Celebrating its 25th year in 2018, the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is one of my personal favorites. Thinking of spring and warmer weather just brightens my day right on up. From February 28 through May 28, guests can experience the beauty and magic of this blooming good festival. Will kids enjoy it? Should families bother attending? My answer is yes! I’ve got all the details on exactly what to expect, what to do when you visit, and why your family will love it!
Ultimate Guide to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot is becoming Walt Disney World’s premiere park for festivals. One of the most magical is the spring Flower and Garden Festival. From scrumptious outdoor kitchens to beautifully manicured topiaries to that wonderful Disney magic we’ve all come to know and expect, this year’s festival is sure to be an incredible one.
Each section of this post is broken down into these categories:
- What is Epcot Flower and Garden Festival?
- Special Tours During the Festival
- What to Eat at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
- Epcot Flower and Garden Festival for Kids
- Who is Playing the Garden Rocks Concert Series?
My hope is that this informative, albeit lengthy, post will leave you feeling prepared and hopeful that your visit to the Flower and Garden Festival will be nothing short of spectacular!
What is Epcot Flower and Garden Festival?
First, let’s begin with an explanation. If you’ve never attended this festival before, you may be curious about what it is. Do you need to be a gardener? Do you need to have a green thumb? Not at all! An appreciation for beauty in nature, and appetite for good food, are the only things you need to have a great time.
At the festival, you will see:
- Outdoor kitchens offering delectable bites and libations
- Dozens of world-renowned, Disney-themed topiaries
- Breathtaking garden spaces and wildlife habitats
- Inspirational exhibits, a “How-To” Garden, and engaging Tours
- An outdoor concert series featuring fan-favorite bands
Sarah’s Tip: Don’t forget to grab your “Garden Passport” at the entrance to the World Showcase to plan your day most effectively.
Special Tours During the Festival
Interested in learning more about the gardening world? You’re in luck! In addition to the activities included in your admission ticket, there are also special tours that focus on specific aspects of nature and the gardening world.
- Gardens of the World: “Over the course of 3 hours, join a knowledgeable Disney Horticulturist—and a small group of fellow enthusiasts too—for a fascinating walking tour throughout the World Showcase Pavilions.” Cost: $85/pp, must be 12+
- English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London®: “Gain a new appreciation for this time-honored beverage during a complimentary tour of an elegant English tea garden.” Cost: Free, all ages
- Royal Tea Garden Tour: “Embark on a guided tour of an English tea garden, where you’ll enjoy a sampling of tea and scones.” Cost: $18/pp, all ages
- Behind the Seeds: “Visit 4 greenhouses and a fish farm to catch a glimpse of amazing plants, insects and fish.” Cost: $25/per adult, $20/child, all ages
Sarah’s Tip: The Royal Tea Garden Tour begins at 9:45am before the World Showcase opens at 11am to the public! If you want to get in early, that’s the tour to take!
What to Eat at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Now to my favorite part of this guide: the food!
Unlike the plethora of kiosks at the Food & Wine festival, there are just over a dozen spots to try at Flower and Garden. These are the 2018 Outdoor Kitchens:
- Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market (Germany)
- Cider House (UK)
- Fleur de Lys (France; this is where you can find “La Vie en Rose” martini slush)
- Florida Fresh (between the France and Morocco pavilions)
- Hanami (Japan; this is where the popular “Frushi” is found)
- Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico)
- La Isla Fresca (Caribbean fare, located near the front of the World Showcase)
- Lotus House (China)
- Northern Bloom (Canada)
- Pineapple Promenade (Refreshment Port; this is where the popular “Violet Lemonade” is found)
- Primavera Kitchen (Italy)
- Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco)
- The Smokehouse (American Adventure; this is where you can find my favorite “Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash”)
- The Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board™ (located near the front of the World Showcase)
Make use of that festival passport to mark the ones you like, the ones you don’t like, and the ones you want to try next time!
Sarah’s Tip: Outdoor Kitchen portions are small. You’ll be able to snack your way around the festival, but don’t be surprised if you fill up fast! As a result, if you truly want to sample everything, find a buddy to split items with so you don’t have a stomachache later!
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival for Kids
Next, let’s talk about the kids. What can families do at this festival? Tons! My girls have always loved the play areas, and I wish Epcot would keep them up all year, honestly!
New for 2018 is the Imagination Play Garden featuring a net climber and a musical maze.
The How-To Garden is also new this year, and it features lots of hands on fun!Additionally, there are TWO scavenger hunts to choose from this year.
“Egg-stravaganza” begins on March 16 and ends on April 1st. Purchase a map and sticker set, and prepare to go an adventure searching for Disney character-themed Easter eggs!
Furthermore, from February 28-May 28, have fun with “Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration.” Just like the egg hunt, guests can purchase a map and sticker set and head out to look for Spike the Bee on flowers all over the World Showcase.When you’ve found them all (the eggs and the bees), simply show your completed map to a Cast Member at the store of purchase to receive a prize!
Sarah’s Tip: If you don’t want to go back to the store, simply ask the Cast Member for the prize when you purchase the map to present to your child when the scavenger hunt is over.
Who is Playing the Garden Rocks Concert Series?
Finally, the adults in the group probably want to know what else there is for them to do. I love that Epcot festivals are bringing music and the arts together with cultural and dining experiences.The Garden Rocks concert series offers a variety of musical tastes throughout most of the festival calendar. Check out who’s playing this year:
- 2-5: Night Ranger
- 9-12: Starship Starring Mickey Thomas
- 16-19: Simple Plan
- 23-26: Little River Band
- March 30-April 2: The Orchestra Starring Former Members of ELO
- 6-7: Foghat
- 8-9: Survivor
- 13-14: Smashmouth
- 15-16: Rick Springfield
- 20-21: Jo Dee Messina
- 27-30: Blood, Sweat, and Tears ft. Bo Bice
- 4-7: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone
- 11-2: Village People ft. Victor Willis
- 13-14: Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles
- 18-21: The Guess Who
- 25-28: The Spinners
Sarah’s Tip: All of the concerts are included in the price of your Epcot admission. FastPass+ reservations are not available to guarantee seats. If you’d like reserved seating, simply book a Garden Rocks dining package at any participating Epcot restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!Epcot Flower and Garden is my favorite festival! I hope it will be yours too! What’s your favorite thing about the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival?