2022 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot first opened its gates in 1982 and has undergone many changes through the years. One of the most well-loved changes was the addition of the Epcot ‘94 International Flower and Garden Festival. It’s continued every year since and is many a guest’s favorite festival. It’s certainly the most beautiful time to visit Epcot, as everywhere you turn, there are gorgeous flowers and topiaries to feast your eyes upon.
Let’s see what’s new this year, and we’ll celebrate some old favorites.
The festival dates for 2022 are March 2 to July 4. Park hours can vary daily, so be sure to check your My Disney Experience account or check Disney’s website. Almost everything you can do or see is available, from park opening to park closing, but there are exceptions, most notably the musical acts.
One of the most popular parts of the festival is seeing the amazing topiaries that are shaped liked Disney Characters. Some remain in the same area yearly; others get moved around. Many are matched to the country that goes along with their film or the book the film was adapted from. For example, you will see Lady and the Tramp in Italy (a shout out to the famous spaghetti scene in that movie); Beauty and the Beast characters are in France (Belle’s hometown is based on one in France); Winnie the Pooh and friends are in the UK, (The author of the Pooh books was British; Buzz Lightyear is near Mission Space (because he’s a Space Ranger of course)!
Other topiaries have no specific connection to where they are located. For example, the Lion King characters are in the vicinity of the Land Pavilion this year. Kermit and Piggy are by the Germany pavilion.
Toy Story characters are across from the Land Pavilion. Here are other topiaries guests can enjoy as they make their way around Epcot: Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Bambi (with Thumper and Flower), Sorcerer Mickey with Characters from Fantasia, Peter Pan with Captain Hook and the Crocodile; Pluto, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs; Anna and Elsa, The Three Caballeros.
There are two countries with topiaries that relate to their countries instead of Disney characters. There are pandas in China, and guests can find an awesome dragon in Japan.
Norway combines an old tradition with a new one: You can find topiaries of Anna and Elsa, as well as one of a Troll.
There are also topiary butterflies in a few locations.
Speaking of Butterflies, the very popular Butterfly House has returned this year. Known as “Bambi’s Butterfly House” and located between the Land Pavilion and Imagination Pavilion, this is a must-see for most guests. In addition to hundreds of beautiful butterflies, the area is festooned with absolutely stunning flowers, all of which attract butterflies. The butterflies-to-be are displayed in boxes, hanging in their chrysalis, waiting to hatch and fly away. There are signs that describe how to encourage butterflies to come to your own backyard. It’s impressive how much fits into a relatively small space.
Naturally, with a name like Flower and Garden Festival, guests would expect to see, well, Flowers and Gardens! No one will be disappointed. Everywhere gorgeous beds of flowers abound, even areas that are not officially designated as “gardens .”Almost all areas guests walk past showcases flowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes.
There are also a number of very specific gardens to be found at the festival. My personal favorite is sort of a hidden gem. Although I have no doubt thousands of people pass by the area daily, few guests were there on a recent Saturday. Called “Vibrante & Verde: An Encanto Garden,” it can be found between the Morocco and France pavilions.
If you’ve seen the movie, you may recall that through most of it, the character Pepa has a rain cloud over her head. At Epcot, Pepa has created a gorgeous rainbow filled with flowers, topped by an awesome-looking topiary butterfly. In addition to the rainbow and butterfly, this garden has archways filled with flowers, many birds of paradise, tree-like structures adorned with an array of colorful flowers, and more. It’s not a huge area, but it really packs a punch.
Other gardens are spread throughout the festival, most in World Showcase, and most have some relation to the country they are located in. Germany has an Alpine Miniature Garden. Also, in Germany is a hidden gem some guests overlook. Located in the train set up, sharp-eyed guests will notice a spot in the “town” that boasts a miniature version of the Flower and Garden Festival, complete with tiny festival signs!
Japan has Bonsai, Italy has “Garden Italiano.” The UK has an English Tea Garden (and a path to walk through it with signs along the way to identify the tea plant you’re looking at) as well as a Shakespeare Garden.
Mexico has both Orchids and a Rainforest Garden; there’s a Spice Garden in Morocco and a Honey “Beestro” Garden near the Starbuck’s. In China, guests can enjoy both a Bamboo Garden and a Zodiac Garden. This year, two new additions are the Bouquet Garden in France and the Blossoms of Fragrance, which are located on the bridge that leads to (or from) World Showcase.
