BAY LAKE, Fla. – Spring has sprung in a colorful way at Walt Disney World.
On Wednesday, the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival welcomed its first guests through the front gates. Running through July 5, guests can explore lush gardens, sample sweet and savory dishes with refreshing sips, see live entertainment, and shop new merchandise collections featuring Orange Bird, Snow White and Figment.
See all the highlights of this year’s festival below.
During the month-long event, guests can try delicious foods from more than 15 outdoor kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon.
Guests will be able to try returning favorites from marketplaces including the Honey Bee-stro, the Pineapple Promenade, Magnolia Terrace and Trowel & Trellis Hosted by IMPOSSIBLE.
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Continuing on the success at other festivals, the Citrus Blossom outdoor kitchen will make its way to the Odyssey center. Building on the popular Orange Bird character, guests can try dishes including the orange sesame tempura shrimp with orange-chile sauce, citrus baked brie with preserved lemon marmalade, limoncello-macerated blueberries and spiced Marcona almonds and a light and airy lemon meringue pie. The location will also offer an orange-lemon smoothie in a souvenir Orange Bird sipper cup.
Over at Magnolia Terrace in the American Adventure pavilion, guests will see a menu that Princess Tiana will approve. The outdoor marketplace will be serving up several new Louisiana-inspired food and drinks including Muffuletta Panini with ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, and Swiss with olive salad, crawfish pie, bananas foster bread pudding and Bayou cocktail, featuring Bayou spiced rum, coconut rum, fruit punch, and orange juice. The crowd-pleasing Spicy Chicken Gumbo with andouille sausage and BEN’S ORIGINAL Long Grain & Wild Rice is also returning.
Disney said the EPCOT Farmers Feast, located near Test Track, will offer a rotating menu, changing three times throughout the festival. Guests will find dishes including a spice cake with cream cheese icing and candied pecans (available March 1 - April 8), grilled swordfish with crushed fingerling potatoes, pea and mint purée, grilled asparagus and lemon beurre Blanc (available April 9 - May 20) and a sweet corn crème brûlée with corn biscotti (available May 20 - July 5).
The foodie stroll, known as the Garden Graze will also be returning this year. Guests who purchase five selected items and get their festival passport stamped will get a festival-exclusive treat at the Pineapple Promenade.
Check out the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find every episode in the media player below:
Gardens and topiaries
We don’t talk about Bruno - but at this year’s festival everyone will be talking about the characters from Disney Animation’s Academy Award-winning “Encanto.”
This year, Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa and will come to life in beautiful new topiaries. Each imaginative topiary features details inspired by each character, including Isabela creating beautiful flowers between her hands and an illuminated butterfly for Mirabel, Disney said in a news release.
“This process of pushing boundaries and growing new magic began nearly a year ago. Talented artists developed sketches, Imagineers designed 3D models, skilled welders molded frames, and horticulture specialists chose plant materials. The results are charming, whimsical – and definitely photo-worthy,” Disney said on its blog.
See a timelapse video of the topiary installation below.
Also blooming new for this year is a Princess Tiana topiary in the American Adventure pavilion. Disney said the topiary features a stunning ballgown and illuminated fireflies.
Guests see a number of returning topiaries across the theme park including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Captain Hook, Lady and the Tramp and many more. Disney said some topiaries are also getting updates including lit candles for Lumiere and a working clock for Cogsworth.
Disney said the festival will feature more than 200,000 bedding plants including an additional 60,000 bedding plants that create the iconic floral designs that make up the World Celebration East & West Lakes. Disney said some displays will change based on the spring and summer seasons.
The Garden Rocks Concert Series is returning this year to the America Gardens Theater.
The concert series features internationally recognized artists performing Friday-Monday and showcases local Orlando talent on Tuesday-Thursday. The series is jam-packed with talent from returning favorites like The Pointer Sisters, Simple Plan, and the Plain White T’s, along with fresh talent like legacy guitarist AJ Croce and GRAMMY award-winning Switchfoot.
