Spring has arrived in Orlando for Walt Disney World, and that means that Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival season has begun! This is the 25th anniversary of the Festival, and I must say, they really outdid themselves this year. The park has never looked more beautiful!
If you are considering planning a visit to Disney World in the Spring, then chances are good you’ll be able to catch this Festival, as it lasts for about three months. This year, 2018, it runs from February 28-May 28th. It beats the Food and Wine Festival in my opinion, with better weather, and lower overall crowds. I also just love seeing the park look so pretty, and if you enjoy taking photos you’ll particularly love coming when everything is blooming.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Honestly, the park is so pretty even a cell phone camera makes it look great.
Planning Your Visit
For most people, visiting Flower and Garden Festival means having one or two days to catch it all. Since there is no way you’ll be able to see and do everything in just a few days, I’m giving you the Best of the Fest… here’s your must-do list for when you visit the Flower and Garden Festival yourself this year.
I’ve also decided to make images for each item with descriptions right on them. Use these to save or screenshot and customize your own must-do list to bring with you when you go. These are also listed in the order you get to them, if you enter the park, head towards World Showcase, and start walking towards Canada.
1- Grab a Festival Passport. This may be a no-brainer if you’re a Disney World pro, but I run into people all the time in the parks who ask me where I got the little map I’m looking at and how much does it cost. These are free and located all over the place, but you’ll always find them next to the park maps when you first enter the park. They have everything listed in here. Every food booth, all the items, the concerts, times, everything. Plus it makes a great little take home souvenir.
2- See the Topiaries. These are scattered through all of Epcot, starting right at the entrance to the park. There’s a complete list of every Topiary in the passport book if you want to make sure you’ve seen them all. My favorites are Beauty and the Beast in France, Lady and the Tramp in Italy, (her ears are so cute!) and Snow White in Germany.
3- Stop by the Butterfly Garden. You’ll find this place just past Club Cool on the right. It’s a giant tent that’s set up to house all the butterflies. They always play music from the Tinkerbell fairy movies which is such a nice touch.
4- Passholders can grab their perks. Free Spring Mickey and Minnie Magnets are available at the Flower & Garden Festival for Annual Passholders. The Mickey one is available now, and then the Minnie one is available in April.
Pick up area is at the Fountain View Hallway in Epcot (behind Club Cool). Limit one of each per Passholder. While supplies last. Be ready to show your annual pass card & valid photo ID to collect magnets.
While you’re grabbing a magnet this is the time to check on preferred seating if you’re going to one of the concerts this night. You do this in the same place.
Disney is also offering Passholders reserved seating for the Garden rocks concerts. They tend to run out though, so in general, they will only be helpful to you if you’re at the park all day and can go get them early. The earlier you can pick them up the better chance you’ll have of getting them. I’m glad they moved it to a more convenient spot since walking all the way to America way before you need to be there for the concert made for a lot of walking.
Wristbands will be distributed each concert night (they’re only Friday-Monday nights). Distribution will continue (while supplies last) for the following showtimes:
– Until 4:30 PM for 5:30 PM shows
– Until 5:45 PM for 6:45 PM shows
– Until 7:00 PM for 8:00 PM shows
5- Play the Honey Bee Scavenger Hunt. You can pick up this map at the Pin Station by the fountain, or at the Port of Entry store (it’s the one near the entrance to World Showcase but closer to Canada. Also where they have all the Festival merch too.)
It’s five bucks to get the map and stickers. Spike the honey bee is hiding in the flower beds. Hunt him down and put a sticker on the map. When you turn it in you get your choice of four different sets of iron-on patches. Aren’t they so cute! I loved this set but there’s also an orange bird one that’s super cute. You don’t even have to complete the hunt to get the patches so don’t stress about it. It can just be a fun thing to look for while you walk around World Showcase.
6- Get a Violet Lemonade. A returning favorite from past years is the Violet Lemonade drink at the Pineapple Promenade. This food booth will be one of the first ones you’ll get to on your way towards Canada. This is a non-alcoholic slushie drink that tastes more like a berry lemonade. Just try it. You’ll love it.
