The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival might actually be Epcot’s best kept secret. Everyone has heard of the Food and Wine Festival in October, and because of that it’s as busy as you’d imagine it to be. When we went to the Food and Wine Festival this past October, it was absolutely amazing, but we did spend about an average of 40 minutes in line for each food stand. The Flower and Garden Festival is not as popular, but just as incredible!
When we decided to go to Disney this past weekend, it wasn’t because of the festival, but we noticed it was going on and started our trip at Epcot to check it out. As soon as we walked up to the park, we were greeted by some incredible topiaries!
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Topiaries? Really, Erin? No one gets excited about topiaries, come on. But I’m telling you, that’s only because you haven’t seen these yet. Some classic Mickey ones stood in the entranceway, but throughout the World Showcase in Epcot, each country or area featured topiaries of various characters and films.
We saw Beauty and the Beast in Paris, Winnie the Pooh and Captain Hook (and the clock-eating crocodile!) at England, Snow White and Seven Dwarfs by Germany, and a few more (including a sand sculpture of The Jungle Book). Near the “promenade” (the walkway over the water between the World Showcase and the rest of Epcot), the banks of the water area are a giant mosaic of colorful flowers. It really was incredible to see.
There are also some special exhibits around the parks. We visited the Butterfly Gardens, where you can walk through an enclosed space filled with butterflies and butterfly-attracting plants. On one side, there was a wooden box filled with chrysalises. We stood there and watched as a brand-new butterfly broke free from the shell and spread its wings for the first time.
Just like the Food and Wine Festival, each country in the World Showcase had a special pop-up stand with a selection of food and beverage items. You can also pick up a “passport” that lists the choices for each country and get it stamped when you visit each food stand.
After much contemplation of the passport choices, we mapped out a food plan: a Watermelon Cucumber Slush (with gin) at the “Florida Fresh” stand; burnt ends, ribs, and a frozen lemonade with blackberry moonshine at the American Adventure stand, and tres leches from the “Isla Fresca” stand. We also stopped at Japan as we were walking by and tried the “Frushi” (fruit sushi). Everything was delicious, and it was more “fresh fruit and vegetable” focused than the Food and Wine Festival. All the great food, with none of the long lines. There were even special chef demonstrations at some of the stands!
March is such a nice time to visit Florida too. It’s warm but not too warm, and all of the trees and flowers already around the park were just starting to bloom. We even got some free Flower and Garden Festival prints because we are season passholders! We didn’t even ride any rides at Epcot — just walked around eating and drinking. And that’s the way it should be.
If you’re thinking about visiting Epcot (or if you’re bummed that you missed the Food and Wine Festival), I would highly recommend visiting during the Flower and Garden Festival. It’s not nearly as busy, the weather is gorgeous, and the special food stalls were so fun! I love the Food and Wine Festival, but I think the Flower and Garden Festival is even better, and most people don’t even know about it.
Have any of you been to the Flower and Garden Festival? What should be try when we head back next month?