We’ll head out to the 2012 version of Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. Personally, it’s one of my favorite events of the year. It arrives with most of the value-added benefits of the “much more popular” Food and Wine Festival without bringing the heavy crowds and overpriced, undersized food samples that dot the World Showcase. If you’re planning to visit Epcot during this year’s Festival, I would advise you to skip this post. Everything you see will be even more magnificent if you visit without already seeing the topiaries, flowers, butterflies, exhibits, kiosks, etc. There really isn’t any genius advice to bestow on you. Lines to the various exhibits are nonexistent and the map you pick up at Epcot will list the locations of all the exhibits, topiaries, butterflies, etc. If you’re not planning to visit this year, you probably still have better things to do. But I don’t judge. Read on if you must.
This year’s “Front of Epcot Theme” is Fantasia, where you’ll be greeted by these dancing mushrooms before passing through the turnstiles.
With three additional mushrooms in front of the turnstiles here.
And three more down there, for a total of six, just as it should be. I don’t see Hop Low. I’m sure he’s around here somewhere though.
The topiary scene just inside the entrance is epic. Even though it’s comprised of topiaries we’ve seen in past years, it’s still amazing to see it come together like this.
A timelapse video of the overnight construction “courtesy (please don’t tell them I’m using it)” of Disney Parks Blog.
There is similar scene over at the front of Hollywood Studios at the moment:
Be sure to check that out too.
Back to Epcot.
Madame Upanova(?) and the Ostrich Ballet. Maybe the coolest part is the Fantasia soundtrack playing over the speakers throughout the area.
Hyacinth Hippo and her servants along with Ben Ali Gator and friends.
At least those are the main character names according to the Wikipedia page I have open.
Sometimes you just take a break in front of something thousands of people are trying to take a picture of.
On the opposite side of Spaceship Earth and the opposite direction of The Fountain and Wait Times Board sits this peacock.
Your feathers are looking a little flat my dear. I don’t think you’re going to attract a mate at this rate.
It wouldn’t be Walt Disney World if Stitch wasn’t here. He’s lost the Christmas lights and greeting card for the spring.
Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Tick-Tock, and a Treasure Chest of Flowers have moved here to the walkway that connects Future World and World Showcase.
Tick-Tock is my favorite Disney character other than Launchpad McQuack.
I want to take him home with me and put him in my living room, even more than Beast’s Castle over at Magic Kingdom.
Farmer Mickey and Gardener Minnie are looking spectacular this year.
They have a nice selection of crops to cultivate behind them. In other words, free tomatoes and rutabagas for me and you.
Daisy and Donald join them.
Along with Pluto in beds of pretty orange and yellow flowers.
It’s feeling a little Christmas-y on the walk up to see them. But those flowers are actually pink. Ish.
We took an extended look at the Festival Welcome Center, merchandise, and Center topiaries in a past post, so I won’t rehash that here.
Bambi’s Butterfly House is one of the more popular exhibits at the Festival. It’s located behind Innoventions West. That’s the Imagination Pavilion/Land Pavilion behind it.
It’s not particularly large and there aren’t a ton of butterflies in here, but it’s definitely worth walking through. I’ve never seen a line.
A handy chart:
They sort of all look like butterflies to me. Bet they all taste like butterflies too.
Not sure how well the process is going for them.
Daddy, where do babies come from?
There are butterflies in here.
Signs indicate the names of the various vegetation. As if anyone really cares.
Another look from the other side.
Even the flower scene along here is looking brighter. I don’t capture the scale here at all.
The Chewbaccas are back.
You may remember them from Christmas.
They are a little more Easter-y for Flower and Garden.
Oh my science. The secret of the Chewbaccas revealed – tiers.
These flower set pieces add a bit of ambiance to the Future World east area.
Over to the “For The Birds” exhibit near Mouse Gear.
They are just like you and me:
If beef fat isn’t on the menu I’m not even interested.
An interesting spattering of birdhouses throughout the area. Theoretically there are supposed to be birds around, but I didn’t actually see any. They should probably install a popcorn kiosk and signs that say, “Don’t feed the birds.” And then there would be birds.
A temporary face painting kiosk is set up around here.
Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden makes its return. This year, the Fairies do not appear in person. Last year, Tinker Bell, Vidia, Terrence, Rosetta et al. met guests in this vicinity. Now that they have moved to Adventureland at Magic Kingdom, there is “no need” for a temporary Meet and Greet here. But it’s still worth checking out.
The flowers and plants are themed around the characters’ outfits. In Vidia’s case, purple.
Or pink in Rosetta’s.
A small playground designed for kids between the ages of two and five.
Fawn, maybe? “The Orange One” is probably fine.
At first glance, Terrence might seem to live a charmed life surrounded by female fairies. While I’m not surrounded by fairies (so to speak), I am surrounded by women, and let me tell you it’s anything but charmed.
I guess if I want Disney to pick me up on the Fantasy Payoff Cruise that I should tell you how awesome this straight to video digital versatile disc is going to be?
Honestly, I’m just going to stand at Port Canaveral with my thumb in the air.
