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Visit a Magical World in the The Land of Oz Garden at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

Although the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially opens Wednesday, March 6, one new garden has appeared a little early.

Guests enter The Land of Oz Garden guided by a yellow-brick road and soon find themselves in an interactive children’s play area that features carnival-style games.

The Land of Oz Garden is open now and at almost one third of an acre, it’s the largest garden ever created for the festival. The area is based on the new Disney film, “Oz The Great and Powerful,” which opens in theaters March 8.

Guests visiting Epcot will enter The Land of Oz Garden guided by a yellow-brick road and soon find themselves in an interactive children’s play area that features carnival-style games. From here, guests walk past a garden filled with a combination of lush, real flowers and fantastical art-glass poppies. As kids play in and around a giant custom Oz-themed play structure, parents can enjoy shaded, comfy chairs just a few steps away.

The Land of Oz Garden will appear for the complete run of the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, through May 19. Walt Disney World Resort horticulturists will keep updating the flowers throughout the festival as the weather warms up in late April, keeping the garden in a constant state of growth and color.

EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival Debuts Illuminated Blooms and Garden Marketplace Dining

The 20th Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV, taking place March 6 – May 19, 2013, at Walt Disney World® Resort, offers new festival additions that include food-and-beverage Garden Marketplaces, a circus-like “Land of Oz” play area and nighttime illuminated gardens. The Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival is a spring special event filled with a colorful array of flowers, gardens, topiaries, culinary creations, live music and educational programs. You don’t have to be a gardening expert to love this event. It’s perfect for Guests of all ages who enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature! Finish off the day with a melodious evening at the Flower Power Concert Series in the America Gardens Theatre and enjoy music from some of your favorite bands of yesterday. Popular bands rock the open-air theatre every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Epcot's 2013 International Flower & Garden Festival

Debuting this year:

  • Garden Marketplace culinary creations ranging from smokehouse barbecue and shrimp with grits and Zellwood corn to sweet “frushi” made with fresh fruits and coconut rice. Chefs are perfecting menus for marketplaces that will include Florida Fresh at World Showcase Promenade, Smokehouse Barbecue and Brew at American Adventure courtyard, Primavera Kitchen at Italy showcase, Hanami at Japan showcase and eight others around the World Showcase promenade.
  • Garden Marketplace refreshing libations with a kick like Hot Sun Tomato Wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery and Dole Whip with Spiced Rum, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade and Wild Berry Slush.
  • A new, circus-like “Land of Oz” play area based on the Disney fantastical film adventure “Oz: The Great and Powerful” to be released March 8, 2013. The interactive children’s play zone will feature play systems adorned with giant flowers and designed to stretch kids’ imaginations and muscles. Midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents and the “Oz Movie Garden” of intriguing plants will capture the spirit of the upcoming film.
  • Larger-than-life Fab Five Disney character topiary. Floral versions of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) star in a celebratory cookout scene in living topiary color. The 14-foot-tall Goofy topiary will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms.
  • Illuminated Gardens in the Park’s Future World and World Showcase will twinkle and glow over the festival’s world-famous Disney gardens and topiaries each festival evening.

Throughout the 75-day garden party, you will discover festival surprises around every corner including new topiary triumphs, a butterfly bounty, whimsical children’s play areas, HGTV celebrity designers, daily hands-on gardening seminars and a Festival Center packed with events that offer innovative ideas, gardening know-how and design tips. On weekends, top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and ’70s will perform. Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars.

In all, more than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape.

Epcot's 2013 International Flower & Garden Festival

Flower Power Concert Series – Artists to be Announced

HGTV & DIY Designer Presentation Lineup 

Chris Lambton, Going Yard – presenting March 8 – 10

Chris Grundy, DIY Network’s Cool Tools – presenting March 15 – 17

Egypt Sherrod, host of Property Virgins – presenting March 22 – 24

Brandon Johnson, My Yard Goes Disney – presenting March 29 – 31

Meg Caswell, Meg’s Great Rooms – presenting April 5 – 7

Jason Cameron, DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves – presenting April 12 – 14

Sara Peterson, Editor-in-Chief, HGTV Magazine – presenting April 19 – 21

Carter Oosterhouse, Million Dollar Rooms – presenting April 26 -28

Casey Noble, Design on a Dime – presenting May 3 – 5

Dan Faires,, DanMade – presenting May 10 – 12

David Bromstad, HGTV Design Star, ColorSplash, Design Star All-Stars – presenting May 17 – 19

13 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2013

It seems there’s always a new reason to visit Walt Disney World Resort – whether it’s the debut of a new guest offering, an update made to a favorite attraction, or the return of a fun annual event, there’s always something to do and see at our parks.

