SATURDAY SIX – 6 Reasons We Love Epcot’s 2019 Flower & Garden Festival!

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Epcot’s 2019 Flower & Garden Festival. While there are a lot of annual events in Orlando that are near and dear to us for varying reasons (the wild party atmosphere of Mardi Gras, the scares of Halloween Horror Nights, the awesomeness of Festival of the Arts and the food and, uh, wine of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival), one event stands out from all the rest because it stresses the fact that we should – literally – stop and smell the roses.

That’s right, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is back, and this year just may be the best yet. What really makes Flower & Garden special is how amazing it is just to walk around Epcot and take it all in. Most events in theme parks are limited in the size and scope of their overall effect on the individual park, but you can see the beauty and tranquility of Flower & Garden everywhere that you go.

This week’s SAT 6 is going to look at six of our favorite parts of this year’s festival, and we’re going to start off with…

# 6 – Butterfly Garden

As we said in our recent look at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, there’s just something special about a butterfly garden. Butterflies are beautiful, calming, and have one of the most unique life cycles of any insect. The Goodness Garden Butterfly House is located near the Imagination Pavilion and is filled with butterflies! Not only does the Goodness Garden have tons of butterflies fluttering around, inside there is a lot of interesting facts along with interactive features for the kiddos.

The Goodness Garden.
Some of the types of butterflies you will see.
Butterfly in the Goodness Garden. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Butterfly at the Goodness Garden. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Butterfly life cycle signage in front of a house containing butterflies in various stages of growth. (photo by Michael Carelli)
The Goodness Garden.
The Goodness Garden.
Various flower types are identified throughout the Goodness Garden.
Helpful hints on how to make your own butterfly garden at home.
Butterfly version of Stormalong Bay.

 

# 5 – Merchandise

Disney brought their A-game with Flower & Garden merchandise this year with a whole bunch of cute options featuring Mickey, Minnie, and – of course – Figment.

Flower & Garden shirts. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Flower & Garden coffee cup.
Flower & Garden hat.

This metal tumbler looks real sharp in person.

Flower & Garden tumbler.
Flower & Garden trash can salt and pepper shakers.
Flower & Garden magnets.(photo by Captain Cruiseline, Scott Sanders)
Minnie Mouse shirt along with Flower & Garden themed hat. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Adorable Minnie Mouse shirt.

As frequent visitors of the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando, we made mental notes of many items we plan to pick up once they (almost invariably) get discounted when the Festival is over.

Flower & Garden phone case.
Flower & Garden keychain.
Flower & Garden Minnie Mouse plush. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Flower themed Mickey ears headband.
Flower & Garden snow globe party globe. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

We’ll be getting to food and drink later, but one of the most popular returning items at Flower & Garden is the Frozen Violet Lemonade. This year there is a whole bunch of merchandise based around the festival’s iconic drink.

Frozen Violet Lemonade keychain. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Frozen Violet Lemonade spirit jersey. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Frozen Violet Lemonade cup.

In the festival center, there was even a large Frozen Violet Lemonade photo op.

Frozen Violet Lemonade photo op. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Flower & Garden Dooney & Bourke bag and a Pandora charm. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Flower & Garden themed merch featuring Spike the bee. I like Spaceship Earth done as a honeycomb.
Flower & Garden merchandise featuring Figment. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Annual Passholder exclusive merchandise features everyone’s favorite purple dragon. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Figment is also the Flower & Garden ornament. (photo by Scott Sanders)
One of the Flower & Garden pins. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Annual Passholder Flower & Garden cup featuring Donald Duck. (photo by Scott Sanders)

Because of the amount of outdoor food kitchens, it is generally recommended to load up one of these handy gift cards that you can walk around with on your wrist.

Flower & Garden gift cards.

Fun “stress ball” themed to a lemon. There is no truth to the rumor than Len Testa has gone through three of these after reading my monthly expense reports from Voodoo Doughnuts.

Lemon squeeze ball. (photo by Scott Sanders)

Throughout the Flower & Garden Festival, Disney was releasing various magnets for Annual Passholders.

Daisy Duck AP magnet. (photo by Scott Sanders)

 

# 4 – The Flowers

There is nothing like walking around Epcot during Flower & Garden because the sheer amount of flowers Disney displays during the event is almost overwhelming. Both Future World and World Showcase are bursting with flower displays and flower gardens.  The park is never more gorgeous to be in and the smells are wonderful!

Bee on a flower. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Amazing flower mural display in Future World.  (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Side look at the flower mural in Future World. (photo by Michael Carelli)
The floating gardens in the water are a nice touch. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
This is a spot where you’ll find a Photo Pass photographer because it is so perfect. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Flowers in World Showcase. (photo by Michael Carelli)

The Shakespeare Garden in the UK Pavilion shows just how much William Shakespeare referenced flowers in his various writings.

Shakespeare Garden.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream quote in Shakespeare Garden.
Romeo & Juliet quote in Shakespeare Garden.

