Walt Disney World In Focus – Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

by Craig Hood on March 1, 2011

This is the seventh in a series of articles by our resident photographer, Craig Hood.  See his other work in the Photography section.

When we consider a project, we really study it–not just the surface idea, but everything about it. And when we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right. And we work hard to do the best possible job.”

- Walt Disney

Some of you looking out of your window right now may disagree, but Spring is right around the corner and that means the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (F&G Festival) will soon be in full swing – or Spring.  The 2011 Flower and Garden Festival begins March 2nd and continues through May 15th.  2011 marks the 18th year of the festival, which will be sponsored by HGTV for the first time.  Along with the HGTV sponsorship comes appearances each weekend by some of their top on-air talent.  And of course, back this year is the Flower Power Concert series featuring music acts from the 60’s and 70’s.  Check out the full Flower and Garden Guide here.

We have somehow managed to be in Disney World many times during the F&G Festival not on purpose, but by chance and we’ve always enjoyed it.  If you’re worried about crowd levels, don’t be.  With the exceptions of Spring break and Easter, the times we’ve been in Epcot during the F&G Festival never “felt” more or less crowded than any other non-festival time.  But, keep in mind the whole HGTV thing may have some effect on crowd levels this year on weekends, but don’t go by me – that’s Josh’s area of expertise.

Oh, and a word about the weather.  While Spring in most other areas of the country means cool comfortable temperatures, this isn’t always the case for central Florida.  Be prepared for some hot sticky afternoons, especially towards the latter end of the festival.

Now, on to the pictures -

We were in Disney World over the Valentines Day week and Disney Horticulture/Imagineering was in full swing getting Epcot decked out for the festival.  The first 3 photo’s are from Feb 13th and 14th 2011.  The remaining pictures are from Festivals Past.

Bambi’s Butterfly House, I think.

This construction was going on near the Mouse Gear store in Future World, which was the location of the butterfly house in years past.  This year,  Bambi’s Butterfly House will be over twice as large. I overheard a cast members tell another guest that this area was being prepped for the “new butterfly house”.  Probably no coincidence that the Blu Ray Diamond Edition of Bambi is about to be released as well.

Vending booths already set up.

Looks like the same playground equipment from last year.  Those black arches in the center of the picture are a jungle gym type play structure.

If topiaries are your thing, prepare for sensory overload.

A dominating theme of the festival over the last couple of years has been Tinker Bell and the fairies.  I’m sure this will continue as the fairy meet and greet has been relocated to Epcot with the closure of Toon Town in the Magic Kingdom.

The nice thing about the Epcot festivals for someone who enjoys photography is that it gives something you may have already photographed a new perspective.  During the F&G Festival, there is a lot of additional theming throughout the park that you won’t see during any other time of year.

Some Flower and Garden Streetmosphere.  I don’t remember her name, but she was funny.

More topiaries around World Showcase

The Flower and Garden Festival is even more reason to take your camera along to Disney this Spring.  This is one photo safari where a point and shoot will work perfectly fine because all of your subjects are outside, usually in full sun.  If you’re on the fence about whether or not to visit Epcot for the festival, you won’t be disappointed.  It’s a totally different experience without the massive crowds to deal with.

Let The Memories Begin!

Josh’s note: Make sure to take a look at Disney’s Festival page over at: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival/.  You’ll find a lot more information about the event and find out a little more about some of the unique experiences that go on during the Festival.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

judy March 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Beautiful work. The Lady and the Tramp photo is spectacular.
You should sell note cards. They’d go!

Craig Hood March 2, 2011 at 5:27 am

Thank you so much, Judy. I’m glad you like them. I still can’t believe someone actually thinks my pictures are good!

Thanks again,
Craig

P.S. Hope you had a good trip.

Suzy K March 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Thanks for sharing these wonderful pics! Wish I could go!

Craig Hood March 3, 2011 at 4:47 am

You’re very welcome!
Have a Magical Day!

Craig

Dani B. April 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Your pictures are wonderful! Thank you for sharing them. My family and I are preparing to head to Disney and the festival on Saturday. I can’t wait to see it. I enjoy photography as well and I’m super excited to get a “new perspective” on Epcot!

Dani B. April 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Any tips on where to get the best shots?

Craig Hood April 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

Your’re welcome Dani, and thanks for the kind words. Epcot is probably one of the the easiest of the theme parks to get really great shots. It’s such a vast space and there aren’t many obstructions. If you have a zoom lens, you can get some really great shots across world showcase lagoon. Shooting from a long distance zoomed gives a very different perspective to the architecture of Epcot. Other than that, just take lot’s and lot’s of pictures and don’t worry about looking at them or deleting the bad ones until you’re home. I never delete anything until after I’ve looked at it on a big screen. I kinda like to be surprised.

Have a great time!
Craig

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