We are officially one month away from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! I have to admit, this one always sneaks up on me so fast, but I also love when it’s back because that means that spring is almost here! Details about the event for 2016 are slowly trickling out.
First, we have word that there will be two new Outdoor Kitchens for this year’s event. The first will be known as La Isla Fresca, where they will serve up dishes like Jamaican Braised Beef with Pigeon-Pea Rice and Jerk-Spiced Grouper or Chicken with Mango Salsa. There will also be the Cider House, which will offer a Field Greens salad with greens harvested from The Land pavilion, heirloom apples, Stilton cheese and dried blueberries will pair well with a blueberry hard cider from Plant City, Fla. Of course, the festival’s other 11 booths will also offer delicious returning favorites, as well as some new food and beverage options.
Also new for this year will be the Harmony Gardens musical playground, which will include interactive drums, chimes, and xylophones where children can create their own musical sounds or have fun at the innovative outdoor playground. The area will also debut debut featuring topiaries of the Fab Five with “band leader” Mickey Mouse plus Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck.
As previously mentioned, the new front entrance topiary will feature Donald’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie with floral interpretations of the 1943 Donald Duck comic book called “The Victory Garden”. Another new topiary for this year is the Ranger Mickey topiary garden, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, which will allow guests to take selfies and family pictures.
Also new for this year on the south side of Spaceship Earth, the park will see that the Disney gardeners have painted the landscape with a Floral Sun garden and yellow “sunbursts” that will sprout in a new Future World topiary garden featuring Minnie Mouse and Pluto.
Speaking of gardens, a new edible flower garden will be located by The Land pavilion will showcase petals with flavor. Plus, the Butterflies on the Go garden will return with the story of the Monarch’s epic journey across the continent and featuring butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.
Each weekend, there will be the Fun Fresh Weekends which add a fun element to the event. Upcoming weekends for this year include April 1-3 — Art in the Garden Weekend which spotlights nature through the works of plein air artists; April 8-10 – The new Family Fun Weekend presents outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy and a Festival Center focus on bugs with Disney’s Animal Kingdom specialists; April 22-24 – Earth Day Weekend will celebrate our planet with special appearances and activities; and April 29-May 1—Florida Fresh Weekend will feature the state’s edible bounty from Apalachicola to Zellwood.
Returning this year will be the Cactus Road Rally play garden with topiary pals Mater and Lightning McQueen from “Cars.” In addition, Anna and Elsa from Frozen who debut last year will be moving to the Norway Pavilion.
The Garden Rocks concert series will once again return and will present pop bands with music spanning four decades. This year’s lineup kicks off March 4-6 with The Orchestra starring former members of ELO and will also include new acts like Bad Company.
This year’s event will take place for an expanded 90 days, from March 2 through May 30. For more information about the event visit EpcotInSpring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.