The EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival is starting up again for 2017 and it really is better than ever. This is a favorite Disney festival for so many people, so I wanted to be sure to share with you what’s new this year. Between longer weekends, new topiaries and gardens, and plenty to do for families you’ll love all there is to do and see (and eat!).
This year, as far as Disney is concerned, a “weekend” runs from Friday through Monday (I can definitely get on board with that!). So the Garden Rocks Concert Series covers more days. The upcoming acts are:
March 10-13: The Pointer Sisters
March 17 and 18: Simple Plan
March 19 and 20: Plain White T’s
March 24-27: Night Ranger
March 31-April 3: Little River Band
April 7-10: Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice
April 14-17: Gin Blossoms
April 21-24: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
April 28 and 29: Expose
April 30 and May 1: Berlin featuring Teri Nunn
May 5-8: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
May 12-15: The Guess Who
May 19-22: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 26-29: The Spinners
The egg hunt has been a really popular activity for families visiting the festival every year, but this year it’s not just something you can do on Easter weekend. It’s up and running for the entire festival from March to the end of May! We love looking for the eggs (some of them are really tough!) and you get a cute little Easter egg with a classic character on it when you complete your sticker sheet! Here’s a post all about the egg hunt (with spoilers if you want them!)!
There are two new gardens in Germany: the Geranium Garden and the Alpine Containers Garden. Make sure to stop by and check them out – they’re so pretty!
There are four new topiaries to see throughout the park and they feature some classic characters as well as one new one!
The interactive masterpieces at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts were so popular that the Flower and Garden landscape designers decided to try to work in something similar to the topiaries found throughout the park. Normally the topiaries are behind barricades or elevated so you’re not encouraged to get too close to them, but at two locations (the Farmer’s Market Stand above and the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs topiary) you can actually have your photo made with props and become part of the landscape. It’s a really cute idea that seems to be quite popular so far, drawing pretty decent lines to wait for PhotoPass photographers to snap a picture.
EPCOT is really trying to increase its food options for Flower and Garden because the dining has become such an important feature to guests. This year there are several new dishes to try and a few new Outdoor Kitchens. My favorite feature I’ve noticed this year is that the portion sizes are larger, so you don’t have to make as many stops to fill up (or you can make just as many as you used to and share each dish!). I always recommend loading a gift card (complete with wristband) with your budgeted amount to spend for the day so you don’t have to keep getting your cash or credit card out of your wallet. Bonus this year: they’re scratch and sniff! (Yes, really!)
I got to taste many of the new food offerings and I have to say the best, by far, were the desserts. The Warm Cheese Strudel at the Baurenmarkt kitchen was my absolute favorite. It’s sweet and savory and how can you beat a cream cheese filling?
I also enjoyed the Key Lime Tart from the Florida Fresh kitchen, and Jon’s favorite was the Warm Wild Berry Buckle with Pepper Berry Ice Cream.
If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, our favorite new items were the Seared Scallops at the Northern Bloom kitchen and the Carne Asada with Black Bean Cake from the Florida Fresh kitchen. Both had excellent, fresh flavors.
New Play Area
There is one new playground available for kids this year between France and Morocco called the Florida Fresh Garden. It’s got small equipment that is great for very young kids. If you’ve got older kids, I’ll be telling you about your other playground options really soon!