Written by Corinne Leon
Spring has sprung! Well, maybe not quite yet in the “great white north”, but it’s been in full bloom at the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival since early March. Our family was lucky enough to visit the Walt Disney World Resort® during the Festival this year. In my opinion, Epcot looks its absolute best during Flower & Garden! The Festival definitely has a lot to offer this year, from amazing floral displays, to tasty treats, informative workshops, and a fun, new concert series!
The amazing topiaries are always a huge highlight of the Festival each year. They are nothing short of brilliant works of art! Every year, they add some new ones, while relocating many of the old favourites. New this year, are “Goofy About Spring” near the main entrance, “Anna and Elsa Topiaries” in the Showcase Plaza and “Miss Piggy Topiary and Tour de Fleurs Garden” near Italy. A few that I particularly like are “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Topiaries” and “Winnie the Pooh Topiary” with his balloon. In addition to the topiaries, the colourful landscaping designs are absolutely breathtaking and provide endless photo ops!
Even if you’re not particularly interested in flowers or gardens, there are still many other things to grab your attention. A fairly new addition in recent years are the Outdoor Kitchens, which are similar yet different from the offerings at the Food & Wine Festival in the fall of each year. Several can be found in the Showcase Plaza and almost every country around World Showcase hosts an Outdoor Kitchen, in addition to their regular restaurants. Each kitchen sells a couple of savoury dishes, usually a dessert selection and a few drink options. We tried the “Piggylicious” Bacon Cupcake at THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbeque and Brews near The American Adventure and the Pineapple Soft-Serve (aka Dole Whip) at Pineapple Promenade in the Showcase Plaza. We were hoping to get a green Dole Whip since it was St Patrick’s Day but they ran out of the green 10 minutes before we got there. Last year, I tried the soft-serve with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum – now that was yummy!
The Festival Center in Future World East is only open on the weekends and there you can attend many interesting workshops and demonstrations to learn about gardening and landscaping. You can also learn about some behind the scenes work that happens on some of our favourite Walt Disney World attractions.
Another unique aspect of Flower & Garden is the Garden Rocks concert series, formerly called the Flower Power concert series. Each weekend, a different musical act performs 3 shows at the America Gardens Theater, on Fridays through Sundays. Again, variety is the key here and guests can be entertained by classic bands like Starship and the Little River Band, or individual artists like Jon Secada and Taylor Dayne. Be sure to arrive early to get a good seat! I must confess to being more than a little disappointed at missing the Gin Blossoms and the Village People. Talk about poor timing!
All in all, I can easily say that this year’s Flower & Garden Festival was probably my favourite yet! In addition to all that I’ve already talked about, there are new and unique festival specific merchandise and plenty of activities for the kids, including the very popular “Butterflies on the Go” tent and “Mike and Sully’s Monstrous Garden”. This is definitely one of the best times of year to visit Epcot, and I highly recommend it!
For more information or if you’re planning to attend this year’s Festival, check out this link for all the details, including a downloadable Festival Guide – Flower & Garden Festival.
Corinne is a busy commuter mom who works full-time in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Together with her husband and teenage daughter, they love planning their future Disney trips and cruises, always trying to add new experiences to each vacation! You can follow Corinne on Twitter @Jump4Joy8390.