Every spring Epcot comes alive with pretty posies, over-the-top topiaries and fresh flavors. This year is no different. Beginning Friday, March 3, the 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival kick off with lots of fun happenings. Here is a guest guide to all the fun:
The main objective of the Flower & Garden Festival is the flowers and gardens! Therefore, the first thing you will notice when you enter the park are the incredible topiaries. This year there will be over 100 topiaries on display throughout the park including the following character topiaries:
- Anna and Elsa from Frozen – Norway Pavilion
- Bambi & Friends Featuring Bambi, Flower and Thumper – Canada Pavilion
- Beauty and the Beast – France Pavilion
- Belle – France Pavilion
- Bromeliad Dragon – China Pavilion
- Buzz Lightyear from the Disney•Pixar Toy Story films – Mission: SPACE
- Cruz Besouro from the Disney•Pixar Cars films – Test Track
- Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie – Main Entrance
- Fantasia – Future World West
- Festival Blooms – Future World East and West Lake
- Figment – Spaceship Earth
- Lady and the Tramp – Italy Pavilion
- Mickey, Minnie and Pluto – Showcase Plaza
- Panda – China Pavilion
- Peter Pan, Tinker Bell & Fairy Houses from Pixie Hollow – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Phineas and Ferb – Odyssey Bridge
- Ranger Mickey & Friends – Future World
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Germany Pavilion
- Stitch – Fountain side of MouseGear
- The Lion King Featuring Mufasa, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Sarabi, Simba and Timon – The Outpost between the Germany and China Pavilion
- The Three Caballeros – Mexico Pavilion
- Winnie the Pooh & Friends – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Woody from the Disney•Pixar Toy Story films – The American Adventure
Exhibits and Gardens
From Bonsai trees to butterflies, there’s a bounty of displays ready to capture your family’s attention and imagination. Highlights include:
- Alpine Containers (NEW!) – Take your knowledge of high-elevation plants to new heights as you learn about life as it exists above the tree line!
- Bonsai Collection – Branch out to the Japan Pavilion to cultivate an appreciation for an ancient art form that produces the most amazing miniature trees.
- Butterflies on the Go presented by GoGo squeeZ™ – Float over to this happening habitat at Future World to get an up-close glimpse at several species of butterflies—they may even brush by your shoulder during the exciting walkthrough tour.
- Floating Mini-Gardens – Peer upon 225 petite plots drifting on the ponds that border the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase.
- Geranium Grandeur (NEW!) – Soak up the sights—and scents—of these popular annual, biennial and perennial plants, and the vibrant petals they have to offer.
- Health & Healing Garden – Glide over to The Land to discover ancient plants that have the ability to heal!
- Illuminated Gardens – See Epcot with new wonder as select Disney topiaries and Festival playgrounds all across the park glow with light and the Flower & Garden fun continues into the night!
- Nature Works Everywhere (NEW!) – Explore this exhibit from Nature Conservancy where kids can learn how to create gardens that help their school yards’ filter water, provide wildlife habitats and improve the soil.
- Pepper Fire Garden – Think you can take the heat? Head to The Land Pavilion to take a peek at the world’s hottest peppers.
- Prehistoric Plants – Spot examples of greenery that existed when dinosaurs roamed the earth at Future World East.
- Purple Martins Presented by Audubon Florida – Stop and listen to the tranquil sound of this special species of songbird at Future World East.
- Shakespeare Garden – Thou shalt adore matching up famous quotes to flowers found within this vibrant garden at the United Kingdom Pavilion.
