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Florida’s frosts fail to stop Disney World’s annual Flower & Garden Festival

Florida’s frosts fail to stop Disney World’s annual Flower & Garden Festival

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By now, you’ve probably heard about the freakishly cold weather that the Sunshine State experienced back in January. Where temperatures actually dipped down into the 20s in the Central Florida area.

Well, it wasn’t just the state’s fruit & vegetable crop that got whomped by these below-freezing temperatures. The 7 million trees, shrubs and flowers that add so much color & beauty to Walt Disney World also took a serious hit. Which is why, “We’ve been visited by Jack Frost” signs began popping up all over property, as the Resort’s 600 horticulturists scrambled to remove foliage touched by Mr. Frost.

A Walt Disney World horticulturist waters a beautiful grouping of flowers at the International Flower and Garden Festival
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Now to add an interesting twist, while the Resort was in recovery mode, frantically replanting those 4000 acres of gardens that are used to decorate Disney World – Epcot was entering the final phase of preparation for its 17th annual International Flower & Garden Festival.

Would those two weeks of unseasonal temperatures that Florida experienced earlier this year impact the Festival? Given all the damage control that WDW’s horticulturists now had to do around property, would these Disney employees have the time that they needed to plant all 80,000 bedding plants that are used to decorate Future World and World Showcase this time of year?

A Disney horticulturist in a WDW greenhouse at the International Flower and Garden Festival
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Well, this 75 day-long festival officially opened last Wednesday. And if you were to visit Epcot this week and wander around that theme park, judging by how lush & colorful this year’s International Flower & Garden Festival looks, you’d never know that Florida had a severe frost event this year.

From the very moment you enter the park and encounter the elaborate topiary that’s been constructed in front of Spaceship Earth, you’re surrounded by color, wonder, and did I mention the flowers! This year’s Flower & Garden Festival is set to impress. I mean, where else on the planet are you going to find a 14-feet-tall Goofy? Which – FYI -- is the tallest character topiary ever created.

The WDW monorail rolls through Future World during the International Flower and Garden Show at Walt Disney World
Photo by Gene Duncan. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

For those of us who actually live in the Sunshine State, who have spent much of the past two months shivering on our couches under a Snuggy, to be outside again surrounded by the 30 million blooms that blanket Epcot during annual International Flower & Garden Festival … Well, there’s just no way to describe how great it feels to be surrounded by all this color & beauty.

If you’re a Florida resident who wants to get in on the fun of the Flower & Garden Festival – with its Flower Power Concerts every Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights (which feature live performances by fan favorites like Tony Orlando, Davy Jones and Chubby Checker) as well as its Disney Gardening at Home presentations (where Disney horticulturists will share their gardening tips and lead Epcot visitors through a hands-on, take-home activity) – now might be a great time to take advantage of Disney’s 4 Day Dream Pass.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse as the American Gothic farmers in topiary at Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival
Photo by Gene Duncan. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This $99 WDW ticket (which is valid for ages 10 & up) will give Florida residents admission to one of Disney World’s four theme parks for each day of the ticket. Mind you, there are a few restrictions (i.e. Disney’s 4 Day Dream Pass may not be used on the following block-out dates: March 27th through April 9, 2010. Parking at the Parks is not included. More to the point, the 4 Day Dream Pass does expire and may not be used after May 25, 2010). But – beyond that – this Dream Pass should give you plenty of opportunities to revisit Flower & Garden over the 75 day run of this year’s Festival.

Which means that you can then get pictures of all 70 of the Disney character topiaries that are scattered around this theme park. Or you can tour Epcot’s newly expanded Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden (which was one of the more popular attractions at last year’s Festival) or check out Flower & Gardens’ latest addition, Princess Tiana’s Wedding Bayou (a picturesque garden which is tucked away in a corner near Future World ‘s Test Track).

Disney fairy Silvermist in Pixiehollow garden at EPCOT's International Flower and Garden Festival
Photo by Diane Zalucky. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

So – whether you lived through Florida’s two weeks of well-below-average temperature and/or you’ve been stuck in the deep freeze for months now up in Chicago or Minneapolis – now’s a great time to head on over to WDW and experience a little Disney magic at Epcot’s 17th annual International Flower & Garden Festival.

For further information on admission materials for the WDW theme parks as well as many other attractions in the Central Florida area, be sure and drop by the Orlando Fun Tickets website.

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