Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2008


The 15th annual springtime event will run for seventy-five days, or nearly eleven weeks, from March 19 – June 1, 2008. All festival events are included with regular Epcot admission. The theme of this year's festival is "Fun in the Sun ," and the featured topiaries are a 14-foot Goofy topiary riding a 6-foot wave of flowers and plants and Mickey and Minnie topiaries posed on a floral beach towel spread upon a sandy "beach," in front of Spaceship Earth. World Showcase Plaza's display features Daisy and Donald Duck in a volleyball beach scene with Pluto nearby, under the watchful eye of lifeguard Stitch.

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 2008:

General information | Festival Center events | Great American Gardeners series | Child-focused events | Flower Power concert series | Themed weekends | Other Festival Events | More Information

Captain Hook's pirate ship welcomes visitors to the 2007 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.

General information

  • Up to 70 topiaries, including Lady and the Tramp and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, are installed across park grounds for the festival;
  • 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;
  • Sweeping Future World flower beds, planted on the shores of East and West Lakes, in the shape of nautical flags representing letters (Alpha, Bravo Charlie, etc.) that spell a message to be decoded by guests;
  • 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..

Festival Center events

Several events take place daily inside the Garden Town festival center inside the Wonders of Life pavilion.

  • 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 Saturday.
  • xArt in the Garden Gallery – one-of-a-kind pieces of art are on display
  • xFestival 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 at the France pavilion featured perfume bottle topiaries during the 2007 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.

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 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 Town festival center in the Wonders of Life pavilion.

  • March 19–20 – Roger Swain, Gardening Bright from the Start – "The Victory Garden" veteran celebrates gardening with an eye-catching, mouth-watering, planet-saving discussion of America's favorite hobby;
  • March 21–23 – Joe Lamp'l aka joe gardener, Green Gardening – Joe helps gardening aficionados find new ways to "go green" and connect with the earth using practical information and environmentally friendly tips;
  • March 28–30 – Ellen Zachos, Prehistoric Planting – Zachos shows you how to plant a dinosaur garden – the perfect playground for kids of all ages and dinosaurs, too;
  • April 4–6 – Shirley Bovshow, "Out of the Box" Garden Design -- TV host and garden designer Bovshow gives "out of the box" ideas on artistic design, elevating common landscape elements like fences and garden beds to art status;
  • April 11–13 – Jeffrey Rustuccio, Get Fit Through Gardening -- Based on his "Get Fit through Gardening" book, Rustuccio shares how to reduce back strain and muscle soreness and transform gardening into a lifelong fitness and wellness program;
  • April 18–20 – Tovah Martin, Garden Secrets and Stewardship -- Well-known author and TV guest on PBS's "Cultivating Life," Martin shares secrets from the country's top "green" experts and shows how to bring gardens with a past into the future;
  • April 25–27 – Felder Rushing, Slow Gardening -- Renowned horticulturist, NPR host and author of award-winning "Passalong Plants," Rushing shares practical tips for all-year beauty using tough shrubs, flowers, herbs and even "designer" vegetables grown in containers and flower beds;
  • May 2–4 – Tom MacCubbin, Whole Garden Foods -- Florida garden writer, media personality and extension agent Tom MacCubbin shares how to make your landscape pay its way by growing foods you can put on the table;
  • May 9–11 – Raymond Western, Plants and Perfume -- Guerlain perfume expert Raymond Western offers insights into the history of fragrances and explores the relationship between plants and perfume;
  • May 16–18 – Robert Bowden, Maximizing Weekend Gardening -- Gardening expert, author and director of lush Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Bowden discusses plants with unusual textures, habits and colors for weekend fun with the home landscape;
  • May 23–25 – Melinda Myers, Saving Space -- TV host and nationally known gardening expert Myers shares simple, creative ideas for packing a lot of garden into a small space or creating an intimate garden within a large lot. Discover tips and techniques for designing and maintaining year-round gardens from ground to roofline; and
  • May 30–June 1 – Jon Carloftis, Integrating Nature Inside and Out -- Author of "First A Garden" and "Beyond the Windowsill," Carloftis offers insightful tips to integrate plants and nature in every aspect of life -- from interior spaces to urbanscapes.