There are booths with merchandise, some with Disney Flower and Garden logos, others are related to Flower and Garden in some way but don’t say Disney on them (I.e., Garden decorations and tools; sun catchers). The Disney-themed merchandise is mostly decorated with Orange Bird or Spike the Bee. Guests will find clothing, Mouse Ears, Crocs, Mugs (and other drinkware), hats, Festival Magic Bands and pins, Housewares such as salt and pepper shakers, and more.
Each night there are concerts on the water by the USA Pavilion at the America Gardens Theater. There is no extra charge to attend these shows, but if you want to guarantee good seats, there are dining packages available. For more information on the packages, click here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/garden-rocks-dinner-package/
For most shows, there is no need to get the dining package; there is a lot of room in the theater. There is a stand-by line, and Disney Cast Members will let guests in once the guests with packages are seated. Very popular acts like Herman’s Hermits may fill up the theater. However, you can still see and hear the bands even if you don’t get a seat in the theater. There are plenty of places to stand outside the theater. Most of the bands are “oldies” acts, and many have only one or two original members. But that doesn’t mean they don’t sound great; I have yet to attend a disappointing Garden Rocks show. There is a large list of performers; here’s the link to who’s going to be there and when: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/epcot/flower-garden-rocks-concert-series/. In addition to the Garden Rocks shows, the Jammitors, the drummers who have appeared at Epcot for many years, have a special show for Flower and Garden.
When the Flower and Garden Festival first started, there were no food booths. A few years ago this changed and now there are a number of kiosks selling food at the Festival. Disney refers to these as Outdoor Kitchens.
There are no new booths this year, but there are some new dishes at some of the booths. Look for Coconut Tres Leches from La Isla Fresca and the BLT Scone from Cider House. The Citrus Blossom has a new Crispy Mojo Marinated Pork Belly, served with avocado cream, corn salsa, salsa verde, and plantain chips. New to Tangierine Café Flavors of the Medina in Morocco is Mediterranean Flatbread with olives, mozzarella, za’atar, artichokes, and feta cheese. Epcot Farmer’s Feast has a new Chilled Potato and Leek Soup “Vichyssoise” with chive oil and crispy leek. Farmer’s Feast also boasts Char-grilled Bison Ribe-Eye with creamy leek fondue and roasted carnival cauliflower with Romanesco and port wine-goat cheese butter. Both of these will be on their “Early Bloom Menu,” which is available from March 2 through April 9.
What? “Early Bloom Menu”? Huh? Yes, Farmer’s Feast, a booth near Test Track, has a menu that will vary as the festival goes on. As mentioned, the “Early Bloom” menu ends on April 9. April 10 through May 21 will showcase a “Spring Menu,” while May 21 until the Festival ends on July 4, there will be a “Summer Solstice Menu.” For more details on this and on all the outdoor kitchens at the Flower and Garden Festival, click here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/flower-garden-outdoor-kitchens/
There are a couple of fun events to enjoy during the festival. “Garden Graze” encourages guests to enjoy five specific dishes, listed in the Festival Passport. (Pick up a passport at the entrance, or at most kiosks and stores at Epcot, it’s invaluable for getting around the Festival, not just for Garden Graze). The passport lists five dishes, each time guests try one of the dishes they get a stamp in their passport. If all five dishes are sampled, bring the passport to the Pineapple Promenade (near the Port of Entry Store at the entrance to World Showcase) to receive a surprise.
Another fun experience is called “Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration”. This requires purchasing a game card, available at most shops in Epcot. The cost is $9.99. Spot Spike the bee in the various gardens at the Festival, and put a sticker in the spot where you found him. Once completed, bring the card to Creations Shop, Disney Traders, or World Traveler for a prize. Two things to note: 1. You don’t have to complete the entire map for the prize.2. You don’t have to buy the map at all, you can just have fun looking for Spike.
For first time visitors I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy the beauty and fun at the International Flower and Garden Festival. Those returning already know how gorgeous it is, and I can assure you it’s as beautiful as ever. This is a festival that can be enjoyed all through the park, and it’s perfect for just strolling around and taking in the sights (and often the aromas) of the wonderful flowers and topiaries you’ll pass along the way.