For many of us, especially those of us in colder climates, springtime is a time we look to for renewal, the return of green grass, spring flowers and of course warmer temperatures. A sure sign of spring at the Walt Disney World Resort is the annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
To celebrate the festival’s 23rd year in 2016, it has been announced that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will expand to 90 days from its current 75. Epcot’s Vice-President, Melissa Valiquette, hopes that offering the extra 15 days will give Guests some extra time to take advantage of “the variety our festival has to offer.” Ms. Valiquette adds “The festival has become a spring tradition for many who can’t wait to try fresh flavors at our Outdoor Kitchens, dance in their seats at Garden Rocks concerts, explore stunning garden exhibits, grab photo ops with colorful Disney character topiaries and experience memory-making fun.”
Huey, Dewey and Louie will make their topiary debut this year, inspired by a 1943 comic book called “The Victory Garden.” To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, a Ranger Mickey Mouse topiary has been created. A new “Fab Five” play garden will be added, which will feature Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck topiaries. These topiaries will include musical instruments built into the children’s outdoor climbers. Anna and Elsa topiaries will be relocated to the Norway Pavilion after having been debuted in the World Showcase Plaza in 2015. In total, Guests can look forward to seeing almost 100 character topiaries which will be added to the expansive garden beds around the Epcot landscape.
The International Flower & Garden Festival concert series called “Garden Rocks” will be located at the Gardens of America, and will present several pop bands with music that spans over the past 4 decades. Concert lineups have not yet been revealed, but past performers have included bands such as Herman’s Hermits, The Village People, Gin Blossoms and The Guess Who.
Disney horticulturists will lead weekend “how-to” seminars at the Festival Center, which is also where Guests will be able to purchase signature festival merchandise. There will also be special guest experts who will lead complimentary seminars on a wide range of gardening and outdoor living topics.
Other experiences that Guests can look forward to are Butterflies on the Go, Mini-Gardens including an edible flower garden near the Morocco Pavilion, Outdoor Kitchens, and special night-time illuminated topiaries and play gardens.
For the fourth year, along with Guest favorites, will be new food and beverage offerings. Some of the Outdoor Kitchens will have offerings ranging from sweet and savory treats to fresh garden produce.
Eric Darden; Epcot’s Festival Horticulture Manager explains, “We work hard every year to bring new features and fresh fun to our festival. We’re telling new stories with our flowers and plants, every year there are surprises for our Guests including new Outdoor Kitchen tastes.”
During the International Flower & Garden Festival, more that 70,000 bedding plants are used to surround the Future World east and west lakes alone, and on the water 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.
This expanded International Flower & Garden Festival gives Guests even more opportunity to explore, and is a great value as all gardening programs and exhibits are included in the regular price of admission.
For more information about the 23rd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, you can use the links provided above or call 407-W-DISNEY (934-7639). Be sure to check back here at Magical DIStractions as we will update you on breaking news on the festival as it becomes available. Also closer to spring you can look for information at EpcotInSpring.com.