We are officially one month out from one of the most beautiful times to visit Epcot. The 2014 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is scheduled to begin on March 5th and run through May 18th. This is the Festival's 21st year. Each year the Festival offers beautiful gardens, topiaries, butterfly gardens, celebrity presentations, the Flower Power Concert Series, food booths, and much, much more!
Today, I present to you the defacto guide to experiencing the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
Every year brings about some new items and this year, there are quite a few. They include:
- Topiary versions of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to celebrate the theatrical release of Muppet Most Wanted.
- Last year brought us the Marketplace Kiosks. These fantastic food booths have been renamed this year and will be called Outdoor Kitchens. In addition, a new booth will be added that will celebrate an all natural, sustainable garden menu. Some items will even come from The Land Pavilion, which is found in Future World. Menu items will include: the Land-Grown Eggplant “Scallop” with Romesco Sauce, Ghost Pepper Dusted Tilapia with Winter Melon Salad and Mango Chutney, plus red and white vegan wines and gluten-free beer.
- Topiary Timon (from The Lion King) will join his buddy Pumbaa in the Outpost section.
- The front entrance garden will be changed a bit. Join Goofy, Donald, and Daisy as they venture out on a butterfly hunt...but there's an added twist: the topiaries will have a new, computer-generated look where Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light up on the back of his floral garb. Also, a topiary bee buzz on Donald’s head. The front garden will also feature a real waterfall, as well as a pond with water lilies.
- A new Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden will welcome families with a whimsical play land of activities.
- A new photo opportunity topiary display will be available for guests, featuring soccer Goofy and Donald!
- Gardener's Palette: Explore all this charming location has to offer, located at Future World East near Universe of Energy.
- The Backyard Play Garden will allow kids to take part in stimulating activities that inspire playful, active and healthy living—for Guests both young and young at heart!
Hummingbirds at Home, a new exhibit presented by the National Audubon Society,
will feature walk-through hummingbird gardens and tips on how to attract
the beautiful birds.
The topiaries are always my favorite part of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. These plants, which are sculpted into wonderful works of art, are always stunning and so incredibly detailed. It's amazing how they take different plant substances to make these creative pieces.
Here is a look at which topiaries will be found in 2014 and where:
Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto
Behind Spaceship Earth
Test Track Walkway
Phineas and Ferb
Mike and Sulley
World Showcase Plaza
Future World/World Showcase Plaza
Bambi and Friends
Peter Pan and Captain Hook
United Kingdom Pavilion
Winnie the Pooh and Friends
United Kingdom Pavilion
Classic Disney Couples
Beauty and the Beast
Woody and Lotso
American Adventure Pavilion
Lady and the Tramp
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
Between Italy Pavilion and Germany Pavilion
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The Lion King
Spring is in the Air
Flower Power Concert
- March 7-9 The Guess Who “American Woman”
- March 14-16 Gary Lewis and The Playboys “This Diamond Ring”
- March 21-23 The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
- March 28-30 The Lovin’ Spoonful “Summer in the City”
- April 4-6 Paul Revere & The Raiders “Good Thing”
- April 11-13 Village People “Y.M.C.A”
- April 18-20 The Grass Roots “Midnight Confessions”
- April 25-27 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VII, I Am”
- May 2-4 Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
- May 9-11 Chubby Checker & The Wildcats “The Twist”
- May 16-18 Alan Parsons Live Project “Eye in the Sky”
The Festival Center is the hub for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. This location (which is the former location of the Wonders of Life Pavilion) holds the Designer Presentations, hear tips from gardeners, shop for Festival merchandise, and more.
The full list of activities include:
- HGTV Theater – Hear tips from the experts at HGTV and see how Disney Horticulturalists go about growing the magic you see all around you in this video presentation of “The Making of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.”
- Planting Pointers – Daily at 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM, join the experts from IFAS at the University of Florida who will present a daily assortment of topics and ideas to help your technique grow.
- Intermissions Café – For a special way to dig into the day, or perhaps turn over your evening, stop by Intermissions Café, which features a fine selection of wine, cheese, wraps and salads.
- Ask an Expert – From 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, collect answers for your deeply rooted gardening questions, courtesy of the “Master Gardeners” from IFAS at the University of Florida.