 

# 3 – The Gardens (and other details)

Besides the seemingly millions of flowers, Epcot is also loaded up with a ton of other stuff to check out while enjoying the park, including several gardens growing fruits and vegetables.

Urban Spice Garden at the Morocco Pavilion.

The Florida Fresh kiosk is set up next to a walk through garden which has many fruits and vegetables growing, including sweet potatoes, blueberries, and strawberries.

Corn plant.
Parsley.
Sunflowers.
Train display at Germany Pavilion has miniature Flower & Garden signs!

Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration map is available for $6.99. It includes a set of stickers which you use on the map when you find various flower types that Spike has been “hidden” in. Once the map is completed, you can redeem it for a set of patches.

Spike’s Pollen-Nation signage. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Spike’s Pollen-Nation map. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Stickers for Spike’s Pollen-Nation map. (photo by Scott Sanders)
One of the Spike’s found in Future World. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Spike peeking out in the tropical rainforest at the Mexico Pavilion.
Spike in the Shakespeare Garden. (photo by Scott Sanders)
One of several Flower & Garden patch sets available for those who complete the map. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Example of “farm to table” vegetable garden outside the Imagination Pavilion. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The China Pavilion had the Chinese Zodiac Calendar animals represented.

Dog from the Chinese Zodiac.
Snake from the Chinese Zodiac.

Disney has Purple Martin habitats at several of its resorts (including Saratoga Springs). Purple Martins are completely dependent on man-made housing in Florida.

Purple Martin signage.
Information on Purple Martin nesting.
Purple Martin nests.

Every year, Earth Day takes place during Flower & Garden and there is generally a display set up reminding guests about our impact on the environment. This penguin sculpture was made by washedashore.org, a non-profit organization who uses discarded items to create works of art.

Penguin display.
Penguin display.

 

# 2 – The Food and Drink

The Outdoor Kitchens made their debut at 2013’s Flower & Garden and bring the Food & Wine dynamic to the festival. What they generally don’t bring with them are the outrageously long lines often found at Food & Wine, which allows you to sample various food and drinks throughout World Showcase with very little wait. The Outdoor Kitchens are also very vegetarian and vegan friendly, something that isn’t often said about Epcot’s fall classic.

The big hit this year is the Orange Bird Sipper found at the Citrus Blossom kitchen. The drink served inside was an orange cream slush – which was okay – but the actual Orange Bird sipper itself is one of our favorite Disney souvenir cups to date!

Orange Bird Sipper.
Citrus Shortcake from the Citrus Blossom kitchen. (photo by @bioreconstrust)

The Frozen Violet Lemonade is available at the Pineapple Promenade kitchen. For first timers at Flower & Garden, not getting one of these would be like not getting a Dole Whip at the Magic Kingdom or a Butterbeer in the Wizarding World.

Frozen Violet Lemonade. (photo by Scott Sanders)

We also go the beer flight at Pineapple Promenade which included Coco Pina Gose (from Savannah, GA), Pineapple Mana Wheat (from Kihei, Hawaii), and Goin Coastal IPA with Pineapple (from Atlanta, GA).

Pineapple Trio.

As we often travel with a vegan to the theme parks, one thing we have noticed is how much better both Disney and Universal are getting with having plant-based options for vegans. This year’s Flower & Garden brought a special treat, as the Trowel and Trellis kitchen was sponsored by Impossible foods. The Impossible burger is hands-down the best “veggie” burger we have ever had, and is now found across Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and even SeaWorld. At the Trowel and Trellis kitchen there was a Farmhouse Meatball. This was served on lentil bread, and included spinach, marinated vegetables, and a creamy herb dressing. We absolutely LOVED IT and went back for seconds.

Farmhouse Meatball at Trowel and Trellis.
Close up of Farmhouse Meatball.

The Grilled Street Corn on the Cob was a huge hit with me, but the generously applied “savory garlic spread” was a little too much garlic for our vegan diner.

Corn on the cob at Trowel and Trellis.

The Chocolate Pudding Terrarium is one of those items that makes Flower & Garden special. Besides being vegan, this is a dessert that looks almost too good to eat. The presentation is just fantastic.

Chocolate pudding terrarium. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Bloomin’ Blueberry Lemon and Ginger Tea and Playalinda Brewing Company Tropical Wonderland Wheat Ale. Found at the Trowel and Trellis outdoor kitchen. (photo by Scott Sanders)

Pulled pork slider at The Smokehouse is always a hit.

Holding this slider literally half an inch too high, thus blocking its description on the menu is why I’ll never be in the Theme Park Food Photography Guild.
Here’s a pro taking a shot of the same slider. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Also from The Smokehouse is this Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider. (photo by Scott Sanders)
Szechuan Spicy Red-Braised Beef Shank over Rice at the Lotus House kitchen across from the China Pavilion. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer -served with steamed rice and coconut-lime sauce. Found at the La Isla Fresca outdoor kitchen. (photo by Scott Sanders)

In the Odyssey building you’ll find a large selection of merchandise and the Arbor kitchen. Here we tried the cider flight featuring  3 Daughters Brewing Key Lime Apple Hard Cider, Florida Beer Company Caribé Strawberry Rose Hard Cider, and Original Sin Brewery Black Widow Hard Cider.  Florida Beer Company are also the people behind Duff Beer in Springfield USA and Dragon Scale in the Wizarding World.

