Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2010
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival starts earlier than ever this year. The 17th annual springtime event runs for seventy-five days, or nearly eleven weeks, from March 3 - May 16, 2010. The theme of this year's festival is "Celebrate the Great Outdoors", and the featured topiary at the park's main entrance shows Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto setting up camp. Where are Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse? Their topiary likenesses are at the entrance to World Showcase, in a scene based on Grant Wood's 1930 painting "American Gothic."
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 2010:
General information | Festival Center events | Great American Gardeners series | Gardens of the World Tour | Garden Town Breakfast | Child-focused events | Flower Power concert series | Other Festival Events | More Information
Captain Hook's pirate ship welcomes visitors to the 2007 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.
- In addition to the front entrance topiary display, 70 other topiaries, including Lady and the Tramp, the Fab Five and characters from The Lion King, 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;
- 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 ten 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, and are joined this year by 15 larger gardens, eight feet in diameter;
- 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 inside the Garden Town festival center inside the Wonders of Life pavilion, which this year is only open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.
- Disney Gardening at Home – learn tips and secrets that you can use from Disney horticulturists at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (see below)
- Great American Gardeners series – respected gardeners and nature experts reveal tips and entertaining stories at noon and 3 p.m. (see below)
- Planting Pointers – gardening experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will present great gardening ideas at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- 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 at the France pavilion featured perfume bottle topiaries during the 2007 Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Cathy Sowa.
Disney gardening experts again get together to present this popular series 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 you get an opportunity to learn from Disney's horticultural masters and get a hands-on lesson that you can take home with you at the Garden Town festival center in the Wonders of Life pavilion.
- March 5–7 – Easy to do Water Features;
- March 12–14 – Fun Family Gardening Projects;
- March 19–21 – What's Old is New;
- March 26–28 – Butterfly House How To – Create a Pollinator Garden;
- April 2–4 – Disney's Horticultural Past Festival Favorites;
- April 9–11 – Irrigation How To;
- April 16–18 – Creating Backyard Garden Retreats;
- April 23–25 – Disney's Top Picks for Mixed Containers;
- April 30–May 2 – Tough Plants for Extreme Gardeners;
- May 7–9 – Growing it Yourself; and
- May 14–16 – Stars of the Show – Must Have Plants with Unique Characteristics.
Many expert gardeners from past years return for the popular series of seminars at this year's Festival. The sessions run at noon and 3 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 5–7 – Robert Bowden, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening;
- March 12–14 – Jeff Gilman, The Truth About Garden Remedies;
- March 19–21 – Lynn Coulter, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds;
- March 26–28 – Maureen Gilmer, The Small Budget Garden;
- April 2–4 – Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home;
- April 9–11 – Debra Prinzing, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways;
- April 16–18 – Susan Belsinger, Sweet Herbal Recipes & the Creative Herbal Home;
- April 23–25 – Tom & Joani MacCubbin, His & Hers – What Makes a Great Garden;
- April 30–May 2 – Lee Reich, Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden/ Weedless Gardening;
- May 7–9 – Matt Henderson, A Fragrant Love Story; and
- May 14–16 – Ahmed Hassan, For the Love of Landscaping.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you can take the Epcot Gardens of the World Tour. The tour runs three hours, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. For $59 including tax, guests ages 16 and up can follow a Disney horticulturist on a tour of special displays and the award-winning international gardens of Epcot. This tour is aimed at gardening enthusiasts. You can register at Guest Relations, or for advance registration information, you can call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687).
A new dining choice is available during this year's Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The Garden Town Breakfast is offered from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month of the Festival at the Wonder's Retreat on the second floor of the Garden Town festival center at the former Wonders of Life pavilion in Future World. For $63.90 per person including tax and gratuity, you will enjoy a breakfast buffet that includes a special selection of fresh ingredients from the Land Pavilion, while learning garden and culinary techniques from professional horticulturists and chefs. Event dates are March 21, April 18, and May 16. Park admission is not included. To purchase your ticket or get more information, call 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378).
- Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden – Returning for a second year, this garden has topiaries of Tinker Bell and friends, along with special hands-on activities for kids and a play structure. Tink's new friends Vidia and Terence make their debut appearances;
- Fawn's Butterfly House – Now adjacent to Pixie Hollow and themed to one of its fairies, 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);
- Let’s Get Moving – This recreational garden area along the Rose Walk between Future World and World Showcase features topiaries of Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald taking part in their favorite outdoor activities. There will be climbing structures and other plaything for kids;
- Bee Scavenger Hunt – This family-oriented activity challenges you to locate Guerlain "bees" in the fragrance garden at the France pavilion;
- Princess Tiana's Wedding Bayou – In this area, along the Test Track Walkway and adjacent to the butterfly garden, kids can discover fun activities themed to Disney's recent hit movie.
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.
Concerts take place three times nightly at the America Gardens Theatre, at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. These times are 30 minutes earlier than last year.
This series usually features artists popular back in the "Flower Power" days of the 1960s and 1970s, but is expanding its scope to include music from the 1980s. The exception to this would be the Nelsons, 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 Fran Cosmo (former lead singer of Boston) and Atlanta Rhythm Section. Concerts take place three times nightly at the America Gardens Theatre, at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. For the second year in a row, performances have been cut back to weekends-only, leaving the theater dark Monday-Thursday nights.
- March 5–7: Jose Feliciano
- March 12–14: Paul Revere and the Raiders
- March 19–21: David Cassidy
- March 26–28: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
- April 2–4: Tony Orlando
- April 9–11: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
- April 16–18: Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring The Nelsons
- April 23–25: Atlanta Rhythm Section
- April 30–May 2: Fran Cosmo (former lead singer of Boston)
- May 7–9: Davy Jones
- May 14–16: Chubby Checker and the Wildcats
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.
Still more events await Festival attendees:
- Themed Weekends – This year, there are only three themed weekends: March 26–28 Art in the Garden Celebration, April 23–25 Fresh From Florida and April 30–May 2 I Dig Bugs;
- Garden Town – 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;
- Ask an Expert – You can ask gardening experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences your gardening questions daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Future World Plaza near the Innoventions Fountain;
- 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;
- The Art of Green Living – Presented by FNGLA;
- English Tea Garden – Discover the history and art of tea blending as you stroll through this elegant English Tea Garden and enjoy a complimentary 20-minute guided tour at 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. daily, with additional 2:00 p.m. tours Friday–Sunday. Sign up at the Tea Caddy. Presented by Twinings;
- 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 Wise Herbs & Vegetables – (New) Presented by Rain Bird Corporation;
- Lush Xeriscapes – 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;
- Bonsai Collection – Discover the elegant, ancient art of bonsai showcased throughout the serene Japanese garden;
- Topiary Chinese Zodiac – It's the Year of the Tiger! What's your sign? Discover the Chinese Zodiac and see the signs presented in topiary;
- Tricky Troll Topiary – Forest and rock trolls are around every corner. Test your skills and track down the trolls as you explore the gardens of Norway.
For more information, you can see last year's park guide page here, 2008's park guide page here, 2007'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.