Feb 252015
 

By Rikki Niblett

 

Top 7 Best Things About the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

So, while most of us are still dealing with super freezing temperatures and piles and piles of snow, Walt Disney World is currently getting ready for the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. This year’s Festival takes place from March 4 through May 17. For this year, I feel like we will see quite a few new events, as well as some old standbys too. Details are still trickling out about this year’s event, so, I thought I would share with you my Top 7 Best Things About Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. These are all things that I think you simply do not want to miss out on experiencing if you’re visiting the Festival this year!

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  • Topiaries: One of the key aspects, to me, about the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival are the topiary displays. These are gorgeously created plant sculptures which look like Disney characters, as well as other designs. This year, there will be a few new characters, such as Ann and Elsa from Frozen and my favorites, Chip n’ Dale. Of course, many guest favorite displays will be back too, such as Mickey, Minnie, Lady and the Tramp, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Snow White and more. These topiaries are incredible works of art and the best part is that they are scattered all around the park! You never know when you will run up on one. Don’t forget to take these beautiful designs in at night too, as they are illuminated in gorgeous light.
  • Garden Rocks Concert Series: What was once called the Flower Power Concert Series has been renamed as the Garden Rocks Concert Series. With the new name comes the new opportunity to introduce different and “more current” acts. (I say “more current” because I don’t think many of these artists have had a huge hit in like 20 years, but they are still fantastic artists that guests will enjoy.) Guests can expect to see acts like the Gin Blossoms, STARSHIP, John Secada, Taylor Dane, and of course, the perennial favorite…Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone. The concerts take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the American Gardens Theater at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM.

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  • Outdoor Kitchens: The Outdoor Kitchens are relatively new to the Festival, but they have quickly become a smash hit. There are 11 different kiosks, in all and each one offers guests the opportunity to purchase fresh-inspired bites. I love this festival’s options because they focus on offering a lot on different fruits and veggies! Booths include (keep in mind, that this is not a full list, just a taste of what you can expect.):

Botanas Botánico (New!)

  • Seafood Ceviche
  • Cachapa con Queso
  • White Corn Arepa
  • Coconut Tres Leches
  • Polar Beer
  • La Tizana
  • Monte Paschoal Reserve Tannat
  • Monte Paschoal Natural Brut White Sparkling Wine
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Piggylicious Cupcake

 

The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews

  • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
  • Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños
  • Smoked Debreziner Sausage
  • “Piggylicious” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Floridian Hefeweizen
  • Category 3 IPA
  • Maple Bacon Stout
  • Beer Flight Featuring a Selection of Craft Beer
  • The Original Rib Shack Red Wine
  • Frozen Lemonade (with Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey Optional)
  • R.C. Sweet Tea made with Twinings Cold-Brewed English Classic Tea

Urban Farm Eats

  • Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese
  • Quinoa Vegetable Naanwich with Arugula Pesto and Oven-Dried Tomatoes
  • Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub
  • Urban Mary: Spicy Tomato Juice, Lime Juice, and Worcestershire, with shot of Vodka (optional)
  • Cucumber lemon spa water, finished with a sprig of fresh mint
  • Hess Shirtail Creek Vineyard, Chardonnay
  • King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir
  • Crispin Blackberry Pear Cider

Pineapple Promenade

  • Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney
  • Pineapple Soft Serve
  • Pineapple Soft Serve with Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut Flavored Rum
  • Pineapple Soft Serve with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
  • Frozen desert violet lemonade (nonalcoholic)
  • Ace Pineapple Hard Cider
  • Sparkling Pineapple Wine
  • Berry Tea Cocktail with Twinings Cold-Brewed Mixed Berry Tea

Fleur De Lys

  • 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 Guimauve à la Fraise, a Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron
  • Ice Pop Combination of French Peach Iced Tea, Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry Liqueur, and Vodka.
  • 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
  • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – Fruity White Beer with Citrus Notes

Taste of Marrakesh

  • Falafel Pocket with Cucumber Tomato Salad and Tahini Sauce
  • Harissa Chicken Kebab with Couscous Salad
  • Pistachio Baklava
  • Mint iced tea
  • White sangria
  • Guerrouane red
  • Desert Rose — Sparkling Wine with Pomegranate Liqueur
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Frushi

 

Hanami

  • 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
  • Teriyaki Curry Bun
  • Salmon Sushi
  • Kirin draft beer
  • Yuzu Plum Wine Slush
  • Strawberry Nigori
  • Karatamba Sake

Primavera Kitchen

  • Pinwheel of Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Ciabatta Bread
  • Three cheese manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel
  • Lemon Panna Cotta
  • Placido Pinot Grigio
  • Placido Chianti
  • Bosco del Merlo Prosecco
  • Corbinello
  • 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

Florida Fresh

  • 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 Blueberry and Lemon Curd Tart
  • Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade
  • Key Lime Sparkling Wine
  • Blonde Ale
  • Channel Marker Red Ale
  • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale (Festival exclusive)
  • Jai Alai
  • Beer Flight Featuring Florida Craft Beers
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Beijing-style Candied Strawberries

 

Lotus House

  • Beijing-style candied strawberries
  • Kung Pao Chicken Bun
  • Vegetable Spring Roll
  • Oolong Peach 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
  • Honey Mango Wine Cooler

 

Jardin de Fiestas

  • Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro
  • Vegetarian Quesadilla
  • Flan de chocolate Abuelita – Mexican chocolate custard
  • Tecate with Patrón Citrónge
  • White Mexican sangria
  • Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita
  • Tequila Liqueur Flight

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  • Ten New Gardens: This year’s festival will feature 10 all new themed gardens, such as a gnew healing-and-health garden, a pepper garden, a dinosaur-plant garden and a Shakespeare garden, among others. Each one will be designed with a different storytelling element in mind.

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  • Gardening Seminars: If you are looking for a way to learn from some of the best gardeners out there, then these gardening seminars are perfect for you! They will take place at the Festival Center each weekend and will include demonstrations and presentations in the late morning/early afternoon.
  • Beautiful Colors: One of the best parts about the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is to see color again…this is especially true with how cold and blah this winter has been. Guests will see lots of pops of color, from the quilted pattern that’s prevalent along the lake, to the front entry way display, to the flower towers and other mini set-ups scattered throughout the park. There’s just something so magical about seeing these wonderful colors once again. (Makes me feel like Spring really is around the corner!)

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  • Fun For Kids: For those who say this event is for the adults, think again! There are playgrounds, like the Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden and Cactus Road Rally Garden with Mater and Lightning McQueen. There’s also the infamous Butterfly Garden where little ones can see both butterflies, as well as get a first-hand view of cocoons and learn something about the process. Of course, if the kiddos are feeling adventurous, consider picking up a Garden Passport (this could be for the adults too!) and have them get the passport stamped after trying something from each of the Outdoor Kitchens! This is a great way to have them maybe try things they wouldn’t normally try by turning it into a game!

As you can see, there are a ton of reasons to visit this year’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival…but don’t just take my word for it! What is your favorite reason to experience this festival? Make sure to let us know!

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