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Tag Archives: Epcot International Flower and 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!

My Experience at the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! Topiary Tour VIDEO!

 

Last week I was on vacation at the Most Magical Place on Earth… Walt Disney World! My family and I had such an amazing time! One of the highlights was getting to attend the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! This event has always been a favorite of mine and it seems to get better and better year after year! I love every aspect about this springtime event, the colorful landscapes, the whimsical character topiaries and of course the delicious outdoor kitchens food and beverage offerings!

 

 

Over the course of the next few weeks I am excited to share with you my full 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival experience! I can’t wait to tell you everything that I loved about this year’s event! To start off this week I want to highlight the incredible character topiaries!

 

 

What is a topiary you may ask?! A topiary is a Disney character created entirely out of the use of flowers and natural materials! The Disney horticulture teams has been crafting these works of art for years at the parks and it is these character topiaries that paved the way for the start of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! Over the years there have been several additional elements added into the event but these amazing topiaries still remain the heart of it all!

 

 

Every year the Disney horticulture team outdoes themselves with the topiaries they create and with the various surrounding displays that they produce to showcase each topiary! I have enjoyed watching the progression of the topiaries year after year and I always look forward to seeing what the Disney horticulture team will think of next!

 

 

This year was no exception! The Disney horticulture team went above and beyond with this year’s displays! Speaking of above and beyond… ‘to infinity and beyond!’  One of the new displays making its debut at this year’s 2019 festival was the Toy Story display. In past years, they have had Woody and Buzz in topiary form but they were located in separate parts of the park. Buzz in recent years had been over by Mission Space and Woody previously could be seen near the America Adventure Pavilion in World Showcase. In celebration of Toy Story 4 coming out this summer, Buzz and Woody are now right next to each other in a very special Toy Story Display. This year also saw the introduction of a brand-new topiary, Bo peep and even her sheep! The characters are all located in the same area out front of a brand-new Toy Story themed playground that has been brought in specially for the Flower and Garden Festival!

 

 

 

Additionally, there were some new character topiaries introduced this season such as Kermit and Miss Piggy! Also, many return character topiaries received a special revamp with new locations and new surrounding displays. Some personal favorites for me included the Lady and the Tramp topiaries! Lady and the Tramp have been icons in the Italy Pavilion for years at the Flower and Garden Festival! This year they have moved from against the one wall in the Italy Pavilion to across the way, down by the World Showcase Lagoon right in front of the Italy Pavilion. With their new location, you can now take an amazing photo of them with the backdrop of the lagoon and Spaceship Earth in the distance!

 

 

To see an overview of some of this year’s topiaries and floral displays at the 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, check out our new YouTube video!

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner today to plan your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort or to whatever destination you are dreaming of traveling to next!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2019 Preview – What I am Most Looking Forward to Trying This Week!

 

This week I am coming to you live from the Walt Disney World Resort! My family and I are spending the week enjoying a family vacation at the most magical place on Earth! Visiting Disney World in the spring has become an annual tradition for us! One of our favorite things about vacationing at Disney World this time of year is that the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom! (Literally!)

 

 

During the International Flower and Garden Festival, Epcot is transformed into a springtime paradise with beautiful floral displays covering practically every inch of the park. There are even special topiaries crafted by the Disney horticulture team to represent several Disney characters! Additionally at the event you will find a variety of delicious food and beverage items at the outdoor kitchens and can even jam out at the Garden Rocks Concert series.

 

 

There is something for everyone at this incredible event! One of the best parts about the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is that it is fresh every year! Each year Disney finds a way to add some new experience or offering to the festival! Over the years I have loved seeing how the event evolves and changes.

 

 

Check out our new YouTube video to hear what I am most excited for at this year’s 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!

 

Be sure to check back next week to hear all about my experience at the festival and what my highlights were from this year’s event! I am excited to take you along on this adventure! When you are ready to plan your own next adventure be sure to contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edible Gardens Feature Fruits, Veggies Served at Outdoor Kitchens at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

The 13 Outdoor Kitchens at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival are serving delightful bites for the run of the festival through May 30, from Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad at THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecues & Brews to a Lemon Scone with Crème Fraiche and Mixed Berries at Cider House. And right next to THE SMOKEHOUSE, an edible garden showcases corn used in the recipe, along with pecans, collards, jalapeños and potatoes. The Cider House garden features lemons for the scones as well as apples and field greens.

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There’s a guava plant in the garden adjacent to La Isla Fresca where the Tres Leches cake is served with a sweet guava sauce. Asparagus grows right next to the Bauernmarkt in Germany where it’s served in the chicken fricassee. Each plant is clearly labeled for easy reading.

