The magnificent stories and characters of Disney World literally come alive every year during the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. We visited during the 20th Anniversary of the annual event, in 2013.
The International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot
The stage is set as soon as you enter Epcot: A giant Disney picnic is in full bloom in the garden at the front gate. A gigantic Mickey Mouse is grilling up hotdogs, Donald and Daisy are playing badminton and Goofy seems to have his mind on dessert already. A typical Disney scene composed of plants! Even the giant Weber-esque grill is topiary.
Throughout the park, topiary versions of Disney characters are set in the lands their stories come from: Beast and Belle in France, Peter Pan and Hook in the UK, Lightning McQueen at the Test Track; more than 75 topiaries in all. Phineas and Ferb, Lady and the Tramp, Mike and Sully, the Lion King, Woody, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – nearly everybody is at this garden party! As with everything Disney, the attention to detail is amazing and sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re looking at a sculpture made of plants.
Presented by HGTV
HGTV presents the festival this year, and hosts several displays, presentations and demonstrations throughout the park. Every weekend, hosts from HGTV and the DIY network are on the HGTV Designer’s Stage for presentations and workshops. Chris Grundy of Cool Tools happened to be there when we visited, much to the guys’ delight. If you’re a gardner (or a wannabe), be sure to stop by the Festival Center for a schedule of lectures, workshops and activities. Also on stage, but across the park, is the Flower Power Concert Series featuring bands and performers from the 1950s through ‘70s at the American Gardens Theatre.
For the kids, there are a variety of activity gardens, including the Land of Oz Garden, and the Backyard Play Garden presented by GoGo squeeZ . They offer a dose of knowledge and know-how with the fun. Be sure to grab a sample of the GoGo squeeZ applesausce while you’re there – delish and refreshing! For particularly energetic wee ones, the activity gardens have some great playgrounds!
The English Tea Garden presented by Twinings of London® is beautiful, and the daily tours of the garden explain a bit about the plants (just one tea plant?) and tea blends (12 types of Twinings!), and leave you with a sample. We happened to catch Alice in Wonderland there, and I’m still amazed at how wonderfully Alice this young lady is. Also beautiful is Tinkerbell’s Butterfly House, though we didn’t see many butterflies on our visit – most were still just cocoons – the fairy houses were enchanting little works of art and craftsmanship. At night, some of the gardens are illuminated for an extra-enchanting feel.
Perhaps not a reason for most to visit Walt Disney World, the International Flower and Garden Festival certainly gives Epcot a little added color and spectacle, two things that Disney always does well. For complete details and schedules, visit the Festival’s page at Disney World’s website.
See more pictures from the 20th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival in our Gallery!