by: Shelley Caran\/OntheGoinMCO.com Updated:ORLANDO, Fla. —
The 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival has arrived, and this year's festival is blooming with new offerings and old favorites returning to make this my favorite time of year in the park!
1. New Topiaries
Every year the horticulture team outdoes themselves with the amazing topiaries that are beautifully detailed, and this year's new additions are no exception!
The Muppets Most Wanted topiary perfectly captures the charm and spirit of Kermit and Miss Piggy! I love that Kermit has his banjo and that Miss Piggy is a fabulous as ever.
I have to say that my favorite new topiaries and bonus photo opportunity at the Flower and Garden Festival is the World Cup area, where you can try your best to stop Goofy and Donald from scoring a goal! It was really fun to actually get into the display to be a part of the Festival. There are Cast Members there to help keep the area organized and help take your photo, because on the day we visited there wasn't a Photopass Photographer available.
2. Mike and Sulley's Monstrous Garden
While there is a ton for families to do at the Flower and Garden Festival, the play areas of the Flower and Garden Festival are definite must do's! This year Mike and Sulley's Monstrous Garden is full of fun, vibrant colors, and benches in the shade for parents to take a break.
3. Flower and Garden Passports
Making the leap into this year's festival again, the Garden Passport is your interactive guide to all the activities and delicious food that make up the Flower and Garden Festival. Passports can be found at the Festival Welcome Center, at any Disney Vacation Club Information Center throughout the Park, at all Outdoor Kitchens, and at several merchandise locations.
4. Flower Power Concert Series
The Flower Power Concert Series is full of returning fan favorites, and two new-to-the-festival-acts: Gary Lewis and The Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) and Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”).
Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and are included with Epcot admission.
Here is this year’s lineup (subject to change without notice):
• March 7-9 The Guess Who “American Woman”
• March 14-16 NEW! Gary Lewis and The Playboys “This Diamond Ring”
• March 21-23 The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
• March 28-30 The Lovin’ Spoonful “Summer in the City”
• April 4-6 Paul Revere & The Raiders “Good Thing”
• April 11-13 Village People “Y.M.C.A”
• April 18-20 The Grass Roots “Midnight Confessions”
• April 25-27 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”
• May 2-4 Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
• May 9-11 Chubby Checker & The Wildcats “The Twist”
• May 16-18 NEW! Alan Parsons Live Project “Eye in the Sky”
5. HGTV and DIY Network Stars
Superstars of HGTV and DIY Network shows will appear at the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV between March 5 and May 18, 2014.
Three HGTV stars will “crash” the festival for the first time: Matt Blashaw from “Yard Crashers,” Matt Muenster from “Bath Crashers” and Alison Victoria from “Kitchen Crashers.”
The popular HGTV celebrities will meet festival guests and showcase expert tips and clever tricks at noon and 3 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday on The Designers’ Stage presented by HGTV at the Festival Center.
Here is the line-up of presenters:
March 14-16 - Chris Lambton, “Going Yard”
March 21-23 - Matt Blashaw, “Yard Crashers”
March 28-30 - Matt Muenster, ”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, HGTV Star
May 16-18 - Alison Victoria, ”Kitchen Crashers”
What would a festival in Epcot be without food? With 11 outdoor kitchens and the Intermission Cafe in the Festival Center offering so many great dishes, it is hard to choose a favorite!
I have to say that my early delicious dishes are the Land-grown eggplant “scallop” with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash from the Urban Farm Eats Kitchen and the Macaron à la fleur d’ Oranger – Orange blossom macaron with white chocolate ganache from Fleur de Lys!
I hope that you've enjoyed taking a look at some of the highlights of the 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! Make sure you keep up with On the Go in MCO on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for ongoing coverage!