While we were spending Spring Break at Universal Orlando Resort, Mini Me and I slipped away for a day to visit the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. It was fantastic! The weather was beautiful, the crowds were low, and Mini Me was the best companion ever! When she looks back on this day in the years to come, I hope she remembers it as fondly as I do.
Of Disney’s four theme parks, I think EPCOT is a bit misunderstood. While there aren’t as many ride attractions as the other three theme parks, there is certainly lots of magical fun to be had! Fundamental to appreciating EPCOT, is understanding its layout. There is:
- World Showcase where you can visit 11 countries, learning all about the history, culture, architecture, food, etc.
- Future World which enables guests to experience the technological advancements of the past, present, and future.
Both are separated by World Showcase Lagoon, where a new water and pyrotechnic show is being developed. Already, you can see the heavy equipment in the distance.
The Disney Imagineers do an excellent job of showcasing how everything and everyone is linked together. This is evident in the transition of the countries, the two worlds, shows, etc. Harmonious is an excellent adjective of EPCOT has a whole.
Throughout the year, EPCOT hosts multiple festivals. This year, the lineup is as follows:
- January 8, 2021 to February 22, 2021 – Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
- February 23, 2021 through March 2 – No Festival
- March 3, 2021 through July 5, 2021 – Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
- July 6 through TBD – No Festival
- (2021 TBD) July 15 through November 22, 2020 – Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
- (2021 TBD) November 23 through November 26, 2020 – No Festival
- (2021 TBD) November 27 through December 30, 2020 – Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
- (2021/22 TBD) December 31, 2020 through January 7, 2021 – No Festival
In my experience, festival time is the best time to visit EPCOT!
And be sure to check out the new entrance! It has a delicate beauty which is very appealing to me.
What is the International Flower and Garden Festival?
The International Flower & Garden Festival is a springtime event that showcases:
- Topiaries and Gardens
- Outdoor Kitchens
- Entertainment at the America Gardens Theatre, World Showplace, and Canada Mill Stage
- Exclusive Festival Merchandise
- Garden Graze
The topiaries are located throughout the park. They feature beloved animals and Disney characters. Most correspond to the area. For example, Snow White is located in Germany, and Anna and Elsa are located in Norway. Half the excitement is finding them. They’re not always in the most obvious place.
I cannot begin describe how excited my inner Master Gardener was examining every detail!
We got to observe and chat with a Cast Member tending to Elsa. We learned that the plantings are not rooted onto the structures. We also learned that Elsa’s arms live for about a week, while her dress survives longer.
On display throughout World Showcase are springtime gardens. We were especially fascinated with the Chinese Zodiac Topiary Garden in China. Urban Spice Garden in Morocco and English Tea Garden in the UK also pictured.
New this year are bands from Orlando that perform live Sundays, Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Returning favorites include Mariachi Cobre, the Voices of Liberty, EPCOT Pianist, and Jammin’ Gardeners. We got to see Mariachi Cobre in an almost private performance!
This is but a sample. Orange Bird was everywhere! And I could not resist this little bowl, even if I have no idea what to do with it yet.
Everywhere you looked, there were so many amazing options to choose from. Our plan was to snack throughout the day, trying as much as we could fit. However, that plan went completely awry! We had too big a breakfast at the resort and ended up walking past frushi which topped out list, vowing to come back to it later. Later in the afternoon when we thought about it, our aching feet determined that was a lie! Then we made the mistake of walking past Regal Eagle Smokehouse – one of our Quick Service favorites – with the smell of BBQ ribs wafting in the air. So of course we had to stop. Mini Me and I should have shared a rib plate, but instead we ordered one each and were properly stuffed. Sorry ya’ll, we dropped the ball on this one!
But we did try the popsicle trio, which is delicious!
On our list to try next time:
- Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider
- Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer
- Lamb Curry with Sweet Plantains and Rice
During our Thanksgiving visit, I wrote before about how much easier it is to see characters now. No lining up for hours for a meet and greet. And I hope Disney keeps the character cavalcades post COVID. We saw the princesses multiple times throughout the day.
For those wondering if the character interactions are still magical? The answer is a resounding yes! They are smiling, interacting and patiently posting so that everyone gets their perfect shot.
The Goodness Garden Butterfly House Presented by GoGo squeeZ® at Future World West allows you to examine butterflies in various life stages up close. We even saw one emerge from its chrysalis. If you’re really lucky, Pooh Bear – who is trying to catch butterflies behind the house – will come up to the screen to interact with you.
Construction Walls Photo Op
EPCOT had the most creative idea to transform construction walls into photo opportunities. So instead of being annoyed by them, people were lining up to have their picture made, us included. Ha!
Coming Soon to EPCOT
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure has an opening date! Just in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, Remy will make his debut October 1, 2021. The attraction is a replica of Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. Here’s a sneak peak:
The general area and bathrooms are open. It is such a charming area to explore.
The area is also preparing to launch La Crêperie de Paris, which will feature the cuisine of celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse. Fun fact, Jérôme is the son of Paul Bocuse who is the operator of the pavilion’s Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul restaurants.
My Good News
A few weeks prior to our trip, Disney hosted the virtual Princess 5K. We were snowed in and this island girl was not prepared to walk in snow. So I decided to wait until I walked (yes, walked) the equivalent of a 5K before opening and wearing my medal. All the heart eyes!!!
This was the most perfect day! But the icing on the cake was when my sometimes moody tween, locked hands with mine, then looked at me and said, “Thanks Mom for bringing me today.” 💖💖💖
I’m happy to answer any questions about the International Flower & Garden Festival, the upcoming Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration, or any other questions you have. Please feel free to leave a comment, or email me.
Until next time!
As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and lover of all things Disney, I would be honored for the opportunity to plan your visit to The Most Magical Place on Earth! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.