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Category Archives: International Flower & Garden Festival

Epcot Festival Overviews! – Walt Disney World

 

I love Epcot so much at Walt Disney World! I love the spirit of innovation and technology that can be found in Future World and I love the adventure and discovery that can be found when exploring the pavilions in World Showcase! Every aspect of this Disney Park is right up my ally! Another thing I love about Epcot is that there is always something new and exciting taking place! Much of that is thanks to none other than the Epcot festivals! Over the years, the Epcot Festivals have grown and evolved and we have seen the introduction of brand new festivals with their own unique offerings! Now days, throughout the course of the year there is pretty much always a festival taking place in Epcot with the exception of summer time and the few in between weeks during the year when Epcot sees the transition from one festival to the next.

 

 

This means there is pretty much always something new and additional to enjoy during your Epcot visit! There are currently 4 festivals that take place at Epcot each year! Each event is unique and offers something for everyone! The 4 festivals are the,

  • Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts
  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

 

Here is an overview of what each one of these festivals has to offer!

 

Festival of the Arts

This festival is the newest to come to EPCOT.  It is held usually from mid January through mid February. This past year was only the third year and it has quickly become a favorite among guests.  It is definitely now my new favorite.  My family and I made a special trip just to experience it for ourselves because we all love the arts.  We were not disappointed!  There are many artists there doing meet and greets and will sign any art that you purchase.  I got a signed print from Ashley Taylor and enjoyed getting to talk to her for a bit.  Then there is the huge mural that you get to paint.  Just like color by numbers, you will get a brush and a small container of a certain color paint that you will be told to paint 5 squares of a number on the mural.  After you paint it and turn in your brush, you will be given a post card of what the finished mural will look like.  If you are there for a day or two you can see the finished product before a new mural is put up.  This was so much fun!  Another fun hands on experience is drawing with a Disney animator.  This is a 20-minute class where the animator will lead you step by step in drawing a Disney character.  At the end, you have your very own drawing that you can sign and date.  It is a fun free souvenir.  As you walk around World Showcase, there are props of famous paintings that you can jump into and be part of the scene. A photopass photographer will take your picture.  These are great to send to your friends and family back home.  If you love Broadway songs than you will not want to miss the Broadway Series concerts at the American Garden Theater.  Actual Broadway singers will perform the classic Disney hits.  Last but not least let’s talk about the food! The Disney chefs outdo themselves by creating delicious foods that are presented as a beautiful work of art.

 

Flower and Garden Festival

The Flower and Garden Festival is the most stunningly beautiful time of year to visit EPCOT.  It usually begins in early March and runs through May.  The landscape department does a wonderful job of transforming EPCOT with so many colorful flowers, plants and topiaries of the Disney characters.  The pictures you will get will amaze you!  Stop by the butterfly garden to be surrounded by more butterflies than you have probably ever seen before and watch as new butterflies hatch!  Your children will have a blast at the playground while you can sit in the shade of the beautiful garden and relax for a while.  At the American Garden theater you can attend the Garden Rocks concert series for some really fun music from some of your favorite artists.  Once again food will be a highlight at the outdoor kitchens.  Stop by each booth for a tapas size portion of some wonderful food and treats!

 

Food and Wine Festival

The Food and Wine Festival is the longest running EPCOT festival with this year being the 24th Anniversary.  This is also the longest festival giving you many opportunities to plan your visit.  This year the festival will run from August 29th through November 23rd.  This festival is all about food and beverage offerings with over 30 global marketplaces to visit.  You can truly eat and drink your way around the world.  There are many seminars and tastings with top Disney Chefs and renowned guest chefs.  You will also want to stop by the American Garden Theater for the Eat to the Beat Concert series, which will highlight many known musical artists during the course of the festival. This festival is a great way to try new foods from around the world with just tapas size portions.  You may find some new favorite recipes and your kids might even become a little more adventurous.

 

Festival of the Holidays

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Offerings Begin November 19

This festival will begin this year on November 29th and run through December 30th.  You can stroll around the 11 World Showcase nations and experience their holiday traditions.  Performers will bring to life many time honored customs.  The World Showcase is filled with sights, sounds and flavors of the season.  Stop by the holiday booths for a taste of some wonderful Christmas comfort foods and sweet treats.  At the American Gardens Theater you can attend the Candlelight Processional.  This is the Christmas story told by a celebrity narrator, 50 piece orchestra and a full choir.  This performance always warms my heart and gets you in the Christmas spirit.

