The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival takes place every spring and features – you guessed it – flowers and gardening expos. Plus some delicious food. Festivals at Epcot always mean good food. I’ve attended the Flower and Garden festival five times now, and I’ve seen it evolve over time as elements have come and gone. One thing that has remained unchanged is that it showcases Epcot at its most beautiful. With colorful flowers and Disney-themed topiaries around every corner, you will never see Epcot prettier than it is during Flower and Garden.
The International Flower and Garden Festival 2018 edition marks the 25th anniversary of the annual event, so it’s extra special. This year’s festival runs from February 28th-May 28th, 2018, so it’s perfect timing for spring break trips or a Mother’s Day visit.
Flower and Garden Festival topiaries
I’m not super into gardening and I’ve often joked (mostly) that if I ever buy a house I’m going to clear cut all of the landscaping and just plant grass corner to corner in the yard, so the topiaries at the Flower and Garden festival are my favorite thing. Seeing life-sized Disney characters made out of flowers and other plant materials is incredible, and the detail that the designers include is impressive. The feature topiaries even feature white flowers set into the characters’ pupils to capture that gleam of reflected light a real eye would have. Here are a few of my favorite topiaries to inspire you to visit. You won’t want to miss any of these on your visit to Epcot, so I’ve also included instructions on where to find the best Flower and Garden topiaries.
I’m old enough to remember the original Figment ride and I’m a little obsessed with him, so this topiary was instantly my favorite. So much so that I made my boyfriend wait in line so we could have a PhotoPass picture in front of it. This Figment topiary is located on the main walkway between the Fountain of Nations and World Showcase.
These elaborate Beauty and the Beast topiaries are some of the prettiest ones in World Showcase. I love how many great details were included. You can find Bell and the Beast in the France pavilion right behind the fountain at the entrance. You can’t miss them.
There’s a fantastic Buzz Lightyear – another one of my favorite characters – topiary that even had a PhotoPass photographer stationed in front. I kind of love that photo because it looks like Buzz is photobombing us. He’s located right in front of Mission:Space.
I also kind of love Stitch, so this cute little one made me smile. He’s easy to miss as he’s kind of tucked away by Mouse Gear, but you’ll see him on your left as you walk past the store heading from the Mission:Space/Test Track area toward Spaceship Earth.
The Rafiki and baby Simba creation is a classic Disney topiary and it’s tailor made for posing with. Please don’t drop your babies though. You can find this one between the Outpost and Germany. Timon and Pumbaa are located right across the walkway on the lagoon side.
The best thing about this Lady and the Tramp topiary is Lady’s ears. They’re located on the right side of the Italy pavilion as you face the front.
Sure his hook isn’t actually made out of plant material, but this Captain Hook topiary is really menacing. Don’t worry though – Peter Pan is right there to fight him off. You can find these two adversaries in the United Kingdom pavilion near the International Gateway area. Those are the seats for the fish & chips stand to give you some perspective on where they are.
Snow White and all seven dwarfs are located across from the Germany pavilion. I love how the creators captured each of their personalities in the flowers and plant material used to construct them.
These Anna and Elsa topiaries were kind of tucked away in the Norway pavilion, which seemed odd considering Frozen’s popularity. You can find them behind a row of shrubs between Norway and Mexico. They’re cute and perfect for posing with, so don’t miss them.
A giant Lightning McQueen is located right outside of Test Track.
Flower and Garden Festival food
Food kiosks have been added to the Flower and Garden festival over the years, likely in response to the immense popularity of the Food & Wine Festival. I’m pretty sure the festival kiosks just stay out all year at this point, but that’s not something I’d ever complain about. We canceled our lunch reservation and spent the day snacking and drinking our way around World Showcase to bring you the very best food items at the Flower and Garden Festival. In order to make sure you don’t miss anything, pick up a Flower and Garden Festival “passport” when you arrive. It has menus for all of the kiosks so you can plot our your ideal snacking course.
The teriyaki salmon with brown rice at Japan’s kiosk, Hanami, was incredible. Ours wasn’t particularly hot, but we didn’t even care because it was so delicious.
Have you ever tried frushi? It’s sushi made out of fruit instead of whatever usually goes in sushi. The rolls feature sweet coconut rice and fruit and with the raspberry glaze and whipped cream they’re served with, they make the perfect light dessert. Frushi is also located at the Japan kiosk.
Fried chicken dumplings
The Lotus House outside of the China pavilion has amazing fried dumplings with peanut sauce. Watch out for the long line because these are super popular.
Chocolate cake with bourbon salted caramel sauce
The Smokehouse kiosk at the American pavilion has all kinds of delicious BBQ options. The chocolate cake with bourbon caramel sauce and spiced pecans is all kinds of amazing.