Cider trio.
Smoked Salmon Stack with Avocados, Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Caviar and Focaccia Crostino at Arbor kitchen. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Fried Green Tomatoes with Blue-Crab Fennel Salad, Remoulade, and Smoked Paprika Oil at Arbor in the Odyssey. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
At the Italy Pavilion there is the Primavera kitchen, which served it’s own version of fried green tomatoes called “Pomodori Verdi e Mozzarella.” It contained fried green tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and a balsamic reduction. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Violet Blueberry Vanilla Croissant Doughnut at Taste Track. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Worms and Dirt contains exactly one worm. Found at the Flavor Full kitchen. (photo by the Queen of Animal Kingdom Rachel Faith)
Key Lime Funnel Cake available at the kiosk outside the America Pavilion.

# 1 – The Topiaries

Flower & Garden is known for its world class topiaries and each year Disney ups their game. Found throughout Future World and World Showcase, these topiaries are a marvel of Disney landscaping.

Figment. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Stitch. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Three Caballeros. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Lady & the Tramp. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Winnie the Pooh. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Rabbit. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Peter Pan and Captain Hook. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Playful pandas in the China Pavilion. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Bambi. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Flower. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Elsa. (photo by Michael Carelli)
A troll topiary in the Norway Pavilion.
Belle and Beast. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Hi ho, it’s Kermit the frog here. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Miss Piggy. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Lion King. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Mater and Lightning McQueen. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Chip & Dale. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Huey, Dewey, and Louie. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Donald Duck. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Daisy Duck. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Goofy. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Mickey and Minnie Mouse. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

 

Honorable Mention – Bo Peep’s Playtime Training Grounds

For those who can’t wait for this summer’s Toy Story 4 (and the film’s reintroduction of Bo Peep,) there is a small playground sponsored by the movie in Future World. Outside the playground are some great topiaries featuring Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody, and Bo Peep herself.

Buzz Lightyear. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Woody and Bo Peep. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

But you just gotta love the sheep.

Sheep. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Brilliant touch with a monkey (from a barrel full of monkeys) hanging out in a tree.

Bo Peep’s Playtime Training Grounds. (photo by Michael Carelli)
Planter advertising Toy Story 4.
More planters featuring Toy Story characters.
The playground has some Toy Story characters involved in the activities, such as Buttercup and Jessie.
Bo Peep’s Playground. Not pictured is a rather sizeable Jungle Gym-like structure with a lot of things for kiddos to enjoy.
This game features a silhouette of Duke Caboom, a motorcycle riding toy in the upcoming Toy Story 4.
Bo Peep matching game.

So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love Epcot’s FLOWER & GARDEN FESTIVAL! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following: 

6 Examples of the “Disney Difference”

6 Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exists (But Totally Should)

Are Disney’s Hotels Going To The Dogs? A Review.

Walt Disney World Locations Used in Hulk Hogan’s THUNDER IN PARADISE

SATURDAY SIX Investigative Report: Disney PET PEEVES

Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, photo wunderkind Mike Sperduto, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Mr. ‘Ohana Tim Grassey, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will  enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.

FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it?That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION!Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!

8 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX – 6 Reasons We Love Epcot’s 2019 Flower & Garden Festival!

    • April 15, 2019 at 9:25 pm
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      When we went to Flower & Garden, Dennis DeYoung of Styx was playing. Certainly the Garden Rocks series of concerts are a solid part of F&G, especially if you’re a big fan of the artist!

      Reply
  • April 13, 2019 at 9:36 pm
    Permalink

    You all do a much better job than Disney at telling us what to check out. We were so excited for this year’s Flower & Garden – but we felt let down. Apparently, we missed a bunch besides our Passholder magnet.

    Reply
  • April 14, 2019 at 9:27 am
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    Where is the Disney merchandise of Daisy? She is on the magnet for this event?

    Reply
    • April 15, 2019 at 9:23 pm
      Permalink

      There is not much overall merchandise featuring Daisy. She is just one of the characters who was on a limited-time Annual Passholder magnet given out during the Festival.

      Reply
  • April 15, 2019 at 1:04 pm
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    When you say the “Impossible burger” is the best veggie burger you’ve tasted, does that mean the best overall taste, the veggie burger that tastes most like a real burger, or both? Also, are they just vegetarian, or are they vegan? (Guess I could just google that last one lol).

    Reply
    • April 15, 2019 at 9:23 pm
      Permalink

      The Impossible Burger tastes so much like a regular burger that I dare say the average person would not be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. It’s that good. They are vegan (and the new Impossible Burger 2.0 is also gluten free.)

      Reply

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