 

Check out our new YouTube video to hear more about what each one of these great festivals has to offer!

 

I hope this overview of the EPCOT festivals got you excited to try one out or a new one that you had not attended before.  Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel planner to get your next visit planned so you can enjoy these festivals for yourself!

2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Food Tour Video!

 

I recently got back from an incredible trip to the Walt Disney World Resort! This spring time trip was extra exciting because we visited during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! This annual festival takes place every spring in Epcot! The event puts Epcot in full bloom with floral displays covering every inch of the park, character topiaries and some incredible outdoor kitchens offering springtime inspired food and beverage items!

 

 

Last week I took you on a tour of some of the beautiful and detailed character topiaries that could be found around the festival! Now this week I am excited to show you more about the outdoor kitchens at the Event! Let’s dive into the culinary offerings at this year’s 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!

 

 

On our first visit to the festival of this trip we made our first outdoor kitchen stop at Trowel and Trellis! This booth was hosted by Impossible foods. Everything at this outdoor kitchen is vegetarian and vegan. From here we tried our first festival food item, the Grilled Street Corn on the Cob! It was a 5 out of 5! The corn was cooked to perfection and popped right off when you ate it. The corn was doctored up with a savory garlic spread that added the perfect amount of flavor without being too overpowering.

 

 

The next festival booth we stopped at was the Bauernmarkt in Germany! Here we had the Toasted Pretzel Bread. The pretzel bread was topped with black forest ham and melted gruyere cheese! YUM! It was the best comfort food! Declared this to be another 5 out of 5!

 

 

As we continued a lap around World Showcase we then stopped off in America for The Smokehouse! Here we got 3 festival items! The first was The Pulled Pig Slider that was accompanied with coleslaw on top. Then we had the Beef Brisket Burnt ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider which also featured garlic sausage, chorizo, cheddar fondue and a house-made pickle. The third item we got here was the Shredded Beef Brisket which featured a smoked potato, chorizo fondue and green tomato relish! All of these items were excellent! The Smokehouse always hits it home year after year at this festival! The Beef Brisket Burnt ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider ended up being my favorite out of the 3 items with tried here! The barbecue sauce had a bit of sweetness to it and accompanied the cheddar fondue so well!

 

 

 

The next day that we visited the Flower and Garden Festival we began with a stop at The Honey Bee-stro! This was my favorite booth during the previous 2018 festival so I was so looking forward to stopping here this year! It lived up to my year long wait! We got the Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread which featured white cheddar cheese, charred vegetables, clover honey sour cream, and micro citrus greens. This was my favorite item of the festival! I loved it! The second item we tried here was the Roasted Cauliflower which featured a buckwheat honey carrot puree, wild rice pilaf, asparagus, honey-blistered grapes, sunflower brittle, and coriander flowers. We also indulged in a dessert item here, the Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake! This dish is so decadent and delicious! It features orange blossom honey ice cream garnished with fennel pollen meringue kisses and petite lavender shoots. This item is a must-try!

 

 

 

Next we made our way over to The Citrus Blossom. I had one very special item in mind that I know I wanted to get here, the Orange Cream Slushy! This slushy taste just like an orange creamsicle and it is served in a souvenir orange bird sipper cup! I am a huge Orange Bird fan so this item was a must for me! It is the perfect refreshing treat!

 

 

From the taste of Marrakesh booth in Morocco we tried the Harissa Chicken Kebab. It was served with a dried fruit couscous salad! Another big hit for this year’s festival!

 

 

The final item I enjoyed at this year’s Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival was a festival icon! The Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade! The Violet Lemonade is a very popular Instagram phenomena! It is a pretty purple color and is adorned with an edible flower! This item has been a must-get beverage for me at the flower and garden festival year after year! I am not the only one who loves this very photogenic drink! People love this item so much that this year it was actually used in a lot of the Flower and Garden Festival merchandise designs! Everyone loves this drink! Be sure to check it out!

 

You can watch my full festival journey in our new YouTube video!

 

I hope you enjoyed this 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival culinary tour! Be sure to contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner today to plan your next trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth or to any destination you are dreaming of traveling to next!

What I am Most Excited for at the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! – Walt Disney World

 

 

Spring has officially sprung at Walt Disney World! The 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is now in full swing! This annual event transforms Epcot into a springtime paradise! Everywhere you turn you will find Disney character topiaries and gorgeous floral displays. In addition to the many breathtaking landscapes you can also taste the flavors of springtime with the many outdoor kitchens that can be found throughout Epcot! The Flower and Garden Festival is one of my favorite festivals that Epcot puts on. You have the culinary element with the food booths, the visual element with all the breathtaking displays and so much more to discover!

 

 

This year’s festival runs from March 6, 2019 to June 3, 2019! This festival has a nice long duration and there is still time to plan an awesome springtime getaway to Walt Disney World to experience the event for yourself! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner today to talk about package options! I personally just booked my visit and I am so excited to attend the Flower and Garden festival during its 2019 season! From what I have seen online there have been some incredible additions added to the festival offerings this year! Today I am excited to share with you my top 5 things I am looking forward to at the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!

 

 

1. New Outdoor Kitchens!

 

I always love the food and beverage offerings available from the outdoor kitchens during the Flower and Garden Festival! This year four brand-new outdoor kitchens are being introduced for their very first festival season! The new outdoor kitchens are:

  • The Citrus Blossom
  • Flavor Full Kitchen hosted by AdventHealth
  • Trowel & Trellis Hosted by Impossible Foods
  • Arbor at The Gardeners Terrace

These four new booths making their festival debut will each bring many new offerings to the event! At The Citrus Blossom, I am most excited to trying the Lobster Tail with Meyer Lemon Emulsion and Grilled Lemon! From Flavor Full Kitchen, I am looking forward to trying this booth’s featured sweet treat, the Mickey Tart Peanut Butter Mousse with Strawberry Jam and Boba Pearls. Trowel & Trellis is hosted by Impossible Foods and will feature many vegan and vegetarian options. I am most interested in trying the Grilled Street Corn on the Cob with Savory Garlic Spread. From Arbor at The Gardeners Terrace I want to try the Fried Green Tomatoes with Blue Crab-fennel Salad, Remoulade and Smoked Paprika Oil. Each of these new outdoor kitchens look like they will become instant fan-favorites at the festival! I love all the unique offerings that each of these new booths is bringing to the event!

 

 

2. Returning Outdoor Kitchens with New Offerings and Old Favorites

 

So I’ve mentioned how excited I am for the 4 new outdoor kitchens but I also can’t wait to revisit the returning booths that are festival icons! From looking over the menu offerings from these outdoor kitchens, all of these returning booths will be returning with a twist! Many of the menus have received an update with brand new offerings for guests to enjoy! I always love when there are so many new items added to experience for the first time! This year we are in luck because there seems to be new food and beverage offerings practically everywhere! Here’s a quick list of a few new items I am going to be sure to get my hands on!

  • From: Jardin de Fiestas – Beef torta: Braised Beef served on a Crispy Sourdough Roll with Queso Oaxaca, Avocado, Pickled Onions and Jalapenos in a Spicy Habanero Sauce
  • From: Lotus House – House-made Crab and Cheese Wontons
  • From: Primavera Kitchen – Pomodori Verdi e Mozzarella: Fried Green Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, Balsamic Reduction
  • From: Taste Track – Violet Blueberry Vanilla Croissant Doughnut

 

 

In addition to trying all these new items I am equally as excited to get to enjoy many returning favorites! If you attend the festival each year than you will know exactly what I am talking about! We all have those classic favorite items that we love so much and wait all year to get to enjoy it again! Here’s a few of my go-to items that I am thrilled to see back on the menu!

  • From: The Honey Bee-stro – Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread with White Cheddar Cheese, Charred Vegetables, Clover Honey Sour Cream and Micro Citrus Greens
  • From: The Honey Bee-stro – local Wildflower Honey-mascarpone Cheesecake with orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream garnished with Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses and Petite Lavender Shoots
  • From: La Isla Fresca – Caribbean Conch Salad with Mango, Papaya and Pickled Red Onions
  • From: Hanami – Frushi: Pineapple, Strawberry and Melon rolled with Coconut Rice garnished with Whipped Cream, Berry Sauce Drizzled and Toasted Coconut
  • From: Pineapple Promenade – Frozen Desert Violet lemonade

 

 

 

3. Topiaries!

 

The incredible character topiaries are the heart of the Flower and Garden Festival! Over the years the food booths, concert series and all the other favorite activities associated with the event became exciting additions. The festival beginnings stem back to being all about showcasing the incredible work of the Disney floral team who create topiary masterpieces that resembled different Disney characters. These topiary displays are beautiful! Over the years, the topiaries themselves have become more and more defined and detailed, and the displays around the topiaries have become more and more elaborate each year! These floral displays are always a festival highlight for me! These pieces are works of art and so creative!