That said, here are 13 new reasons to visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2013.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes opened at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort

1. Splitsville Luxury Lanes opened at Downtown Disney exactly two weeks ago on December 19. No doubt this new location will be a big draw for guests of all ages who love to bowl, dance, play pool and dine.

Dining at the new Monsieur Paul restaurant in the France pavilion at Epcot

2. Another recent debut is the Monsieur Paul restaurant in the France pavilion at Epcot. The restaurant now features a new menu created by Chef Francesco Santin.

3. Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort just debuted to guests. I don’t know about you, but I hope to hit up this newly reimagined location for a facial or massage in the coming year.

4. As Disney Parks Blog Author Tom Smith mentioned earlier, we’ll have a lot of fun surprises to look forward to in 2013 with Limited Time Magic.

5. The Atlanta Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for spring training, which means a chance to attend fun preseason games beginning February 22 against the Detroit Tigers.

6. Characters from “Doc McStuffins” and “Sofia the First” will be added into the “Disney Junior – Live on Stage!” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on February 15.

7. The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, its fun topiaries, and the Flower Power Concert Series will return for some spring fun March 6. As we previously shared, this year’s festival will also whisk guests back to the land of Oz.

8. We’ve marked some milestone anniversaries at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot in the last two years. This spring, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 15th year.

9. My fellow blog author Darrell Fry just announced that the Drew Brees Passing Academy and Tournament will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, June 27-30. Sounds like an amazing opportunity for football fans!

10. A newly updated California Grill will debut at Disney’s Contemporary Resort this summer (date TBA). In addition to decor, Chef Brian Piasecki is also tweaking the menu, which will continue to focus on fresh, seasonal creations.

11. The 31st Night of Joy returns to Magic Kingdom Park September 6-7, this year featuring Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith as the main acts.

Big Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom Park

12. Last fall, we shared the news that an interactive queue is coming to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park. Should be interesting to see exactly what materializes at this attraction in 2013.

Princess Fairytale Hall coming to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park in 2013

13. Princess Fairytale Hall, another new addition to Magic Kingdom Park, will open in New Fantasyland in 2013 (exact date TBA). This will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom Park. To open in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, the regal space will provide the perfect setting for meeting Cinderella, and Aurora and the other Disney princesses.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

‘Phineas and Ferb’ Topiaries Greet Epcot Guests for a Summer to Remember

You never know what’s going to pop up at Disney Parks. Last Monday night, Epcot guests enjoyed“IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” and then headed back to their homes and resorts, never suspecting that a team of horticulturists and cast members were backstage, waiting for the last guest to leave. Once they had the “all clear,” the team worked through the night to debut two new character topiaries on Tuesday morning – Disney Channel and Disney XD stars Phineas and Ferb!

What’s next for Phineas and Ferb? Our friends at Disney Channel tell us they’re heading on an African safari vacation later this month, while Perry stays behind to handle a Dr. Doofenshmirtz emergency. Tune into “Where’s Perry? Part One,” July 26 at 9 p.m. EST, to see how it all turns out.

HGTV Stars Return to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

We love our festivals here at Walt Disney World Resort!

Having just finished the 2012 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, we now turn to the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year’s food and wine extravaganza runs from September 28 to November 12, and we’re excited to announce the return of some your favorite HGTV stars.

As regular watchers of HGTV (and I’m one of them) know, HGTV programs go beyond just home renovation and gardening. They feature ideas and helpful hints for party planning, catering and tons of other food and beverage topics, which makes them a perfect fit for our festival.

Are you watching this season of “Design Star”? I am loving it; and not just because we got to interview judge Genevieve Gorder on the “Design Star” set. I can’t wait to see who wins and gets to come to Epcot.

