Disney Diary artist’s rendering
Olaf could be made from alyssum, one of the flowers
If you haven’t been counting the days until the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, let us help you: Opening day, March 4, is just seven days away.
To start the countdown, here are seven things we’re looking forward to:
“Frozen” topiaries: Anna and Elsa — and hopefully Olaf! — will make their debut at the Flower & Garden Festival this year, anchoring the display at the World Showcase Plaza. Also new: Chip and Dale will be joining the “Goofy About Spring” tableau at the front entrance.
Gardens of the World tour: Talk topiaries and much more with a Disney horticulturist during a 3-hour walking tour offered only during the Flower & Garden festival. The tour is restricted to guests 16 and older. Cost is $64. You can get more information by calling (407) WDW-TOUR.
Secret gardens: Okay, they’re not secret, but around the park this year you’ll find a series of small gardens that are bound to get less attention than the 100 or so character topiaries. Each of these 10 mini-gardens has a “storytelling element.” Keep your eyes peeled for a dinosaur plant garden; a health garden featuring medicinal plants like chamomile, aloe and garlic; and a Shakespeare Garden with roses representing Romeo and Juliet, rosemary from Hamlet, and more.
Garden Rocks concert series: Need a break from flower blossoms? How about some Gin Blossoms instead? They’re among the 11 bands scheduled to play on weekends as part of the Garden Rocks series.
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Shopping: For some of us, the shopping at Disney World counts as an attraction all by itself. During special events it’s a treat to check out the event merchandise. In addition to the usual array of t-shirts, hats and pins, the Flower & Garden Festival brings garden decorations and a new Dooney & Bourke bag collection.
Outdoor kitchens: Around the World Showcase you’ll find a sort of mini Food & Wine Festival with dishes inspired by the garden and the grill. The drinks, too, are special: La Cava del Tequila will be serving a Hibiscus Margarita and the Shipyard Brewing Company will debut its Maple Bacon Stout at the Festival. And that’s just a small taste!
Cooking demonstrations: Let’s stay with the food theme for the moment. Free 15-minute cooking demonstrations have been added to the Flower & Garden lineup this year. At 3 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a Disney chef will prepare a dish from the Festival. If you’re lucky, maybe it will be the Piggylicious Bacon Cupcake. The demonstrations are short, but you will have a chance to meet the chef. For gardeners, the weekends bring gardening seminars and workshops to the Festival Center.