Spring is in full swing in Central Florida, and that can only mean one thing: The EpcotⓇ International Flower & Garden Festival has arrived! Until May 28, 2018, your family can experience the legendary park in full bloom. Dedicated Disney vacationers know to have a game plan when you visit EpcotⓇ, and visiting during this famed festival is no exception. Here are some must-do’s to add to your list this year.
1. First Thing's First: The Flowers
In case you were wondering what EpcotⓇ looks like in full bloom, here are some fast facts: 700 gardens, 240 floating flower planters, 30 flower towers, and almost 30 million blooms spring to life during the festival. It takes more than 1 year and hundreds of Walt Disney World garden experts to prepare for the 90-day festival. In other words, this is a pretty big deal. Make sure you stop to smell the roses when you visit.
2. Snap These Shrubs-Of-Art
Here’s where you’ll need your camera. Each year, Disney creates living sculptures of your favorite Disney characters—character topiaries. Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and many more will all be in attendance this year. Click here to read the full list of which characters will be made in works of floral art and where to find them in the park.
Photo: @when.hinges.creak on Instagram
3. Dig into the Outdoor Kitchens
Foodies will be happy to hear the fun doesn’t stop at flowers. The park pulls out all the stops on the food front, with 13 pop-up kiosks, “Outdoor Kitchens”, located throughout the park’s international pavilions. In true EpcotⓇ form, each Outdoor Kitchen represents international delicacies. Sample bavarian bites at Bauernmarkt in Germany, nibble on Caribbean-seasoned dishes in La Isla Fresca, or intoxicate your tastebuds with a Taste of Marrakesh—the choice is yours!
4. Learn “How-Tos” From The Pros
The Festival hosts a number of expert presentations from HGTV and DIY experts on a number of gardening and home improvement topics. If you’re a budding plant parent or have an experienced green thumb, these sessions are for you!
5. Take A Tour of the Gardens of the World
What does it take to bring the Festival to life? What’s the story behind the Snow White character topiary? All these questions could be asked, and more, on a tour through the gardens. Disney horticulturists guide visitors “around the world” during the Festival to give you a behind-the-scenes stories about the award-winning topiaries and gardens. On the tour, you’ll pick up tips to apply to your own gardens, including new plant materials, gardening techniques, and more.
Photo: @disney_photo_tour on Instagram
6. Stop by Specialty Gardens
Each year, the Festival boasts a number of fresh and new gardens for visitors to enjoy. In 2018, new gardens include “The Road to Florida 500” (inspired by Cars 3), the kid-friendly Imagination Play Garden, the Purple Martin Garden (these migratory birds flew more than 3,000 miles to raise their families at Epcot!) and many more.
7. Rock On, Dude
Get your groove on with the Festival’s Garden Rocks Concert Series. Each weekend, you can soak up the sounds of different artists and acts at the American Gardens Theatre. Chart-toppers, up-and-comers, and old-school classics, all while taking in a waterfront view? Sign us up.
8. Tinker Bell Butterfly House
Another noteworthy exhibit: Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House! Filled with butterfly and fairy topiaries, you’re sure to spot butterflies fluttering about the exhibit. You never know, one might even pop by to say “hi!”.
Photo: @ajcucchi on Instagram
9. Make Some Music Of Your Own
Make sure you stop by the Harmony Gardens musical playground when you visit. The exhibit includes interactive drums, chimes, and xylophones for the young and young-at-heart to try and test.
10. Sip Tea and Garden like the English
Tea and gardening are a match made in heaven, and the Festival makes sure you can experience the best of both worlds. Gain a new appreciation for this time-honored beverage during a tour of an English tea garden, presented by Twinings of LondonⓇ.
The EpcotⓇ International Flower & Garden Festival is always a highlight of the year, and 2018 is no exception. If your interest in the festival is budding, make Kissimmee your home base for access to the Festival, more theme parks, and so much more. If you happen to snap a photo of your favorite topiary, band, or dish, be sure to share them on Instagram with #MyKissimmee. See you soon!