LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Goofy catches a topiary wave while Mickey
Mouse and gal pal Minnie chill at the "beach" for the 15th annual
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 19-June 1 at
Disney World Resort. Last year's popular 60-day event has sprouted
runners and expands to 75 days, with a first-ever March launch
offering oceans of floral fantasy and gardening fun for spring break
visitors to the Vacation Kingdom.
As guests enter the park near Spaceship Earth, they'll spot a
14-foot Goofy topiary riding a 6-foot wave of flowers and plants.
Sandcastles and palm trees surround Mickey and Minnie topiaries
posed on a floral beach towel spread upon a sandy "beach." At World
Showcase Plaza, Disney topiary specialists have crafted a volleyball
beach scene starring Donald Duck and Daisy. Nearby, a topiary Pluto
frolics while colorful Stitch from "Lilo and Stitch" keeps watch
from a lifeguard stand.
New festival fun includes:
Peter Pan's Never Land Garden, a children's area along the
Imagination Walkway from Future World to World Showcase. The
pirate-ship-themed garden will feature whimsical topiaries of Peter
Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Bell and Tic Toc Croc, as well as a shaded
Sweeping Future World flower beds, planted on the shores of East and
West Lakes, in the shape of nautical flags representing letters
(Alpha, Bravo Charlie, etc.) that spell a message to be decoded by
The zany Three Caballeros -- Donald Duck, parrot Jose Carioca and
Panchito, the Mexican charro rooster --as topiaries celebrating
their new Epcot show, "Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three
Caballeros" in the Mexico pavilion.
Other beloved Disney characters such as Lady and the Tramp and Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs make topiary appearances for perfect
photo ops in the park.
In all, up to 70 topiaries -- plus 30 million blooms, artfully
designed floral beds, expertly crafted bonsai trees and lush rose
gardens -- grace the 305 acres of Future World and World Showcase.
According to Disney horticultural manager Eric Darden, Disney's
horticultural team plants two crop rotations during the fest to
allow for a more brilliant floral display for the festival's
Beyond the dazzling displays of blooms, the Epcot International
Flower & Garden Festival is known by gardening aficionados for its
celebrity guest speakers, hands-on seminars and innovative planting
demonstrations and exhibits such as a new Florida-style Key to
Outdoor Living garden display. Roger Swain of PBS's "The Victory
Garden" and "green" gardening expert Joe Lamp'l (a.k.a. joe
gardener) lead the lineup of nationally known gardening gurus slated
to meet and share tips with guests.
Each evening, Flower Power concerts rock the park with live
entertainment from top acts of the 1960s and '70s. Acts include The
Guess Who, Davy Jones, Jose Feliciano, Petula Clark, Paul Revere and
the Raiders and other crowd pleasers.
More festival highlights include:
The new Garden Town festival center in Future World East next to
Universe of Energy, where guests can find festival merchandise,
attend speaker presentations and demonstrations and ask gardening
questions of the experts. The Garden Town Kid Fun Fair features
interactive activities for children.>
Themed weekend events such as I Dig Bugs, Art in the Garden
(including The Florida Highwaymen), Coming Up Roses (featuring
Mother's Day Brunch) and Garden Party (featuring a Doll and Teddy
Bear event) weekends.>
The popular Great American Gardeners series featuring gardening
celebrities and authors from across the country.>
The family-oriented Growing Future Gardeners area, complete with
colorful (and tasty) planting ideas for kids and parents.>
A Lift and Sniff Fragrance Garden at the France pavilion showcasing
flowers and plants used to create a lineup of popular Guerlain
Disney Gardening at Home presentations during which Disney
horticulturists share gardening tips and lead guests in a hands-on
activity for taking home.>
Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden, with hundreds of butterflies
in a walk-through screened enclosure that includes a live exhibit
showing how caterpillars form a chrysalis and emerge as
Kids' activities (in addition to the new Peter Pan's Never Land
Garden) including Pluto's Play Zone with climber, Disney character
meet-and-greets and daily ladybug releases.