Child-focused events and features:

  • Peter Pan's Neverland Garden – Topiary versions of favorite characters from Peter Pan appear in this area targeted at 2-5 year olds;
  • 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);
  • Garden Town Kid Fun Fair – Test your skills in this interactive area, where you can check out gardening demonstrations and hear special guests, including some of America's greatest gardeners; and
  • 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.

David Cumbie's steel Kinetic Playground attracts much attention during Art in the Garden weekend at the 2007 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.

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 Jay Black (of Jay and the Americans), The Happenings, The Ventures, The Searchers and The Cowsills.

  • March 19–22: The Guess Who
  • March 23–24: Petula Clark
  • March 25–29: Paul Revere and the Raiders
  • March 30–31: The 5th Dimension
  • April 1–3: Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring The Nelsons
  • April 4–5: Jay Black
  • April 6–9: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
  • April 10–13: Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill
  • April 14–16: The Happenings
  • April 17–18: Peter & Gordon
  • April 19–23: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
  • April 24–26: The Ventures
  • April 27–30: B.J. Thomas
  • May 1–3: Arlo Guthrie
  • May 4–5: The Searchers
  • May 6–10: The Tokens
  • May 11–15: Davy Jones
  • May 16–17: Jose Feliciano
  • May 18–20: Felix Cavaliere's Rascals
  • May 21–24: Gary Puckett
  • May 25–27: The Cowsills
  • May 28–June 1: Tony Orlando

Note that, as always, entertainment is subject to change without notice.

The parterre helps to frame Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden at the 2007 Flower & Garden Festival. This year, the parterres will spell out a message in nautical flag designs. Photo by Cathy Sowa.

Themed weekends provide special opportunities

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

  • Premiere Weekend, March 21–23
    • Following the festival's opening on Wednesday, March 19, the opening weekend shines with 30 million blooms, topiary magic, gardening activities and new exhibits;
    • Easter Brunch on May 11 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); cost is children 3 - 9 $19.99; adults 10 & up $46.99 plus tax, gratuity included, a children's buffet is available;
    • The Guess Who (3/19-22) launch the Flower Power concert series at America Gardens Theatre, followed by Petula Clark (3/23);
    • After Roger Swain launches the series on March 19–20, Joe Lamp'l aka joe gardener appears as part of the Great American Gardeners series.
  • Characters in Bloom Weekend, March 28–30
    • Lots of extra Disney character appearances;
    • Paul Revere and the Raiders (3/28-29) and The 5th Dimension (3/30) perform Flower Power concerts;
    • Ellen Zachos discusses planting a dinosaur garden.
  • Art in the Garden Weekend, April 4–6
    • 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;
    • Jay Black (4/4-5) and Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone (4/6) are the weekend's featured Flower Power concerts;
    • Shirley Bovshow, garden designer and television host, discusses out of the box ideas for elevating common landscape elements such as fences, walkways, garden beds, furniture and even mulch, to art status;
    • 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.
  • Wellness Weekend, April 11–13
    • This new weekend theme shows you how to participate in outdoor activities and find ways to enhance your own well being;
    • Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill appear during the Flower Power concert series;
    • Jeffrey Rustuccio, author of "Get Fit Through Gardening," talks about how to reduce back strain, muscle soreness and even calluses on your hands using proper gardening techniques.
  • Green Weekend, April 18–20
    • This new weekend theme helps you to find ways to help reduce waste at home and in your community as we spotlight solutions to help keep our planet green;
    • Peter & Gordon (4/18) and Starship starring Mickey Thomas (4/19-20) are the weekend's featured Flower Power concerts;
    • Tovah Martin, well-known author/freelance writer/frequent television guest on PBS's "Cultivating Life," talks about Garden Stewardship & successfully bringing gardens with a past into the future.
  • I Dig Bugs Weekend, April 25–27
    • 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 Ventures (4/25-26) and B.J. Thomas (4/27) supply this weekend's Flower Power;
    • Felder Rushing, nationally-renowned horticulturist, columnist, NPR host and author of award-winning Passalong Plants Felder, talks about Garden Stewardship & successfully bringing gardens with a past into the future;
    • Jiminy Cricket and friends make special appearances in Future World;
    • Ladybugs will be released more frequently throughout the weekend.
  • Florida Farmers Market Weekend, May 2–4
    • This new weekend theme has you visit the ultimate Florida Farmer's Market to see all the bounty that the state has to offer from Apalachicola to Zellwood;
    • Arlo Guthrie (5/2-3) and The Searchers (5/4) are the featured Flower Power acts;
    • Central Florida gardening celebrity Tom MacCubbin talks about edible landscapes.
  • Coming Up Roses Weekend, May 9–11
    • This new weekend theme features the wide variety of roses on display at Epcot;
    • Complimentary flowers for all mothers exclusively on Mother's Day, May 11;
    • Mother's Day Brunch on May 11 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); cost is children 3 - 9 $19.99; adults 10 & up $46.99 plus tax, gratuity included, a children's buffet is available;
    • The Tokens (5/9-5/10) kick off the weekend and Davy Jones (5/11) starts his run with his traditional Mother's Day 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.
  • Garden Party Weekend, May 16–18
    • Disney characters host a series of whimsical garden parties for guests;
    • Jose Feliciano (5/16-17) and Felix Cavaliere's Rascals (5/18) appear during the Flower Power concert series;
    • 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.
  • Outdoor Living Weekend, May 23–26
    • This new weekend theme helps you to discover ways to create your own amazing backyard sanctuary and find special tasty treats and relaxing beverages to help you celebrate the great outdoors;
    • Gary Puckett (5/23-24) and The Cowsills (5/25-26) provide the weekend's Flower Power;
    • Melinda Myers, nationally known gardening expert, TV host and author, discusses packing a lot of garden into a little space.
  • Festival Farewell Weekend, May 30–June 1
    • Jon Carloftis, acclaimed garden designer and author of "First A Garden" and "Beyond the Windowsill," talks about how to integrate plants and nature in every aspect of life – from interior spaces to urban scapes;
    • Tony Orlando (5/30-6/1) wraps the Flower Power concert series;
    • Surprise craft activities for kids wrap up the festival

