EPCOT is the Disney Park that is most known for its consistently occurring seasonal festivals and celebrations. Just as one event wraps up, the next one moves in. This week, we get to see this firsthand as the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival kicks off. A beloved tradition dating back to 1994, the first inception of a “flower and garden festival” at Walt Disney World premiered as a rather modest 38-day event. But things have expanded considerably since then, and now the EPCOT International Flower & Garden celebrates an impressive four-month run that includes many highlights and featured attractions. While there is so much to see, do, and explore during its March 1 through July 5 run this year, here is a compiled look into all the absolute must-do endeavors for the 2023 installment.
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See All the Topiaries
Folks have come to eagerly look forward to every year’s collaborative of stunning, impressively themed topiaries and floral displays. After all, they are usually the first things that come to mind when considering the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival and are unquestionably the event’s anchoring attractions.
Every new season welcomes the return of top-rated favorite floral sculptures that have long been admired through the years. Additionally, we get to enjoy the premier of several highly anticipated installments as well. For instance, Disney has revealed that this year’s event will debut a series of brand-new topiaries featuring the characters of Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela, and Luisa from the 2021 animated film Encanto. They will be in bloom near the Park’s main entrance.
Additionally, over at the American Adventure Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase, fans of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (2009) will find themselves in awe over a stunning new floral showcase done up in the likeness of Princess Tiana.
Other celebrated Disney Character displays making reprisals include Snow White along with the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Bell, the Tick Tock Croc, Remy, Lady and the Tramp, Anna and Elsa, Figment, Beauty and the Beast characters, Figment, the Three Caballeros, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Timon and Pumbaa, Toy Story characters, the Muppets, Bambi and Woodland Friends, Mickey Mouse and Pals, and many, many others. Other topiaries not specifically Disney in nature will also be located around EPCOT.
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Sample the Outdoor Kitchens
Another major highlight is the vast setup of Outdoor Kitchens on display yearly during the Flower & Garden Festival. And Disney has already revealed that the 2023 event will present at least 15 offerings, all of which will feature their own specialty menu compilations comprising distinguishable foods and beverages. While not all of the Outdoor Kitchens or their corresponding menus have been made entirely public yet (Disney likes to retain some surprises), the reveal so far already has all the foodies rightly salivating. Announced Kitchens you need to check out include BRUNCHCOT, EPCOT Farmers Feast, Florida Fresh, Jardin de Fiestas, Lotus House, Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market, Primavera Kitchen, Magnolia Terrace, Hanami, La Isla Fresca, Fleur de Lys, Northern Bloom, Trowel & Trellis Hosted, the Honey Bee-stro, Pineapple Promenade, Refreshment Port, and Citrus Blossom featuring everyone’s favorite Orange Bird. Take note that other, more permanent food service setups will also feature ongoing menu specials throughout the Festival’s run. Click here to learn more about Outdoor Kitchen setups or to review each one’s menu in greater detail.
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Specialty Gardens & Exhibits
As you’d expect from such a versatile Disney Park as EPCOT, the various gardens presented during the International Flower & Garden Festival all offer vast, varied options. The major setups throughout the World Showcase are all highly impressive must-see displays. Take in the bright and lush biodiversity of the Tropical Rain Forest Garden in the Mexico Pavilion or stroll about the English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings in the United Kingdom Pavilion while learning all about the art of tea blending. Other highlights include the China Pavilion’s Bamboo Garden, the Morocco Pavilion’s Spice Garden, and Italy’s own Garden Italiano—a Tuscan kitchen-themed setup showcasing herbs and produce used in Italian cooking.
In addition to these, you will find a host of other specialty gardens and exhibits worth exploring throughout the World Showcase and other sections throughout EPCOT. All offer their own intricate niches and are worth exploring in detail.
Blossoms of Fragrance
Last year’s event saw the premiere of Blossoms of Fragrance. And much to the delight of those instantly hooked fans, the “scent”sational endeavor is returning just in time for the 2023 Festival. Presented by Scentsy, this unique setup is surrounded by beautiful butterfly topiaries and comprises six different aromatic stations. Guests venture to the various stations, sniffing around, taking in all the sweet smells each one provides.
Check Out the Butterfly House
This enclosed popup space, which serves as a host home to a bounty of beautiful butterflies, has been a longstanding tradition for many years now. Blending together the whimsical delights of vibrant flowers and opportunities for Guests to have up close and personal interactions with these graceful, fluttering insects makes stopping by here an absolute must-do.
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Learn From the Experts
There will be plenty of gardening professionals and other experts in the extensive gardening and horticulture field onsite throughout the four-month run of the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Some will lead ongoing seminars and informative presentations, while others will conduct guided tours. All will equip you with a wealth of knowledge regarding planting, gardening, and all the ins and outs of the processes at hand. Some may even endow you with some trivia and insider knowledge on all the how-do-they-do-its regarding the Festival preparation. Whatever seminars or other events you participate in, learning from the experts is always an enriching experience.
Search Out Spike
There are plenty of family-friendly activities to delight in throughout the Festival’s extensive run. And many of these activities are particularly kid-centric in nature. Spike’s Pollen Exploration is a fun folly that will keep the kiddos alert, focused, and genuinely interested. For just $9.99, it is a scavenger hunt where participants must keep an eye out for the bee character of Spike, paying careful attention to the various different plants he has pollinated along the way. You keep track by placing corresponding stickers onto a map provided to you. Once completed, you may bring your map to a participating location, like Disney Traders or World Traveler, for a special reward.
Enjoy Live Music and Entertainment
You can enjoy live musical entertainment daily throughout the EPCOT International Flower & Garden’s extensive run. The ever-popular Garden Rocks Concert Series, presented on location at the America Gardens Theatre, features big-name musical performers and artists every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. On other nights, the stage hosts localized bands and entertainers throughout the greater Orlando area. Also, take note of all the other ongoing musical acts and impromptu entertainment throughout EPCOT during this time. Click here to view the full schedule of slated performances.
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Get Your Merch and Memorabilia
Consider commemorating your Festival experience with all the essentials in the way of merch and memorabilia. From themed apparel, accessories, and even drink ware to gardening tools and other items, you can really come away with many great finds at this year’s event. So, what are you waiting for? Seize the opportunity to get some very memorable keepsakes to take home with you and cherish.
The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival will include many other activities and endeavors in addition to all the happenings highlighted here. Some engagements may be more time-limited in nature and only occur within certain time arcs during the Festival, such as those that correspond with Easter. Take note that all activities and offerings are always subject to change. And while attending the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival comes at no additional charge than what you’d pay for regular Park admission into EPCOT, certain extras like food purchases and some activities do incur an added cost. Click here to learn more about EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival 2023.