• Check out what's blooming at the 25th Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

    By: Shelley Caran

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival has returned for its 25th year to fill Epcot with fun topiaries, educational gardens, interactive play areas, concerts, and tasty treats from outdoor kitchens until May 28th.

    While most Epcot Flower & Garden Festival events are included with your admission into Epcot, many experiences require a separate purchase or a separate admission fee. Availability is limited for some experiences.

    So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what you can expect to experience at this year’s Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!

    Topiaries

    The iconic character topiaries found scattered throughout the park are one of the best parts of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!

    They make great photo back drops and as you look at the detail with which they’ve been created you’ll be wondering how in the world they created them.

    Here is a list of where you can find this year’s topiaries:

    • Welcome to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – NEW!: Featuring Mickey, Minnie and Goofy - Located at Main Entrance
    •  Donald Duck with Huey, Dewey and Louie - Located behind Spaceship Earth
    • Stitch - Located on the fountain side of MouseGear
    • Daisy Duck, Chip and Dale - Located at Future World West near Imagination
    • Buzz Lightyear from the Disney•Pixar Toy Story films - Located at Future World East near Mission: SPACE
    • Lighting and Cruz from the Disney•Pixar Cars Films - Located at Future World East near Test Track
    • Butterflies - Located near Showcase Plaza
    • Bambi & Friends Featuring Flower, Bambi & Thumper - Located at Showcase Plaza West Towers
    • Figment - Located between Future World and World Showcase
    • The Three Caballeros Featuring Jose, Donald and Panchito - Located at the Mexico Pavilion
    • Anna and Elsa from Frozen - Located at the Norway Pavilion
    • Troll Presented by Adventures by Disney - Located at the Norway Pavilion
    • Bromeliad Dragon - Located at the China Pavilion
    • Pandas - Located at the China Pavilion
    • Simba and Friends Featuring Pumbaa, Timon, Rafiki, Simba, Mufasa and Sarabi - Located at The Outpost Shop
    • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Located at the Germany Pavilion
    • Lady and the Tramp - Located at the Italy Pavilion
    • Woody from the Disney•Pixar Toy Story films - Located at The American Adventure
    • Beauty and the Beast - Located at the France Pavilion
    • Tinker Bell - Located at the United Kingdom Pavilion
    • Winnie-the-Pooh & Friends -  Located at the United Kingdom Pavilion

    Gardens and Exhibits

    The landscape of Epcot is always beautiful, but during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival there are even more displays to enjoy.

    From floating gardens to Bonsai trees to flowering gardens, you are sure to find a moment of inspiration or interactive & educational fun.

    Here where you can find the gardens and displays around the park:

    • Purple Martin Garden – Spot purple martins as they soar to and from their nests in our purple martin bird houses. These amazing migratory birds flew over 3,000 miles from the Brazilian Amazon to raise their families right here at Epcot! Keep an eye out for Disney conservationists that study these birds and test your identification skills by finding the brown and white females as well as the iridescent, all-purple males.
    • Festival Blooms - Presented by FTD – Located at Future World, this display boasts thousands of flowers form colorful, living panoramas overlooking Future World’s East and West lakes.
    • Floating Mini-Gardens – Peer upon over 100 petite plots drifting on the ponds that border the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase.
    • The How-To Garden – Stop by this display in Future World West and take the Disney Flower and Garden Festival home with garden-ready ideas, including how to create your own butterfly house, garden crafts and sustainable ideas.
    • Road to the Florida 500 – Inspired by the Disney•Pixar film Cars, topiary buddies Mater, Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez invite you to relax and recharge while your kids race around in a desert-themed mini-park at Test Track Walkway (closes at dusk).
    • The Goodness Garden Butterfly House Presented by GoGo squeeZ—Visit this foliage-filled exhibit at Future World West to view a kaleidoscope of butterflies and observe several species up-close, learning about their life cycles and maybe even witnessing them emerging from chrysalises.
    • Imagination Play Garden – NEW! Explore a play garden for children of all ages near Imagination Walkway (closes at dusk). Test reflexes on a net play climber, discover different sounds through a musical maze and use your senses.
    • Tropical Rainforest Garden – NEW! Visit the Mexico Pavilion and learn how Mexico rainforests are rich with plants and animals that have adapted to a wide variety of light levels and water conditions.
    • Bamboo Garden – As a member of the grass family, bamboo can be found at the China Pavilion in many colors, patterns and sizes.
    • Alpine Container Garden – Visit the Germany Pavilion to learn about hearty alpine plants that have adapted to survive in extreme temperatures and are the perfect match for windy balconies, cold-weather climates and sloped or parched landscapes.
    • Garden Italiano – From fresh spaghetti sauce to your favorite pizza topping, this Tuscan kitchen garden at the Italy Pavilion features all the produce and herbs needed to create a classic Italian feast.
    • Bonsai Collection – Take a trip to the Japan Pavilion and discover the ancient art of bonsai with some of the finest living sculptures created by bonsai masters, who carefully shape and tend these miniature works of art—creating peace and balance with the earth.
    • Florida Fresh Garden – Calling all the little ones! Come between Morocco and the France Pavilion and climb, explore, play and more at this fun-filled garden planned—and planted—with young children in mind.
    • Urban Spice – At the Morocco Pavilion, learn how in many eastern cultures, ancient spices were considered more valuable than gold. Even today, many cultures are defined by their signature spices and herb blends, created from plant leaves, stems, roots, seeds and flowers.
    • English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London – Discover the history and art of tea blending at this elegant English Tea Garden at the United Kingdom Pavilion, featuring plants important to some of Twinings finest tea blends.
    • Shakespeare Garden – Thou shalt adore matching up famous quotes to flowers found within this vibrant garden at the United Kingdom Pavilion. William Shakespeare often used flowers and exotic gardens to help set the scenes for his plays and employed them as symbols and metaphors.

    Tours

    This year there are three different tours that you can only experience during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

    Gardens of the World

    The Gardens of the World tour is a 3 hour walking tour around the World Showcase Pavilions with a Disney Horticulturalist that explores the lush landscapes and signature displays of the 2018 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!

    The Tour includes behind-the-scenes tales about the award-winning topiaries and gardens that make the Festival so special, the role of landscaping at Walt Disney World Resort, ways you can apply Disney landscaping techniques at home, and discover various plant materials and gardening techniques—and see how landscaping helps develop a theme.

    The Gardens of the World tour costs $85 plus tax per guest (does not include admission to Epcot) and takes place on select Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm during the Festival.

    For this tour, advance reservations are strongly recommended. To make a reservation, visit Guest Relations, or call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687 for availability. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

    English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London

    The English Tea Garden is an approximately 20 minute long tour that gives guests a new appreciation for this time-honored beverage and the artistry behind the growing and blending herbs during a complimentary tour of an elegant English tea garden.

    Tours are limited to 20 guests per tour, and are held Monday through Thursday at 3:30 p and 5:00 pm, and Friday through Sunday at 1:00 pm, 3:30 pm and 5:00 pm. Same day registration is available at The Tea Caddy Gift Shop in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

    Royal Tea Garden Tour

    The Royal Garden Tea Tour begins at 9:45 am in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot, before World Showcase opens to the general public at 11:00 am, and leads you through an elegant tea garden  where you’ll spend approximately 45 minutes exploring the garden while learning the artistry and history behind growing and blending tea and then ends with a stop at the Rose & Crown Dining Room, where you’ll be served scones and tea. 

    The tour costs $18, price includes tax, per person and does not include admission in to Epcot. 

    For this tour, advance reservations are strongly recommended. To make a reservation, visit Guest Relations, or call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687 for availability. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

    Outdoor Kitchens

    It wouldn’t be a festival at Epcot without amazing food, and this year there are even more Outdoor Kitchens, 15 to be exact, in World Showcase offering a specialty menu of creative cuisine and libations. Savor, sip and stroll while satisfying appetites large and small!

    Each Outdoor Kitchen features its own raised-bed or in-ground garden of herbs and produce that can inspire the growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow what they eat.

    I’m excited to share more about the food next week after, but it’s important to know when you are planning your visit to Festival that the Outdoor Kitchens open daily at 11 am and close at 9pm.

    Garden Rocks Concert Series

    The Garden Rocks Concert Series, at the American Garden Theater in World Showcase, is another highlight of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival every Friday through Monday with shows at 5:30, 6:45, and 8 pm.

    The schedule for the 2018 Garden Rocks Concert Series is:

    • March 2-5: Night Ranger “Sister Christian”
    • March 9-12: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
    • March 16-19: Simple Plan “Welcome to My Life”
    • March 23-26: Little River Band “Reminiscing”
    • March 30-April 2: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
    • April 6-7: Foghat “Slow Ride”- NEW
    • April 8-9: Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” – NEW to Garden Rocks
    • April 13-14: Smash Mouth “All Star” – NEW to Garden Rocks
    • April 15-16: Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” – NEW to Garden Rocks
    • April 20-21: Jo Dee Messina “Stand Beside Me” – NEW to Garden Rocks
    • April 22-23: Lonestar “Amazed” – NEW
    • April 27-30: Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice “Spinning Wheel”
    • May 4-7: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry VIII I Am”
    • May 11-12: Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
    • May 13-14: Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles “Hotel California” – NEW
    • May 18-21: The Guess Who “American Woman”
    • May 25-28: The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”

    If you want to ensure that you grab a seat at the Garden Rocks concert, there are now Garden Rocks Concert Series Dining Package that include breakfast, lunch or dinner at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating at one of 3 concert performances later that day.

