The Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
The 2018 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is upon us. MickeyBlog previously touched on some of the food and drink options available during the event. Today, we’ll discuss in detail what this exhibition is and why it should appeal to Mickey Travelers. Here’s a guide to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
This event is exactly what it sounds like. Disney cast members provide visual showcases for Epcot guests. What happens is that expert horticulturists trim various flowers and hedges until they mimic beloved Disney characters. Having attended this event several straight years, I say with complete sincerity that it’s stunning how skilled these gardeners are. Some of our best Disney photos that we’ve ever taken are from this event.
Some of our favorites are from the Cars film franchise, as the ability to turn flowers into “car eyes” is remarkable. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are also recreated beautifully, and Beauty and the Beast are picture-perfect with their color and regal poses. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are also on display, usually in adorable farmer outfits to fit the theme of the exhibition. And my favorites each year are the renderings of key sequences from Fantasia. The Dancing Hippos and cleaning brooms both get exclusive topiaries.
Individual Pavilions at the World Showcase also have their own special topiaries. For example, the Norway Pavilion has Frozen designs that are impressive. Elsa seems so lifelike that you half-expect ice to shoot from her hands. The Three Caballeros somehow dance and sing without moving thanks to some inspired artistry near the Mexico Pavilion. You’ll want to wander each pavilion and all corners of Future World to appreciate all the visuals at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
The event features plenty of lagoon-side murals and topiaries in the shape of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney staples. This year, you’ll know that you’re at the right place basically the moment you enter the park. The 2018 iteration begins with a display of Mickey Mouse offering a bouquet of flowers to Minnie Mouse, while Pluto watches with joy.
I should note that Pluto’s collar is made entirely of flowers to complete the effect. You’ll love the whole thing, but your kids will gravitate toward the nearby Goofy topiary since it’s so colorful. Realistically, you’ll only go about 100 feet into Epcot before you feel the need to whip out your smartphone and start taking pictures of the lush scenery.
The photo ops here will make you the darling of social media and the envy of your friends. My wife and I are building a theme park-based Flickr account right now, and we have roughly 100 images just from the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. We’re not even shutterbugs, but the artistry on display here takes our breath away.
I should also point out that another favorite of ours returns this year. The Butterfly Tent is on the main pathway in Future World. Called Butterflies on the Go, it’s a marvelous place to spend a few minutes. You’ll witness the beauty of butterflies firsthand. You can also learn more about these noble creatures by reading the fun facts posted in various sections of the tent. Whenever my family walks past this area, it’s like a siren song calling us over to look inside.
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival started a park tradition. At that event, Disney hosted various musicians during a concert series. Over time, they added the same concept to the Epcot International Food & Garden Festival. They call this series Garden Rocks, and it returns for 2018. Here’s the lineup according to the official Disney site:
- Night Ranger
- March 2 to 5, 2018
- Known for the song “Sister Christian”
- STARSHIP Starring Mickey Thomas
- March 9 to 12, 2018
- Known for the song “We Built This City”
- Simple Plan
- March 16 to 19, 2018
- Known for the song “Welcome to My Life”
- Little River Band
- March 23 to 26, 2018
- Known for the song “Reminiscing”
- The Orchestra, starring former members of ELO
- March 30 to April 2, 2018
- Known for the song “Evil Woman”
- Foghat – NEW!
- April 6 to 7, 2018
- Known for the song “Slow Ride”
- Survivor – NEW!
- April 8 to 9, 2018
- Known for the song “Eye of the Tiger”
- Smash Mouth – NEW!
- April 13 to 14, 2018
- Known for the song “All Star”
- Rick Springfield – NEW!
- April 15 to 16, 2018
- Known for the song “Jessie’s Girl”
- Jo Dee Messina – NEW!
- April 20 to 21, 2018
- Known for the song “Stand Beside Me”
- Lonestar – NEW!
- April 22 to 23, 2018
- Known for the song “Amazed”
- Blood, Sweat and Tears, featuring Bo Bice
- April 27 to 30, 2018
- Known for the song “Spinning Wheel”
- Herman’s Hermits, starring Peter Noone
- May 4 to 7, 2018
- Known for the song “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”
- Village People featuring Victor Willis
- May 11 to 12, 2018
- Known for the song “Y.M.C.A.”
- Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles – NEW!
- May 13 to 14, 2018
- Known for the song “Hotel California”
- The Guess Who
- May 18 to 21, 2018
- Known for the song “American Woman”
- The Spinners
- May 25 to 28, 2018
- Known for the song “Working My Way Back To You”
These concert performances take place at the America Gardens Theatre at the American Adventure Pavilion. Each band plays three shows per night. The set times for performances are at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 pm. Disney provides Garden Rocks dining packages for guests who want to assure themselves seats to the shows. You can read the details here. And you should thinking about getting a package. Some of these shows fill up much quicker than you’d expect. The good news is that you can hear the music from one or two pavilions over. It’s not quite the same as watching the performance, but it’s a good way to listen to songs you like without fighting the crowd.
The Greatness of the Festival
You’ll want to try the food, too. Disney’s promised 15 Food Kitchens this year. Our friends at DisneyFoodBlog have assembled all the menus for your perusal. You should view these foods as a positive reinforcement for wandering around the World Showcase. You’ll burn plenty of calories as you walk around the 1.2-mile promenade. Should you explore all of Epcot, we’re talking about 2.8 miles’ worth of exercise. With that much activity, you can treat yourself to some snacks, and you won’t have to feel guilty about it.
The Epcot International Food & Garden Festival is meant for explorers. My wife recently lamented that we rarely spend enough time at each of the pavilions at the World Showcase. All 11 of them are cathedrals, each of which displays some of the finest architecture at Walt Disney World. How much time do you spend at each one during your vacation, though?
Presuming that you’re like most park guests, you prioritize the rides and entertainment shows more than anything else during your trip. The purpose of these Epcot exhibitions is to entice you to slow down and drink it all in more. More than half of the days on the 2018 calendar will feature various Epcot events. The Epcot International Food & Garden Festival is the second of them, following soon after the end of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which closed on February 19th.
This exhibition lasts from February 28th through May 28th. You have a 90-day window to visit, meaning that if you haven’t booked yet, you should speak with a Mickey Travels expert asap.
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