On the heels of the 1st (and wildly successful) Epcot Festival of the Arts comes the beloved Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. This year marks the Festival‘s 24th year and promises to be richer, more beautiful and the best festival yet.
The WDW Radio team had the chance to preview some of the highlights of the upcoming festival, including some of the fabulous new horticulture techniques and newest food additions.
Many Disney guests say that the topiaries are the highlight of the Flower and Garden Festival. Topiaries representing classic Disney cartoons, princesses and World Showcase cultural traditions (including China’s bromeliad dragon) fill the park landscape. The newly constructed Belle topiary will be located outside of the France Pavilion in Epcot. The artistry of the topiary character is exquisite. Life-like skin, face and eyes are accomplished through sculpting and flocking with finely ground mosses and plants. The Belle and Beast topiaries promise to be a highlight of the show, and pay tribute to the upcoming release of the live-action, “Beauty and the Beast” film.
“We have come so far in how we make the topiaries. I think people will be very pleased with how they look and the amount of characters that we have on property,” states Eric Darden, Manager of Horticulture at Walt Disney World. Darden stated, “I know that people can see how hard we work in how things look on the grounds at Epcot. I hope that if our guests see someone who is working in horticulture, that our guests share how they like the plants and flowers. It means a lot to us.”
Walt Disney himself was a big fan of topiaries and requested them both in his home in California, and at Disney Parks. Darden described that topiaries used to be crafted “solely from shrubs” like boxwood. Signs had to be placed in the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival showcases, so that guests would know which characters were represented. Now the topiaries are quite evolved. He states: “We now work with sculptors and Imagineers to create the topiaries.” The results are life-like interpretations that are sure to please guests of all ages.
The character topiaries and special plantings will fill the entire Epcot park. Be sure to check out the edible herb and produce gardens around World Showcase, the kids garden areas, (including Cars-themed and farmhouse play spaces), along with specially grown tea plants located in the United Kingdom (The U.K. pavilion will host both its complimentary Twinings Tea Garden Tour and a special Flower and Garden Royal Tea Tour for $15 per guest that will include a full cup of tea and scones with tea-infused butters and creams as toppings.)
Two new booths with join the 13 popular outdoor kitchens that dot Epcot’s World Showcase. These 15 booths will showoff the best of local and regional food and beverages.
Northern Bloom* will showoff the best of Canadian culinary offerings including a Maple Popcorn Milkshake that you can top off with a Maple Whiskey, or try the seared scallops or beef tenderloin with bordelaise sauce.
The Berry Basket* will be what Executive Director of Culinary at Epcot, Gregg Hannon describes as “Chock full of every berry imaginable.” The booth will serve up both savory and sweet offerings. Petit lamp chops, perfect for the grab-and-go eater will be glazed with a berry sauce. The highlight of the booth is a Warm Wild Berry Buckle. “The buckle gets its name from what happens to the dish when it gets baked. The berries are topped with a biscuit dough mix that breaks or ‘buckles’ as it cooks, making for that broken, comfort-food look. The result is really delicious,” states Chef Hannon.
The Farm Market at the Germany pavilion will once again sell its popular currywurst. The currywurst (know stateside as bratwurst) is what our fearless leader Lou Mongello describes as “the sleeper hit.” The sausage is served up with a sweet and tangy bbq-style sauce and crunchy paprika dusted homemade potato chips. It is a craveable highlight to the festival menu.
“We have been really lucky to work in partnership with the horticulture teams to make a dynamic menu,” says Executive Director.
Vegan (like the new crabless crab cake) and gluten free options are available at every booth. (*Booths new to the Festival.)
The Flower and Garden Festival runs from March 1 to May 29, 2017. Live concerts, horticulture events, garden tours and classes will run weekly. Merchandise booths are located around the parks at the International Gateway and in the Festival Showplace. Guests can visit the Festival Showplace at the entrance to the Main Gate. Seminars can be booked by calling (407) 939-5277.
More information can be found here: Epcot International Flower & Garden
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
Have you visited the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival? I would love to hear what you liked!
To learn more about Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons or to read some of her other posts on the WDW Radio Blog, visit her biography page link via her name above!