The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is a celebration of everything that is great about the Spring season; fresh foods, outdoor entertainment and of course, beautiful flowers. Running from early March to mid May, Epcot is transformed into a gardener’s paradise. As soon as you enter the park, you will see the giant topiaries welcoming you. This year, the main entrance topiary features Kermit and Miss Piggy, in celebration of their upcoming movie. These amazingly sculpted topiaries take all year to grow, and can be found throughout Future World and World Showcase. Between the 2 sections of the park, you will also find a butterfly garden, a greenhouse where the insects emerge from their cocoons and fly overhead.
For the last few years, the Festival has been sponsored by HGTV. Different network stars are on hand each weekend leading workshops on various topics. The DIY personalities will teach you about planting, home repairs and transforming your backyard. You can also stop by the Festival Center, located in the former Wonders of Life pavilion, for more gardening information. There, you can also see displays on the history of the Festival and of course, purchase event merchandise.
New to the 2013 festival, and continuing on this year, Outdoor Kitchens line World Showcase. These food kiosks feature several different food and beverage options at each location, with an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients. Not as extensive as the food offered at the Fall’s Food and Wine Festival, Flower and Garden still features some amazing dishes inspired by flavors from around the world. Some of my personal favorites were the Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction,and the Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Zellwood Corn, Tomatoes and Cilantro.
For desert, I recommend the Frushi, strawberries, pineapple and cantaloupe rolled with coconut rice atop a raspberry sauce and whipped cream on the side. And to wrap everything up, try the Dole Whip, the classic Magic Kingdom pineapple soft-serve frozen dessert now drenched in delicious rum. It packs a kick and will be sure to make you enjoy the festival that much more.
Also part of the Festival is the Flower Power Concert Series. Perfect for minivan driving Mom’s and Dad’s who still want to rock out, each week bands from the 60’s through the 80’s play their hits at the American Gardens Theatre in the center of World Showcase. This year you can see acts like Herman’s Hermits, Starship and some version of the Village People. The concert is included with park admission.
If you are traveling to Walt Disney World in the spring, The Flower and Garden Festival is a great bonus to an already terrific park. The topiaries and flower beds that adorn the park are pretty spectacular, and the new food booths make the event a must do for any park fan, and worth a visit if you’ve ever considered planning a vacation for this time of year.