“Some of the fruits and vegetables are seasonal, so you may not see them in bloom or ready to harvest all the time,” says Disney horticulturist Heather Will-Browne. “We have unusual vegetables like soybeans, pigeon peas and chayote in the gardens that we planted from seed and just have to patiently wait for them to grow throughout the festival.”

La Isla Fresca Outdoor Kitchen at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Right now, for instance, arugula is in its full leafy splendor, but as the festival runs through May 30, it may not fare as well in the heat. “But we try to keep the plants growing as long as we can,” says Will-Browne. You’ll always see citrus, onions and tomatoes, for instance.

“We hope that our guests will see plants they might not have seen before,” says Will-Browne.

As you make your way around World Showcase Lagoon, check out these crops growing in each of the edible gardens that correspond to the food being served in the Outdoor Kitchen:

  • Urban Farm Eats: watermelon, arugula, carrots, potatoes, soy beans, green beans, onions and tomatoes.
  • Fleur De Lys (France): oranges, grapefruits, rosemary, parsley and onion.
  • Hanami (Japan): coconut, red cabbage, mangos, pineapple, strawberries, soy beans.
  • Jardin de Fiesta (Mexico): jalapeños, cilantro, lime, avocado, onions, hibiscus.
  • Lotus House (China): guava, peaches, ginger, tea, strawberries, oranges.
  • Pineapple Promenade: pineapple, sugar cane, lemons, taro, Australian violet.
  • Morocco: mint, cucumber and tomatoes.
  • Bauernmarkt (Germany): peas, asparagus, paprika, potatoes, leeks and mint.
  • Intermission Café: grapes, greens, tomatoes and cucumber.
  • Primavera (Italy): lemons, tomatoes, olive tree, oregano, rosemary and spinach.
  • SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue & Brews: pecans, cabbage, collards, corn, jalapeños and potatoes.
  • La Isla Fresca (Caribbean): guava, mangos, pigeon peas, chayote squash, papaya, lime and cilantro.
  • Cider House (United Kingdom): apples, lemons, field greens.

More Days, More Garden Rocks Concerts at the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Two more weekends and four new acts join the lineup for this year’s Garden Rocks concert series during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Thirteen pop bands with hits spanning the decades will take the stage each weekend through Memorial Day at America Gardens Theatre from March 2 – May 30.

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Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice, Bad Company, former lead singer Brian Howe, Georgia Satellites and Darlene Love make their Festival debut this year.

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Here’s the lineup (subject to change without notice):

  • March 4-6 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
  • March 11-13 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
  • March 18-20 – Little River Band “Reminiscing”
  • March 25-27 – Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
  • April 1-3 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”
  • April 8-10 – The Guess Who “American Woman”
  • April 15-17 – NEW! Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice “Spinning Wheel”
  • April 22-24 – NEW! Bad Company, former lead singer BRIAN HOWE “Can’t Get Enough”
  • April 29-May 1 – NEW! Georgia Satellites “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”
  • May 6-8 – Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”
  • May 13-15 – NEW! Darlene Love “Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home”
  • May 20-22 – Night Ranger “Sister Christian”
  • May 27-30 (Monday) – The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”

Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45, and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Festival and included with park admission.


90 Days of Delicious Tastes for 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Two new Outdoor Kitchens join the line-up for this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, upping the deliciousness at the 23rd annual fest that will span a record 90 days from March 2-May. 30.

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La Isla Fresca and Cider House are the two new Outdoor Kitchens, and we got a sneak peek of dishes from each at a recent tasting with the Epcot culinary team. La Isla Fresca takes guests to the Caribbean for authentic bites such as Jamaican braised beef with pigeon peas and rice; spicy jerk chicken or grouper with mango salsa and a Tres Leches cake with guava puree (the traditional meringue is replaced with whipped cream in this version). Pair either of the savories with a Red Stripe Jamaican-style lager, or frozen Simply Tropical juice drink (with or without rum).

The Cider House offers a spin on tastes from the United Kingdom, including a field greens salad with greens harvested from The Land Pavilion, heirloom apples, Stilton cheese and dried blueberries; and a pear cider-brined shredded corned beef, braised cabbage and pears with Branston (a British food brand) dressing. The Cider House will offer four hard ciders, including a blueberry ciders made in Plant City, Fla., plus Mr. Tractor, a Kölsch-style beer brewed in Winter Garden, Fla.

