Guys – it’s FINALLY HERE. I love Epcot at all times, but especially when a festival is going on. My favorite festival that happens at Epcot is the Flower and Garden Festival. To me, the Flower and Garden Festival is Disney firing on all cylinders, doing what they do best: combining immersive experiences with creative encounters that you can’t find at just any theme park. It’s a great example of what really sets Disney apart, and we always plan a trip this time of year. We just got back from opening weekend of Flower and Garden Festival, where we were blessed to attend the opening weekend media event (full disclosure, they provided tickets for us), and had an incredible time exploring, eating, and drinking. We will have (MANY) blogs about the Flower and Garden Festival, but today we want to give you a general overview of the festival so you can know how to plan your time.

20170304-LJP_442020170304-LJP_441720170304-LJP_441420170304-LJP_441220170304-LJP_4408The Basics:
The festival will run from March 1st to May 29th in Epcot. You will need to have park admission to experience The Flower and Garden Festival. We recommend if you’re planning a trip during Flower and Garden Festival, that you book a Dining Plan, because many of your snack credits can be used for food items at the festival, and it’s a great use of the plan. We always recommend spending more than one day of a trip in Epcot during a festival. So if you’re planning a five day trip to Disney World, we would recommend spending two of those days at Epcot, so that you can really experience all that both the park and the festival have to offer.20170304-LJP_440520170304-LJP_439520170304-LJP_439120170304-LJP_438720170304-LJP_438320170304-LJP_4367

Topiaries:
Growing up, my parents would get season passes to the Arboretum, and I would spend every Saturday bored out of my mind. The Flower and Garden Festival is nothing like a trip to the Arboretum (except for the fact that they both have beautiful flowers). Disney combines the beauty of nature with the whimsy of Disney magic in a way that feels both organic and inspired. You could spend a whole day walking around, looking at the different topiaries of classic Disney characters, sculpted from flowers and plants. We also love all the different gardens and the patchwork blanket of flowers that stretches across the lake from Future World to World Showcase. This years topiaries are as follows:

-Welcome Topiary Mickey and Friends
-Fantasia – Future World West
-Ranger Mickey & Friends – Future World
-Figment – Future World behind Spaceship Earth
-Stitch – Fountain-side of MouseGear
-Disney Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear – Near Mission Space
-Disney Pixar’s Cruz Besouro from the – Near Test Track
– Phineas and Ferb – Near Odyssey Bridge
-Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto – Showcase Plaza
-Anna and Elsa – Norway
-Bromeliad Dragon – China
-Pandas – China
-The Lion King -The Outpost between the Germany and China Pavilion
-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Germany
-Lady and the Tramp – Italy
-Disney Pixar’s Woody – The American Adventure
-Beauty and the Beast – France
-The Three Caballeros – Mexico
-Winnie the Pooh and Friends – United Kingdom
-Peter Pan, Tinker Bell & Fairy Houses from Pixie Hollow – United Kingdom
-Bambi and Friends featuring Bambi, Flower, and Thumper – Canada20170304-LJP_436620170304-LJP_435920170304-LJP_435620170304-LJP_434520170304-LJP_432620170304-LJP_428720170304-LJP_4283

Merch:
THE MERCH IS SO ON POINT THIS YEAR. No joke, I saw people running opening day to get their hands on the specialty Flower and Garden Dooney and Bourke bags. I picked up a weekender for myself (after standing in line forever), and grabbed one of the amazing cups as well. They have speciality shirts, ears, pins, and of course – Duffy and Shellie Mae in gardening clothes (aka the reason we’re all here).20170303-LJP_386620170301-LJP_318920170301-LJP_316120170301-LJP_310620170301-LJP_3110

Food and Drink:
If you’ve ever met me, or spent any amount of time reading this blog, you know that David and I are huge foodies. We love both fine fair and 1 am In N Out runs alike. For us, the heart of any event is the food (we all have our issues – gluttony just happens to be ours). For us, the perfect Epcot day is eating and drinking our way around festival booths while enjoying the beauty of the topiaries. We will post a blog soon about the top items you need to try to have a complete experience, but for now, make sure to check out the La Vie En Rose in France, the BBQ from America, the candied strawberries in China, the Fruishi in Japan, and the Watermelon Salad in Urban Eats. But really – you can’t go wrong with anything at the festival. The food and drinks are all phenomenal, and feel really fresh and seasonal.20170301-LJP_316420170301-LJP_311420170301-LJP_317620170304-LJP_433220170304-LJP_432120170304-LJP_429420170303-LJP_4215

Concerts:
If you’re at Flower and Garden Festival on a weekend, you can check out the Garden Rocks concert series. The concerts are free with park admission, but if you want to guarantee a great seat without waiting in a long line, go ahead and book a dining package. This year’s concerts are as follows:

March 3-4: Jon Secada
March 5-6: Dennis DeYoung – The Music of STYX
March 10-13: The Pointer Sisters (I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so ‘Saved By The Bell’) 
March 17-18: Simple Plan (AKA the soundtrack of my teen angst)
March 19-20: Plain White T’s (the other soundtrack of my teen angst)
March 24-27: Night Ranger
March 31-April 3: Little River Band
April 7-10: Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice
April 14-17: Gin Blossoms
April 21-24: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
April 28-29: Exposé
April 30-May 1: Berlin featuring Terri Nunn
May 5-8: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
May 12-15: The Guess Who
May 19-22: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 26-29: The Spinners20170303-LJP_419520170303-LJP_396120170303-LJP_393220170303-LJP_3869

Again, we can’t say enough good things about The Flower and Garden Festival. We’re almost scared to tell you how much we love it, because we don’t want it to get more crowded (We want it all to ourselves!). We always recommend booking a trip during this time, because you truly get more for your money, with how much ‘extra’ Epcot offers during this time of year.