Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival in Full Bloom by Kim Lawton

The 2015 Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom at EPCOT. It runs from March 4 until May 17 this year. It is one of my favorite times to visit EPCOT, second only to Christmas with all the holiday décor. And it is a very close second! I love all the flowers, topiaries, butterflies and concerts. The addition of the outdoor kitchens only added to the festival atmosphere. The miniature train in Germany is all decked out for the festival as well!

This year there are 21 plus topiaries depicting everything from the Fab Five thru our new Frozen friends. The butterfly house has returned as well as two kid friendly play areas. There are 12 outdoor kitchens this year, the newest is Botanas Botanico offering dishes with a South American flavor. Each fresh kitchen has food and beverage offering with some of the beverages being ‘adult’ in variety and some of the food being vegetarian.

Return guests will notice some things they have seen before, for example Lady and the Tramp are back in the Italian pavilion and Beauty and the Beast and friends are back in the France Pavilion. But there are some changes as well. Sleeping Beauty and her Prince are sitting this festival out as is the Troll topiary in the Norway Pavilion. The concert series has taken on a new name, Garden Rocks concert series. The groups playing each weekend are not the same as the Flower Power set but will have their own following I’m sure. While I will miss the Flower Power groups like Mickey Dolenz or Paul Revere and the Raiders, I understand this change could be for any number of reasons and look forward to hearing groups like ELO and of course The Guess Who.

HGTV is not a sponsor of the event this year. But there are many Festival participants listed in the guide. And many trail gardens with information for planning your own gardens scattered throughout the Park. Another change I noticed is that the festival center in Future World East (located in the old building formally known as Wonders of Life) is only open on weekends. I also noticed that the butterfly garden, renamed Butterflies to Go, doesn’t have fairy houses or the glass sculptures that were on exhibit in the past. There is a prominent exhibit about Monarch Butterflies that is quite interesting and some other hands on spinning type displays with more butterfly information.

The biggest and most exciting change for me this year is that I get to experience the festival throughout its entire run! In the past I have visited at the beginning or near the end but this year being a Florida resident has its perks! I will get to see how things grow and develop. Watch all the concerts if we like. And try all the fresh food offerings, finding my favorites to retry! Look for more pictures and updates during the next few months. And be sure to visit Epcotinspring.com for information about hours, demonstrations and other pertinent information so you can enjoy this year’s Flower and Garden Festival.

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