MinkFlamingos

Raising a kid and going to WDW. A lot.

25 Years of Flower & Garden Festival

25 Years of Flower & Garden Festival

Unless it's your first time on this site, you already know the love I hold for Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival.  Seriously, it's the best.  This year it celebrates 25 years of being the ORIGINAL Epcot Festival (yup, predates Food & Wine). In honor of the bestest festival, I thought I'd tack on a few more things to last year's article (in case you want EVEN MORE to enjoy).

 

Take a Stroll Through the Butterfly Garden

 Heimlich!

Heimlich!

I don't know how this escaped last year's list. Epcot's Butterfly Garden (in a tent behind Club Cool) is always a must-stop for our family.  Although I haven't yet uncovered the instagram secret of getting a butterfly to land majestically on your finger for the sake of a photo, there are a large variety of these beautiful insects to check out from caterpillar to coccoon and beyond. 

The tent smells amazing from all the beautiful blooms, too. Plus when you're done, it's just a quick beeline over to the stand where they're giving out FREE Gogo Squeez applesauce packets.  And they're cold. 

 

Keep Tabs on the Topiaries

The topiaries have always been a part of Flower & Garden.  In 1994 there were a scant handful, including Mickey and some dancing hippos.  None of them had faces.  One of my favorite things to do is look for the familiar "faces" and see where they end up from year to year, as well as which are new. 

 Ahhhhhh we have the stars to guide us!

Ahhhhhh we have the stars to guide us!

This year I'm completely in love with the Three Cabelleros topiaries near Mexico. 

 

Visit Some Very Special Birds (not just Donald)

Purple Martins, one of the largest members of the Swallow family, are migratory birds that make there way to Epcot every year from as far away as Brazil. 

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These little guys have their own little colony of nests that are studied in Future World.  If you catch them at the right time of day, one of the scientists might even let you get a closer look at their nests or teach you how you could make a Martin nest for your own home (they're very picky avians, a regular birdhouse just won't do). 

 

Take A Special Tour

Last year I told y'all about the Tea Garden Tour (which is apparently very popular this year, so make sure to call ahead and book if you're interested!).  This year I want to tell you about the Behind the Seeds Tour in Living with the Land.  Yes, this tour is available year round, but since it's all about GARDENING, I think it's a great experience to tack on to a F&G Festival Day. 

If you've ridden Living with the Land, you've seen the green houses.  You'll get a guided tour backstage and into the green houses to learn how they work. 

I had this fantasy that they would let me into the green house and it would be my own personal fruit and vegetable version of the chocolate room scene from Willy Wonka.  But it's like they knew what I was thinking and before they even opened the door they warned me not to touch anything. Dangit.  They did give us all a sample of a freshly harvested cucumber, however. 

The tour runs about an hour, and you can learn all about the workings of this ZERO waste facility (how cool is that?).

 

Even More Scavenger Hunt Goodness

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My family is pretty die hard for the Eggstravaganza hunt in the World Showcase (D has already done it twice this year).  But in order to extend the hunt beyond Easter (as the Festival does), WDW has added another scavenger hunt called Spike's Pollen Nation Exploration.  The prize for completing this hunt is a collection of Flower & Garden themed patches, which are pretty neato. The price on this runs around the same as the Eggs, too, $6 ish (and yes, you can get an AP or DVC discount). 

 

Feel Super Cultured and Stuff

Most of the countries have some sort of Flower & Garden exhibit that's specifically tailored to that region's horticulture.  You can meet a 100 year old Bonsai tree in Japan.

Take in the Shakespeare Garden, where you can see the plants that are mentioned in his writings.

There are herb gardens in Italy and Morocco, an Alpine Garden exhibit in Germany, etc. etc.

 

 

The bottom line is that, even if you've done Flower & Garden before, you can do it again and have an entirely new and different experience.  For me half the fun is looking for what's moved and what's changed, while also trying out what's new or different.  The cheesecake at the Honey Beestro booth is divine this year.

And you can also take a stroll through the DIY garden to get tips for things you can do around your own home, like building your own topiaries.

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And as always, you can leave knowing things you didn't when you got there.  Isn't that the whole point of Epcot? To trick you into learning with fun? (Or was that just the side-eyed opinion of 7th grade me?)

 

*WDW invited me to attend a day at Flower and Garden Festival.  Food and tours were gratis.  I was not obligated to do anything in return.  All opinions here are my own, and if you don't believe me do a site search for Flower and Garden Festival and see how many times I've sung its praises over the years*

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