Flower and Garden Festival may very well be my favorite time of year to visit Disney World (and definitely Epcot!). I know Food and Wine Festival has a lot of fans, but there are a few things about Flower and Garden which I personally prefer. The first is how the festival originally started – with the flower and topiaries. While it may not have as many food booths as Food and Wine, I like their emphasis on sustainable and fresh food options, as well as the fact that Flower and Garden doesn’t get nearly as crowded as Food and Wine.
Flowers and Topiaries
There is beauty all over Epcot. You’ll find topiaries of various Disney characters at the front entrance of Epcot, a couple in future world, and throughout many countries in the World Showcase. Many are the same year to year, but there are always a few new ones. This year Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie were at the front of the park!
You’ll always find lots of cute merchandise for Flower and Garden. There are the typical items like mugs, pins, and t-shirts, but they have a variety of garden items too with Disney characters. This year there was even some fun Star Wars stuff. There were several logos this year, but lots of the merch featured Figment, the imaginary dragon. I’m not a huge fan of Figment myself but I know a lot of people are, and some of the designs were so pretty – especially the women’s shirt with him on it! I ended up buying a pin. Merchandise is located at stands throughout the park, but there’s also a festival center where you’ll find the most things. The festival center also offers some programming, like talks on horticulture and other events.
I don’t have kids myself, but I think it’s awesome that Epcot adds extra play areas during the festival. There were two big areas for kids – the Cactus Road Rally with Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, and the Music Garden Melodies. Kids might also enjoy the butterfly tent, where you can walk through and see a variety of butterflies.
On the weekends Disney brings in some performers to do free concerts at the America Gardens Theatre in the World Showcase. Some are lesser known or cover bands, but others are fairly well known names (The Village People performed this year). Night Ranger was the act while I was there, but I didn’t have interest in that. I was actually bummed that I missed Darlene Love the weekend before (I was in a musical once that featured a lot of her songs).
There were 13 food booths set up especially for Flower and Garden this year (they try to put other places like Sunshine Seasons in the passport because they’re serving one extra specialty item, but I don’t count that). And during the course of my trip I managed to eat or drink something from all 13 booths. I’ll be doing a separate post just on the food and drink, but for now I’ll say some of my favorite items included the frozen desert violet lemonade at Pineapple Promenade, Beijing-style candied strawberries in China, shrimp and grits at Florida Fresh, watermelon salad at Urban Farm Eats, and the cider and beer flight from Cider House. As I mentioned before I love that this festival emphasizes fresh, lighter fare, with a good amount of vegetarian options. I prefer dishes made with veggies and fruit over some of the heavier stuff at Food and Wine (though I like that too!).
Have you ever visited Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival? Is this something that you’d like to check out?