March 2012: Disney World’s second park celebrates the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7 to May 20. It’s a goldmine for people who love to shove their hands through dirt and watch flowers burst into bloom, but it also boosts the park’s appearance for tourists who simply think flowers are pretty. While the park always has good greenery, the plants become art for the festival, and anyone with a shred of creativity studies Snow White to see what plant or flower or moss Disney used for the dress, for the brunette hair, and for the shoes.
The exhibit took a full year to plan and execute, and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists prepare for the 75-day festival. At the festival’s mid-point, gardeners replace some cold-friendly plants with warm weather varieties to compensate for Central Florida’s change of seasons.
In addition to Epcot’s year-round offerings, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival adds the following to the list:
• Eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary (carved plant sculpture) in front of the park’s symbol, Spaceship Earth. Mickey’s garden also has dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators, and elephants from the Disney film, Fantasia.
• Haitian garden and exhibits
• Gardening tips from HGTV. The television show’s designers share insights with host John Gidding appearing March 7-11.
• Concerts. Epcot taps into the “Flower Power” theme by bringing back musical groups from that era – circa 1970. Scheduled bands for the 2012 festival are listed below. Each concert is really a mini-concert that lasts 30 to 45 minutes.
• Thirty million blooms, 240 floating mini-gardens on two ponds, 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables, dozens of Disney character topiaries, 30 “flower towers” of impatiens and sweeping beds of original floral designs.
• “Disney Gardening at Home” presentations.
• Bambi’s Butterfly House is an enclosed area with hundreds of butterflies that, many times, rest on fingers. The insects light on the butterfly-friendly plants after emerging from their boxed birthing rooms.
More information about the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available by calling (407) W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visiting disneyworld.com/flower. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is part of regular Epcot admission.
Flower Power Concert Series
Location: America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase (the far side from the main entrance). Showtimes: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:45 p.m.
9-11: Jose Feliciano
16-18: Starship Starring Mickey Thomas
23-25: The Guess Who
30-April 1: The Spinners
6-8: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
13-15: Paul Revere & The Raiders
20-22: The Turtles Featuring Flo & Eddie
27-29: Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night
4-6: The Orchestra, featuring former members of ELO and ELO Part II
11-13: Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone
18-20: To be announced