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The 11 other Outdoor Kitchens include Urban Farm Eats (new seared pork tenderloin), Pineapple Promenade , Fleur de Lys, Florida Fresh, Taste of Marrakesh, Hanami, THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews (the pulled pig slider gets crispy onions on top), Primavera Kitchen, Lotus House, Bauernmarkt (German currywurst sausage is new this year) and Jardin de Fiestas. Such diversity of tastes!

You’ll be wowed by the colorful extravaganza show put on by the Disney horticulture team – whimsical topiaries (yes,Elsa and Anna will be there), 220 “floating gardens” in the lagoon and a new edible flower garden next to The Land Pavilion. It’s all beautiful at night, with twinkling lights shining across the gardens.

Food lovers, mark your calendar for April 29-May 1, when Florida Fresh Weekend features the state’s edible bounty from Apalachicola to Zellwood.


Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Expands to 90 Days in 2016

Celebrating its 23rd year, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival returns to Walt Disney World Resort March 2-May 30, 2016, expanding from 75 days to 90 days.

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From fresh farm market flavors at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens and new Disney character topiaries to interactive play gardens and live rockin’ music, this annual event will shower you with spring surprises.

Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, will make their topiary debut with Donald and Daisy at the park’s front entrance garden. Plus, in celebration of the National Parks Service Centennial, Ranger Mickey Mouse, in topiary form, will make his first appearance.

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Savory bites and sweet treats will be abundant at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens, returning for a fourth year with guest favorites and new food and beverage offerings. And, when you’re not noshing along the World Showcase promenade, you can dig in for a hands-on experience during Disney-led gardening seminars or grab a seat for pop musical performances during the Garden Rocks concert series at the outdoor America Gardens Theatre.


Food Shines At Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

For some of us, the Outdoor Kitchens are our first destination at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, 75 days to munch and learn from March 4-May 17.

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It’s the third year for the Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon, and the garden- and spring-inspired tapas-sized food and beverages just get more and more interesting. The new Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen between France and Morocco pavilions will showcase treats like Cachapas with Farmer’s Cheese, a sweet yellow corn pancake, and Seafood Ceviche with shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado.

“It’s so much fun coming up with creative new flavors to wow our guests,” says Chef Gregg Hannon, Epcot executive chef. He mentions Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews Outdoor Kitchen, and the Quinoa Vegetable Naanwich with arugula pesto and oven-dried tomatoes at Urban Farm Eats.

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Especially appealing are flavors inspired by fruits and veggies, like the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade, Sparkling Pineapple Wine and Berry Tea Cocktail at Pineapple Promenade; the Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (strawberry marshmallow macaron) at the Fleur De Lys; the vegetarian Falafel with Cucumber Tomato Salad and Tahini at Taste of Marrakesh; Frushi (fresh pineapple, strawberry and melon rolled with raspberry coconut rice, sprinkled with toasted coconut and whipped cream) at Hanami; Limoncello Panna Cotta (gluten free and vegetarian) at Primavera Kitchen; Watermelon Salad with Pickled Onions, Baby Arugula and Feta Cheese and the Florida Blueberry and Lemon Curd Tart (vegetarian) at Florida Fresh; Beijing Candied Strawberries at Lotus House; and Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds and Goat Cheese (gluten free and vegetarian) at Urban Farm Eats.

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Hungry yet? Protein fans will love everything from Confit de Canard (pulled duck confit) at Fleur De Lys to a spicy hot dog with pineapple chutney and sriracha mayo at Pineapple Promenade. There’s Harissa Chicken at Taste of Marrakesh and a Pulled Pig Slider at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews. Florida Fresh will serve up hearty Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage and Jardin de Fiestas has tacos with achiote marinated pork.

The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.


Garden Rocks Concert Series Returns To Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Planning a trip to Epcot this spring for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? This year, 11 pop bands are set to appear in the Garden Rocks Concert Series, which will take place March 4-May 17, 2015. Several acts will join this festival lineup this year, including En Vogue, Little River Band, Jon Secada, Pablo Cruise and Taylor Dayne.

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Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and are included with Epcot admission. Check out this year’s lineup (subject to change without notice):

  • March 6-8: Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”
  • March 13-15: Pablo Cruise “Love Will Find a Way”
  • March 20-22: En Vogue “Free Your Mind”
  • March 27-29: Starship “We Built This City”
  • April 3-5: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
  • April 10-12: Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
  • April 17-19: Jon Secada “Just Another Day”
  • April 24-26: The Guess Who “These Eyes”
  • May 1-3: Taylor Dayne “Tell It to My Heart”
  • May 8-10: Little River Band “Lady”
  • May 15-17: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”

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2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens

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Take your pick from garden-grown treats, savory meats and spring-inspired flavors—including tempting TRYit! selections, featuring fun foods made with fresh ingredients—this year at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!


