It’s crazy to think that you can reach your thirties and yet still never experienced Disney World…it’s true, both Heather and I can attest that we hadn’t been there until we reached this milestone decade. But as soon as you visit Disney World once…well folks, it’s fair to say, you will want to go back again and again! After our action-packed first visit to Disney World in Orlando when we visited three parks in one day (I still think we must be crazy for attempting that), we headed back to experience the wonderfully acclaimed Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
Whether you are an avid world traveler, have a fond desire to sample global delicacies or perhaps enjoy a myriad of spectacular floral displays, visiting Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival is one of the highlight experiences throughout the year.
Of course, Epcot quickly became our favorite of all four parks (Heather would argue that the iconic Magic Kingdom is her “real” favorite but I think we can both agree that at the current stage of our life, Epcot is the park we can really relate to!) so it was a no-brainer for both of us to take a return trip to experience this event. Did we mention that we will be experiencing Disney World at Christmas also? We will save that for another story!
Celebrating a milestone 25th anniversary of this event in 2018 meant that this was the perfect time for us to experience Epcot in all its floral beauty. Let’s take a look at our insider’s guide to this awesome festival.
When is the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival?
One of the main benefits of choosing to visit Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival is that you can experience this over a period of three months. That’s right, the festival runs between February and the end of May (in 2018 for example, Feb 28 to May 28).
Whether you choose to take a trip at one of the busier times during this timeframe, such as Spring Break or simply want to venture down to Disney World at a quieter time (is there ever really a “quiet” time at Disney?), the Flower and Garden Festival is certainly a great time to enjoy the very best of Epcot.
Are there additional ticket prices? Don’t worry, your daily park pass will give you access to both Epcot and the festival itself that takes part inside the park. If you are truly visiting Disney World for this festival, I think it’s great value to just buy a single day pass for a single park, rather than having the possible temptation of venturing elsewhere if you purchase the “hopper” option.
Although ticket prices increased slightly in early 2018, it’s fair to say that if you were willing to pay the price before, this minor change is unlikely to deter you. Plus, after reading this post, you will be convinced that purchasing a ticket to Epcot is money well spent! Arguing over the value of ticket prices for Disney World is another topic for another day folks.
Gorgeous Floral Masterpieces
Be prepared for an array of floral beauty! But it’s not just gorgeous floral displays that you can appreciate at Epcot, rather it’s an opportunity to admire the creativity that has gone into the production of the various features scattered across the park.
From a selection of your favorite Disney characters, each of which are perfectly manicured and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, to a diverse array of flower beds that immediately make you realize that the spring season is here.
Disney Character Topiaries
For those of you that have attempted any form of landscape gardening where you prune a tree or bush in an attempt to create an artistic masterpiece, you will know that this is a challenging task.
It’s only when you see the breathtaking designs at Epcot that you quickly appreciate the landscaping marvel in front of you. They truly are a majestic sight and regardless of your interest in the flora and fauna of the world, it’s something worth admiring while visiting Epcot.
Epcot is in our opinion, the adult theme park at Disney World! Yes, you can meet your favorite characters but ultimately it’s about the World Showcase and learning about the cultures and cuisines of the nations represented at Epcot.
But visiting Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival offers visitors the opportunity to rekindle their childhood memories and see some of their favorite Disney characters courtesy of these amazing topiary designs.
Let’s take a look at the uniquely creative topiaries that are on display throughout Epcot. The moment you walk into this theme park, you will notice a “Welcome to Epcot” from your favorite characters, Mickey and Minnie Mouse accompanied by some of their favorite Disney friends.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who they are but for those of you not au fait with every Disney character, there is just a little reminder as to who and where you can see them during your visit to Epcot!
Anna and Elsa – Frozen
- Location – Norway Pavilion
Beauty and the Beast
- Location – France Pavilion
- Location – China Pavilion
Lady and the Tramp
- Location – Italy Pavilion
Simba and Friends
- Location – The Outpost Shop
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Location – Germany Pavilion
The Three Caballeros
- Location – Mexico Pavilion
- Location – United Kingdom Pavilion
Winnie the Pooh and Friends
- Location – United Kingdom Pavilion
Woody – Toy Story
- Location – The American Adventure
Indulge in the Outdoor Kitchens
If you thought that visiting Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival was about the plethora of floral displays, think again! This is the perfect time to explore the World Showcase and experience the myriad of outdoor kitchens that offer a selection of delicacies representing that nation.
Affordable, delicious, unique and appetizing can all be used to describe the variety on display throughout the Showcase. We couldn’t resist trying several of the options but the tough decision is trying to figure out which samples you cannot resist. Alternatively, you can always try a little bit of everything for the ultimate foodie experience!
Each year, a selection of “fan favorites” can always be found scattered around Epcot but you never know what new kitchen will pop up. In 2018, 15 different booths were set up for visitors to enjoy these appetizing delicacies. First stop…Canada!!
Canada – Northern Bloom
“Northern Bloom” is located in the Canada pavilion and you can choose Seared Scallops, Beef Tenderloin Tips or for those of you that want to go straight for the sweeter option, how about Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato.
A selection of accompanying beverages are available but if this doesn’t sound too appetizing…well, this is just the start.
United Kingdom – Cider House
Our first tasting experience arrived in the UK pavilion where we had traditional Fish and Chips from the ever-present Yorkshire County Fish Shop before heading to the “Cider House” pop-up kitchen for dessert.
How does this sound… a freshly baked Lemon Scone with Crème Fraîche and Mixed Berries? Trust us when we say, it tastes even better than pictures can ever do it justice and it’s also gluten free which is an added bonus!
Heather couldn’t resist ordering the Apple and Orange Mimosa and it was certainly the perfect way to cool down while contemplating our next stop.
Germany – Bauernmarkt (Farmer’s Market)
From Potato Pancakes with home-made Applesauce to Toasted Pretzel Bread topped with Black Forest Ham and Melted Gruyère Cheese, Germany’s Farmer’s Market is the place to go if you cannot the resist the temptation of German cuisine.
A Warm Cheese Strudel with Mixed Berries will surely entice you to this pavilion but regardless of your choice, exploring this part of Epcot is always a fun and colorful experience.
Italy – Primavera Kitchen
If watching a passionate Italian performer (or comedian you may think!) isn’t enough to justify a visit to the Italian pavilion, perhaps the thought of sampling Frittata di Asparagi (Asparagus Frittata, Mixed Greens, and Citrus Dressing) or even Panna Cotta al Melone (Cantaloupe Panna Cotta) will entice you.
This is just a small selection of our favorite Outdoor Kitchens but we are convinced that you will find something to satisfy your palette. One thing is for sure when you visit Epcot, the amount of exercise you do will certainly ensure you have an appetite.
Visiting Epcot is always a fun experience with so many cool things to do and enjoy during your visit. However, we would argue that visiting during a timeframe when a festival is taking place is undoubtedly the best time to go.
For the price of admission, why not visit when you can experience more epic encounters and this is exactly what we did during the Flower and Garden Festival. Even if the floral displays around Epcot doesn’t sound too appealing, the uniqueness of the topiaries will surely capture your attention.
Figuring out which is your favorite design may be a challenge but why not discuss this with the family while sampling one of the various Outdoor Kitchens that will keep you occupied throughout the day.
Have you visited Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival? Have you visited during any other festival?