Epcot’s 19th Flower and Garden Festival is in full color. Thirty million blooms, 240 floating mini-gardens on two ponds, 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables, dozens of Disney character topiaries, 30 "flower towers" of impatiens and sweeping beds of floral designs will create a tapestry of brilliant color across the 260-acre Epcot landscape. It takes more than one full year and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to plan and prepare for the 75-day festival.
Here are my top 5 must sees for this year’s festival.
#1 Bambi’s Butterfly House. Bambi and the butterflies have moved to the other side of Future World to a larger location. With lots of bright colored flowers and bushes plus hundreds of butterflies there are many great photo opportunities. Check the butterfly identification posters and see how many you can find.
#2 Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden – I’ll admit, other than Tinker Bell, I am not up on the latest in “Fairy-World” however, that didn’t stop me and should not stop you from visiting this garden. The flowers surrounding each Fairy is an artistic blend of complimenting colors. In addition, the Winter Woods area really makes you feel as though you wandered into a snow covered land.
#3 Festival Center Seminars – Open daily from 10am to 5pm, the Festival Center is a great place to cool off, rest your feet and get some great ideas for your own garden and landscape! The Greenhouse Stage has 2 seminars daily and topics range from “Planting Pointers”, to “Ask an Expert”, to “You Too Can Grow Orchids”! I sat in on the ”Proper Selection of Trees” talk and found it quite informative. On the weekends, HGTV designers and personalities will entertain and inform you. I had the pleasure of listening to John Gidding (Curb Appeal) who was full of tips and had great interaction with the audience!
#4 Haiti – Brand new this year is the Haiti exhibit presented by Haiti Originale. The idea behind this exhibit is to make Americans aware of the high quality Haitian products which are available in this country. You’ll find coffee plants growing under mango trees, sugar cane (which makes rum) and quality arts and crafts in this exhibit. Also check out the Creole Garden (consisting of herbs, vegetables and tropical fruits) which represents how most farming is done in Haiti. Walt Disney World’s Haitian Cast Members are very excited about the exhibit and there will always be one of them present to talk about their homeland and answer your questions. The beverage stand sells Haitian coffee and rum drinks too. This exhibit is the first night garden at the Flower and Garden Festival.
#5 Flower Power Concerts – Another great line-up of musicians is on tap this year. Opening weekend I went to see Jose Feliciano and that man still plays an awesome guitar. I’m going to take advantage of being a local now and head over to see a few more acts this spring. In the coming weeks you can enjoy The Guess Who, The Spinners, Chubby Checker, to name just a few . Take a drive to Epcot, see the 5:15pm show and then have dinner somewhere in World Showcase (make your dinner reservations in advance). It makes for a fun evening!
The Festival runs now through May 20, 2012 in Epcot. For lots more information, photos and a video tour visit allears.net.
Deb Wills is the founder and webmaster of AllEars.Net (established January 1996), which also publishes the AllEars weekly e-newsletter. A veteran of numerous trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, Deb is an internationally recognized expert on these vacation destinations, as well as on the Disney Cruise Line. Deb actively participates in events designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Breast Cancer, of which she herself is a 25-year survivor. In addition to sponsoring Team AllEars, which participates in runDisney events while generating funds for this cause, Deb has participated in 11 Avon Breast Cancer Walks (both as a walker and a crew member), and has raised more than $325,000 since 2001. Follow Deb on Twitter at @allearsdeb.