2018 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Review: Part 1
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the 25th Annual Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Featuring beautiful topiaries and gardens, as well as having delicious food and drink options, this festival is held every Spring for a few months, with this year’s dates February 28th thru May 28th. For this review, I am going to break the festival into two parts. Part 1 right now will focus on the topiaries, gardens, and other fun stuff. Part 2 later this week will focus on nothing but the food and drink.
So, with that, let’s check out the Flower & Garden Festival!
From the moment one enters Epcot and into the plaza in front of Spaceship Earth, you can tell that topiaries will play a big part in this Festival. Joining Mickey Mouse and Friends in the festivities are beloved Disney Animated and Pixar Classic characters in topiary form. Words cannot do these topiaries justice, so let’s just delve into the pics.
Welcome Topiary featuring Mickey & Friends
Donald Duck with Huey, Dewey, and Louie
Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez
Daisy Duck, Chip ‘n’ Dale
Bambi and Friends
The Three Caballeros
Anna and Elsa
Simba and Friends
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Lady and the Tramp
Peter Pan and Captain Hook
Winnie the Pooh and Friends
Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration Scavenger Hunt
One of this Festival’s two Scavenger Hunts (the other being an Easter-themed one which has already ended), this one features Spike, a beloved cartoon bee from Disney yesteryears. Throughout World Showcase, Spike is hiding with seed packets. Using the map (which can be purchased at participating locations for $5.99), guests need to find all seed packets and mark them accordingly on the map. Once the map is complete, it can be redeemed at Port of Entry for a prize. Now, this year’s prizes were four beautiful patch sets… which have already sold out. Instead, they now have a generic “Mickey Parts” patch set as a prize. That was a downfall for me, and the reason why I did not personally participate in it. A friend of mine did… when we eventually found a map to buy. This has proven to be a very popular hunt.
As always, no Flower & Garden Festival would be complete without a visit to the Butterfly House. Featuring numerous different species of butterflies, the garden teaches guests about the butterflies as well as how we can take care of them and help them by providing favorable habitats. While it started raining when I was visiting (which caused the butterflies to head for shelter, I was able to visit for a bit and get up close to a few of them. Such a great time.
Designed especially for kids, two gardens were created for them to have fun and learn at the same time. Road to the Florida 500 (a Cars 3 themed garden) features turbo9 plants that are engineered to live by the sea, and the Imagination Play Garden (located near the Imagination Pavilion) is an exploration of the senses. For me, I was excited to play Chess at the Imaginations Play Garden with my Figment and Orange Bird Pop! Vinyls… who you will be seeing more of in Part 2.
Throughout Future World and World Showcase, there are various smaller gardens interspersed rather seamlessly. From the How-To Garden with garden ready ideas to the English Tea Garden which shows you how to blend the perfect cup of tea, here are some pics of my favorites.
Orange Bird Magic Shot
Before we end Part 1, there is one more thing I wanted to showcase was a new Magic Shot that I hope finds a permanent home in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom after this festival. Our beloved Orange Bird is now in a Magic Shot. Most PhotoPass photographers throughout Epcot has access to this Magic Shot, so be sure to ask for it. I got mine taken in front of the Buzz Lightyear topiary near Mission: Space.
As with festivals in the past, this year’s Flower & Garden Festival has a couple of Passholder exclusive items. Earlier during the festival, Passholders could pick up an exclusive magnet featuring Mickey Mouse with a butterfly on his nose. Now, a Minnie Mouse magnet is featured, in which Minnie has a beautiful flower in her hat. Sadly, unlike some other events, these were limited to only one per Passholder per design.
One final note: the one major thing that I did not get to participate in this trip was Garden Rocks, a concert series held every Friday through Monday for the length of the festival. Starring different bands every few days, when I was there both Jo Dee Messina and Lonestar were slated to appear. As far as I know they did. However, because of park schedules and dining reservations, I was not able to see either act perform.
Well, that about concludes it for Part 1 of my 2018 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival review. Stay tuned to Part 2, which will be full of food and fun, later this week.