Garden RocksTM Concert Series
Held in the American Gardens Theatre, the Garden Rocks Concert Series typically takes place Fridays – Mondays (an extra day over 2016) at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm & 8:00 pm. The performers for 2017 are:
- 3/3 – 3/4: Jon Secada
- 3/5 – 3/6: Dennis DeYoung
- 3/10 – 3/13 – The Pointer Sisters
- 3/17 – 3/18: Simple Plan
- 3/19 – 3/18: Plain White T’s
- 3/24 – 3/27: Night Ranger
- 3/31 – 4/3: Little River Band
- 4/7 – 4/10: Blood, Sweat and Teams featuring Bo Bice
- 4/14 – 4/17: Gin Blossoms
- 4/21 – 4/24: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
- 4/28 – 4/29: Exposé
- 4/30 – 5/1: Berlin
- 5/5 – 5/8: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
- 5/12 – 5/15: The Guess Who
- 5/19 – 5/22: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- 5/26 – 5/29: The Spinners
Garden RocksTM Dining Packages
To get a guaranteed seat for the Garden Rocks Concert Series booking one of the dining packages is your best bet. The meal includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert—or one (1) full buffet or family-style dining, where applicable—along with a non-alcoholic beverage. Here are the participating restaurants and the cost:
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Norway Pavilion Breakfast: $54.00 for adults; $32.00 for kids Lunch: $69.00 for adults; $41.00 for kids Dinner: $69.00 for adults; $41.00 for kids
Biergarten Restaurant Germany Pavilion Lunch: $39.00 for adults; $22.00 for kids Dinner: $53.00 for adults; $29.00 for kids
Coral Reef Restaurant The Living Seas Pavilion Lunch: $69.00 for adults; $24.00 for kids Dinner: $69.00 for adults; $24.00 for kids
The Garden Grill Restaurant The Land Pavilion Breakfast $39.00 for adults; $23.00 for kids Lunch: $57.00 for adults; $34.00 for kids Dinner: $57.00 for adults; $34.00 for kids
Nine Dragons Restaurant China Pavilion Lunch: $50.00 for adults; $16.99 for kids Dinner: $58.00 for adults; $18.50 for kids
Restaurant Marrakesh Morocco Pavilion Lunch: $50.00 for adults; $21.00 for kids Dinner: $58.00 for adults; $21.00 for kids
Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room United Kingdom Pavilion Lunch: $58.00 for adults; $23.00 for kids Dinner: $58.00 for adults; $23.00 for kids
San Angel Inn Restaurante Mexico Pavilion Lunch: $57.25 for adults; $15.50 for kids Dinner: $71.50 for adults; $17.50 for kids
Spice Road Table Morocco Pavilion Lunch: $50.00 for adults; $21.00 for kids Dinner: $58.00 for adults; $21.00 for kids
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria Italy Pavilion Lunch: $54.00 for adults; $20.00 for kids Dinner: $57.00 for adults; $24.00 for kids
Tutto Italia Ristorante Italy Pavilion Lunch: $64.00 for adults; $22.00 for kids Dinner: $70.00 for adults; $25.00 for kids
Chefs de France France Pavilion Lunch: $65.99 for adults; $17.99 for kids Dinner: $75.99 for adults; $22.99 for kids
Tokyo Dining Japan Pavilion Lunch: $62.00 for adults; $16.99 for kids Dinner: $74.00 for adults; $20.75 for kids
Teppan Edo Japan Pavilion Lunch: $62.00 for adults; $16.99 for kids Dinner: $74.00 for adults; $20.75 for kids
La Hacienda de San Angel Mexico Pavilion Dinner: $76.50 for adults; $17.50 for kids
Festival Center Events
- Garden Information Desk: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Connect with Master Gardeners from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences.
- Garden Theatre: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM See the “making” of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
- Heritage of Disney’s Horticulture Exhibit: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Learn how horticulture has played a key role in creating Walt Disney’s vision.
- Hands-On Presentations at the Greenhouse Stage: 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM Demonstrations at the Fresh Epcot Stage: Noon and 3:00 PM
- Tips at the Spotlight Stage: 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM Soaking up planting pointers from the experts at University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences.
