It’s the time of year once again! The landscapes of Epcot are covered with blankets of beautiful flowers and unique character topiaries pop up everywhere. One of my favorite additions in recent years is the myriad of food kiosks scattered around the park. It’s so much fun to stroll around taking in all the sights, smells, and tastes. Need some sounds too? They even have that aspect covered with the Garden Rocks concert series (click here for schedule). If you’ve never been to Epcot, this is one of the best times of year to go; just skip the heavy Spring Break crowds. The 2017 Flower and Garden Festival runs March 1st through May 29th. Here is a list of fun facts about the Festival from Disney:
Among this year’s fun festival facts:
- 30 million blooms blanket the park throughout the festival, which runs 90 colorful days and requires two complete crop rotations to keep floral displays fresh and seasonal.
- 15 Outdoor Kitchens (2 more than last year) include the new Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket kitchens and gardens. Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market returns at the Germany pavilion and La Isla Fresca returns for a second year. Dozens of new sweet and savory food and beverage menu items add tasting fun and variety to the festival. Each marketplace will feature a garden planted with select produce and herbs to represent more than 70 overall beverage choices and more than 40 food items featured.
- The festival’s front-entrance Welcome Spring Fun, Food & Flowers topiary maypole scene celebrating a rite of spring with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Daisy and Pluto is inspired by a vintage Walt Disney short film. More than 30 varieties of flowers, plants, and other garden materials are used to create the scene.
- A brand-new 5-foot-tall Figment topiary of the feisty dragon mascot of the Imagination! Pavilion greets guests from atop a bright yellow floral ball of Joseph’s Coat, brightening the landscape behind Spaceship Earth with purple petal power. A brand-new, next-generation Belle topiary with sculpted facial features will join Beast in France – her yellow ball gown is crafted using Joseph’s Coat and Creeping Jenny plants.
- Music Garden Melodies with musical note topiaries, a themed playground for children complete with innovative play systems featuring interactive musical gadgets, is one of the largest festival gardens created at nearly one-third acre. The garden includes a collection of plants with features that resemble musical instruments as part of the ambiance.
- Anna and Elsa in cool floral splendor grace a wintry topiary vignette straight from the hit Disney film, “Frozen” and the Norway pavilion attraction Frozen Ever After. In the scene that’s wired to sparkle by night, Elsa works her magic to conjure a snowy garden filled with flowers of lavendar, white and silver. More than a dozen varieties of flowers evoke the scene and include white Dianthus, Diamond Frost Euphorbia, Dichondra Silver Falls, lavender Pentas, blue Delphinium and white Cleome, Pentas, Alyssum and Nicotiana. Anna and Elsa topiaries are each about 6-1/2 feet tall and are created with plants that include variegated Ficus, green Ficus and the succulent Sedum Coral Reef. But Elsa will look taller because she’s standing closer to guests than Anna by about 8 feet.
- At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define facial and other features of festival character topiaries. The topiary team uses about 200 one-pound boxes of hairpins to attach plants and flowers to the topiaries.
- Nearly 1,000 native butterflies represent up to 10 species at the expansive Butterflies on the Go butterfly house presented by GoGo squeeZ. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are passion flower, coral honeysuckle, lantana, butterfly bush, blue porterweed, scarlet milkweed and canna lily.
- 240 extra playground hours add extra festival magic for children and their families with the illuminated garden playgrounds staying open through park closing.
- More than 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs are planted for the festival; 250,000 of those are annual blossoms installed for the festival.
- Festival plants include 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 varieties of bedding plants.
- 78 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars will be presented
- More than forty 8-to-9-foot tall, multi-hued “flower towers” make colorful statements across the festival landscape.
- More than 200 floating mini-gardens, each three feet in diameter, of multi-hued New Guinea impatiens provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.
- Nearly 500 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot.
- 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays.
- It takes more than one full year and about 24,000 cast member hours to prepare for the annual festival.
- The festival’s weekend Garden Rocks Concert Series includes 16 bands known for their Top 40 hits across five decades. This year’s musical hit-makers from the 1960s through 2000s include new-to-the-festival acts Simple Plan, Exposé, Berlin featuring Terri Nunn and Plain White T’s.
Guest information for the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available at EpcotInSpring.com or at 407/W-DISNEY. #FreshEpcot