Each year I travel to Walt Disney World in Florida for 3 unique events. Halloween, for the Food and Wine Festival, Christmas, because… well Christmas in Walt Disney World is just awesome, and of course in the Spring for EPCOT’s International Flower and Garden Festiva! Spring is closer than you think and fun is the definitely the flavor this year at the Flower & Garden Festival happening March 4 – May 17 2015 and Disney is offering up to 35% off during this time, be sure to check the special offers page at Disneyworld.com. As you make your way through enjoying the enchanting floral topiaries and savoring seasonal foods at Outdoor Kitchens all across World Showcase, you’ll see there is much to do and see at the festival, so I’ve narrowed it down to 5 of the best MUST-Do’s… here we go!
4. Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House
This is without a doubt one of the coolest displays available at this years Flower and Garden Festival. Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House, on the Imagination Walkway, bursts to life with 1,000 native butterflies, pixie-sized fairy houses, and fairy topiaries including Tinker Bell and Periwinkle. There’s even a new pirate fairy house in honor of the latest Tinker Bell movie. The real treat though is being able to watch in real time as these butterflies break out of their cocoon right as your watching. The Disney Imagineers somehow have it timed perfectly so that you can catch the transformation in action. That is real Disney Magic!
3. Topiaries and Garden Displays
For the first time at the 2015 International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT, “Frozen” figures will be captured in leafy form. Elsa and Anna will be present in a scene representing the film’s icy finale. The garden, located at World Showcase Plaza, will include white and silver blooms (Delphinium alyssum and more) along with a spring palette of daisies, petunias, Sweet William and others.
In addition to the Frozen sisters, you’ll find 70 Disney character topiaries among the over 100 topiaries arranged throughout Epcot. Also look for more than 200 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms. This is such a fun way to make your way around the park. Nearly everywhere you look will have some sort of floral display, and in my opinion the topiaries rule!
Here are the locations as they stand now where character topiaries can found throughout Epcot:
- Frozen Characters – World Showcase Plaza
- Goofy, Donald Duck & Daisy Duck – Epcot front entrance garden
- Mickey, Minnie and Pluto – behind Spaceship Earth
- Lightning McQueen & Mater – along the Test Track Walkway
- Buzz Lightyear – near Mission: Space
- Mike & Sulley – along the Imagination Walkway
- Phineas and Ferb – at Odyssey Bridge
- Fantasia Display – World Showcase Plaza
- Bambi and Friends – Canada Pavilion
- Peter Pan & Captain Hook – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Winnie the Pooh & Friends – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Classic Disney Couples – International Gateway and along the bridge to the France Pavilion
- Beauty and the Beast – France Pavilion
- Lady and the Tramp – Italy Pavilion
- Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs – Germany Pavilion
- Woody & Lotso – The American Adventure Pavilion
- Lion King Characters – The Outpost between Germany and China pavilions
- Kermit the Frog & Miss Piggy – between the Italy and Germany pavilions
2. Garden Rocks Concert Series
One of the highlights of the Flower and Garden Festival is the opportunity to enjoy live music from big name acts while eating and drinking your way through World Showcase. The best part is that it’s FREE! The Flower Power Concert Series transforms the America Gardens Theatre into the Garden Rocks Concert Series. New acts for 2015 will include the Gin Blossoms, Pablo Cruise, En Vogue, Jon Secada, Taylor Dayne, and Little River Band. Past favorites returning to the American Gardens Theatre are Starship, The Orchestra (members of ELO), The Village People, The Guess Who, and Herman’s Hermits. Be sure to arrive early before each show if you want to get a good seat, otherwise just hang back at the American Pavilion and enjoy the music. The concerts are held each weekend evening at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 p.m and what better way to enjoy GREAT FOOD and DRINK, than right here! Enter OUTDOOR KITCHENS!
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1. Outdoor Kitchens
If you’re like me, there is not much better than listening to live music while eating and drinking delicious food and libations. Because of the huge success of outdoor kitchens featured at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, it’s no surprise that Disney has chosen once again to feature outdoor kitchens for the 3rd year in a row at this years International Flower and Garden Festival. In my opinion, this is by far the best part of the festival… It’s kinda like a mini Food and Wine Festival with topiaries! Outdoor kitchens featured in World Showcase offer tapas size portions of some of the most scrumptious plates you may ever taste. Prices vary from roughly $3-$6 for a plate big enough to sample a little of everything and enjoy some truly unique flavors. You make your way around World Showcase for lunch or dinner and try 3 or 4 plates without breaking the bank. These food kiosks can be found throughout World Showcase and feature flavors from Mexico, China, Florida, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, Canada and Urban Farms. Be sure to taste EVERYTHING! Of course, there are many more menu items to choose from, but here are some of my favorites returning this year and some new dishes that look sure to please.
Jardin de Fiestas – Mexico Pavilion
- Tacos al Pastor: Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro – $5.50
- Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso: Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese – $5.25
- Ranbuesa (Raspberry) Margarita – on the rocks = $8.50
Florida Fresh – Near Germany Pavilion
- Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits – with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro – $5.75
- Florida Kumquat Pie – $3.00
Primavera Kitchen – Italy Pavilion
- Caprese – Fior di latte mozzarella, roasted peppers and olio verde – $5.75
- Three Cheese Manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel – $5.75
- Frozen Italian Primavera – Assorted fruit slushy with limoncello and vodka – $11.00
The Smokehouse: Barbecue & Brews – American Adventure Pavilion:
- Pulled Pig Slider – with cole slaw – $5.75
- Smoked Beef Brisket – with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread – $6.75
- Piggylicous Bacon Cupcake – with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon – $3.50
Taste of Marrakesh – Morocco Pavilion
- Lamb Brewat Roll – with prunes and sesame – $5.00
- Harissa Chicken Kebab – with couscous salad – $5.00
Start planning a trip for this year’s Flower and Garden Festival this March 4 – May 17 2015 with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE!