The 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has begun, and it will run daily until June 3. That’s almost three full months of food, music, and blooms! Make sure you pick up a Festival Passport when you enter the park. That will be your guide for what you can find and where. The festival is included with park admission (including the concerts), although there could be a charge for some of the extras. Here are some of the highlights of this year’s festival.
1. Outdoor Kitchens
Since food is an important part of all of the festivals at Epcot, that’s a great place to start. There are close to 20 Outdoor Kitchens this year. The returning favorites include THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews and The Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board (yes, the cheesecake is back). New kitchens for 2019 include Arbor at The Gardeners Terrace, The Citrus Blossom, Flavor Full Kitchen Hosted by AdventHealth, and Trowel & Trellis Hosted by IMPOSSIBLE Foods. There will also be special food offerings around the park at places such as Block & Hans and Taste Track. The Outdoor Kitchens will sell snack sized dishes and beverages that are not normally offered at Epcot. Many of the items count as a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.
One of the most popular things to do at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is to see the topiaries. One exciting new addition this year is Bo Peep and Her Sheep. She is watching over Bo Peep’s Playtime Training Grounds, with Woody and Buzz nearby. Kermit and Miss Piggy have returned this year. You’ll also find favorites such as Mickey and Minnie, Lady and the Tramp, Winnie the Pooh, and Anna and Elsa. The locations of the topiaries are listed in your Passport so you won’t miss any.
3. Garden Rocks
Garden Rocks Concert Series has expanded to seven days a week this year. That means that there will be well over 250 performances! New artists this year include Jon Anderson of Yes, Ambrosia, Steven Curtis Chapman, TobyMac, and Eddie Palmieri. Returning artists who have performed at either Garden Rocks or Eat to the Beat include Tony Orlando, Air Supply, Rick Springfield, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. There are three concerts each evening, and they are held in the America Gardens Theater. You’ll want to get in line early, or book a Garden Rocks Dining Package.
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The little ones in your party will also have a blast at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Not only will they want to spend some time at the aforementioned Bo Peep’s Playtime Training Grounds, they’ll want to check out Play Full Garden as well. Spike has returned once again for Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration. Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt will also take place April 5 through 21. Either scavenger hunt costs $6.99, and there is a prize at the end.
5. Gardens and More
Part of the fun of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is the other additions. The extra gardens for 2019 include Bamboo Garden, Bonsai Collection, and English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London. The Goodness Garden Butterfly House Presented by GoGo squeeZ is back. If you are lucky enough to be able to visit the festival more than once it is interesting to see how many butterflies have come out of their cocoons since your last visit. There is also something special about having a butterfly land on your hand. Once again at this year’s festival you can learn about Purple Martins, and you might even have a chance to see the eggs or the baby birds.
You will find plenty of festival souvenirs that you will want to take home. This year some of the items feature Spike and Donald. Minnie has a collection that includes apparel, accessories, and even a watering can mug. Mickey also has apparel and other items that celebrate his love of gardening (who knew?). There are of course themed ears, collectors will love the Violet Lemonade Headband. There is also special merchandise for Annual Passholders. Speaking of Passholders, they can pick up a Pluto magnet through April 10, and then Daisy will take over until the end of the festival. The Passholder Magnets will be available at Port of Entry or Mouse Gear.
One of the best ways to truly appreciate the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is to take a tour. Gardens of the World is a three hour tour where you will learn some of the secrets of the festival. It costs $85. Royal Tea Garden Tour takes about 45 minutes. You’ll learn about the tea garden, then enjoy tea and scones. The cost is $20. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) for more information or to make a reservation. English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London is a free tour that lasts about 20 minutes. It’s held on select days, and you’ll need to register in The Tea Caddy gift shop. You’ll want to sign up as soon as you enter the park, because it’s limited to 20 guests per tour. If you’re more the self-guided type, learn more about brewing tea with a brochure that is available inside The Tea Caddy. There is no cost for the self-guided tour.