Sparkling pineapple wine
In addition to pineapple softserve that’s basically my beloved Dole Whip, the Pineapple Promenade kitchen offers sparkling pineapple wine made right in Florida.
La Vie en Rose frozen slush
My friends have long raved about the Grey Goose slushies served near the France pavilion at Epcot, and this was the perfect twist on it for me. This frozen cocktail (sorry, kids) contains Grey Goose orange, St. Germain liqueur, and white and red cranberry juice. It’s refreshing and tasty, though for $10 it should’ve had enough booze in it for a lightweight like me to feel it at least a little. It’s available at the Fleur de Lys kiosk, though the regular Grey Goose slushie is still an option at the permanent stand.
Moscato is by far my favorite wine because I have an unquenchable sweet tooth, so this blueberry moscato, also from Florida at the Berry Basket kiosk is perfect.
The only food we tried that I wouldn’t recommend was the toasted pretzel bread at the Bauernmarkt outside of the Germany pavilion. We waited in a 15-minute line (our longest wait at Epcot thanks to the magic of FastPass+) just to try what we were sure were going to be delicious, cheesy snacks only to get a small pretzel bun with a tiny piece of cold ham and three or four shredded strips of very dry toasted cheese on top.
Things to do at the Flower and Garden Festival
If exploring the topiaries and eating your way around World Showcase aren’t enough for you, there are some other great events and activities for the Flower and Garden Festival. Check the tour schedules here.
Goodness Garden Butterfly House
I love exploring the butterfly house at the Flower and Garden Festival. One time, I had a monarch land on the brim of my visor and it was amazing. There are so many colorful butterflies flitting around the enclosure that you’re sure to see some beautiful sights. I took a ridiculous amount of pictures in here because the butterflies are just so darn photogenic.
There are two scavenger hunts available at the Flower and Garden Festival this year. Each of them has a small cost to buy the accompanying booklet, but they can easily fill up an afternoon exploring the park for only a few bucks. Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration takes you around World Showcase in search of flowers featuring Spike the bee. You can purchase the booklet at the Port of Entry station for $5.99 +tax, and if you complete it and return to the beginning, you can receive a small prize.
The Egg-stravaganza hunt takes place from March 16th-April 1st and features Disney character themed eggs scattered throughout World Showcase. Scavenger hunt booklets can be purchased at several locations for $5.99 +tax, and if you complete them you can receive a small prize at Port of Entry.
Tea garden tours
Two different tea garden tours of the UK pavilion are offered during the Flower and Garden festival. One is free, the other costs $18/person. The English Tea Garden tour is offered 2-3 times a day and lasts 20 minutes. Pre-registration is required at the Tea Caddy gift shop on the day of the tour. The Royal Tea Garden tour lasts 45 minutes and occurs in the morning before World Showcase opens to guests. You’ll get a more in depth look at the tea garden and wrap up your visit at the Rose & Crown Pub for tea and scones. You can pre-register for this tour by calling (407) WDW-TOUR. The 2018 price is $85/person.
Gardens of the World tour
This three-hour tour (try to say that without singing the Gilligan’s Island theme song in your head) takes guest through the many gorgeous gardens in World Showcase. You get to learn about the behind-the-scenes stories of the fabulous topiaries, gardening and landscaping techniques, and lots more. It runs in the morning four days a week, and pre-registration is recommended by calling (407) WDW-TOUR. Children must be over the age of 12 to participate.
Garden Rocks concerts
The Flower and Garden concerts started out as a “Flower Power” theme with oldies from those years ruling the stage. The lineup has diversified over the years with a wider range of performers being scheduled. Garden Rocks Concerts are held at the America Gardens theater across from the US pavilion in World Showcase. Check the official festival site for a full list of bands and their show dates.
There are typically three concerts every night during the Flower and Garden Festival, all in the evening. Dining packages can be booked in advance to reserve seats in conjunction with a dinner reservation at one of the participating Epcot restaurants. The Biergarten option is a particularly good deal at $51/adult this year as you can easily spend that much on the buffet meal itself (and the restaurant has amazing food).
Flower and Garden Festival visitor information
The 2018 Flower and Garden Festival runs from February 28-May 28 seven days a week at Epcot. Park hours are generally 9am-9pm, with Extra Magic Hours occasionally adding time in the morning or evening for guests staying at Disney resorts. Up-to date official information can be found on the official Disney World website.
Single-day Epcot tickets currently start at $102 for adults, though the cost can be greatly reduced by buying multi-day tickets to explore the other Disney World parks.
Looking for more Disney World tips? I’m a former Cast Member so I know a thing or two. Here are some of my favorite posts:
- How to Save Money at Disney World
- What to Pack for a Disney World Vacation
- The Grown-Up’s Guide to Disney World
- The Grown-Up’s Guide to Epcot
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