6- Grab a sweet treat from the Honey Bee-Stro: One of my favorites of the new items this year is the Honey Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Ice Cream. You can find this at the Honey Bee-stro which is near the entrance of World Showcase by the path that leads to the Imagination Pavilion.
7- Grab this Instagram-worthy pop. Another best of the fest pick: the Chocolate Macaron Lollipop from Fleur de Lys in front of the France Pavilion. It’s super rich and if you like chocolate AT ALL you will LOVE this.
8- Try this savory Duck and Pasta dish. This is in the same spot in front of France as the Macaron, Fleur de Lys and it’s so good! Not too salty, like some other similar French dishes. This was a big winner.
9- Try the key Lime Tart. This one is available at Florida Fresh, which is a booth right in between France and Morocco. It showcases locally sourced Florida offerings, and this tart is the best thing they’ve got.
10- Fried Cauliflower proves everything Fried is better. This may sound like something you could skip but I’m telling you, this was the best thing I ate at the Festival. Certainly the best of the savory options. I’m telling you now, ‘ll probably get this every time I go, it’s that good. And at 5 bucks it’s a great deal. Find it at the booth in Morocco.
11- Top off your spicy Fried Cauliflower with some sticky sweet Baklava. It’s basically what you would expect and it doesn’t disappoint. If you don’t like a strong honey flavor I’d skip this one. Also in Morocco.
12- Stop by America for a delicious slider. Festival season is the only time I ever eat in (Epcot’s) America. But The Smokehouse has two of the best picks for Flower and Garden this year. This slider is a little small for the price, but it’s packed with so much flavor it’s worth it.
13- Eat this cake and dream of this whiskey sauce for the rest of the week. Do I really need to say anything else about this? I mean, I think the picture really sells it. This sauce though. To die for. Trust me on this one.
14- See a concert. I’ll be honest- I’m not a big fan of the concert acts they bring for this festival and I rarely see any of the concerts. As opposed to the Broadway ones at Festival of the Arts where I go to all of them! But if these guys are your cup of tea, then definitely check them out. The shows only happen Friday-Monday, there’s three shows a night, with each one being about a half hour long.
- March 2-5 – Night Ranger – “Sister Christian”
- March 9-12 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City”
- March 16-19 – Simple Plan – “Welcome to My Life”
- March 23-26 – Little River Band – “Reminiscing”
- March 30-April 2 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO – “Evil Woman”
- April 6-7 – Foghat – “Slow Ride”
- April 8-9 – Survivor – “Eye of the Tiger”
- April 13-14 – Smash Mouth – “All Star”
- April 15-16 – Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl”
- April 20-21 – Jo Dee Messina – “Stand by Me”
- April 22-23 – Lonestar – “Amazed”
- April 27-30 – Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice – “Spinning Wheel”
- May 4-7 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone – “I’m Henry VIII I Am”
- May 11-12 – Village People – “Y.M.C.A.”
- May 13-14 – Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles – “Hotel California”
- May 18-21 – The Guess Who – “American Woman”
- May 25-28 – The Spinners – “Working My Way Back to You”
You can book a dining package that gets you a better section to sit in, or just plan on lining up early. The length of lines really depends on the night and the popularity of the band playing. But unless you want to have a super close seat, in general it’s not hard to grab a seat pretty close to the concert start time if you’re okay with being towards the back. (See the above Passholder info for grabbing seating.)
15- Check out the Flower and Garden Festival merchandise. I have been super impressed this year with the designs for the Festival merchandise. So many super cute items. The ears have been super popular. Here’s a few more things I really loved:
So there’s the list for this year. I hope this helps make it super simple to visit Flower and Garden and feel like you got to experience the best of what it has to offer in the time you have. Don’t forget to allow some time to just enjoy the beauty of the park, and relax a little. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle of getting that must-do list accomplished and miss out on the fun of it all. So if you don’t get to see everything, don’t sweat it. There’s always other years to visit.