The 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will kick off March 1 in 2017 with new character topiaries, outdoor kitchens, and entertainment. As usual, the park will be set in a vast array of color and texture while “flower towers” and other blooming creations take their places in Future World and World Showcase for 90 days.
They are almost the entire reason we attend this event. Our fascination with Disney’s topiaries are traced all the way back to opening day of the Magic Kingdom, but once a year we are treated to an entire event that showcases these horticulture works of art throughout Epcot. With 2017 featuring nearly 100 festival topiaries that include up to 70 character creations like Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, Simba, and Tinkerbell, everything is shaping up to be a gardener’s dream.
This year a brand-new Belle topiary will join the crop of princess topiaries with facial features. This regal shrub will debut outside of the France pavilion with Beast and show off a yellow ball gown created with golden blooming Joseph’s Coat plants.
A 6-foot-tall Figment topiary is also set to debut this year atop a gigantic ball (also fashioned from yellow Joseph’s Coat). We will not be surprised if it turns out to be a fan favorite.
The front-entrance topiary garden is new this year as well. Inspired by a vintage Walt Disney short film, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Daisy, and Pluto will all be on display alongside a “floral-festooned” maypole.
And expect Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Louie to occupy that landscaping real estate in front of Spaceship Earth with Chip and Dale. They will be poised to pose for a “Epcot Fresh” selfie along with you and your family.
Two new Outdoor Kitchens will be added to the festival’s lineup of food stands. They will join thirteen others that are returning from previous years, including the popular Urban Farm Eats. The booths are promised to offer new fresh, farm-market food and beverage options. So the tradition of learning about gardening and nibbling through the park at Flower & Garden will continue, but now it will continue on a slightly bigger scale.
Epcot International Flower & Garden’s concert series, Garden Rocks, is being expanded this year to four days each week. That will be three concerts each Friday through Monday, presenting pop musicians that cross over four decades.
Complimenting the concerts, New Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be available on select days at some of Epcot’s restaurants.
To entertain the kids, interactive play gardens will take their traditional spots in Future World. The Music Garden Melodies area will return with some new elements, but this year the Cars–themed garden will introduce a new character topiary from the upcoming Disney-Pixar sequel, Cars 3.
And the popular Butterflies on the Go garden is coming back to tell the story of metamorphosis for those that haven’t heard before or simply want to hear it again. Getting a first-hand look at butterflies as they emerge from their chrysalises, this garden showcases a very unique aspect of gardening and the animal life it attracts.
For the first time in the event’s history, the Festival Center will initially extend its operating hours. Wednesday, March 1 through Sunday, March 5 will be the days set aside for this adjustment. After that, the Festival Center will resume its traditional schedule, opening Fridays through Sundays to host gardening seminars, DIY workshops, and shopping sprees (wink, wink).
For more information about the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). As the festival nears, more details will be available at epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.