Florida Fresh

Florida FreshExperience a taste of several fresh Florida ingredients, each grown and produced locally. It’s a perfect opportunity to treat your senses to some of the most delightful fruit and drink the Sunshine State has to offer! Florida Fresh can be found next to the Germany Pavilion.

To eat:

  • Watermelon salad with pickled onions, BW Farm baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction
  • Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro
  • Florida kumquat pie (TRYit!)

To drink:

  • Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade®
  • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria featuring Simply Lemonade, Florida Orange Groves (St. Petersburg, Florida)
  • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery (Orlando, Florida)
  • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery (Orlando, Florida)
  • Blonde Ale, Orlando Brewing Company (Orlando, Florida)
  • Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Swamp Head Brewery (Gainesville, Florida)
  • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company (Cape Canaveral, Florida) – Festival Exclusive!
  • Florida Avenue Blueberry, Cold Storage Craft Brewery (Tampa, Florida)
  • Beer Flight – Blonde Ale, Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale and Florida Avenue Blueberry
  • Simply Orange

Hanami

HanamiJourney near the Japan Pavilion where the annual ritual of admiring springtime flowers is in full bloom. From delectable bites to refreshing beverages, uncover how Hanami’s flavors reflect the season.

To eat:

  • Frushi – Fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon, rolled with coconut rice, topped with raspberry sauce, sprinkled with toasted coconut and served with whipped cream on the side
  • Temaki hand roll – Sliced Panko fried chicken, curry sauce, rice and pickled julienne carrots wrapped with Nori
  • Hanami sushi – A flavorful combination of salmon, scallop and beef-topped rice balls served atop a shiso violet sauce (TRYit!)
  • Japanese puffed rice cakes with green tea whipped cream and azuki

To drink:

  • Kirin draft beer
  • Pinepple Paradise with Yuzu Slushie – Frozen blend of sweet sake, pineapple juice and crème, flavored with a hint of Yuzu citrus juice
  • Orange Mango Slushie – Frozen blend of Nigori sake, mango and orange juice

Jardin de Fiestas

Jardin de FiestasMake your way near the Mexico Pavilion where the tapas are spring light and cooked just right. Don’t miss your chance to take part in this festival of flavors, complete with savory tacos and mouthwatering cocktails.

To eat:

  • Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro
  • Quesadilla de hongos con queso – Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese
  • Flan de chocolate Abuelita – Mexican chocolate custard

To drink:

  • Tecate draft beer
  • White Mexican sangria
  • Franbuesa (raspberry) margarita on the rocks
  • Tequila flight – blanco, reposado and añejo
  • Dasani bottled water

Fleur de Lys

Fleur de LysIndulge your senses in extravagance at this tasty milieu influenced by the “flower of the lily.” Once a royal emblem used by the French monarchy, the symbol now serves as inspiration for this decadent stop where you can refine your palate with some of the France Pavilion’s most magnificent culinary masterpieces!

To eat:

  • Gnocchi Parisien à la Provençal – Parisian-style dumplings with vegetables and mushrooms
  • Confit de canard, pommes de terre Sarladaise – Pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes
  • Macaron à la fleur d’ Oranger – Orange blossom macaron with white chocolate ganache (TRYit!)

To drink:

  • La Vie en Rose frozen slush – Vodka, Grey Goose Orange, St. Germain Liquor, and white and red cranberry juice
  • Kir Imperial – Sparkling wine, Chambord and black raspberry liquor
  • Rosé pamplemousse cocktail – Rosé wine mixed with natural grapefruit syrup
  • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – Fruity white beer with citrus notes

Lotus House

Lotus HouseHit the pavement near the China Pavilion for a garden-fresh take on spring-influenced flavors. Appease your cravings with a wide variety of Chinese cuisine, including popular street foods and bubble tea!

To eat:

  • Beijing-style candied strawberries
  • Spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple
  • Vegetable spring rolls

To drink:

  • Popping bubble tea
  • Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice
  • South Sea Storm – Guava juice with light and dark rum
  • Plum wine
  • Tsing-Tao beer
  • Lychee aerated water

Pineapple Promenade

Pineapple PromenadeEnjoy the Great White North with a tropical twist at the Canada side of World Showcase promenade. Then, get ready to hear  your sweet tooth say, “Thank you!” as you bite into all kinds of treats featuring this popular golden fruit.

