New sights, sounds and flavors of spring will envelop Walt Disney World Resort guests beginning March 6 when the 26th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival bursts into bloom.
This year’s festival will be chock-full of lush new topiary whimsy, edible delights, gardens to play in and an expanded lineup for the Garden Rocks Concert Series. The 90-day event continues through June 3, featuring dozens of Disney-crafted topiaries and beds of multi-colored blooms that will transform the Epcot landscape into a floral extravaganza. As just one example of this metamorphosis, nearly 70,000 festival blooms will surround the lakes in Future World, while on the water, hundreds of colorful mini-gardens will be set afloat. Here is a look at some of the discoveries guests will make this year:
- The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will expand to every day of the festival, featuring chart-topping artists performing three shows daily on the America Gardens Theatre stage. That’s 270 concerts – more than ever before – featuring new and returning fan favorites spanning multiple genres. Returning favorites like The Spinners and Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone will be joined by artists new to the festival like TobyMac, Steven Curtis Chapman and Colin Hay of Men at Work.
- Creative new culinary dishes and several new outdoor kitchens will debut this year. AdventHealth will host a kitchen along with a nearby playground where the whole family can learn fun and interactive ways to stay healthy.
- Woody and Buzz Lightyear will welcome Bo Peep and her sheep to their Toy Story topiary near the Family Play Zone in Future World East.
- Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration family scavenger hunt will be more fun than ever this year with new locations to discover along the garden pollination trail. Guests can also commemorate their scavenger hunt experience with select merchandise offerings featuring everyone’s favorite bee, Spike. Another guest favorite returning to the festival April 5-21 (while supplies last) is the Eggstravaganza Scavenger Hunt, where guests can search for Disney character-themed eggs around World Showcase.
- In celebration of Disneynature’s “Penguins,” opening April 17, a 9-foot-tall art sculpture made from recycled marine debris will be on display in Future World featuring an adult and baby Adélie penguin. Created by the non-profit organization WashedAshore.org, this work of art is designed to inspire Guests to keep our oceans and waterways clear of plastic pollution.
Among the returning gardens and exhibits, guests will once again enjoy the Goodness Garden Butterfly House presented by GoGo squeeZ where nearly 1,000 native butterflies will fly among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants. Additionally, several World Showcase pavilions will include gardens with floral life representative of plants in those countries, such as the Kokodema Garden and Bonsai Collection in Japan, the Urban Spice Garden in Morocco and the Alpine Container Garden in Germany. As festival-goers take in all these floral wonders, they will find fine tastes to savor along their journey. In addition to the Outdoor Kitchens, raised-bed or in-ground gardens of herbs and produce will offer the perfect inspiration for learning to grow healthy ingredients. Several Epcot food-and-beverage locations – including Taste Track and Refreshment Port– will offer festival-themed eats and libations. Additionally, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at 15 popular Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating for a nightly concert with a Garden Rocks Dining Package. Dining packages are now booking at FreshEpcot.com or by calling (407) WDW-DINE. Guided tours are also available for guests interested in learning more about nature’s magic. In Behind the Seeds – The Land, guests can explore the fish farm and four greenhouses that make up The Land at Epcot. Additionally, two guided experiences exclusive to the festival include:
- The Royal Tea Garden Tour, presented by Twinings, which takes place each festival morning at the United Kingdom. For a small fee, guests can follow a knowledgeable guide through the tranquil tea garden setting to learn the history and artistry behind growing and blending tea. A post-tour treat of tea and scones is included. The shorter, complimentary English Tea Garden Tour also will be offered on select days.
- During the Gardens of the World tour, guests will join a Disney horticulturist for a three-hour walking tour to explore the award-winning topiaries and gardens that make the festival so special. Guests will learn about the unique role landscaping plays at Walt Disney World and discover new plant materials and gardening techniques to use for home gardens.
Guided tours are offered select days throughout the festival for an additional fee. Epcot admission is required. Reservations for tours open January 2019. For more information or to make a reservation, call (407) WDW-TOUR. As the festival nears, more details will be available at FreshEpcot.com. The festival, including all gardens and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.