Winter Woods is the other half of this section:
Another richly themed area that shouldn’t be skipped with or without kids. And I mean really, preorder Secret of the Wings or whatever it’s called right now! My three day cruise hinges on it.
The Panda topiaries outside Nine Dragons in China have grown in nicely.
My favorite of the topiaries is this dragon on the water in the China Pavilion. It spits water so don’t infuriate it by saying you’re going to Yakitori House.
Not really a good year to be born I guess. On the plus side, you are compatible with rats. So there’s that.
Actually, I am an ox and this is startlingly accurate:
People born in the Year of the Ox are patient, quiet yet inspire confidence in others. They are eccentric and temperamental. They speak little but when they do they are quite articulate. Mentally and physically alert, they are generally easy-going but can be very stubborn and they hate to fail or be opposed. They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people. You also love to travel.
Sorry dragons, but it looks like you have some competition for the Rat people. And really I don’t foresee much competition against artists, priests, or politicians.
Haiti is a new addition to the Festival this year.
As you walk from China toward Germany, you’ll see it on your left side before arriving at the Germany Pavilion.
A look around:
It’s a neat little garden area with some shopping, some plants, and an area for kids to color.
Oh, and a Haiti drink stand. It wouldn’t surprise me if more and more of these sorts of things pop up over the coming years. With the success of the Food and Wine Festival in the fall, it only makes sense to try to bring some of those elements to the Flower and Garden Festival. Like this Haiti area, I think Disney will figure out a way to do it tastefully. More food and drink certainly doesn’t bother me.
Amusingly, I was standing there ordering a drink (typical) when I felt a furious tap on my shoulder accompanied by “Josh? Josh?” Normally when I turn around it is a 47 year old mother with three children, which isn’t unexpected as the target audience of any half decent Disney website is 47 year old women with three children. But lo and behold, there were three babes standing there. It was the best moment of my Disney blogging career, surpassing meeting Bob Iger, having lunch with Scott Hunnel, and tripping Len Testa. Ummmmmmm…not that meeting everyone else was any less awesome, of course. Awkward…….
The Bwason Lakay menu:
And the Frozen Haitian Hibiscus Rhum Lemonade:
Sorry, I already drank half. This was quite refreshing and had a very pleasant flavor, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t dip a string in a bottle of “rhum” and then dip said string in each batch of pre-made frozen concoction. What I mean is, I really couldn’t taste any alcohol in it. Not a terrible choice if you’re looking for something tasty that will cool you down, but you’re going to have to take a couple shots from your flask in a bathroom stall if you want to make it worth your while.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Prestige beer, but it’s at least a little different than your run-of-the-mill Budweiser. Not sure if it’s better, sadly.
Across from the Germany Pavilion:
A popular photo spot with Snow Whites and her Dwarfs.
And in Italy, Lady and the Tramp.
Lotso has filled in nicely in the back of the United States Pavilion to the right of the American Adventure. On the wall there to the left of this picture, you’ll see a list that names the vegetation in all of the various pots and boxes around the Pavilion.
Woody and Buzz out front.
Another look. Also a personal favorite.
Complete with a drawstring on Woody.
And a rocketpack on Buzz. Fly me to the moooooooon.
Lightning and Mater in Japan.
Another personal favorite – the bonsai trees around an already beautiful Pavilion. I’m about four bourbons away from having the steady hand for this sort of thing.
An extra bonus for taking the time to look around.
More people in the way in the only possible place they could be sitting on this extremely long bench to be in the way.
It’s a spice ball or something.
Saffron prints money.
To the left of the France Pavilion is this “Backyard Play Garden:”
Another interesting exhibit.
But there also these “how to” guides?
Granted I am about as handy as an armless bricklayer, but I’m not so sure anyone is going to go home and get their muslin or concrete on.
A temporary Disney Vacation Club kiosk just in case you’ve missed the 3,918 others on property.
Also in France, Beauty and Beast return. Yes, that is a tail on Beast.
Some underrepresented characters behind them.
Cogsworth and Lumiere. I expect to see both represented in the-now-much-more-highly-anticipated Be Our Guest Restaurant over at New Fantasyland.
Chip and Mrs. Potts as well.
Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Eeyore, and Pooh in the United Kingdom:
I want a Rabbit and Roo Meet and Greet. And I want it now.
Also in the United Kingdom, the English Tea Garden fits in well and makes an even better backdrop for Alice.
On the way through the Canada Pavilion you’ll come across the Water Wise Herbs and Vegetables. Sort of disappointed Disney offered no advice on the only herb I’m interested in growing. Oregano, I mean.
You can try to wrestle the information out of the herb bros though.
They were just getting to work on the Chimpanzee sand sculpture on the 7th. I’m guessing it’s done now?
Older kids can enjoy this playground area near the Imagination Pavilion. There are even comfy chairs for adults to enjoy themselves a bit.
Oh, and don’t forget to play hop scotch through Future World.
Outside of the International Gateway, it didn’t appear that anything was going on. Last year weren’t there a lot of herbs, plants, and etc?
The Flower and Garden Festival is a wonderful addition to an already amazing theme park. I am certain that you’ll thoroughly enjoy it. Either that, or you have no heart.