You might not feel it where you're at right now, but spring is just around the corner! Temperatures are on the rise in sunny Orlando just in time for one of my very favorite events -- the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival -- which kicks off in a few weeks.
This annual event runs from March 6 through May 19 and features some of the most amazing topiaries ever seen! It takes Disney more than a year to prepare for the event, which features more than 30 million blooms. Here's an overview of this year's festival for those of you planning to attend.
Topiaries & Blooms
You'll find more than 100 topiaries throughout Epcot during this event, plus 240 floating mini-gardens, flower towers and other blooms throughout the park. For the first time ever, Illuminated Gardens in Future World and World Showcase will twinkle and glow over the gardens and topiaries each evening.
Mike and Sully (two of Lily's very favorite characters) from "Monsters University" will make their topiary debuts this year. They join many, many other Disney favorites, including the inseparable Phineas and Ferb, who will be available for photo ops behind Spaceship Earth.
We're most looking forward to visiting Tinker Bell's Butterfly House, featuring fairy topiaries of Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence, as well as hundreds and hundreds of colorful butterflies. You might not know that up to 10 species of 1,000 native butterflies will be drinking from Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star and butterfly bush among other nectar plants!
As we've discussed in recent posts, food is a central part of this year's celebrations (which we'll discuss more below), and the entrance to Epcot will feature oversized topiaries of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck in a cookout scene made from more than 15 varieties of flowers, plants and other garden materials.
According to an official press release:
"The 14-foot-tall Goofy topiary will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms."
Making their debuts this year are 12 "garden marketplaces," similar to the kiosks at the Food & Wine Festival, that will feature a number of culinary creations and cooling libations, including the much-balyhood Spiced Rum Dole Whip. Each of the marketplaces will feature a produce and herb garden.
Here are a few of the Garden Marketplace menus, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Click to see the full list:
"Pineapple Promenade at World Showcase Promenade: Dole Whip; Dole Whip with spiced rum; pineapple upside-down cake; Dole pineapple fruit cup; frozen desert violet lemonade; cream stout beer.
The Cottage: Savories, Trifles and Tea at United Kingdom pavilion: Potato, chive and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare and sour cream; baked goat's brie with kumquat chutney; heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella, vinegar and basil; trifles (chocolate, berry, ginger and tea); hot and iced teas; Brut Rosé sparkling wine; Rose Blush lemonade.
L'Orangerie at France: Ratatouille tarte with goat cheese; pate with baguette and cherry compote; peach charlotte; frozen cocktail; Chardonnay; Cabernet Sauvignon; Sparkling Muscat."
Debuting this year is a circus-themed "Land of Oz" play area based on the upcoming "Oz: The Great and Powerful" film set for release March 8. There will be an interactive play zone made of giant flowers as well as midway-style games and a variety of Oz-like plants.
Flower Power Concert Series Lineup
Each weekend, you'll be able to enjoy classic tunes from the 60s and 70s during the Flower Power Concert Series. Show times are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre.
March 8-10 Mickey Dolenz of The Monkeez
March 15-17 Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
March 22-24 The Guess Who
March 29-31 Nelson
April 5-7 The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
April 12-14 Paul Revere & the Raiders
April 19-21 The Village People (new!)
April 26-28 The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II
May 3-5 Tommy Roe (new!)
May 10-12 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 17-19 Starship starring Mickey Thomas
HGTV & DIY Network personalities scheduled for appearances and sessions*
Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday at noon and 3 p.m., you can get tips and tricks from some of DIY and HGTV's most popular designers in the Festival Center. More than half of this year's speakers are new to the festival, including Florida's David Bromstad. *Speakers are subject to change.
March 8-10 Chris Lambton, "Going Yard"
March 15-17 Chris Grundy, "Cool Tools"
March 22-24 Egypt Sherrod, "Property Virgins"
March 29-31 Brandon Johnson, "My Yard Goes Disney"
April 5-7 Meg Caswell, "Meg's Great Rooms"
April 12-14 Jason Cameron, "Desperate Landscapes," "Man Caves"
April 19-21 Sara Peterson, editor, HGTV Magazine
April 26-28 Carter Oosterhouse, "Million Dollar Rooms"
May 3-5 Casey Noble, "Design on a Dime"
May 10-12 Dan Faires, HGTV.com's "DanMade"
May 17-19 David Bromstad, "ColorSplash," "Design Star All-Stars."
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is included with regular admission to Epcot. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, it's a great way to begin (or end) a few days of your trip!
Are you going? Stay tuned on Facebook for pictures from this year's event. See pictures from last year here. What else is happening during the Flower & Garden Festival? Check events for Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens.
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