- Conversations at the Festival Stage: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Catch a lively discussion on a variety of horticulture topics
Eco-Friendly Family Weekends
- March 31 – April 2 & April 28 – 30: Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment and Conservation Specialists – Interact with team members from Disney’s Animal Kingdom park during this unique opportunity—an entire weekend featuring a variety of topics the whole family will enjoy, including what we can do to protect the planet, a.k.a. our own Spaceship Earth!
- April 22 – 24: Celebrate Earth Day – Share in a celebratory occasion as we commemorate the place we all call home! Enjoy an assortment of special activities – and listen along as featured personalities speak at the Festival Center.
- May 5 – 7: Discover the Bounty of Florida Agriculture – Don’t miss out on the chance to dig into Sunshine State! Interact with a whole cornucopia of Florida Agriculture specialists inside the Festival Center.
- May 12 – 14: Florida Federation of Garden Clubs – Marvel at amazing flora designs that defy description – each one located inside the Festival Center.
Music Garden Melodies Playground
Location: Along the Imagination Walkway between Future World and World Showcase
Hum your favorite tune on the way to a rockin’ fun zone that’s as sweet as nectar!
Starring Disney’s “Fab Five” topiaries, including bandleader Mickey Mouse and his fellow members Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck, this outdoor wonderland is filled with hands-on amusement and even lights up after dark.
Children can express their creativity by playing instruments like drums, chimes and xylophones—and tap into their adventurous side by tackling state-of-the-art net climbers. Music-themed plants also add a clever touch to this sonic scene.
Road to the Florida 500 Location: Along the Test Track Walkway
Topiary buddies Mater, Lightning McQueen and Cruz Besouro invite you to relax and recharge while your kids race around in a desert-themed mini park. Inspired by the Disney•Pixar film Cars, this playful area features a canopied jungle gym and eye-catching cacti.
As a bonus, enjoy an “I Spy” moment by taking turns pointing out the various auto parts scattered among colorful flower beds!
Butterflies on the Go Presented by GoGo squeeZ® – Visit this foliage-filled exhibit to view a kaleidoscope of butterflies fluttering in every direction. Kids will have an opportunity to observe several species up-close, learn about their life cycles and may even witness them emerging from cocoons.
Purple Martins Presented by Audubon Florida – See an incredible species of small migratory songbirds that have undergone an impressive 3,000-mile journey from the Brazilian Amazon to raise their families at Walt Disney World Resort.
Backyard Habitat Presented by National Wildlife Federation – Unearth sources of inspiration to construct your own wildlife-friendly spaces at home.
Nature Works Everywhere Presented by The Nature Conservancy – Kids will absorb amazing tips on how to create gardens that will help their school yards’ filter water, provide welcoming habitats and improve soil quality.
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) is committed to supporting programs that reverse the decline of at-risk wildlife and increase the time kids and families spend together outdoors.
Seeking nature adventures for your little buds? Be on the lookout for gardens, exhibits and habitats marked with the DCF logo!
Find out how the Disney Conservation Fund is making a difference across the globe!
One of the best parts of the festivals at Epcot is the food. Stationed around the Promenade and the World Showcase, the Outdoor Kitchens are a great way to ‘eat your way around the world’.
