Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2007
The 14th annual springtime event will run for seven weeks, from April 5 – June 3, 2007. All festival events are included with regular Epcot admission. The theme of this year's festival is "Pirates and Princesses," following the marketing push of the year for Disney, and the featured topiaries are a first-ever pirate ship topiary that will feature Peter Pan and his nemesis, Captain Hook, plus Tinker Bell, as well as Pirate Mickey Mouse and Princess Minnie and other Disney pirate and princess characters (including a 14-foot-tall Pirate Goofy).
The festival features such returning 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 2007:
Donald and Daisy welcome guests to the 2006 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Brian Warneke.
- More than 70 topiaries, including the sweetheart topiary grouping of Cinderella and Prince Charming and Belle and her Beast, are installed across park grounds for the festival. As they were last year, the happy couples are displayed on a "Lovers Lane" from behind Spaceship Earth to World Showcase Plaza;
- 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;
- 45 "flower towers" of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza;
- 100 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;
- Nearly 40 varieties of trees, plants and flowers are featured in this year's The Art of Outdoor Living garden, a pan-tropical fusion presented by Dupont Garden Systems near the Morocco pavilion that combines the ambiance of exotic Bali with an elegant West Palm Beach mood to create an upscale outdoor living area along with an innovative kids play zone;
- More than 500 native butterflies representing up to 10 species reside in Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden, a gazebo-type enclosure filled with lush plants and measuring more than 40 feet in diameter. Guests can stroll through the screened habitat to view the colorful butterflies. Among the garden's two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily;
- 300 horticulturists from the Walt Disney World nursery are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays..
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 University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
- Garden Guides – gardening experts from the University of Florida IFAS present gardening ideas at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily
- Disney Gardening at Home – Learn tips and secrets that you can use from Disney horticulturists at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
- 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
The Guerlain fragrance garden smells wonderful at the 2006 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Leslie Meister.
Many expert gardeners from past years return for the popular series of seminars at this year's Festival. The sessions run at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 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 Garden Odyssey Center in the former Odyssey Restaurant.
- April 5–8 – Paul James, host of HGTV's "Gardening by the Yard," discusses all-natural approaches and answers gardening questions;
- April 13–15 – Patricia Lanza, author of "Lasagna Gardening," talks about methods that will allow everyone to grow gardens like pros using simple methods to improve poor Florida soils;
- April 20–22 – Clyde Butcher, renowned wilderness photographer, gives outdoor photography tips;
- April 27–29 – Tom Turpin, award winning, well-known professor of entomology at Purdue University, who founded the "Bug Bowl," hosts a popular event showcasing the benefits of insects;
- May 4–6 – Tom MacCubbin, author of "The Edible Landscape" and co-author of "Florida Gardener's Guide (2nd edition)," holds forth on edible landscapes;
- May 11–13 – Raymond Western, Guerlain perfume specialist, speaking on the relationship between plants and perfume;
- May 18–20 – Robert Bowden, director of Orlando's Harry P. Leu Gardens, discusses plants with unusual textures, habits, and colors to make an interesting and fun garden;
- May 26–28 – Gary Alan, landscape designer and TV and radio personality, presents unique ideas and methods to help you create your own magical landscape; and
- June 9–11 – Georgia Tasker, feature writer for The Miami Herald and author of "Wild Things – The Return of Native Plants" and "Florida Gardeners Guide," Georgia holds the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tropical Audubon Society.
- Tinker Bell's Fairy Garden – Last year's maze on the Imagination Walkway is back; it's fairy-themed 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);
- Pluto's Play Zone – Apparently replacing the former SpaceNet play area, it features the Evos Playsystem with special Disney surprises;
- Growing Future Gardeners – This collection of gardens gives kids (and parents) ideas for their own gardens, it features a new play area for kids too, and is the site for Ladybug releases daily 1:00 and 3:00 pm. (and more often during the I Love Bugs Weekend);
- Mower Mania! – Maneuver a radio-controlled lawnmower through a skill course;
- The Art of Outdoor Living Garden – Experience the best of elegant outdoor living from around the world in a "Pan-Tropical Fusion" atmosphere.
- Special events created as parts of specific themed weekends during the festival, including Garden Parties during the Party in the Garden Weekend and different themed craft activities each weekend at the Rose Walk.
A panda topiary adorns the gardens outside the China pavilion during the 2006 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.
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 Petula Clark, Jose Feliciano, Peter & Gordon and the SOS Band.
- April 5–9: Paul Revere and the Raiders
- April 10–14: Tony Orlando
- April 15–18: The Buckinghams
- April 19–21: The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie
- April 22–24: The Box Tops
- April 25–28: The Tokens
- April 29–May 1: Peter & Gordon
- May 2–3: Jose Feliciano
- May 4–5: Petula Clark
- May 6–10: Nelson
- May 11–15: Davy Jones
- May 16–19: B.J. Thomas
- May 20–22: Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill
- May 23–25: The Guess Who
- May 26: The SOS Band
- May 27–30: Gary Puckett
- May 31–June 3: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
Note that, 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 2006 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Brian Warneke.
Each weekend of the festival has its own themes and special events just for that weekend:
Premiere Weekend, April 5–8
- The festival opens with 30 million blooms, topiary magic, gardening activities and new exhibits;
- Paul Revere and the Raiders launch the Flower Power concert series at America Gardens Theatre.;
- Paul James, a.k.a. "The Gardening Guy" and host of HGTV's "Gardening By the Yard," appears as part of the Great American Gardeners series.