Topiaries of Bambi and friends are located in Canada at the 2007 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.

Other Festival Events

Still more events await Festival attendees:

  • Fun in the Sun – (New) Goofy catches the perfect wave as Disney celebrates all the fun you can have in the sun;
  • Garden Town – (New) Start your day here with festival information, demonstrations, shopping and more, and enjoy tips on how to get the most out of your visit in the Wonders of Life pavilion;
  • Growing Future Gardeners – Discover a collection of gardens where families can grow together, then create your own special garden at home where parents and children can explore the magic that lives outdoors; enjoy a new play area for kids too! Ladybug releases daily 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.;
  • 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);
  • 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;
  • Peter Pan's Neverland Garden – (New) See some of your favorite characters from "Peter Pan" in topiary; most appreciated by children ages 2-5 years;
  • The Key to Outdoor Living – (New) Presented by DuPont;
  • Dynamite Vegetable Garden – Discover the fabulous freshness of growing vegetables as children learn to plant tomato plants using proper fertilizer to help them grow;
  • Cup of Tea Garden – (New) Presented by Twinings More information to come;
  • Green Garden – (New) Discover how you can create an environmentally friendly, low-input garden of your own as you explore Disney's;
  • Amore nel Giardino (Love in the Garden) – 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;
  • Water Garden Wonders – (New) See this creative and beautiful water garden which uses rainwater. Learn how you can use this ancient idea of a cistern to save water at your home;
  • Lush Xeriscapes – (New) That's Xeriscapes not ZEROscapes! Stroll through this garden and see how you can create a beautiful garden and minimize your use of water at the same time;
  • Perennial Garden – (New) More information to come;
  • Sculpture Garden – Wander through a wondrous garden setting and explore works of art on loan from some of Florida's most prestigious collections;
  • 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;
  • 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 – 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 – Forest and rock trolls are around every corner. Test your skills and track down the trolls as you explore the gardens of Norway.

More information

For more information, you can see last year's park guide page here, 2006's park guide page here, or the official Flower & Garden Festival page on Walt Disney World's web site here.