The Epcot Flower & Garden Festival - A New Must-Do

Move over Food & Wine, there's a new favorite Epcot festival in town.

OK, so there's nothing new about the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival - at 21 years young it has been around longer than it's Food & Wine counterpart. What is new, however, is Epcot's approach to Flower & Garden - embracing it as not just an opportunity to show off some pretty topiaries to old people and my mom, but instead offering a much broader cultural experience.

Of course, by "cultural experience" what I really mean is "food and wine."


That's right, in what is nothing short of a brilliant move, Epcot Flower & Garden is now something of a hybrid, blending the best of the two festivals together to create one Super-Festival which may have taken the top spot as my very favorite.

Here's why...

For starters, and true to its name, Epcot is just flat out gorgeous during the Flower & Garden festival. Its springtime placement on the calendar means all of the usually baked and wilting plants throughout the park are suddenly bursting with color. Plus, Disney pulls out all of the stops with their awesome topiary displays, and by filling in all available space with some sort of colorful plant. Visit early in the festival, and you just might catch the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in all of their splendor - trees that I didn't know even existed at Epcot until we hit the festival for the first time a few years ago. 


There's a lot of colorful adjectives in that last paragraph, so let's just sum it up by saying that Epcot is pretty. 

Although the flowers are easy on the eyes, of course the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach. For roughly the first 20 years of the Flower & Garden Festival, this all important notion was overlooked, but that all changed last year with the introduction of roughly half a dozen Food & Wine Festival-style booths. Apparently I wasn't the only fan of this concept, because the food offerings were expanded this year, and I must say, they're a welcome change to the same-old same-old of the Food & Wine Festival.

The duck confit and goat cheese gnocchi in France...


Candied strawberries in China...


The delicious lemon scone in the U.K...


And everyone's favorite...the pineapple soft-serve with Meyers rum. Fair warning: all of the rum goes to the bottom and makes the last swig of melted ice cream a little intense.


They're even selling my beloved Lobby Water! I knew I should have started bottling the stuff sooner...


It's also worth noting that the above mentioned Ghost Pepper Dusted Tilapia was best thing of the entire festival, but it was so good, I failed to take a picture. It was awesome...you'll just have to take my word for it...

Aside from the flowers, food, and drink, easily the biggest reason why the new Flower & Garden Festival won me over was the crowds - or lack thereof. Food & Wine has gotten to be so insanely busy the last few years - especially on the weekends - that it has lost a little of its appeal for me. In contrast, we visited Flower & Garden on an incredibly beautiful day over the Easter holiday weekend, and the crowds were virtually non-existent. We never waited in line for food, there were no inebriated locals in their "Drinking Around the World" t-shirts, and the whole thing was just downright enjoyable. Something I haven't said about Food & Wine in a long time...

A word of note about visiting on Easter - World Showcase puts on an Easter egg hunt which is a lot of fun...even if you're 33. Every country has an egg donning the face of a Disney character hidden amongst the pavilion, and they have checklists available to know when you've found them all. It was great seeing the kids get so excited when they spotted the egg, and yes, by "kids" I'm actually referring to myself. 


So does the creation of the Flower & Garden Super-Festival spell the end of our Food & Wine days? Absolutely not. But it does mean that a new annual Disney adventure is on our calendar, and it just might be the one I look forward to the most all year.

Enjoy Your Stay