It’s the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort, and there are some new things to look for from now until May 28, 2018. Last week Madi and I were invited to check out the media event on a perfect Florida weather day. We spent the day in the park to eating some amazing food and seeing some of our favorite characters made into beautiful topiaries.
25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
What began in 1994 as a 38-day celebration of Disney-style gardens and topiaries has grown over the years to a 90-day spring extravaganza with something for every generation. The 2018 festival, which takes place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot, will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms, flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens, Disney topiary stars, interactive play gardens and live chart-topping musical acts during the Garden Rocks Concert Series.
A bonanza of Disney character topiaries, including classic-character favorites Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many others, will play a starring festival role.
Returning this year, Belle will be featured in France along with Beast, Snow White in Germany with the Seven Dwarfs, and Anna and Elsa in Norway.
A brand-new Future World interactive play garden and a revved-up Road to Florida 500 garden featuring new games and play challenges will set the pace for family festival fun. The new interactive area in Future World will feature a play maze, a sensory garden, an activity zone and a covered seating area. The redesigned “Cars”-themed garden based on the Disney•Pixar sequel, “Cars 3,” will add more fun activities like highway bingo for families.
A brand-new Epcot front-entrance topiary garden will set the milestone anniversary scene with a kaleidoscope of blooming color where topiary icons Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy will greet festival guests.
Each Outdoor Kitchen will feature its own raised-bed or in-ground garden of herbs and produce that can inspire the growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow what they eat.
“The culture of growing your own food continues to trend, and our guests each year have quite a few questions related to edible gardens,” says Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager. “They get a big kick comparing items in our gardens with the herbs and produce our chefs incorporate into the festival’s Outdoor Kitchen recipes.”
There are a number of specialty items for sale just for the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Hats, mugs, shirts and more. We fell in love with the natural beauty items. Madi even treated herself to a shirt. But this hat was a favorite!
Garden Rocks Concert Series
Guests can dance in their seats each festival weekend to classic tunes at the park’s outdoor America Gardens Theatre overlooking the World Showcase Lagoon. An eclectic mix of fan favorites includes 1960s icons Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, ’70s-’80s chart-toppers The Village People and new-millennium hit-makers Simple Plan.
Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 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 2-5 Night Ranger “Sister Christian”
- March 9-12 STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
- March 16-19 Simple Plan “Welcome to My Life”
- March 23-26 Little River Band “Reminiscing”
- March 30-April 2 The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
- April 6-7 Foghat (NEW!) “Slow Ride”
- April 8-9 Survivor (NEW to Garden Rocks!) “Eye of the Tiger”
- April 13-14 Smash Mouth (NEW to Garden Rocks!) “All Star”
- April 15-16 Rick Springfield (NEW to Garden Rocks!) “Jessie’s Girl”
- April 20-21 Jo Dee Messina (NEW to Garden Rocks!) “Stand Beside Me”
- April 22-23 Lonestar (NEW!) “Amazed”
- April 27-30 Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice “Spinning Wheel”
- May 4-7 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”
- May 11-12 Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
- May 13-14 Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles (NEW!) “Hotel California”
- May 18-21 The Guess Who “American Woman”
- May 25-28 The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”
*We were invited to experience the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to share her experience with our readers. All opinions are our own.