EPCOT’s festivals are definitely a reason to visit Walt Disney World for a day, especially if you are an Annual Passholder, or are in need of a little top up of Disney magic!
With the construction that is going on at EPCOT right now, its festivals also act as a perfect distraction.
EPCOT’s International Flower and Garden Festival began on March 2, so now is the perfect time to plan that day – or even weekend – trip.
The Festival celebrates the seasons of Spring and Summer, featuring wonderful blooms throughout the Park that add pops of colour to the lawns separating World Showcase from the front of the Park and transforming your favorite Disney characters into the most beautiful topiaries.
With the Festival running right through to July 4, you have plenty of time to plan and fit in a visit before it’s out for another year.
If you are planning on spending just one day in EPCOT, during International Flower and Garden Festival, keep reading for our tips that will help you to have a blooming (pardon the pun!) fantastic day!
Eat Breakfast Before You Get There
With the addition of the Festival booths, known as Outdoor Kitchens, around World Showcase and beyond, it is easy to expect that you will spend the day sampling all of the wonderful tastes that are on offer.
In the past, however, World Showcase has typically had a different opening time to the rest of the Park; this time being 11 a.m. Guests using International Gateway were still able to use this entrance to the Park but would be guided past the closed United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions unless entering after World Showcase had opened.
Whilst it appears that World Showcase is now opening at the same time as general Park opening, you may find that restaurants and shops open a little later. This may also be true for the Outdoor Kitchens, and so with this in mind, we recommend grabbing something for breakfast prior to arriving at EPCOT.
From our experience, we found out that EPCOT has limited options for breakfast. Sunshine Seasons is generally the quick-service restaurant open for breakfast, located in World Nature.
Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast at Garden Grill Restaurant is the a full-service restaurant offering breakfast, but as this is character dining, a reservation is recommended. So, to save you getting a little hangry, eat something before arriving at the Park. This will allow you to enjoy your morning, before you begin to sample the Flower and Garden speciality dishes.
Don’t Book a Full-Service Restaurant Reservation
With Flower and Garden having so much to offer when it comes to food and drink, you won’t need a reservation for a full-service meal later on in the day. Instead, snack throughout the day and use the time to enjoy the rides in the Park.
Later on in the evening, grab a spot around World Showcase for Harmonious! Make sure you get to enjoy one of our favorite dishes from the Festival – frushi! This is definitely a dish that can be enjoyed at any time of day; it’s not too heavy, making it the perfect sweet treat, whilst feeling that bit healthier because it includes fruit (who are we kidding really?!)!
Pick Up a Festival Passport
Be sure to pick up a Festival Passport upon entry to EPCOT. This will give you access to all of the details you need to enjoy the International Flower and Garden Festival: from a list of the topiaries that you’ll want to hunt out around the Park, to full menus for each Outdoor Kitchen.
The Passport also shows the full schedule for the Garden Rocks Concert Series, and information about attractions such as Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration and Bambi’s Butterfly House.
A visit to Flower and Garden Festival wouldn’t be complete without sampling the delicious dishes from the Outdoor Kitchens. Whether you want to try every dish, or just sample a few, the Festival Passport will help you to plan your next pit stop, as it lists the menu and location for each Outdoor Kitchen.
Be sure to also check out the Garden Graze challenge. Why not be rewarded for all of the food that you are going to sample throughout the day? The Garden Graze is made up of five tasty dishes available from different Outdoor Kitchens. Upon purchase of each dish, present your Festival Passport to the Cast Member who will provide you with a stamp. Once you have all five stamps, stop by Pineapple Promenade to receive your prize.
See A Favorite Artist Perform
Be sure to check out the line up for the Garden Rocks Concert Series that features at Flower and Garden. If a favourite group or artist is playing, make your visit tie in with their Concert.
Concert times are usually at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. and most artists play on two consecutive days. Build time into your day for getting in line, so that you get a good spot in the American Gardens Theatre, located at the American Adventure Pavilion.
Leave the EPCOT Attractions Until Later
When visiting EPCOT for Flower and Garden, prioritise all that the Festival has to offer, and save the rides and attractions that are available throughout the year until later on in the day.
Although the topiaries are lit when the sun has set, they are much more impressive during daylight hours. Remember to stop by Bambi’s Butterfly House before it closes, which is usually at the same time as sunset; the morning will make for a great time to visit when crowds are a little lower.
Be sure to stop by the merchandise locations around the Park that feature special merchandise for the Festival. Most Festival merchandise is dated, making a neat souvenir from your visit!