2014 Top Gardening Trends – Robert Bowden
I Did Something Wild in My Yard! Landscaping Techniques to Benefit Wildlife – Dr. Mark Hostetler
Magical Hummingbirds – Don Kendzior
Florida Hikes for Botanical Beauty – Sandra Friend & John Keatley
An Edible Education: The Garden as a Teaching Tool -Kendra Lott
Mounting Excitement: Creating a Driftwood Air Garden – Dennis Cathcart
Accidental Artist – Craig Mitchell Smith
Hypertufa—Ancient Pots – Melanie Palmrose
Magical Hummingbirds – Don Kendzior
Gardening for Conservation – Jarrod Stewart
March 10:Monarch Butterflies and Their Migration – Jaret Daniels
Great Containers Made Easy (12:00 p.m.) – Marcia Leeper & Steven Nordmeyer
Crazy for Containers (3:00 p.m.) – Marcia Leeper & Steven Nordmeyer
Gardening with Nature – Don Kendzior
The Audubon Birdhouse Book: Great Homes for Great Birds – Margaret Barker
Colorful Shrubs – Eric Schmidt
Fantastic New Plants for 2014 (12:00 p.m.) – Danielle Sherry
Diagnosing Your Veggie Problems (3:00p.m.) – Danielle Sherry
At the Designers' Stage during the weekends, celebrities from both HGTV and the DIY Network will be on hand offering tips to help make your home spring to life. These presentations take place at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
The celebrities appearing are:
|Vern Yip (Design Star)|
Chris Lambton, “Going Yard”
Matt Blashaw, “Yard Crashers”
Matt Muenster, ”Bath Crashers”
Taniya Nayak, ”House Hunters on Vacation”
Amy Matthews, “Renovation Raiders”
John Gidding, ”Curb Appeal”
David Bromstad, “Color Splash”
Chip Wade, ”Elbow Room”
Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Star
Alison Victoria, ”Kitchen Crashers”
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is all about edutainment. Here are a few additional ways you can illuminate your day in the park with an enlightening series of experiences!
- Garden Retreat
Test Track Walkway
- Water Wise Herbs & Vegetables
- Festival Blooms
Future World East and West Lake
- Florida Fresh Garden
Adjacent to the Germany Pavilion
- TBD Garden – Presented by Nature Conservancy
- Backyard Habitat
- Bonsai Collection
- Art in the Garden Weekend – March 28 to March 30
From 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, visualize nature through one-of-a-kind works around World Showcase.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Specialists – April 4 to April 5
Uncover incredible creatures from the team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
- Florida Fresh Weekend – April 25 to April 27
Behold the bounty of the Sunshine State.
- Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. – May 9 to May 11
Unearth amazing flora designs, each of which defies description.
- Epcot Gardens of the World Tour
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Take a guided 3 hour tour, led by a Disney horticulturist of special displays and award-winning gardens. $64.00, plus tax. Ages 16 and up. To register, visit Guest Relations, or call (407) WDW-TOUR.
- English Tea Garden – Presented by Twinings
Enjoy the history and art of tea blending during a guided 20-minute tour of an elegant English Tea Garden, featuring some of Twinings finest tea blends. To register, sign-up in The Tea Caddy at the United Kingdom Pavilion.
Last year was the first year for the Outdoor Kitchens (which were known as Marketplace Kiosks). These Kitchens focus on serving small bites of delectable treats and beverages with a focus on fresh ingredients.
The booths are similar to what you would see at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. There will be 11 kitchens total, found throughout World Showcase.
Here is the full list of all the Outdoor Kitchens that will be featured during this year’s festival:
Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico Pavilion) - Enjoy flavors like savory tacos and fruity cocktails.
- Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro
- Quesadilla de hongos con queso – Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese
- Flan de chocolate Abuelita – Mexican chocolate custard
- Tecate draft beer
- White Mexican sangria
- Franbuesa (raspberry) margarita on the rocks
- Tequila flight – blanco, reposado and añejo
- Dasani bottled water
|Candied Strawberries ©Disney|
- Beijing-style candied strawberries
- Spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple
- Vegetable spring rolls
- Popping bubble tea
- Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice
- South Sea Storm – Guava juice with light and dark rum
- Plum wine
- Tsing-Tao beer
- Lychee aerated water
- Watermelon salad with pickled onions, BW Farm baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction
- Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro
- Florida kumquat pie
- Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade®
- Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria featuring Simply Lemonade, Florida Orange Groves
- Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery
- Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery
- Blonde Ale, Orlando Brewing Company
- Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Swamp Head Brewery
- Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company
- Florida Avenue Blueberry, Cold Storage Craft Brewery
- Beer Flight – Blonde Ale, Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale and Florida Avenue Blueberry
- Simply Orange
|Feast of Flowers ©Disney|
|Watermelon Salad ©Disney|
|Shrimp and Grits ©Disney|
Primavera Kitchen (Italy Pavilion) - Sample some of this country’s many flavors like caprese, manicotti, torte di ricotta and Italian wines.
- Caprese – Fior di latte mozzarella, roasted peppers and olio verde
- Three cheese manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel
- Torta di ricotta – Lemon cheesecake with limoncello-marinated strawberries
- Placido Pinot Grigio
- Placido Chianti
- Bosco del Merlo Prosecco
- White peach bellini – Prosecco and white peach puree
- Strawberry rossini – Prosecco and marinated strawberries
- Frozen Italian primavera – Assorted fruit slushy with limoncello and vodka
- Moretti Lager
- Moretti La Rossa
The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews (American Adventure Pavilion) - Celebrate the truly American tradition of barbeque, paired with craft brews from across the country.
- Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
- Smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread
- Smoked turkey “rib”
- “Piggylicous” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Brewing
- Maduro, Cigar City Brewing
- Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company
- Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company
- Beer Flight – Magic Hat #9, Maduro, Fat Tire and Billy’s Chilies
- The Original Rib Shack Red Wine
|Piggylicious Bacon cupcake ©Disney|
|Pulled Pig Slider ©Disney|
Hanami (Japan Pavilion) - Hanami is a traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers. Take in the gorgeousness while enjoying delicate bites and refreshing beverages.
|Hanami sushi ©Disney|
- Frushi – Fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon, rolled with coconut rice, topped with raspberry sauce, sprinkled with toasted coconut and served with whipped cream on the side
- Temaki hand roll – Sliced Panko fried chicken, curry sauce, rice and pickled julienne carrots wrapped with Nori
- Hanami sushi – A flavorful combination of salmon, scallop and beef-topped rice balls served atop a shiso violet sauce
- Japanese puffed rice cakes with green tea whipped cream and azuki
- Kirin draft beer
- Pinepple Paradise with Yuzu Slushie – Frozen blend of sweet sake, pineapple juice and crème, flavored with a hint of Yuzu citrus juice
- Orange Mango Slushie – Frozen blend of Nigori sake, mango and orange juice
- Lamb brewat roll with prunes and sesame
- Harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad
- Baghrir – Moroccan pancake with honey, almonds and argan oil
- Mint iced tea
- White sangria
- Guerrouane red
- Casa Beer
- Desert Rose – Sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur
Fleur de Lys (France Pavilion) - Indulge your senses in France’s most magnificent culinary masterpieces.
|Orange Blossom Macaroons ©Disney|
- Gnocchi Parisien à la Provençal – Parisian-style dumplings with vegetables and mushrooms
- Confit de canard, pommes de terre Sarladaise – Pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes
- Macaron à la fleur d’ Oranger – Orange blossom macaron with white chocolate ganache
- La Vie en Rose frozen slush – Vodka, Grey Goose Orange, St. Germain Liquor, and white and red cranberry juice
- Kir Imperial – Sparkling wine, Chambord and black raspberry liquor
- Rosé pamplemousse cocktail – Rosé wine mixed with natural grapefruit syrup
- Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – Fruity white beer with citrus notes
- Freshly baked potato and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare
- Field greens with Plant City strawberries, toasted almonds and Farmstead stilton
- Pork and apple sausage roll with house-made piccalilli
- Freshly baked lemon scones with berry preserves and crème fraÎche
- Chilled rose blush lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade with Raspberry (nonalcoholic)
- Twinings® Cold Brewed English Classic with lemon grass syrup
- Berry tea cocktail – Twinings Cold Brewed Mixed Berry Tea with Florida Cane vodka and Plant City strawberry, flavored with raspberry and açaí syrup
- Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee
- Deloach Pinot Noir
|Pork and apple sausage roll ©Disney|
|Field Greens ©Disney|
|Berry Tea Cocktail ©Disney|
Pineapple Promenade (Canada Pavilion) - Eat up (quite literally) as you try all kinds of treats featuring delicious and juicy pineapples.