To eat:

  • Pineapple soft serve
  • Pineapple soft serve with Myers’s dark rum
  • Pineapple soft serve with Parrot Bay coconut rum
  • Sweet potato cinnamon waffle with pineapple soft serve (TRYit! selection)

To drink:

  • Frozen desert violet lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade (nonalcoholic)
  • Tropical Mango Pale Ale, St. John Brewers (U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Once Upon a Vine’s The Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc

Primavera Kitchen

Primavera KitchenSay, “Ciao!” to spring as you set sail for a land of garden-fresh foods near the Italy Pavilion. On your stop, be sure to explore the countryside’s many flavors—caprese, manicotti, torte di ricotta and fine Italian wines.

To eat:

  • Caprese – Fior di latte mozzarella, roasted peppers and olio verde
  • Three cheese manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel
  • Torta di ricotta – Lemon cheesecake with limoncello-marinated strawberries

To drink:

  • Placido Pinot Grigio
  • Placido Chianti
  • Bosco del Merlo Prosecco
  • White peach bellini – Prosecco and white peach puree
  • Strawberry rossini – Prosecco and marinated strawberries
  • Frozen Italian primavera – Assorted fruit slushy with limoncello and vodka
  • Moretti Lager
  • Moretti La Rossa

Taste of Marrakesh

Taste of MarrakeshEmbark on a trek near the Morocco Pavilion and educate your tastes on North African spices. Each unique flavor has been  paired with fresh ingredients and can be sampled with Moroccan beer and wine at this garden oasis.

To eat:

  • Lamb brewat roll with prunes and sesame
  • Harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad
  • Baghrir – Moroccan pancake with honey, almonds and argan oil

To drink:

  • Mint iced tea
  • White sangria
  • Guerrouane red
  • Casa Beer
  • Desert Rose – Sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur

Urban Farm Eats – NEW!

Urban Farm Eats – NEW!Honor the earth and all it grows with a refreshing selection from this location’s all-natural menu. Choose from a hearty array of foods and beverages, many of which have been cultivated entirely from the soil!

To eat:

  • Pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna and pistachios
  • Land-grown eggplant “scallop” with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash (TRYit!)
  • Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub

To drink:

  • Cucumber lemon spa water, finished with a sprig of fresh mint
  • The Vegan Vine Chardonnay
  • The Vegan Vine Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Redbridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer, Anheuser-Busch (St. Louis, Missouri)

THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews

THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and BrewsCelebrate the truly American tradition of slow-cooked flavors near The American Adventure Pavilion. Sink your teeth into savory barbecue meats and then pair each one off with craft brews from across the country.

To eat:

  • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
  • Smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread
  • Smoked turkey “rib” (TRYit!)
  • “Piggylicous” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s® Applewood Smoked Bacon

To drink:

  • Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Brewing (South Burlington, Vermont)
  • Maduro, Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida)
  • Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company (Ft. Collins, Colorado)
  • Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Beer Flight – Magic Hat #9, Maduro, Fat Tire and Billy’s Chilies
  • The Original Rib Shack Red Wine

The Buttercup Cottage

The Buttercup CottageDelight in elegant afternoon-tea offerings and fresh garden flavors near the United Kingdom Pavilion. Drop by this charming locale to sample scrumptious treats, British teas and beverages inspired by lovely English fruits and fragrances.

To eat:

  • Freshly baked potato and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare
  • Field greens with Plant City strawberries, toasted almonds and Farmstead stilton (TRYit!)
  • Pork and apple sausage roll with house-made piccalilli
  • Freshly baked lemon scones with berry preserves and crème fraÎche

To drink:

  • Chilled rose blush lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade with Raspberry (nonalcoholic)
  • Twinings® Cold Brewed English Classic with lemon grass syrup
  • Berry tea cocktail – Twinings Cold Brewed Mixed Berry Tea with Florida Cane vodka and Plant City strawberry, flavored with raspberry and açaí syrup
  • Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee
  • Deloach Pinot Noir

Intermissions Café

Intermissions CaféDig into your day or turn over the evening at this charming stop found right within the Festival Center. Pop inside to find all kinds of fine food and beverages—wine, cheese, wraps, salads and more!

To eat:

  • Grapes
  • Fruit & cheese plate
  • Vegan trio
  • Southwest chicken wrap
  • Tuna salad with pita
  • Side salad
  • Asian tuna salad with noodles
  • Caprese Push-Pop – Tomato, mozzarella and balsamic (TRYit! selection)

To drink:

  • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria, Florida Orange Groves (St. Petersburg, Florida)
  • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery (Orlando, Florida)
  • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery (Orlando, Florida)
  • Martini Prosecco
  • Strongbow Cider, Bulmers Cider Company (White Plains, New York)
  • SweetWater Blue, SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia)

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.

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.

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.

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