Hey, you folks in the Midwest. Are you tired of the Winter that just won't end? Then get on a plane NOW that's going to Orlando. Where you'll find that Spring is already well underway at Epcot's Annual International Flower & Garden Festival.
Photo by Angela Ragno
Now in its 12th year, the Flower & Garden Festival brings lots of color & sound to our old Epcot. As you walk through Future World & around World Showcase, you'll see everything from whimsical Disney-themed topiaries to beautiful bedding plants. You'll be able to attend informational lectures as well as rock out at Flower Power Concerts. Presented by Home Depot, this seven-week-long event really does have something for everyone.
New this year is "Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden." Located in Future World East, this temporary structure is home to hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Young & old are sure to enjoy their close encounter with these fragile & beautiful creatures.
Your youngsters will also probably enjoy visiting "Farmer Mickey's Maze," which is located over by the Imagination pavilion. Here, kids 2to 5 can blow off steam as they race around bales of hay.
Speaking of Mickey ... This year -- in honor of Disneyland's 50th anniversary -- 50 hidden Mickeys have been scattered among the various venues & displays at the Flower & Garden Festival. And Epcot visitors are challenged to find them all.
And -- let me tell you, folks -- that some of these hidden Mickeys are hidden in pretty tricky places. I found one while I was attending Davy Jones' performance at part of the "Flower Power Concerts" series. It's actually hidden in the lighting rig above the American Gardens stage. Now how sneaky is that?
Speaking of Mr. Jones ... This former Monkee is just one of the great performers from the 1960s & 1970s that are slated to appear at this year's Flower & Garden Festival. Among the other acts that are scheduled to perform at this year's event are Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Lovin' Spoonful, Gary Pucket & Arlo Guthrie. For a full lsit of the performers (as well as the times & dates of their performances), follow this link.
For those of you who come to Epcot to be educated & informed ... Well, I'm pleased to announce that the Flower & Garden Festival will continuing its "Great American Gardener" lecture series. And among the people who have been invited to speak at this year's festival are Paul James, the host of HGTV's "Gardening By the Yard" show as well as landscape designer Gary Allen. For more information as to who's speaking when, please follow this link to the event's master schedule.
All this ... Plus the all new SpaceNet as well as the Gardener's Cafe ... Plus the Fragance Garden (sponsored by Guerlain) and the Ultimate Backyard Garden (hosted by Home Depot) ... You can have a full day of fragrant fun by exploring Epcot's 12th Annual International Flower & Garden Festival.
Mind you, if you want an extra-special day at the park, you might want to think about coming out to Epcot over the Mother's Day weekend. That's when the most popular event of the Flower & Garden Festival will be held: The annual Mother's Day Brunch.
Held on both Saturday, May 8th & Sunday, May 9th this year, the Mother's Day Brunch is almost insanely popular. So -- if you want to treat your Mom to something really special -- you might want to call 407-WDW-DINE now and make a reservation. 'cause space is very limited.
Speaking of limited ... The merchandise for this year's Flower & Garden Festival includes a beanie that's supposed to look like a Mickey Mouse topiary. Based on what members of Epcot's merchandise staff has been telling me, this ugly little dolls are really selling fast. So -- if you want a truly unique collectible -- you might want to see one of these green Mickey beanies as soon as you get to the park.
All this -- plus the special themed weekends -- make this year's event a must-see. So be sure & head out to Epcot before June 5th and catch the 12th Annual International Flower & Garden Festival. I promise -- it'll grow on you.