 

 

From the pictures I’ve seen online this year, I think Disney just dialed it up 10 more notches when it comes to incredible displays! There are brand new characters such as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy from the Muppets and Bo Peep and her sheep from Toy Story! From the pictures I’ve seen it appears many of the returning topiaries have been given even more elaborate backdrops and details! For example, Lightning McQueen looks like he is driving down an actually road that is made up entirely of flowers! Also, Lady and the Tramp who can always be found in the Italy Pavilion have been given a new backdrop down by the gondolas on the terrace part of the Italy pavilion! It looks absolutely beautiful!

 

 

 

4. Festival Merchandise

 

This year’s merchandise is the cutest I’ve ever seen! One of my favorite items to enjoy at the Flower and Garden Festival is the Desert Violet Lemonade! This frozen drink complete with an edible flower on top is a fan-favorite at the festival and because it is so photogenic it is probably safe to say it is the most Instagrammed festival item!

 

 

Disney knows how much us guests love our Desert Violet Lemonade and they have actually created an entire line of merchandise inspired by the drink! You can rock some dessert Violet Minnie Mouse ears, a spirit jersey and more!

 

 

There are also some very adorable items featuring this year’s festival logo! I love to collect the Disney Dooney and Burke bags and this year they have an exclusive flower and garden print available in multiple bag styles! The design is set on a white backdrop and features butterflies that are styled after many classic Disney characters! I think that might just have to come home with me!

 

 

 

5. Springtime!

 

Finally, I am simply just so excited to enjoy this beautiful time of year in my favorite place Walt Disney World! Spring always comes early in beautiful sunny Florida! As I type this I am currently up north where I am looking outside at piles of snow! Planning a getaway to Disney World this time of year is the perfect way to experience the beauty of spring that we are all so ready for! The Flower and Garden Festival does the most incredible job of capturing the beauty and excitement of springtime! This festival has such a happy and fresh atmosphere! After all, Disney does give this event the slogan and hashtag, #FreshEpcot

 

 

Are you ready for springtime?! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner to book your next visit to Walt Disney World or to any destination that you are dreaming of visiting next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Bounty to Feature Blooms, Flavor-Rich Cuisine, Interactive Gardens, Concerts

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will kick off spring at Walt Disney World Resort Feb. 28 and continue through May 28, 2018, with seasonal fun for all. What began in 1994 as a 38-day celebration of Disney-style gardens and topiaries has grown over the years to a 90-day spring extravaganza with something for every generation.

The 2018 festival, which takes place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot, will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms, flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens, Disney topiary stars, interactive play gardens and live chart-topping musical acts during the Garden Rocks Concert Series.

The 90-day festival will open with an irresistible array of sights, sounds, tastes, aromas and tactile discoveries:

  • New and creative dishes will debut at 15 Outdoor Kitchens encircling the World Showcase Promenade. Guests can sip and savor their way around Epcot, enjoying chef-inspired noshes and refreshing libations.
  • A bonanza of Disney character topiaries, including classic-character favorites Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many others, will play a starring festival role. Returning this year, Belle will be featured in France along with Beast, Snow White in Germany with the Seven Dwarfs, and Anna and Elsa in Norway.
  • A brand-new Future World interactive play garden and a revved-up Road to Florida 500 garden featuring new games and play challenges will set the pace for family festival fun. The new interactive area in Future World will feature a play maze, a sensory garden, an activity zone and a covered seating area. The redesigned “Cars”-themed garden based on the Disney•Pixar sequel, “Cars 3,” will add more fun activities like highway bingo for families.
  • A brand-new Epcot front-entrance topiary garden will set the milestone anniversary scene with a kaleidoscope of blooming color where topiary icons Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will greet festival guests.
  • The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will feature hit makers of the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s on the America Gardens Theatre stage. Three evening concerts each Friday through Monday present musicians that span multiple genres.
  • Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be available on select days at a number of Epcot restaurants.

