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18th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
March 2 - May 15, 2011

The 2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival began its 75-day run on Wednesday, March 2. I was there with my camera.

Once again, even though this is Yesterland.com, I’m writing about something that’s not gone. (If you prefer Yesterland articles about things that are gone, please wait until May 16 to read this.)

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, March 4, 2011


2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Woody and Buzz at the entrance to Epcot

Epcot has some pretty terrific landscaping all year long, but during its Flower & Garden Festival each year, Epcot kicks it up a notch. Make that several notches.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Let’t go fly a kite.

Dozens of Disney character topiaries appear throughout Epcot. The former Wonders of Life pavilion becomes the Festival Center—just as during the Food & Wine Festival. Huge floral mosaics replace lawns at the ponds between Future World and World Showcase. Outdoor exhibits provide ideas for gardening and outdoor living. Oldies acts present concerts at the America Gardens Theatre. Special merchandise pops up at a half dozen locations. And a couple of dozen companies promote their products and services.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Pick up a Festival Guide.

You need a map to find it all.

The Festival Guide identifies 27 locations to visit. Some are just a single topiary (such as Stitch near Mission: Space). Others are elaborate, such as the large Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, with its topiaries, extensive plantings, play structures, and the opportunity to “meet some of your favorite fairies in person.”

The Festival Guide is not perfect. It promises a Cars 2 topiary at the entrance to World Showcase from Future World, but there is no such thing—so far, at least. Some of the English Tea Garden Tour times are wrong, and there’s no indication that guests need to sign up in advance.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Floral Mosaics

Disney claims, “30 million blooms blanket the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days.”

I have no reason to doubt that.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Bambi’s Butterfly House

This is only the second time that I’ve been to the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. My previous visit was in 2007.

The walk-in butterfly exhibit was pretty good in 2007. This year, it’s spectacular—much larger and much more beautiful.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Inside Bambi’s Butterfly House

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Butterflies land on flowers... and on people.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

We can sing; we can dance; after all, this is France.

I always enjoy walking around World Showcase Lagoon. Most countries have one or more special exhibits for Flower & Garden Festival. For example, there’s an Aladdin topiary in Morocco, an English Tea Garden (hosted by Twinings) in the United Kingdom, and a Fragrance Garden (hosted by Guerlain) in France.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Lady and the Tramp topiary in Italy

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Topiary pandas

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Bonsai collection in Japan

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Festival Center

The Festival Center in the former Wonders of Life pavilion offers presentations by expert guests and HGTV personalities on the Designer’s Stage and hands-on seminars with gardening experts from Walt Disney World’s horticulture department on the Greenhouse Stage. There is no extra charge.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

“Butterflies & Beyond” presentation by Jaret C. Daniels

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Hanging Basket talk and activity with Marvin Tindell at the Greenhouse Stage

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Topiary talk and activity with Nelson Whittaker at the Greenhouse Stage

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Garden Gifts in the Festival Center

There’s a lot of fun merchandise in the gift shop.

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Mickey Flamingos

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Mickey garden gnomes

2011 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Thank you for visiting the Festival.

Looking back at what I’ve written, this is a very positive review. If I’m in the Orlando area when the Flower & Garden Festival is going on, I will definitely return. But I still wouldn’t plan a trip to Florida just to go to the Festival,

 

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Epcot Food & Wine, 2011
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© 2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated September 30, 2011.

All photos in this article: Werner Weiss, March 2 and March 3, 2011.