A Wonderful World of Color at
Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival

by Deb Wills, ALL EARS® Editor

Feature Article

This article appeared in the April 9, 2002, Issue #133 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

In just 10 short days, on April 19, Epcot's 9th Annual International Flower & Garden Festival opens!

This year's Festival will once again feature more than 100 Disney topiaries, 1,200-plus plant species and 30 million blooms! In addition to the fabulous flowers, there will be concerts, demonstrations, exhibits, a marketplace, a Festival Tour, a special brunch and much, much more.

Each year new elements are added to old favorites, giving repeat visitors as well as first-timers a breathtaking array of colors and displays to enjoy.

In 2001, there was a major shake-up in the topiary displays -- all the "character" topiaries previously located throughout World Showcase were moved to Future World. In addition, new country-themed topiaries were displayed throughout World Showcase.

This year, in honor of Walt Disney's 100th Birthday and the 100 Years of Magic Celebration, there will be a special exhibit dedicated to Walt and animation and the Future World entrance plaza will have a special topiary. The Kid's Garden (located near the Outpost in World Showcase) will feature a Storybook Adventure and live ladybug releases.

Other 2002 additions? Look for more Future World exhibits and displays, including a new Water Garden (Future World West) and the Florida Dooryard Garden (five different architectural styles and plants that can be used to create them). In World Showcase, new topiaries will debut for the United States. And don't miss the Canada pavilion's new 50-foot floral peacock with 25-foot-long plumes!

The Festival Center features presentations and workshops, as well as festival and horticulture information. Some of the topics include: Disney Gardening at Home, Tips from the Pros, and the Southern Living Gardening Series. At the Garden Marketplace you'll find merchants, a Festival Store with logo items and books, gardening items and more. You may also find authors available to sign their books in the Marketplace.

Special "themed" events occur each weekend of the Flower and Garden Festival including the I Dig Bugs Weekend, April 26-28, and Kids' Weekend, May 24-27. Live ladybug and butterfly release programs for children are also scheduled!

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Festival Highlights
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From the moment you walk through the turnstiles in Future World your eyes will be treated to unique floral displays and exhibits like these:

Topiaries -- With more than 100 on display, chances are you'll find one you'd just love to include in your landscape at home. OK, maybe not, but they are really fun to look at! The colorful Disney character topiaries are found mostly in Future World. My World Showcase favorites include the Panda Bears in the China pavilion, the Swans in France, and Norway's Troll.

Floral Walls -- At the America and Japan Pavilion are huge floral displays that are simply exquisite! Over the years, the Japan Floral Wall has featured the Japanese flag and also a field of purple irises. In America I have found our country's flag in magnificent reds, whites and blues, just outside the entrance to the American Adventure.

The Flower Power Concert Series at the America Gardens Theater is another highlight of the festival. It is an opportunity to sit down, rest your feet, sip a cool beverage and wax a bit nostalgic. Baby Boomers will find their feet tapping as they reminisce with the likes of the Monkees' Davy Jones, the Grassroots, the Turtles, and other performers of the Flower Power generation. There are several shows each day. For advance information, be sure to visit Steve Soares' WDW Live Entertainment (Unofficial) website at: http://pages.prodigy.net/stevesoares/index.htm

Once at WDW, be sure to pick up a copy of Epcot's entertainment guide.

Imagination Walkway or Rose Walk -- I'm sure you've passed by the beautiful rose garden many times, on the path that connects World Showcase and Future World. During a recent visit, the rose bushes had been pruned back for new growth and blooms in anticipation of this year's Flower and Garden Festival. During the festival, the Rose Walk will be fragrant and full of the both new and traditional rose variations. Don't be surprised to see photographers set up in this area, just waiting for the perfect photograph of a delicate rose bud with just the slightest bit of morning dew.

So far, all the displays and demonstrations mentioned are part of general Epcot admission, but there are a few Festival events that require an additional fee. During the Festival, Epcot's Gardens of the World Tour will be transformed into a special Festival Garden Discoveries tour which costs $59. A Disney horticulturist will be your guide, giving in-depth explanations and answering questions for three hours as you walk among the Festival displays. (When I took this tour last year, the horticulturist who helped create the Norway Troll Topiary was our guide!) Register for the tour, which is offered Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, at Epcot Guest Relations, or, for advance registration, call 407-WDW-TOUR.

The Annual Flower and Garden Poster makes for a wonderful collectible. In fact, I have several framed and hanging in my dining room at home. In the past, artist renderings of individual Epcot pavilions have been featured: Italy, China, America, Japan, France, Spaceship Earth and Canada. (Editor's Note: I have managed to find all the posters except the one from 1996 for my collection. If you happen to have that one and no longer want it, please contact me!)

In years past, a Food Among the Flowers Brunch was offered throughout the festival. This year it will only be offered on Mother's Day weekend. Seating times on May 11 are 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Seating times on May 12 are 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Price for the buffet is $29.95 plus tax for adults, $10.95 plus tax for ages 3-9. Call 407-WDW-DINE for priority seating. Space is limited.

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ALL EARS® TIPS
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Pick up a Festival Guide as soon as you enter Epcot to find display locations, and workshop and demonstration schedules.

Some exhibits are brought in from outside Disney especially for the Flower and Garden Festival. Be sure to check the guidebook to see what special displays can be seen this year. Last year two of my favorites were the bonsai exhibit located next to the Torii Gate in Japan, and the bromeliads along the "rainforest" path in Mexico.

Not sure what time the Flower Power Concert is or who is playing? You can touch "0" (zero) on your Disney Resort phone and the "Disney Information" Cast Member will have the answer!

Autograph Opportunities -- The designer of the Annual Flower and Garden poster is usually on hand early in the festival to sign the poster. Flower and Garden book authors are also periodically available for signings. Check the Festival Marketplace for details during your visit.

Annual Passholder discounts of up to 50% have been available in the past for purchase of the Flower and Garden Poster. Inquire at the Festival Marketplace.

If you are in Epcot for the Opening Ceremony, be sure to watch the parade of Disney horticulturists walk through the crowds.

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DEB'S 'DON'T MISS' LIST
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  • -- Celebration, at Epcot's entrance
  • -- the exotic flowers in Mexico
  • -- Norway's Troll topiary
  • -- China's Panda topiaries
  • -- the Patio garden in Italy
  • -- the Big Bugs throughout Future World
  • -- the musical clacker garden in Japan

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NEW FOR 2002 SUMMARY
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  • -- Topiary Salute to 100 Years of Magic (Entrance Plaza through Showcase Plaza)
  • -- Kids' Garden: Storybook Adventure (Outpost)
  • -- Turf Garden (Future World)
  • -- Water Garden (Future World)
  • -- Terrific Trees (Future World)
  • -- Florida Dooryard Garden (Future World)
  • -- the Power of Flowers (on the shores of West Lake)
  • -- colorful containers, floral flags, star topiary (American Adventure)
  • -- rose topiary, rose standards (Morocco)
  • -- colorful barrels, floral mountain, floral peacock (Canada)

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival runs from April 19 until June 2, 2002.


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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.