This year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is bigger and better than ever — with gorgeous new gardens and whimsical new Disney character topiaries, plus new Garden Marketplaces serving up tasty culinary creations. And this year, look for topiaries and select gardens to be lit up at night! All this and more gets underway starting March 6, 2013.
From the bounty of the garden to your table
Twelve new Garden Marketplace locations will sprout up around the promenade, offering culinary creations and special libations inspired by the gardens at Epcot’s World Showcase.
“Our horticulture team recognizes that our guests are curious about where their food comes from and how it is grown,” says Michael Jenner, Park Event Content Development Operations Manager. Garden Marketplaces are a great opportunity for discovery, as guests are able to sample some amazing dishes and learn how to incorporate their own garden harvests into their meals at home.”
“We had been planning to do something like this for many years, and the 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is the perfect opportunity,” Michael explains. It became a reality thanks to Walt Disney World Resort guests like you. Last year, just one experimental marketplace was so overwhelmingly popular, it “grew” this year to a dozen different areas with a wide variety of offerings.
It looks good enough to eat!
Each new marketplace will have two small gardens in front of them filled with plantings to match the host of food and beverage (many nonalcoholic) selections. For instance, the garden at the front of World Showcase Plaza will have blueberries growing to tie in with the Blueberry Wine. The garden near the Canada Pavilion will feature pineapples to match the Pineapple Upside Down Cake that you can purchase.
“I don’t think many guests have actually seen pineapples growing, and that should be a treat,” adds Michael. “We will also have ‘TRYit’ opportunities at these marketplaces to encourage children and adults to sample some out-of-the-ordinary delights like Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction.”
Many of these creative menu selections were developed by Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann, who made sure they would be “tapas-size” items, so that you will be able to explore multiple choices.
Don’t forget the new garden passport!
“We will offer guests a special passport with one page per Marketplace,” said Michael. “It will list the plants and other information so that guests can check off what they tasted, write notes and even get it stamped for free, like a field journal.”
One of the most popular marketplaces is sure to be at The American Adventure Pavilion. A huge smoker will be rolled onto the stage to barbeque brisket and pork. Guests can top off that meal sample with a glass of Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar River Blues in Lyons, CO (Czech-style Pilsner), or Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco, CA (India Pale Ale), or just a delicious Rocky Road brownie.
Oz, monsters and lights into the night
There’s so much to see, do and taste during the 75-day garden party! Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival surprises are around almost every corner.
There will be new topiary creations, including a salute to Disney•Pixar “Monsters University.” You’ll find whimsical children’s play areas, the newest being The Land of Oz Garden , inspired by Walt Disney Pictures’ “Oz The Great and Powerful.” Look for a butterfly bounty, HGTV celebrity designers , hands-on gardening seminars and more. On weekends, rock to performances by top Flower Power Concert Series rockers of the 1960s and ’70s.
And the fun won’t end when the sun goes down — almost all the gardens will now be gorgeously illuminated for the first time, making the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival a complete delight, day and night.
For more information, visit EpcotInSpring.com.
*Entertainment subject to change without notice.