THE BERRY BASKET – NEW
- Lamb Chop with Quinoa Salad and Blackberry Gastrique
- Field Greens with Fresh Strawberries, Blue Cheese, Strawberry Vinaigrette and Spiced Pecans (vegetarian)
- Warm Wild Berry Buckle with Pepper Berry Sorbet (vegetarian
NORTHERN BLOOM – NEW
- Seared Scallops with French Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter Vinaigrette and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon (gluten-friendly)
- Beef Tenderloin Tips, Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce, Whipped Potatoes with Garden Vegetables
- Nanaimo Bar Trifle
- Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Plantain Chips
- Pineapple Soft-Serve (vegetarian)
FLEUR DE LYS:
- Tarte à l’Onion Alsacienne: Alsatian Onion Tart with Sautéed Onions, Fresh Thyme and Rosemary on a Flaky
- Puff Pastry Crust (vegetarian)
- Poulet aux Écrevisses, Riz Pilaf: Baked Chicken with Crawfish served with Rice Pilaf
- Macaron Chocolat Framboise: Large Raspberry Macaron with Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry Jam (gluten-friendly)
BAUERNMARKT: FARMER’S MARKET
- Potato Pancakes with House Made Apple Sauce (vegetarian)
- Potato Pancake with Caramelized Ham, Onions and Herb Sour Cream
- Currywurst with Paprika Chips (gluten-friendly)
- Roasted Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup and Paprika-spiced Chips
- Warm Cheese Strudel with Mixed Berries
TASTE OF MARRAKESH:
- Merguez “Hot Dog” Sausage: Spicy Beef and Lamb with Sautéed Onions and Green Peppers
- Home-Made Falafel with Pickled Beet and Turnip, Tomato Salad and Tahini Sauce
- Baklava (vegetarian)
- Frushi: Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry and Melon rolled with Raspberry Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream on the side (vegetarian)
- Ahi Tuna Poke Sesame Ginger
- Beef Teriyaki Udon: Thin-sliced Beef, Onions and Noodles tossed on the grill with Soy and Ginger
THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews:
- Pulled Pig Slider with Coleslaw
- Smoked Pork Ribs with Black Bean and Corn Salad (gluten-friendly)
- Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños
- Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans (vegetarian)
- Antipasto Misto: Cerignola Olives, Sweet Soppressata and Salami, Ovolini, Mozzarella, Sweet Roasted Peppers, Ciabatta Bread
- Meatball Parmigiana: Hand-made Beef and Veal Meatballs, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Parmigiana, Fresh Basil
- Strawberry Tiramisu: Ladyfingers, Mascarpone Cream and Marinated Strawberries topped with Strawberry Sauce
- Carne Asada with Black Bean Cake and Cilantro Lime Sour Cream
- Shrimp and Stone-ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro (gluten-friendly)
- Florida Larder Board: Orlando-made Ricotta Cheese, Cahaba Farms Micro Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic, Country Pâté and House-made Pickles
- Key Lime Tart with Toasted Meringue
- Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wrap
- Beijing-Style Candied Strawberries (vegetarian)
- Vegetable Spring Rolls (vegetarian)
JARDIN DE FIESTAS:
- Chile Relleno de Picadillo: Battered Poblano Pepper filled with Ground Beef covered with Tomato Sauce and garnished with Queso Fresco and Toasted Almonds
- Brocheta de Pollo con Salsa Morita: Grilled Chicken with Red and Green Bell Pepper served with Salsa Chile Morita and garnished with Micro-cilantro and Edible Flowers
- Tres Leches: Vanilla Sponge Cake, Cajeta, Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk and garnished with Orange Zest
URBAN FARM EATS:
- Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, B&W Gourmet Farms Baby Arugula, Feta and Balsamic Reduction (gluten-friendly and vegetarian)
- Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragoût, Spring Vegetables and Fingerling Potatoes
- Crabless Cake with Crispy Vegetable Slaw, Lemon Vinaigrette and Old Bay Remoulade (vegetarian)
- Pear Cider-brined Shredded Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage and Pears and Branston Dressing
- House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare
- Freshly Baked Lemon Scone with Crème Fraîche and Mixed Berries (vegetarian and gluten-friendly)
LA ISLA FRESCA
- Jamaican-braised Beef with Pigeon Pea Rice and Micro Cilantro
- Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer with Steamed Rice and Coconut Lime Sauce
- Caribbean Conch Salad with Avocado, Mango and Onions
- FlanCocho: Vanilla Caramel Custard with Chocolate Coffee Cake (vegetarian)
Phew! That is a lot of fun stuff to do… and eat. You might even need a couple of days to truly enjoy all they have to offer. Oh, and have a Pork Slider for me!
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and being team mom to ten high-energy volleyball players where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @JazzinDisneyMom.