By Carol Garcia
For those of us who live in a dreary, gray climate during the winter, a trip to Epcot’s Flower and Garden festival can be just what the doctor ordered. A breath of spring in a beautiful setting can go a long way toward chasing away the winter blues.
This year marks the 18th anniversary of the Flower and Garden Festival. While I’m not sure anything this year is extremely new or innovative compared to previous years, I really enjoy the event. It’s a time to wander the park, enjoy the scenery, snap a few (hundred) photos, and just take it all in. When travelers discuss taking time to smell the roses, there is no better time to do it than during this festival.
Although the festival is sponsored by HGTV this year, we only found that to be prevalent in the guests speakers. The festival center (formerly the Wonders of Life pavilion) hosed the HGTV Designers’ Stage, featuring a line up of HGTV personalities offering presentations over the weekends of the festival.
In addition to the festival center, there are special displays throughout the park. There is a butterfly garden, Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, festival merchandise, presentations, Flower Power concerts (weekends only), and of course lots of gardens and topiaries. Rather than explain the event, let me show you some of the highlights.
The topiaries begin right at the entrance of the park. The first display features characters from Toy Story 3.
Scenes from the Festival Center.
HGTV personality Taniya Nayak gives a design presentation.
A picnic complete with kite flying is depicted here.
Bambi’s Butterfly House is filled with beautiful creatures…
…like this one…
…and these familiar friends.
Just two of the many fairy topiaries in the Pixie Hallow Fairy Garden. Also in this location is a meet-and-greet with the fairies (now that they’ve been relocated from Toontown), and games for the kids to play.
Just a small portion of the enormous sand sculpture promoting the African Cats movie to be released on Earth Day.
There is a large Winnie the Pooh display near the Fountain. Pooh and friends are all available for photo opportunities.
The floating flower arrangements flank the entry to World Showcase.
Lightening McQueen greets guests in the Cars display. This is an amazing example of the attention to detail in some of the displays. You can just see pictured here that the flowers create a road for the car, and there are also plant materials creating the lines on the road.
Flags depicted in plants grace the entrance to World Showcase.
The Peter Pan display.
The Art of Green Living display showed the beauty of edible plants, and offered watering solutions.
The France pavilion has Beauty and the Beast topiaries. Around this area is also a display of different perfumes and the plant what make up those fragrances. It’s quite interesting to see the flowers and smell the combination of them at the same time.
The roses are all ready for stopping and smelling.
Bonsai display in Japan.
The topiary garden next to the America pavilion features “America the Bountiful.”
Mickey and Minnie greet visitors to the America pavilion.
The Flower Power concert series is presented weekend evenings and features popular musical acts from the 60s and 70s. Mickey Thomas of Starship is pictured here during a Flower Power appearance.
Lady and the Tramp are displayed.
While Rapunzel can’t actually be seen, she must be in her tower since her hair can be seen hanging from it.
Snow White and the dwarves hanging out in Germany.
The Lion King display is among my favorite. There are some wonderful colors and the characters are very realistic.
Beautiful birds near the Mexico pavilion.
The photos here only scratch the surface of what is displayed. Oh, and of course all of the regular Epcot rides and attractions are all still here. The Festival this year will continue daily through May 15.
I find myself wondering if I would build a trip around this festival, and I realize, that I did. Spending time at Epcot in the sun viewing the amazing Flower and Garden displays was quite relaxing. The concert series and presentations added to make sure great memories.