By Emily Amato
The 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom at EPCOT, with vibrant flowers and plants, scrumptious food and beverage options, new musical performances, and colorful merchandise offerings. This year, the Festival runs from March 3 through July 5. Read on for the full scoop on the Festival, including what not to miss and a few tips and tricks sure to delight all of your senses!
As you travel throughout EPCOT, some of your favorite characters and scenes come to life through the nearly 100 individual topiaries artfully placed throughout the Park. Sorcerer Mickey welcomes you at the entrance of the Park, surrounded by a colorful array of flowers. Be sure to look up as you walk in to see the newly installed flags that flank Spaceship Earth. Each flag celebrates one of six original EPCOT icons. And keep your ears peeled for new music in the entrance plaza. It’s all part of the historic transformation of EPCOT.
In Future World you’ll also find stunning larger-than-life topiaries of the “sensational six”— Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto and Goofy (who is a whopping 14 feet tall!)—Figment and favorites from Toy Story and The Lion King.
A jaunt around World Showcase and you’ll cross paths with floral sculptures of Lady and the Tramp in the Italy pavilion, Remy in the France pavilion, Kermit and Miss Piggy near the Canada pavilion, Snow White and Dopey in the Germany pavilion, and Tinker Bell and the Fairy Houses in the United Kingdom.
But there’s so much more to explore than just the topiaries! More than 130 Floating Gardens adorn Future World’s West Lake, and the Festival Blooms—the floral design surrounding the East and West Lake—includes more than 60,000 plants. Horticulture Area Manager Debbie Mola told us it takes four nights to plant just one side of the Festival Blooms!
“The 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival runs for 125 days, making it one of the longest flower and garden festivals in the country,” Mola explained. “Our team will change the flowers throughout the festival so, if you visit multiple times over the next few months, you will likely see new flowers and new colors throughout the Park!”
Gardens are also in full bloom throughout EPCOT, and abuzz with exciting experiences and new things to learn. For a truly magical experience, visit The Goodness Garden Butterfly House Presented by GoGo squeeZ, which you’ll find between The Land and Journey into Imagination, to get up close and personal with colorful, beautiful butterflies.
Continuing along that path toward World Showcase is the Health Full Trail Presented by AdventHealth and Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board. The Health Full Trail showcases colorful vegetables and offers groups and families the opportunity to unwind and play—safely and distanced in their own, designated circles—in the grassy area. Honey Bee-stro spotlights honey bees’ critical role in nature and offers some sweet and savory treats made with honey.
If you enjoy an afternoon cup of tea, be sure to visit the United Kingdom pavilion and the English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London, which also offers a self-guided tea tour. Cheers!
The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival brings both new and returning favorite musical acts to EPCOT. New this year, every Friday through Monday of the festival, the America Gardens Theatre will spotlight Orlando-area music groups who perform throughout the day.
America Gardens Theatre also showcases daily performances by two EPCOT favorites—the Voices of Liberty performing a cappella numbers that celebrate the landscape and heart of America and Mariachi Cobre lighting up the stage with glorious Mexican folk music. On the Mill Stage at the Canada pavilion, the Jammin’ Gardeners (a fitting rename of the Jammitors!) drum out rhythmic beats with reimagined gardening tools, and inside World Showplace, the EPCOT Pianist delights with springtime-inspired songs.
Merchandise with Character
Festival merchandise bursts with spring colors and features favorite characters.
Orange Bird celebrates sunshine with apparel, drinkware, and a headband awash with yellow and orange colors. Spike the Bee’s sweetly reminisces on the festival fun with apparel, drinkware, and a garden stake. Minnie Mouse blooms with pinks, purples, floral patterns and positive sayings on apparel, drinkware, and gardening tools, and Figment brings sustainable materials like organic cotton, bamboo, and repurposed paper to a collection of apparel, accessories, and housewares.
Delight your (Taste)buds
As we know, the highlight of every EPCOT festival is the food! This year, the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival introduces two new Outdoor Kitchens: EPCOT Sunshine Griddle and EPCOT Farmers Feast. Located near Test Track, EPCOT Sunshine Griddle features brunch favorites like Avocado Toast, Corned Beef Hash, and Fried Cinnamon Rolls. Inside World Showplace, EPCOT Farmers Feast spotlights local ingredients with a menu that will rotate throughout the festival. Right now, the Outdoor Kitchen includes Spring Onion Soup and Duck Confit, emphasizing some of the best spring produce.
But with so many delectable options, we had a hard time narrowing down our favorites! So, we turned to one of the experts, EPCOT Festivals Chef Kevin Downing, for his top three must-eat items at this year’s festival. Here’s what he told us:
“I love our new Outdoor Kitchens! Definitely check out the EPCOT Farmers Feast. The menu will change throughout the festival based on what’s in season, but right now my favorite offering there is the Off the ‘Beet’en Path, which are profiteroles filled with red beet mousse and complemented with golden beet pastry cream, whipped goat cheese and candied walnuts. A unique blend of sweet and savory.”
“At the EPCOT Sunshine Griddle, the focus is on brunch with a twist. I recommend the Avocado Toast. It’s topped with marinated tomatoes, fresh goat cheese, and edible flowers.”
“Finally, don’t miss The Citrus Blossom. Not only will you find the new Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup, but the Meyer Lemon-poached Lobster Salad is one of my favorite new dishes. It features grapefruit-rosé vinaigrette, yuzu-marinated hearts of palm, and avocado-yuzu panna cotta.”
As you travel “around the world” at EPCOT, you’ll find options to delight every palette! From Boneless Impossible Korean Short Rib to Crawfish Étouffée with Andouille Sausage to Moroccan Shakshuka. If you prefer a sweet treat, there’s Warm Cheese Strudel, Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake and so much more!
For more information, visit the Disney Parks Blog, and get ready to put a “spring” in your step at the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival!