EPCOT has long been the Walt Disney World destination for fun festivals that transform the park. The International Food & Wine Festival dominates half of the year with a vast array of dining and drinking options. There are plenty of other festival options, though. The Flower & Garden Festival, happening right now through July 5th, is another fan favorite that blends innovative eats with beautiful sights and sounds around EPCOT.
1. The Flowers!
It wouldn’t be a Flower & Garden Festival without a showcase of Disney’s landscaping prowess. The most obvious of these examples are the topiaries spread through the park. Each one requires a painstaking effort to create and maintain. Check out this video of horticulture in action!
More than fifty topiary sculptures await your selfies in specific locations around the park. The newest additions await you on opposite ends of EPCOT. Just inside the entrance is the Family Madrigal from Encanto. Way back at the American Adventure Pavilion you will find Princess Tiana holding court. Whether you’re meeting these new friends or visiting old favorites like Winnie the Pooh, the Three Caballeros, or Kermit and Miss Piggy, you need to spend some time scouring EPCOT for each topiary masterpiece!
More than just a venue for large sculptures, the Flower & Garden Festival also showcases gigantic garden spaces across every pavilion. Some are learning spaces, like the Honey Bee-Stro near Imagination or the English Tea Garden in the United Kingdom. Through these spaces, you can learn about species vital to plant life on Earth, about the connection between smells and memory, and the painstaking craft of the Bonsai tree. Who says the edutainment aspect of EPCOT is gone?
Every pavilion around World Showcase has its own themed experience. World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery present multiple experiences. Perhaps the most dramatic and vast display is that along the bridge to the World Showcase Pavilion. I love seeing the vista of flowers along the water. Inside the pond float several pots with mini burst of color. With the monorail gliding overhead and Spaceship Earth in the background, it always makes for a great shot!
2. The Food!
Peppered through the lands and pavilions of EPCOT, you will find the highlight of any festival. The food kiosks during Flower & Garden are distinct from those at any other fest. EPCOT’s chefs take a themed approach to their menus, featuring more dishes that are completely plant-based and those including plant-based meat substitutes.
Case in point, take a look at the Garden Graze activity. Pick up your Festival Passport and make sure you keep it out when making your selections. There are ten plant-based items around the kiosks for you to find and enjoy. Fill up on at least five and take your stamped passport to the Pineapple Promenade kiosk for an extra treat!
You could easily make a full day’s meal out of an EPCOT trip without ever stepping inside one of its many restaurants. It’s nice to see some earlier-morning offerings as well with the BRUNCHCOT kiosk. As with any festival event like this, preparation might not be perfect every single time. It must be hard to prepare food for thousands of guests per day! Even so, any of these treats are worth a bite.
Or a sip! I suppose some people visit EPCOT to imbibe alcohol. I know I have!
Perhaps even more than at Food & Wine, here you will find plenty of ciders, fruit wines, and fruit beers to accompany your meals. And meads! We can’t forget the original alcoholic beverage, can we? You can find plenty of cocktails and non-alcoholic concoctions everywhere you look as well.
There are a ton of new items this year that I have yet to try. I highly recommend from years past quite a lot of these. You can’t go wrong with the bison ribeye with leek fondue at the Farmers Feast or the beef tenderloin tips at Canada’s Northern Bloom. Trowel & Trellis serves an amazing dish made with IMPOSSIBLE brand plant-based meat. The short rib with rice and kimchee mayo is worth the trip on its own. All of these meaty dishes hold up in cold or hot weather due to their impeccable blend of sauces and accompaniments. And as hipster as it might seem, try the avocado toast with tomatoes, tiny mixed greens, and even a few edible flowers. Fantastic!
3. The Music!
There go those concert planners at EPCOT, stepping up yet again. Their Garden Rocks Concert Series has a significantly punnier name than Food & Wine’s Eat to the Beat series, but we won’t hold that against them. EPCOT presents to you, the flower-gazing, food-nibbling parkgoer, more than fifty acts over the course of this fest. Flower & Garden musicians play just a few nights, but that allows Disney to pack the schedule with musicians!
Welcome newcomers, Blue Oyster Cult and Casting Crowns, or hang out with your faves like The Pointer Sisters, Kool & the Gang, and Rick Springfield. No matter when you are here in EPCOT, you can get grooving at the America Gardens Theater. Those who can tear themselves away from the festival can book a dining package at one of EPCOT’s many restaurants and secure reserved seating for the show!
And there you have it! Flowers, food, and music, all in one festival. Sorry that I had to break the alliteration there. No matter your plans, the Flower & Garden Festival is a fun-filled destination during your springtime Disney visit. You should definitely consider picking up a park hopper ticket during your trip. No matter where you start your day, EPCOT is only a Monorail, Skyliner, boat, or bus ride away!
Ask your planner about your EPCOT options on your next trip!