Garden Rocks concerts take place at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Guests can secure a seat for the show by booking a Garden Rocks dining package.
See the lineup of artists and dates below.
- March 1-2: Glass Ceiling
- March 3-4: Journey fmr. lead vocalist Steve Augeri
- March 5-6: Daughtry
- March 7-9: Audio Exchange
- March 10-11: Tommy DeCarlo
- March 12-13: Smash Mouth
- March 14-16: Element
- March 17-18: Mike DelGuidice
- March 19-20: Blue Oyster Cult
- March 21-23: The Vybe
- March 24-25: Berlin
- March 26-27: The Pointer Sisters
- March 28-30: The Female Collective
- March 31: Luis Figueroa
- April 1-2: Piso 21
- April 3: Melina León
- April 4-6: Epic
- April 7-8: Starship feat. Mickey Thomas
- April 9-10: Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles
- April 11-13: Foregniers Journey
- April 14-15: Blue October
- April 16-17: Switchfoot
- April 18-20: Evolution: Motown
- April 21-22: A Flock of Seagulls
- April 23-24: Jo Dee Messina
- April 25-27: Hooligans
- April 28-29: Ambrosia with Peter Beckett, The Voice Of Player
- April 30, May 1: Kool and the Gang
- May 2-4: The Finesse Party Band
- May 5-8: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- May 9-11: Latin Ambition
- May 12-15: The Orchestra starring fmr. members of Electric Light Orchestra
- May 16-18: 506 Crew
- May 19-20: A.J. Croce, Croce Plays Croce
- May 21-22: Casting Crowns
- May 23-25: M-80′s
- May 26-27: Jason Scheff, longtime lead singer of Chicago
- May 28-29: Rick Springfield
- May 30-June 1: Champagne Orchestra
- June 2-5: Plain White T’s
- June 6-8: Glass Ceiling
- June 9-10: The Spinners
- June 11-12: The Commodores
- June 13-15: Element
- June 16-17: Vertical Horizon
- June 18-19: Tony Orlando
- June 20-22: Foregniers Journey
- June 23-26: Simple Plan
- June 27-29: Epic
- June 30, July 1: Living Colour
- July 2-3: Wang Chung
- July 4-5: Evolution: Motown
Check out every episode of Riff On This in the media player below:
Entertainment and nighttime spectaculars
In addition to the attractions and food, the festival will have several areas for families to explore. This year, families can once again take part in Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration. Guests who purchase a map and find Spike the Bee and return their maps to Disney Traders or World Traveler will receive a surprise. The scavenger hunt is $9.99, plus tax.
Beginning March 13, guests can take part in the Egg-Stravaganza Scavenger Hunt. For a limited time, guests can purchase a map and go on the hunt for Disney-themed eggs. At the end of a your journey, guests can take the map to Disney Traders or World Traveler and receive a surprise.
Over at Butterfly Landing, near Imagination! in World Nature, guests can observe many species of butterflies up close while walking through a butterfly house.
When the sun begins to set, festival guests can celebrate with a vibrant spectacle of light on Spaceship Earth that will be set to a fresh and fun new soundtrack. Through April 2, guests can finish their day with the sights and sounds of “Harmonious,” a nighttime spectacular celebrating the power of Disney music and stories.
Guests will find a number of merchandise collections during this year’s festival.
Guests can celebrate the season alongside featured characters including Orange Bird, Snow White and Figment. Each of the collections feature a variety of bright and colorful items including colorful CORKCICLE drinkware, Orange Bird and Snow White inspired headbands, stylish accessories, shirts and more. This year, Disney Munchlings are also joining the festival with limited-edition Citrus-infused Cupcake Orange Bird with Honey Disney Munchling.
Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will also find their own merchandise collection that will include apparel, toys, drinkware, garden stakes, trading pins, PANDORA jewelry and Dooney & Bourke handbags.
Guests can visit Festival Markets, Odyssey, and Creations Shop to purchase these merchandise collections while supplies last.
Click here to learn more about the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival.
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