater and Lightning McQueen of “Cars” fame.
Visit Fun Fresh Weekends: There’s something new each weekend: April 1-3 — Art in the Garden Weekend spotlights nature through the works of plein air artists; April 8-10 – The new Family Fun Weekend features outdoor activities for all ages to enjoy. In the Festival Center, the focus is on bugs with Disney’s Animal Kingdom specialists; April 22-24 – Earth Day Weekend celebrates our fragile planet with special appearances and activities; and April 29-May 1—Florida Fresh Weekend features the Sunshine State’s edible bounty from Apalachicola to Zellwood.
See a Floral Fun Garden: The festival starts when the weather is still pretty chilly, but you’ll feel warmer when you head to the south side of Spaceship Earth. There, you’ll that Disney gardeners have painted the landscape with a Floral Sun garden. Yellow “sunbursts” will sprout in a new Future World topiary garden featuring Minnie Mouse and Pluto.
Take a Selfie: You’ll find plenty of selfie opportunities around the park, but one of the best will be the the Ranger Mickey topiary garden in Future World. It’s a selfie and family photo opportunity with a perfect Spaceship Earth backdrop. It celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, which was launched in 1916 to conserve the country’s natural scenic treasures.
Let It Go: Anna and Elsa topiaries are appropriately located in the Norway pavilion festival landscape, and they’re joined by nearly 100 topiary characters all around Epcot. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp, Simba and Peter Pan, will animate the Epcot landscape, surrounded by themed gardens featuring herbs, peppers, orchids and more. Stay after dark and the park’s whole character will change as the gardens and topiaries brighten up with twinkling lights.
Enjoy a Concert: The Garden Rocks concert series will present pop bands with music that comes from a span of four decades. This year’s lineup kicks off March 4-6 with The Orchestra, starring former members of ELO, and will also include new-to-the-festival acts like Bad Company.
Eat a Flower: A new edible flower garden by The Land pavilion will showcase petals with flavor. They’re not only lovely to look at, but they’re quite tasty too.
Visit Butterflies: The Butterflies on the Go garden will return, telling the story Monarch’s epic journey across the continent. You’ll see adult butterflies flitting about and also get a chance to watch some emerging from their chrysalises.
Learn Something at a Seminar: Each weekend, the Festival Center offers complimentary hands-on Gardening Seminar experience. Listen to advice from the experts and and create a take-home souvenir.
To whet your appetite with past highlights from the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, check out the videos in this article.