Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2006

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The 13th annual springtime event runs for seven weeks, from April 21 – June 11, 2006. All festival events are included with regular Epcot admission. The theme of this year's festival is "Romance," and the featured topiaries are Donald and Daisy cruising through a floral tunnel of love, as well as a series of topiaries recreating the images from this year's Art of Disney: Romance stamps (see below).

The festival features such activities as the Great American Gardeners lecture series, the Flower Power Concert Series and Disney Gardening at Home presentations, as well as many floral displays and dozens of the topiaries that at one time could be seen all over Walt Disney World.

Here's a rundown on what's going on at the Festival in 2006:

General information | Festival Center events | Stamp release | Great American Gardeners series | Child-focused events | Flower Power concert series | Themed weekends

 


Mickey and friends welcome guests to the 2005 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Lani Teshima.

General information

  • Fifty hearts (some floral, some not) are hidden throughout the festival landscaping to highlight this year's romance theme, —see if you can find them all (hints are available at the Festival Center)
  • Festival poster artist Michael Sullivan signs his artwork for guests all weekend May 5-7 and June 2-4
  • Luau, wedding and children's birthday party ideas are spotlighted at the Ultimate Backyard Garden Party, presented by The Home Depot and hosted by Disney characters
  • Festival landscaping includes 30 million blooms, 300,000 bedding plants and 750 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns
  • At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors are used to create and define features of the festival topiaries, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen
  • More than 15 floral, herbal and spice ingredients of seven popular perfumes are revealed in the Fragrance Garden presented by Guerlain at the France pavilion, including lemon, Arabian jasmine, vanilla, mimosa, magnolia, rose, nutmeg and vetivergrass
  • Forty-five "flower towers" of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza
  • Eighty floating mini-gardens of multi-hued impatiens, each three feet in diameter, provide splashes of color on the two lakes that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase

Festival Center events

Several events take place daily inside the Festival Center inside Innoventions West:

  • Great American Gardeners series (see below)
  • Ask an Expert – get your questions answered by "Master Gardeners from the Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
  • Disney Gardening at Home – Learn tips and secrets that you can use from Disney horticulturists
  • Planting Pointers – gardening experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences present gardening ideas at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily
  • Art in the Garden Gallery – one-of-a-kind pieces of art are on display
  • Festival Blooms – the blooms featured in festival displays are all identified for your purchasing convenience
  • Festival Store – anything that you might want to purchase as a souvenir from the event can be found here


Snow White and Dopey topiaries dance at the 2004 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Art of Disney: Romance stamp release

The first day of issue of the new 39-cent Art of Disney: Romance stamps takes place at the opening of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The ceremony will be presided over by Jo Ann Feindt, Vice President of Great Lakes Area Operations for the U.S. Postal Service, Walt Disney World President (and President of Worldwide Operations for Disney Park & Resorts) Al Weiss, and Vice President of Epcot, Brad Rex. The ceremony will also be attended by the characters appearing on this year's stamps, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Belle and the Beast, Lady and the Tramp and—of course—Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse.


The new Art of Disney: Romance stamps will be officially released at the opening of the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Image © U.S. Postal Service.

This year, the stamps are also re-created in larger-than-life topiaries. The seven-foot displays will be unveiled live on stage in an elaborate ceremony directly behind Spaceship Earth, in Innoventions Plaza, and will be displayed along a "Lovers' Lane" between Innoventions Plaza and World Showcase Plaza. Festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. on April 21.

Great American Gardeners series

Many expert gardeners from past years return for the popular series of seminars at this year's Festival. The sessions run at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the festival as some of the most respected gardeners and nature experts in the country reveal tips and entertaining stories at the Festival Center inside Innoventions West.

  • April 21 through 23 – Paul James, host of HGTV's "Gardening by the Yard," discusses all-natural approaches and answers gardening questions
  • April 28 through 30 – Roger Swain, former host of PBS's "Victory Garden," demonstrates simple, effective gardening tricks and techniques
  • May 5 through 7 – Clyde Butcher, renowned wilderness photographer, gives outdoor photography tips and Robert L. Bendick, Jr., division vice president of The Nature Conservancy, talks about Disney's Wilderness Preserve
  • May 12 through 14 – Raymond Western, Guerlain perfume specialist, speaking on the relationship between plants and perfume
  • May 19 through 21 – Jaret Daniels, University of Florida butterfly expert and conservatory curator, talks about landscaping a garden to attract butterflies
  • May 26 through 28 – Pat Lanza, author of "Lasagna Gardening," talks about using household refuse to improve gardens
  • June 2 through 4 – Robert Bowden, director of Orlando's Harry P. Leu Gardens, discusses great shrubs and trees for all regions of Florida; and
  • June 9 through 11 – Tom MacCubbin, author of "The Edible Landscape" and co-author of "Florida Gardener's Guide (2nd edition)," holds forth on minimal maintenance landscaping and using container gardens.

