The 2020 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is set to begin on March 4, and this year it will run through June 1. On Wednesday, February 26 I was invited to be part of a very small media group that was given a preview of some of the food and merchandise. The preview was held in the Festival Kitchen. This is a backstage area at EPCOT, and except for the displays that were set up for us pictures were strictly forbidden. It was still interesting to see the giant area where most of the food for the festivals is prepared.
I’ll start with the information on the Outdoor Kitchens this year. A brand new kitchen, Magnolia Terrace, is about to make its first appearance. This is where you will be able to find the Southern Seafood Boil. It will contain shrimp, mussels, crawfish, sausage, potatoes, and corn. There is some heat to this dish. Also at Magnolia Terrace you’ll find Grilled Oysters. It’s the first time that oysters have been featured this prominently in a festival dish. Magnolia Terrace will also have House-made Boudin, Pecan Cake, and Pecan Praline.
Another exciting new addition this year is a stroll called Garden Graze. There are five different items to purchase, and you need to make sure you have your Festival Passport stamped at each one. After you have all five stamps, head to Pineapple Promenade. You will then receive a free item, and this one sounds delicious. Your redemption item is Mango Dole Whip! It comes in a reusable cup that is yours to take home. All of the items in Garden Graze are plant-based. We sampled the Grilled Baby Vegetables with Hummus, which will be one of the Garden Graze items. It might be my new favorite item at the festival.
One other food item that I want to mention is the Popsicle Trio that will be found at Refreshment Port. These are made in-house. There are three mini-popsicles in each order; honeydew, raspberry-mint, and coconut-lime. We sampled these. All three flavors are light and refreshing, without being overly sweet. These are going to be must-try on hot days!
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We also had a chance to see some of the merchandise that will be sold at the festival. Spike the Bee will “bee” a featured character this time around. There is a Spike Sipper that is sure to be popular! You will also be able to buy a Spike spork. It is reusable, so you don’t have to use plastic forks with each food item you buy. Spike is also featured on T-shirts, tumblers, and some other items.
Orange Bird fans are going to love all the choices. There’s a backpack, a drinking glass, a pitcher, a spirit jersey, and more. My personal favorite is the Orange Bird Ears.
There are also plenty of more “traditional” Flower & Garden Festival merchandise items. Minnie is on a Dooney & Bourke bag, as well as hats and mugs. Mickey is of course found on items as well, and the Passholder shirt and mug both feature Figment.
All of your favorite activities will return to the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival this year. The Garden Rocks Concert Series will take place three times each evening. Remy is about to join the topiaries. You will be able to watch caterpillars turn into butterflies in the Goodness Garden Butterfly House. Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration is a scavenger hunt that will run the entire festival, while Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt will run March 27 through April 12. These are just a few of the things that you will find at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival this year. There may be a lot of construction walls at the moment, but don’t let them keep you away. This year’s festival promises to be fantastic.