Disney World celebrates spring with its annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. In 2020, it will span nearly three months and run from march 4 to June 1. The festival showcases millions of brilliant blossoms, fanciful topiaries, delicious cuisine, interactive play gardens, and live, national musical acts.
Perhaps best of all, the festival is a wonderful bonus that's included with your regular park ticket. And, of course, you can also enjoy all of Epcot's regular rides and attractions.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is one of a series of special events presented at the park. The fist and most popular one is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which is held in the fall. The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays follows in late November, and the Epcot International Festival of the Arts kicks off the park’s events each year in January. While each event has its own focus, they all follow the successful formula introduced at the Food & Wine Festival and include food booths along with live musical performances.
Things to Do at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
The event features stunning displays of flower beds and custom-designed topiaries cleverly fashioned as Disney characters that might include Snow White and Mickey Mouse in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice garb. Tens of thousands of bedding plants surround Future World’s east and west lakes alone. Dozens of mini-gardens are set afloat in the lakes.
The gardens and living sculptures are presented throughout the park and are best discovered by simply wandering around Epcot’s World Showcase and Future World. The element of surprise will delight you.
Eat, Drink, and Be Springy
While they are not as extensive as the Food & Wine Festival, there are food booths arranged throughout World Showcase, which Disney refers to as “outdoor kitchens.” Befitting the event’s theme, most of the dishes served incorporate spring’s bounty of vegetables and fruits. Past events have included items such as Citrus Chicken with Orange Aïoli and Baby Greens; Roasted Cauliflower with Buckwheat Honey Carrot Purée, Wild Rice Pilaf, Asparagus, Honey-blistered Grapes, Sunflower Brittle, and Coriander Flowers; and Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream garnished with Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses and Petite Lavender Shoots. (Are you salivating just reading the names?)
The dishes are served as small plate-sized portions and vary in price. You could wash the delectable food down with seasonal beverages such as Honey-Peach Cobbler Freeze with Blueberry Vodka and a Watermelon Cucumber Slushy
Put Some Spring into Your (Dance) Step
Popular musical acts perform at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion as part of the festival’s Garden Rocks concert series. Previously, the shows were presented on weekends only, but for 2020, the series will run every day of the festival. Past performers have included the Gin Blossoms, Jon Secada, and The Spinners.
Other Things to Experience
The festival includes play areas for children and lighthearted exhibits that relate to gardening and nature. There are also festival-exclusive tours. In the past, these have included a guided romp through the tea garden in the United Kingdom pavilion and an overview tour that explains how the event is produced.
Of course, there is themed merchandise available at the festival. Special kiosks offer clothing, craft items, mugs, and other items geared to springtime and nature.
Tickets, Tips, and Tricks
- The festival is included with general admission to Epcot. Special events, such as the tours, require additional fees. You should book the tours in advance.
- Prices at the outdoor kitchens vary and mostly range from about $4.00 to $8.00 per item.
- Check Disney World’s Garden Rocks concert series schedule and try to plan your festival visit to coincide with one of your favorite performers.
- Speaking of the festival’s shows, demand for some of the concerts could make it difficult to get decent seats (which do not require an extra fee). Consider purchasing a Garden Rocks Dining Package. It includes a meal at one of Epcot’s restaurants (such as Chefs de France and La Hacienda de San Angel) along with guaranteed admission (in premium seats) to a performance. Prices vary.
- You might find yourself reaching for your wallet a lot as you sample the fare at the outdoor kitchens. You could use a credit card, but an easier and more elegant way to pay would be to charge everything using a MagicBand as part of Disney World’s My Disney Experience program.
- Don’t miss the butterfly house. Located in a tent teeming with flowers, it is a lovely place to commune with the beautiful creatures.
- If the festival’s outdoor kitchens don’t fill you up, you could check out our guide to the best restaurants at Disney World. There are many wonderful eateries throughout the resort (especially in Epcot).
- It’s highly unlikely you'd be spending all of your time at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Check out the 10 best things to do at Disney World, including the park resort’s top attractions.