    Fun Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Extras

    This year there are two scavenger hunts that families can participate in as they are journeying around the festival.

    Spike the Honey Bee Scavenger Hunt

    From February 28 through May 28, gardeners of all ages are invited to participate in a springtime scavenger hunt starring Spike, the bzzzz-iest honey bee at Walt Disney World Resort. Embark on a search for Spike’s best blooms as he pollinates flower beds across Epcot!

    Begin this botanical-happy hunt by purchasing a map at Port of Entry for $5.99 plus tax. Next, buzz through the World Showcase in search of flowers featuring the big bee himself, then return your completed map to Port of Entry for a special surprise. 

    Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt

    Break out the bunny ears! From March 16 through April 1, 2018, the “hoppy-est place on Earth” welcomes wabbits of all ages to Egg-stravaganza, a popular scavenger hunt that has everyone scampering around World Showcase in search of Disney Character-themed eggs. And that’s no yolk!

    Prepare to crack the case of the oversized orbs by purchasing a map for $5.99 plus tax. Next, hunt high and low for hidden eggs featuring your fave Disney peeps and return the completed map to Port of Entry for a sp-egg-tacular surprise.

    Epcot International Flower and Garden Exclusive Merchandise

    This year’s selection of Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival merchandise features more than 75 items from t-shirts to coffee mugs to Mickey Ears in a variety of styles.

    There are also three event specific MagicBands, three styles of Disney Dooney & Bourke purses, and Disney garden figures that you won’t want to pass up.

    Merchandise for the annual event is available through out the park, but make sure that if you see something that you like you pick it up since items often sell out through out the course of the 90 days.

    Annual Passholder Perks

    This year the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival has also expanded their exclusive offering for Annual Passholders.

    This year, Walt Disney World Annual Passholder are able to pick up two complimentary magnets during the Festival. There are two different designs that are available on separate dates in Future World West behind Starbuck.

    From February 28 to April 8, 2018, annual passholders can pick up a Mickey Mouse themed magnet, and from April 9 to May 28, 2018, annual passholders can pick up the first ever Minnie Mouse themed annual passholder magnet.

    Annual passholders are limited to one of each of the two magnets throughout the festival when they show their valid Annual pass and photo ID, and magnets are only available while supplies last. And unfortunately they are only available to Annual passholders who are visiting the Festival.

    Annual Passholders attending the event will also find a variety of Passholder Exclusive merchandise including drinkware by Tervis, pins, ornament, apparel, and a handbag by Dooney & Bourke.

    In addition to that merchandise, there is also the Passholder Exclusive MagicBand also has an edition size of 2,000 and complements other Figment products created for the event.

    Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Tips & Tricks

    If you are planning on attending the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, here are some of my best tips & tricks for making the most of your visit!

    • When you are planning your day put extra time in your schedule to stop and smell the flowers…literally. While you may find that you think that you are going to just do a walk-by of the topiaries, gardens, and exhibits, I promise you that at least two will pull you in as you walk by for a closer look.
    • Download the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Passport to look at all the Outdoor Kitchen menus.
    • Save time paying at the Outdoor Kitchens by purchasing a Festival Gift Card that you wear around your wrist.
    • You don’t need a separate ticket to see any of the Garden Rocks concerts, but these concerts do fill up. So if there is a band that you are really excited about seeing, make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before show time.
    • Parents, make sure that take advantage of the play areas for children that are scattered through out the festival. These are great places to let them run free and for you to enjoy some time to yourselves.
    • Also, Passholders don’t forget to take advantage of your 20% merchandise discount and PhotoPass pictures!

    That’s all for this week’s Theme Park Thursday, but make sure to follow @icFloridaevents on Instagram and Twitter because this Saturday I will LIVE from the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival with even more information and tips for enjoying a blooming good time!

    Next week’s Theme Park Thursday will be focused on tips for having an awesome Spring Break if you are going to be enjoying a staycation or taking a cruise or traveling to the other theme parks in Florida!

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