Each Outdoor Kitchen will feature its own raised-bed or in-ground garden of herbs and produce that can inspire the growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow what they eat.

“The culture of growing your own food continues to trend, and our guests each year have quite a few questions related to edible gardens,” says Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager. “They get a big kick comparing items in our gardens with the herbs and produce our chefs incorporate into the festival’s Outdoor Kitchen recipes.”

And there’s more:

  • The back-by-demand Figment topiary garden between Future World and World Showcase will offer the perfect selfie backdrop and family photo opportunity.
  • The Royal Tea Garden Tour will return for a second year each festival morning at the United Kingdom pavilion. For a small fee, guests can follow a knowledgeable guide through the tranquil tea garden setting to learn the history and artistry behind growing and blending tea. A post-tour treat of tea and scones is included. The shorter, complimentary English Tea Garden Tour also will be offered on select days.
  • Among the nearly 100 festival topiaries will be returning favorites like the pandas and Bromeliad dragon at the China pavilion, The Three Caballeros at the Mexico pavilion, Disney-Pixar’s Woody at the American Adventure pavilion and Buzz Lightyear in Future World.

Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers” and beds of multi-colored blooms will transform the park’s landscape. At least 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.

“Garden Rocks” Concert Series Returns!

The America Gardens Theatre will once again come alive with some of the best music from the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s as the 2017 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival presents the “Garden Rocks” concert series at Walt Disney World® Resort. And, for the first time this year performances are scheduled not just Friday through Sunday, but every Monday, too!

gardenrocks

“Garden Rocks,” brings favorite stars from the rock and pop history to Epcot. Returning favorites like Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and The Spinners join brand new artists like Berlin featuring Terri Nunn.

Poised to be one of the best ever, this year’s line-up shakes out like this:

  • March 3-4 – Jon Secada – “Just Another Day
  • March 5-6 – Dennis DeYoung – The Music of STYX – “Grand Illusion
  • March 10-13 – Pointer Sisters – “I’m So Excited
  • March 17-18 – Simple Plan – “Welcome to My Life” – NEW
  • March 19-20 – Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah
  • March 24-27 – Night Ranger – “Sister Christian
  • March 31-April 3 – Little River Band – “Reminiscing
  • April 7-10 – Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice – “Spinning Wheel
  • April 14-17 – Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy
  • April 21-24 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO – “Evil Woman
  • April 28-29 – Exposé – “Point of No Return” – NEW
  • April 30-May 1 – Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – “Take My Breath Away” – NEW
  • May 5-8 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City
  • May 12-15 – The Guess Who – “American Woman
  • May 19-22 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone – “I’m Henry VIII, I Am
  • May 26-29 – The Spinners – “Working My Way Back To You

“Garden Rocks” concert performances are held each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Festival. Show times are at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. & 8 p.m. each night. Concerts are included with regular park admission to Epcot.

HGTV and DIY Network Stars ‘Crash’ The 2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

You could say that this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be a “crash”-ing good time.

Sponsored once again by our friends at HGTV, they have filled the festival with tons of HGTV and DIY Network experts – including most of the stars we HGTV/DIY insiders call “The Crashers.”

hgtv-stars

The Crashers, for those uninitiated into HGTV/DIY fandom, are HGTV/DIY expert designers and contractors who comb home improvement stores for people who need renovation help. Then – in just three days, mind you – they (with an expert crew of helpers) make over the family’s yard, bathroom, kitchen or whatever. Crashers making their very first appearance at this year’s festival are Matt Blashaw from “Yard Crashers,” Matt Meunster from “Bath Crashers” and Alison Victoria from “Kitchen Crashers.” Very exciting!

HGTV/DIY favorites at this year’s festival include Vern Yip, one of the judges of “Design Star,” Florida’s own David “Color Splash” Bromstad and John Gidding from “Curb Appeal.” Also new to this year’s festival are “Renovation Raiders” star Amy Matthews and Chip Wade, who started with Gidding on “Curb Appeal” and now has his own hit show called “Elbow Room.”

