/ Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Floral fun is “beachy keen” with topiary surf, sand and popular Disney characters during the 15th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 19-June 1 at Walt Disney World Resort. Among this year’s fun festival facts:

  • 30 million blooms dress the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days.
  • As part of this year’s Fun in the Sun theme, Goofy rides a perfect floral wave while Mickey Mouse and gal pal Minnie soak up sun and sand — all as intricately designed topiaries. Other topiary
    whimsy includes: a volleyball beach scene with Donald Duck and Daisy, a frolicking green Pluto and a colorful “lifeguard” Stitch from “Lilo and Stitch.”
  • More than 70 topiaries will include beloved Disney characters like Lady and the Tramp and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Three Caballeros — Donald Duck, parrot Jose Carioca and Panchito, the Mexican charro rooster — also come to life as topiaries to celebrate their Epcot show, “Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros” in the Mexico pavilion.
  • The largest character topiary at this year’s festival is Goofy, which towers 14 feet above guests on a six-foot wave.
  • More than 500 native butterflies representing up to 10 species reside in Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden, a gazebo-type enclosure filled with lush plants and measuring more than 40 feet in diameter. Guests can stroll through the screened habitat to view the colorful butterflies. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star,  butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily.
  • 300,000 bedding plants are installed for the festival.
  • Three butterfly topiaries are on display. Also, Doc, Grumpy and the rest of the seven dwarfs appear at the Germany showcase with intricate topiary detail that includes beards of palm fiber.
    Perfume bottle topiaries represent Guerlain perfumes in the Fragrance Garden at the France pavilion.
  • At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define features of the festival topiaries. More color has been added to the topiaries than in any previous topiary presentation.
  • More than 15 floral, herbal and spice ingredients of 10 popular perfumes are revealed in the Fragrance Garden presented by Guerlain at the France pavilion. Guests can sniff the enduring
    fragrance Shalimar to discover botanical notes that include lemon, Arabian jasmine and vanilla. Some components of nine other Guerlain fragrances include mimosa, magnolia, rose, nutmeg and vetivergrass.
  • Nearly 40 varieties of trees, plants and flowers are featured in this year’s Key to Outdoor Living garden, an upscale outdoor living area presented by Dupont Garden Systems with the laid-back ambiance of Key West near the Morocco pavilion, including an innovative kids play zone. Forty-five “flower towers” of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza. 100 floating mini-gardens of multi-hued impatiens, each three feet in diameter, provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.
  • 750 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot.
  • 300 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays.
  • It takes one full year to prepare for the annual festival.
  • The festival’s Flower Power is bolstered by thrice-daily appearances of musical hit makers of the 1960s and ’70s including The Guess Who, Davy Jones, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, and Petula Clark — a total of 22 acts this year.