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Spring comes early for Disney lovers with the start of the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World, which is one of my favorite events of the year!
What is the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival?
The International Flower and Garden Festival is an annual event held only at Epcot that showcases the beauty of gardens combined with a lot of Disney magic! For 2018, the festival starts on February 28th and runs until May 28th, so you have a few months to come out and see the brilliant flower displays.
No extra ticket is required, and your ticket to Epcot for the day allows you to take part in all that the festival has to offer. There are a few extra tours and dining packages available, however, should you wish to have a more immersive experience.
This years marks the 25th Anniversary of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, and commemorative merchandise is available to celebrate this event! The festival merchandise tent is located close to the Figment topiary, between Future World and Showcase Plaza.
As a collector of Minnie ears, I personally love this year’s ears from the Minnie’s Farmhouse Flower Shop collection – white with the cutest headband of spring flowers!
Lots of Topiaries
Those visiting the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival will be exposed to beautiful topiary displays throughout the park, which is the highlight of the entire festival! Make sure to snap a photo immediately after entering the park with the “Welcome Topiary,” which starts your journey into the International Flower and Garden Festival.
For my Instagrammers out there, the official hashtag is #freshepcot, so get busy posting those selfies with your favorite Disney characters!
Take a walk around Epcot and find all the amazing topiaries – Donald Duck, butterflies, Anna and Elsa, pandas, Winnie the Pooh, Rafiki doing his infamous lifting of Simba in the air…the list is long! You will find these topiaries throughout Future World and at the World Showcase.
Gardens and Play Gardens Galore
Also throughout Future World and the World Showcase, you will find many gardens. Again, the list is long, so prepare for a day of strolling!
Some gardens you will see include:
- Water Wise Garden (Future World)
- Purple Martins (Future World)
- The Goodness Garden Butterfly House (Future World)
- Floating Gardens (Future World)
- Bold Bromeliads (Mexico)
- Bamboo Garden (China)
- English Tea Garden (United Kingdom)
- Bonsai Collection (Japan)
And there’s so much more! For the little ones, you can check out two play gardens, both located at Future World: The “Road to the Florida 500” play garden is near Test Track and features Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez from the Cars movies. At Future World West is the “Imagination” play garden, an interactive sensory garden designed for all ages. Both play gardens close at dusk.
Grab a bite to eat in one of the festival’s 15 outdoor kitchens, featuring fresh farm-to-table culinary delights! New this year is The Honey Bee-Stro (probably a favorite of Winnie the Pooh) located at Showcase Plaza, which serves honey-tasting goodies.
Offerings include roasted cauliflower with a honey carrot purée, honey tandoori chicken, and a wildflower honey mascarpone cheesecake! You can even try an orange blossom honey wine from the Florida Orange Groves Winery.
Garden Rocks Concert Series
One of my favorite parts about the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is the Garden Rocks concert series, which features popular bands from past decades. They may not be hip anymore, but they are still hip to us 30-plus-year-olds and older!
Here is this year’s Garden Rocks schedule:
- Night Ranger: March 2 to 5, 2018
- Starship, starring Mickey Thomas: March 9 to 12, 2018
- Simple Plan: March 16 to 19, 2018
- Little River Band: March 23 to 26, 2018
- The Orchestra, with former members of ELO: March 30 to April 2, 2018
- Foghat: April 6 to 7, 2018
- Survivor: April 8 to 9, 2018
- Smash Mouth: April 13 to 14, 2018
- Rick Springfield: April 15 to 16, 2018
- Jo Dee Messina: April 20 to 21, 2018
- Lonestar: April 22 to 23, 2018
- Blood, Sweat and Tears, featuring Bo Bice: April 27 to 30, 2018
- Herman’s Hermits, starring Peter Noone: May 4 to 7, 2018
- Village People, featuring Victor Willis: May 11 to 12, 2018
- Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles: May 13 to 14, 2018
- The Guess Who: May 18 to 21, 2018
- The Spinners: May 25 to 28, 2018
If you are wondering if you will find seating for the concerts, I would say it depends on the popularity of the band. Still, people start lining up pretty early. I watched Night Ranger’s 6:45 p.m. show on a Friday night, and as the show started, there were people already in line for the 8 p.m. show.
Truthfully, I do not think this tactic is worth it unless you are a fanatic of whatever band, but use your best judgment! To put it in more perspective, the show is only 30 minutes long. They sing like, four songs, and that’s about it. But, it’s still cool to be able to watch bands like Simple Plan and Smash Mouth! (Yes, those bands were super cool in my era.)
Show times are 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m., Friday through Monday.
Should I go to the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot?
YES! This is one event I highly recommend. To me, there are benefits of going during the day and also benefits of going at night. I suggest going during the day to see the vibrant colors of the flowers and topiary displays. Your pictures will turn out awesome! While you are there, make sure to try some of the culinary delights from one of the outdoor kitchens. However, if you are there on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, you must stay until evening when the Garden Rocks concerts happen!
Epcot in general is known to be better for “older people,” but I still bring my son and niece, who enjoy watching the concerts. My entire family loves watching live music, no matter who the band is, so we really come out for the shows. Maybe it is because I am in my mid 30s that I appreciate the festival more, but I still would recommend it because the flowers are such a pretty sight to see! All of Epcot is in full bloom right now, so if you are at Walt Disney World this spring, make sure to come visit and check it out!
Are you planning to visit the Epcot International Flower and Garden this year? Let us know in the comments below!
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