Here’s the list (everything subject to change, of course):

  • March 7-9 – Vern Yip, “Design Star”
  • March 14-16 – Chris Lambton, “Going Yard”
  • March 21-23 – Matt Blashaw, “Yard Crashers”
  • March 28-30 – Matt Meunster, “Bath Crashers”
  • April 4-6 – Taniya Nayak, “House Hunters on Vacation”
  • April 11-13 – Amy Matthews, “Renovation Raiders”
  • April 18-20 – John Gidding, “Curb Appeal”
  • April 25-27 – David Bromstad, “Color Splash”
  • May 2-4 – Chip Wade, “Elbow Room”
  • May 9-11 – Genevieve Gorder, “Design Star”
  • May 16-18 – Alison Victoria, “Kitchen Crashers”

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Kermit the Frog will find it is easy being green when his artfully-crafted character topiary debuts during the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 5 to May 18, 2014 at Walt Disney World Resort.  With flamboyance to spare, a floral Miss Piggy will join Kermit and his blooming banjo in the World Showcase topiary display.

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Nearly 100 topiaries will animate the landscape during the 75 days when Epcot transforms to a rainbow-hued wonderland of sweeping gardens and exhibits. Back for a second year: outdoor food-and-beverage marketplaces exclusive to this festival that feature sweet and savory bites worthy of indulgence.  After debuting at the 2013 festival, the marketplaces will return with new menu items like Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes and a Barbecued Chicken Leg at the Smokehouse Barbecue marketplace.  Floral-flavored lemonades will feature rose and violet notes, and specialty cocktails, wines and beers will offer menu-pairing possibilities.  Last year’s top menu picks like the Watermelon Salad with local baby arugula, feta cheese, pickled red onions and balsamic reduction will be back for an encore at the Florida Fresh marketplace.

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

More Festival News . . .

  • Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries will appear in a new Epcot front entrance garden vignette celebrating spring with a butterfly hunt adventure.  The topiaries will have a new computer-generated look while telling an entertaining story.  Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light on the back of his floral garb.  A topiary bee buzzes on an exasperated Donald’s head.  The garden will feature a real waterfall and pond with water lilies.
  • A new Timon topiary will join Pumbaa near the park’s Outpost location between China and Germany.  Meanwhile, Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Croc return for a second year to the United Kingdom showcase.  Dozens of additional character topiaries, including Mickey Mouse, will surprise guests beyond the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth.
  • The Flower Power Concert Series welcomes two new acts this year:  Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) March 14-16, and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”) May 16-18.  During opening weekend, the series kicks off at America Gardens Theatre with fan-favorite band The Guess Who (“American Woman”) March 7-9.  Other pop acts set to perform include Chubby Checker & the Wildcats, The Village People and Paul Revere & The Raiders. (Entertainment is subject to change).
  • Florida agriculture will be in the spotlight at a large World Showcase garden exhibiting fresh Florida crops to include citrus, sugar cane, berries and vegetables.
  • For the second year, illuminated gardens will cast a festive glow across the park when the sun sets each evening.
  • Back by demand, the Disney-Pixar “Cars” garden and playground will bring favorite movie characters to life.  Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House will be aflutter with hundreds of the winged beauties and fairy topiaries of Tinker Bell and Periwinkle.
  • At the Festival Center in the park’s Future World, twice-daily interactive gardening workshops will set the stage for outdoor do-it-yourself inspiration, and gardening guest speakers will appear daily.  Fridays through Sundays, HGTV design celebrities will host home, garden and design seminars.

As they sample from marketplace menus, guests can wander among multiple themed gardens and children’s play areas.  Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers,” herb gardens and beds of multi-colored blooms will add to the floral splendor of the park’s landscape.  Disney’s garden gurus estimate 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.  Several special weekend happenings, including the popular Art in the Garden Weekend, will be scheduled.

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Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany – Guest Blog Post

When I look back at the last two years of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, as well as at the “Food” & Garden Festival held this past Spring, I think I’m in the minority. When appraising World Showcase’s German Marketplace, I come away very disappointed.

Take 2011’s Food & Wine, for example. Their offering included Goulash Soup, Sausage in a Pretzel Roll, and an Apple Strudel featuring Werther’s Original Caramel and Vanilla Sauce.