Garden Parties Weekend, April 13–15
- Disney characters host a series of whimsical garden parties for guests;
- Tony Orlando (4/13-14) and The Buckinghams (4/15) appear during the Flower Power concert series;
- Pat Lanza, author of "Lasagna Gardening," dishes up tips on how to improve Florida soil for growing herbs and plants like the pros.
Art in the Garden Weekend, April 20–22
- Guests get a first-hand look at nature through the eyes of plein air artists and can browse the works of featured Art in the Garden artists;
- The renowned Florida Highwaymen appear with their legendary landscapes;
- The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie (4/20-21) and The Box Tops (4/22) are the weekend's featured Flower Power concerts;
- Renowned wilderness photographer Clyde Butcher talks about photography in the Great American Gardeners series;
- Kids Paint Out art experience in Future World East 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.
I Dig Bugs Weekend, April 27–29
- 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;
- The Tokens (4/27-28) and Peter & Gordon (4/29) supply this weekend's Flower Power;
- Tom Turpin, award-winning Purdue University professor of entomology and founder of the "Bug Bowl," talks about the benefit of insects;
- Jiminy Cricket and friends make special appearances in Future World;
- Ladybugs will be released more frequently throughout the weekend.
Cinco de Mayo Weekend, May 4–6
- The Mexico pavilion celebrates the Cinco de Mayo holiday;
- Petula Clark (5/4-5) and Nelson (5/6) are the featured Flower Power acts;
- Central Florida gardening celebrity Tom MacCubbin talks about edible landscapes.
Mother's Day Weekend, May 11–13
- Special display of floral arrangements at the Festival Center by members of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs;
- Complimentary flowers for all mothers exclusively on Mother's Day, May 13;
- Mother's Day Brunch on May 13 at World ShowPlace, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hard-to-get reservations can be made at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463);
- Davy Jones (5/11-13) makes his traditional Mother's Day Weekend appearance in the Flower Power concert series;
- Guerlain perfume specialist Raymond Western talks about the intimate relationship between perfumes and plants like those displayed at the France pavilion's Fragrance Garden;
- Children can create Mother's Day cards at special locations.
Characters in Bloom Weekend, May 18–20
- Lots of extra Disney character appearances;
- B.J. Thomas (5/18-19) and Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill (5/20) perform Flower Power concerts;
- Robert Bowden, director of the lush Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, discusses plants with character, including those with unusual texture, color and habits;
- Tinker Bell's Fairy Garden showcases a glittering Tinker Bell topiary and provides fun for everyone, especially younger children, while the new Pluto's Play Zone features climbing fun for kids 6 and up;
- Artisans showcase handcrafted dolls and teddy bears at World ShowPlace on Saturday from 1–5 p.m and on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Memorial Day Weekend, May 26–28
- The SOS Band (5/26) and Gary Puckett (5/27-28) provide the weekend's Flower Power;
- Gary Alan, landscape designer and TV and radio personality, talks about ideas and methods to create a magical landscape;
- Field Day activities for kids in Future World East, featuring beanbag tosses, relay races and other events.
Festival Farewell Weekend, June 1–3
- Georgia Tasker, author of "Wild Things-the Return of Native Plants" and "Florida Gardeners Guide," is the final Great American Gardeners series speaker;
- Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone (6/1-3) wrap the Flower Power concert series;
- Surprise craft activities for kids wrap up the festival
A Stitch topiary says goodbye to guests at the 2006 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Brian Warneke.
Still more events await Festival attendees:
- Fragrance Garden – Breathe in and let your senses take over at this intoxicating garden, featuring the radiant and sensual fragrances of Guerlain. Discover the "love story" between plants, fragrance and perfume and enjoy a complimentary 20-minute tour with a Guerlain Representative at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily. Sign up at the Guerlain Shop in La Signature;
- Tricks of the Trade – Get a "behind the scenes" look at how Disney Horticulturists create some of the most popular elements and attractions throughout the Theme Parks;
- Dynamite Vegetable Garden (New) – Discover the fabulous freshness of growing vegetables as children learn to plant tomato plants using proper fertilizer to help them grow;
- The Lion King (New) – See some of your favorite Characters from "The Lion King" presented in topiary, and learn about the wild new Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas;
- Sculpture Garden – Wander through a wondrous garden setting and explore works of art on loan from some of Florida's most prestigious collections;
- Water Garden Wonders – Discover cool concepts for water gardens that add a "splash" of creativity to your landscape design;
- Water Works (New) – Are you watering the road or experiencing lawn geysers? Don't be a drip! Watch this tongue-in-cheek presentation about using our water resources wisely;
- Wildlife Garden – Discover the beauty of Florida's native foliage and learn how you can create your own nature-friendly garden;
- Florida's Wildflowers (New) – See how Florida's wildflower growers are helping to make the state a more beautiful place. Children can play and participate in fun arts and crafts with wildflowers and wildflower seeds;
- Spices of Life – Explore the sizzling, smoky and savory world of spices that add pizzazz to food from around the world;
- Bonsai Collection – Discover the elegant, ancient art of bonsai showcased throughout the serene Japanese garden;
- Italian Container Gardens – Feast your eyes on bouquets of blooms as they tumble down the side of classic Italian containers. Collect planting ideas on how to combine colorful flowers, textured foliage and beautiful pots for dazzling and dramatic results;
- Penjing (Chinese Bonsai) – Explore the unique art form of sculpting dwarf trees in an ancient technique that predates its Japanese counterpart by hundreds of years;
- Topiary Chinese Zodiac (New) – It's the Year of the Pig! What's your sign? Discover the Chinese Zodiac and see the signs presented in topiary;
- Norway Troll Trek – New! Forest and rock trolls are around every corner. Test your skills and track down the trolls as you explore the gardens of Norway.