Child-focused events and features:

  • Tinker Bell's Fairy Garden – This year's maze on the Imagination Walkway is fairy-themed (yes, we know that Tinker Bell is really a pixie; take it up with Disney) with a twinkling Tink topiary, playground, fairy maze and tunnel crawl
  • Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden – More than 500 butterflies representing approximately 10 species inhabit a screened-in gazebo (hint: go early in the morning while the butterflies are still drowsy, and one might sit on your finger)
  • WaterFULL World Garden – At this location near the Outpost in World Showcase, there are ladybug releases at 1 and 3 p.m. daily
  • SpaceNet – This popular climber (adjacent to the butterfly garden) returns for climbers ages 5 and up
  • Growing Future Gardeners – This collection of gardens gives kids (and parents) ideas for their own gardens, plus provides a bamboo fort, upside-down trees and garden crafts
  • A miniature Bavarian Village again decorates the model train setup between the Germany and Italy pavilions
  • Special events created as parts of specific themed weekends during the festival, including Alice's Unbirthday Party during the Party in the Garden Weekend and different themed craft activities each weekend at the Rose Walk.


Arlo Guthrie performs at the Flower Power concert series during the 2003 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Flower Power Concert Series

Concerts take place three times nightly at the America Gardens Theatre, at 5:45, 7:00 and 8:15 p.m.

This series features artists popular back in the "Flower Power" days of the 1960s and 1970s. The exception to this would be Nelson, but they make up for that by playing the hits of their father, Ricky Nelson, who was of that period. New to the lineup this year are The Guess Who, The Association, The Tokens and Tony Orlando of "Tony Orlando and Dawn" fame.

  • April 21 through 24 – Nelson
  • April 25 through 27 – The Buckinghams
  • April 28 through May 1 – Gary Puckett
  • May 2 through 4 – Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill
  • May 5 through 8 – Paul Revere and the Raiders
  • May 9 through 11 – The Association
  • May 12 through 15 – Davy Jones
  • May 16 through 18 – The Tokens
  • May 19 through 22 – B.J. Thomas
  • May 23 through 25 – Felix Cavaliere's Rascals
  • May 26 through 29 – The Guess Who
  • May 30 through June 1 – Tony Orlando
  • June 2 through 5 – Arlo Guthrie
  • June 6 through 7 – The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie
  • June 8 through 11 – Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone

As always, entertainment is subject to change without notice.


A parterre decorates the shore of one of the lakes between Future World and World Showcase at the 2004 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Themed weekends provide special opportunities

Each weekend of the festival has its own themes and special events just for that weekend:

  • Premiere Weekend, April 21–23
    • The U.S. Postal Service launches its Art of Disney Romance commemorative stamp (9:30 a.m., April 21)
    • New Romance stamps go on sale with first-day cancellation offered to Disney guests
  • Party in the Garden Weekend, April 28–30
    • Future World tea party and Alice's Unbirthday Party near the Sculpture Garden in Future World
    • The Home Depot and FamilyFun magazine host special kids' activities
  • Art in the Garden Weekend, May 5–7
    • Live art creation in various media in the Epcot gardens by twelve artists
    • Sixteen plein air artists will be creating works on Saturday and Sunday
    • Festival poster artist Michael Sullivan signs his artwork for guests all weekend
    • Kids Paint Out art experience inside the Sculpture Garden daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., where a half dozen easels and special paint bottles are set out for kids to paint with the assistance of a professional artist nearby.
  • Mother's Day Weekend, May 12–14
    • Special display of floral arrangements at the Festival Center by members of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs
    • Complimentary photos and flowers for all mothers exclusively on Mother's Day, May 14 (photo locations will be located throughout the park
    • Mother's Day Brunch on May 14 at World ShowPlace, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hard-to-get reservations can be made at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463)
    • Children can create Mother's Day cards at special locations.
  • Characters in Bloom Weekend, May 19–21
    • Lots of extra Disney character appearances
    • Kid craft activities from FamilyFun magazine at the Test Track walkway
    • Gardening-related activities and hands-on fun presented by The Home Depot
    • Artisans showcase handcrafted dolls and teddy bears on Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Memorial Day Weekend, May 27–29
    • Field Day activities for kids ages 3–9 near The Land, featuring beanbag tosses, relay races and other events.
  • I Dig Bugs Weekend, June 2–4
    • Special programs educate about the role of bugs in keeping gardens healthy
    • Bug specialists from Disney's Animal Kingdom bring caterpillars, spiders and other creatures to Future World East to give guests a closer look
    • Jiminy Cricket and friends make special appearances in Future World
    • Ladybugs will be released more frequently throughout the weekend.
  • Festival Farewell Weekend, June 9–11
    • Festival poster artist Michael Sullivan signs his artwork for guests all weekend;
    • Surprise craft activities for kids wrap up the festival