Their 2012 effort presented, pretty much, the same Sausage (actually, a Bratwurst) in a Pretzel Roll, a Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese, and an encore of the Apple Strudel.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

2013’s “Food” & Garden Festival – OK, it’s really the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – switched things up a bit. We were served a Savory Bread Pudding with Spring Peas and Wild Mushroom Ragout, German Meatloaf Sandwich with Sweet Mustard and Fried Shallots, and Potato Pancakes with House-made Apple Sauce.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

For me, the menus were just OK. For example, as I look back at my notes, I find that I reported the following:

“The roast bratwurst was a disappointment. It was a relatively tasteless sausage on a VERY small pretzel roll. Both my wife and I gave it two thumbs down.”

“The Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese wasn’t a bad dish. It was just merely ordinary.”

“Both my wife and I came away unimpressed with their 2012 menu. In fact, we left Germany more unenthusiastic than we did from any other F&W kiosk – which must put us in the vast minority because the lines at Germany seemed to be constantly rip-roaring long.”

When it comes to this year’s “Food” & Garden feast, “I mean this next statement in the most complimentary of terms. Take Spam and cross it with a good old hot dog and you’d have Germany’s meatloaf.”

The potato pancake caused me to write, “A bit too much minced onion for my taste and a little too salty. I don’t need another helping, thanks.” Truth be told, after a chance meeting with Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann, where we told him the pancakes were a bit too salty for us (how did we have the nerve?), we DID try them again. The second time around, they were MUCH better.

Where’s all this going? Plain and simple, Germany has been “just OK”, in our opinions. But, for a country that sports great options with regard to cuisine, it should be able to offer much more and much better.

For 2013, given the chance to write the menu, I would lean back on one of my favorite dishes (and, a traditional German favorite) – Pork Schnitzel. I would bread it in Panko and cover it with a delicious gravy.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Then, I would serve Beef Sauerbraten with Potato Dumplings.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Finally, I would finish with a nice slice of Black Forest Cake.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Germany - Guest Blog Post

Yes, I know it’s a complete “reboot” of the Germany kiosk’s menu, but I’m confident those “rip-roaring long” lines will be even longer if we kick the food offering up these few notches.

What do you think?


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

HGTV Magazine’s Sara Peterson Stops by Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival Marketplaces

Sara Peterson, editor-in-chief of HGTV Magazine, will take the HGTV Designers’ Stage at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this weekend to talk tips on boosting your home’s curb appeal.

While she was at Epcot, she took time to sample a few of the Garden Marketplaces located around World Showcase. Check out her review below!

Oz the Great and Powerful Lands at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

The marvelous land of Oz has captured the imaginations of people for over 100 years. Chances are good that this wondrous place has sparked your imagination, whether you’re a school kid, bank teller, rocket scientist—or a horticulturist like Eric Darden.

Eric is the Manager of Horticulture for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year, the event is presenting one of the most ambitious dreams that Eric, his team and his fellow Disney Parks cast members have ever made come true.

“The Land of Oz Garden is one of the biggest single areas we’ve ever created for the Festival,” said Eric. “It starts in the ‘Kansas’ section, where kids can play midway games in the tents.”

In Walt Disney Pictures “Oz The Great and Powerful” — which opens today nationwide — you’ll see Kansas in black and white, Oz in dazzling color and all in three-dimensional RealD splendor (at select theaters). But at this new Epcot garden, of course everything’s blooming in full color — from the ring toss game and fun mirrors to the Baum Circus tents (named for L. Frank Baum, author of all 14 original Oz books).

“As you walk along, you’ll seem to travel through Oz, where the kids can enjoy the large playground,” explained Eric. Newly designed, this playground sparkles with details that celebrate the film. As the kids play, grown-ups will appreciate the nearby shaded chairs. Look on the other side of this area and you’ll see that it’s actually themed to the Wizard’s deflated hot air balloon!

Now through May 19, 2013, The Land of Oz Garden is just part of the overall new excitement at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

A dazzling array of unusual flowers and plants suggest the setting of Walt Disney Pictures’ “Oz The Great and Powerful,” including a bed of yellow pansies arranged to resemble a very familiar brick road—plus some dazzling red glass poppies. These amazing creations were prepared especially for The Land of Oz Garden by artist/sculptor Craig Mitchell Smith using his own elaborate technique of cutting, heating, shaping and reheating each flower—a process that takes four days per poppy!

