Welcome to the next stop on Magical Blogorail Red. Today we are discussing the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!
Prepare for Sensory Overload! The 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is here and we’ve got tips and strategies to make sure you enjoy everything there is to taste, touch, see, hear, and smell!
We’ve been to Epcot during the International Flower & Garden Festival a number of times, and it is one of the best times of the year to experience Epcot. Once you’ve seen Epcot with its gardens in full bloom and the amazing topiary displays, it will truly spoil you and visiting Epcot at other times of the year will seem a little lacking.
1. Plan to Spend the Whole Day… and maybe more.
It could be that for you Epcot is not a “whole day” park, normally. If there was ever a time that being in Epcot from when the park opens until they literally have to escort you out, the Flower & Garden Festival is it. Plan to get there early, and stay the whole day. If your visit allows, you might even want to make plans to be in Epcot multiple times during your trip.
2. Weekends Rock!
Keep in mind that the Festival Center, the special presentations, and the concerts mostly take place on Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays during the Festival. It will be more crowded on those days, but there’s so much more to see and do as well!
If you just want to see the gardens and try some of the food, weekdays are just fine.
3. Make use of FP+ for attractions
If you plan to hit any of Epcot’s attractions while in the park, make use of FastPass+ so you’ll waste less time standing in line and can spend more time enjoying the Festival offerings.
4. ADRs are not required
One of the great things about the Flower & Garden Festival is all the unique food offerings at the outdoor kitchens. It’s like a mini Food & Wine festival!! You can easily eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and between meal snacks all from the amazing kiosks scattered around World Showcase.
If you do want to enjoy one of Epcot’s many great restaurants, you still can, and that’s perfectly okay. Just don’t feel pressured to do so.
If I were to choose any one meal to have as a sit-down in the park during the Festival, I’d choose a pre-park opening breakfast at Akershus just so I could get into the park early and enjoy some of the gardens before it gets more crowded.
5. Take the Monorail
Epcot has its own parking lot and is even conveniently located close to several Disney Resorts. Parking at the Transportation and Ticket Center and riding the monorail to Epcot is great because it gives you an awesome view of the Festival from up high as the monorail enters the park and circles Future World. It also ensures that you won’t miss the awesome topiary display at Epcot’s main entrance.
6. Get a Passport!
Available at the Festival Center (open Friday-Sunday) and at kiosks and merchandise stands throughout World Showcase, the Flower & Garden Passport is free and is a great souvenir. It serves as a guide to all there is to see and do at the Festival, and you can get it stamped at each food kiosk you visit to keep track of your experience!
7. Bring the Kids!
Don’t think for one moment that the little ones might be bored by looking at flowers and that they won’t eat anything aside from chicken nuggets and french fries!
Epcot is a great park for kids, and it gets even better during the Flower & Garden Festival. You’ll have a tough time getting your kids out of the added play areas, but it’s a great way to give your feet a break and enjoy a treat! There’s also the butterfly house, interactive gardens based on many favorite Disney characters, and a miniature festival going on inside the model train display!
Among the offerings at the outdoor kitchens are many healthy, yet tasty dishes that are great for kids and adults alike. These are part of Disney’s TryIt! initiative, and we found they are great items to expose young eaters to.
8. See the Gardens in a Different Light!
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is reason enough to stay through the evening, but select gardens and play areas are also illuminated at night, giving you a whole different experience, new photo opportunities, and more reason to stay and enjoy the Festival once the sun sets!
9. Take Home a Souvenir
At the Festival Center, Mouse Gear, and the Festival merchandise locations throughout World Showcase are many unique souvenirs that you can only get at the Festival. These make great collectibles and keepsakes.
If you are a pin collector, you’ll want to be sure to get one of the Flower & Garden Festival pins. If you’re a Frozen fan, you’ll be interested in the limited edition Flower and Garden Magic Band!
10. Get Inspired!
You don’t have to have the world’s greenest thumb to take some inspiration from the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and use that to add a little Disney inspiration at home! The lineup of speakers and presenters at the Festival can help you garden better, the chefs sharing the secrets of the food kiosks can help you cook better, or simply walking around the gardens can inspire you to create a little place to kick back, relax, and get more enjoyment from the outdoors at home!
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Rolling with the Magic.