- Dole Whip
- Dole Whip with Myers’s dark rum
- Dole Whip with Parrot Bay coconut rum
- Sweet potato cinnamon waffle with pineapple soft serve
- Frozen desert violet lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade (nonalcoholic)
- Tropical Mango Pale Ale, St. John Brewers
- Once Upon a Vine’s The Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc
|Redbridge Gluten-Free beer ©Disney|
Urban Farm Eats - Taste treats from this booth’s all natural menu, with dishes that have been cultivated from the soil.
- Pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna and pistachios
- Land-grown eggplant “scallop” with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash
- Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub
- Cucumber lemon spa water, finished with a sprig of fresh mint
- The Vegan Vine Chardonnay
- The Vegan Vine Cabernet Sauvignon
- Redbridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer
Intermissions Cafe (Festival Center) – Pop inside to find all kinds of fine food and beverages.
- Fruit & cheese plate
- Vegan trio
- Southwest chicken wrap
- Tuna salad with pita
- Side salad
- Asian tuna salad with noodles
- Caprese Push-Pop – Tomato, mozzarella and balsamic
- Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria, Florida Orange Groves
- Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery
- Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery
- Martini Prosecco
- Strongbow Cider, Bulmers Cider Company
- SweetWater Blue, SweetWater Brewing Company
Don't forget to pick up your Garden Passport. This is a special booklet that you should get stamped as you visit the Outdoor Kitchens. Passports can be picked up at the Festival Center, at any DVC Information Booth, or at the Outdoor Kitchens.
Fun For Kids
The kiddos aren't left out during this event. Quite a few new additions have been added that will appeal for the entire family.
- Mater's Parts, Plants & Play Garden: Play at this exciting stop located at Test Track Walkway.
- Mike & Sulley's Monstrous Garden: Scare up some fun at this vibrant play area on Imagination Walkway.
- Backyard Play Garden – Presented by GoGo squeeZ: Join in all sorts of outdoor activity where kids can take part in stimulating activities that inspire playful, active and healthy living.
- Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House – Presented by HGTV: Don’t miss the chance to catch a glimpse of Tinker Bell’s butterfly friends as they flutter about at this magical stop. In addition, this area features quite a few topiaries featuring Tinker Bell's Fairy Friends.
There will be quite a few areas where guests can pick up a fun gardening or Epcot Flower and Garden trinkets. Special Festival merchandise is created exclusively for the event. Items include plush, mugs, ears, shirts, wind chimes, pins, and Vinylmation. To pick up your souvenirs, head to:
- Garden Emporium - Located near the Canada Pavilion. Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Garden Treasures - Located near the Mexico Pavilion. Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Garden Oasis - Located near the Mexico Pavilion. Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Garden Boutique - Located near the Germany Pavilion. Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Port of Entry - Located near the entrance to World Showcase. Hours of operation from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Mouse Gear - Located inside Future World. Hours of operation from 9:00 AM - park close
There are also a few odds and ends you should know about. The Illuminated Gardens and Topiaries are back. Each evening, enjoy your walk around World Showcase just a little more as the topiaries are illuminated and twinkle.
Look for a new mini Disney Gift Card that is exclusive to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The neat thing about the card is that it has a bungee cord so you can wear it around your wrist and simply swipe to pay for food and more. The card can be reloaded as many times as you want at most festival kiosks.
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is such a great event. It's the sign that Spring is just around the corner and it really gets me in the warmer weather mindset. There's a ton of things to offer everyone and it just amazes me how much bigger this event just seems to be getting year after year.
What do you look forward to experiencing at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page!
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