Now through May 19, 2013, The Land of Oz Garden is just part of the overall new excitement at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Now through May 19, 2013, The Land of Oz Garden is just part of the overall new excitement at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. “Now we have great food and beverage options at twelve Garden Marketplaces,” says Eric. “Now it’s all tied together—from the garden to your table—better than ever.

Now through May 19, 2013, The Land of Oz Garden is just part of the overall new excitement at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Great Time and Money Saver for Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

Stop and smell the roses, while sporting this new mini Disney Gift Card with an exclusive Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival design. This Disney Gift Card has all the functionalities of a regular Disney Gift Card, with the convenience of wearing it around your wrist. As you enjoy the sights and scents that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has to offer, the mini Disney Gift Card will help you quickly satisfy your taste buds by purchasing foods that highlight the taste of spring.

This design will be available exclusively at Epcot for a limited time during the festival.

Stop and smell the roses, while sporting this new mini Disney Gift Card with an exclusive Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival design.

Activate your Disney Gift Card with as little as $5 and just swipe to pay for food and more. Your Disney Gift Card can even be reloaded as many times as you want at the majority of festival kiosks. When the festival is over, you can continue using your card since, like all Disney Gift Cards, it’s good for practically all things Disney here at the Walt Disney World Resort and beyond.

Sneak Peek at Merchandise for the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

I’m looking forward to the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year’s event will feature millions of blooms, great entertainment and new food offerings from March 6 to May 19 at Epcot. Last year, I enjoyed visiting Epcot on multiple occasions to photograph many beautiful flowers (I also snapped some wonderful images in the butterfly garden). This year, my photographic journey started at the Festival Center. This highly-themed destination is located between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy, and it’s home to demonstrations, seminars and a merchandise shop.

Merchandise at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

This year, the merchandise location resembles a garden oasis. The sound of gentle water and chirping birds filled the air as I took photos. Last year, we introduced artwork that featured Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as topiaries. The artwork was incredibly popular with guests, so we added a Minnie Mouse topiary to the mix for this year. You can find her image on apparel, a reusable tote bag and, my favorite, a new coffee mug (look inside the mug for a cool detail).

There were a few other items that caught my eye, including a new topiary-inspired headband, a strawberry ear hat, Duffy the Disney Bear in overalls, D-Tech on Demand iPhone cases and more. We are also introducing new garden statues that look like Grumpy and Dopey. Look for additional character topiary statues in the weeks to come.

A Little Disney Magic in Every Topiary at Epcot’s 20th International Flower and Garden Festival

Spring is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate Spring than at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Here is a fun video just released that showcases a not so average shrub.

We hope you enjoy and especially hope you head out to Epcot to experience the festival.

Flower Power Weekend Concerts at 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Feature Artists from the ’60s and ’70s

Pop stars of the 1960s and ’70s will belt out rock ‘n’ roll classics and “best-of” dance tunes for Flower Power concert guests during the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.  Beginning March 8 and continuing each weekend, the electric Flower Power lineup of award-winning artists will feature two new-to-the-festival acts:  The Village People (“Y.M.C.A”) and Tommy Roe (“DIZZY”).

Pop stars of the 1960s and ’70s will belt out rock ‘n’ roll classics and “best-of” dance tunes for Flower Power concert guests during the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Kicking off the concert series March 8-10, The Monkees lead singer Micky Dolenz will return for fans who flocked to his May 2012 Epcot festival concerts. Dolenz appeared in concert to honor his beloved late band mate, Davy Jones, who had been a Flower Power fan favorite.

Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Here’s the lineup (subject to change without notice):

March 8-10       The Monkees Lead Singer Micky Dolenz “Last Train to Clarksville”

March 15-17     Chubby Checker & The Wildcats “The Twist”

March 22-24     The Guess Who “American Woman”

March 29-31     Nelson “Garden Party”

April 5-7           The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie “Happy Together”

April 12-14       Paul Revere & The Raiders “Good Thing”

April 19-21       NEW! Village People “Y.M.C.A.”

April 26-28       The Orchestra featuring former members of ELO and ELO Part II “Don’t Bring Me Down”

May 3-5            NEW! Tommy Roe “DIZZY”

May 10-12        Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”

May 17-19         Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built this City”

Flower Power performances are included with Epcot admission.

New Festival Attractions and Fantastic Food Marketplaces at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

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.

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.

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

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 .”

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.

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