In addition to the “Design Star” winner, here are the other HGTV stars that are scheduled for this year’s festival:

HGTV Stars

September 28-30  – “Design Star” Season 7 Winner (To be announced July 25)
October 5-7  – Casey Noble – “Design on a Dime”
October 12-14  – Alison Victoria – DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers”
October 19-21  – Brian Patrick Flynn –, “Design Happens” contributor
October 26-28 – Meg Caswell – “Meg’s Great Rooms”
November 2-4 – Marianne Canada –, “Design Happens” contributor
November 9-12 – Emily Henderson – “Secrets From a Stylist”


Topiary Mater Installed in Epcot Just in Time for Pixar’s 25th Anniversary Weekend

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Mater TopiaryCHECKERED FLAG FINISH: Topiary Mater has been added to the array of characters revving up for a dash to the finish with Pixar’s 25th Anniversary Weekend May 13-15, 2011, celebrating “Cars 2” during the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV.

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Enjoy Spectacular Topiaries and So Much More at Epcot’s 18th Annual International Flower & Garden Festival

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The 18th annual Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival is coming spring 2011. Amid a colorful tableau of flowers, plants and topiaries, Walt Disney World® guests of all ages can explore myriad exhibits and activities geared toward gardening and outdoor fun. Weekend Flower Power concerts will pump up the volume and spread a groovy vibe at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase

Event Dates:
March 2 – May 15, 2011

Event Tickets:
Free with Admission to Epcot® required.

Festival Highlights
Toy Story 3 Topiary – Presented by Disney·Pixar – Main Entrance
Don’t miss Buzz, Woody and Lotso as they come out of the Toy Story 3 toy box as topiaries. The newest living sculptures at the Festival and the newest Disney·Pixar movie take you to infinity and beyond.

Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden – Presented by Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games – Test Track Walkway
Take flight into the garden world of Pixie Hollow and see some of your favorite fairies presented in topiary. Play structures designed for ages 2 -5.

Bambi’s Butterfly House – Presented by HGTV – Imagination Walkway
Experience a Festival favorite, now, more than double the size! Wander among hundreds of native butterflies and see some of your favorite characters from Bambi, presented in topiary. Join us as we celebrate the release of Bambi Diamond Edition, the timeless classic now for the very first time on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def.

Healthy Living Garden – Presented by Syngenta – Imagination Walkway
Experience fun activities that can help lead to improved health and well being.

Cars 2 Topiary – Presented by Disney·Pixar – Coming to Theaters June 24th – World Showcase Plaza
Lightning McQueen and Mater zoom back into action, but this time they’re pruned and trained in topiary form. Rev up your engines for this unforgettable collection of characters seen in living art form like never before.

Winnie the Pooh Topiary – Presented by The Pooh Movie – Coming to Theaters this Summer
Between Future World & World Showcse
Take a glimpse into the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger and Friends in a stunning display of topiary show gardens. Vibrant varieties of striking wild flower combinations make this a “must see” of the Festival.

Beauty and the Beast Topiary Gardens – Presented by Beauty & The Beast Diamond Edition
France Pavilion
Be our guest and see some of your favorite characters from Beauty & The Beast come to spectacular life in this stunning floral garden of topiaries and colorful arrays of flowers and foliage. Join the beloved Belle and Beast in a dance of manicured landscape and magical gardens.

The Art of Green Living – Adjacent to the Morocco Pavilion – Presented by FNGLA
Discover how you can create an environmentally friendly, low-input garden of your own as you explore this unique garden.

Rapunzel’s Tower – Presented by Tangled – On Blu-ray™ Combo-pack & DVD
Between the Germany and Italy Pavilions
Rapunzel’s secret tower comes to life in the Tangled Magical Garden inspired by Walt Disney Pictures newest animated film, Tangled. You won’t want to miss this breathtaking photo location where whimsy and splendor meet floral beauty and garden design as only the Disney Horticulture team can create.

Woody and Buzz from the Disney Pixar “Toy Story” movies are getting ready for their March 2 debut in topiary form at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Buzz and Woody Get Ready for the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden FestivalClick Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

You can see here that Wood and Buzz are almost ready for their March 2 debut in topiary form at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Guests will see Woody in front of Spaceship Earth at the front entrance garden. The festival will run for 75 days through May 15 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and it will feature dozens of Disney character topiaries.

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