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Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy will help kick off the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival through their artfully-crafted character topiaries. The festival will run March 5 to May 18, 2014 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
This year’s festival will have almost 100 whimsical topiaries on display throughout the park and 11 tantalizing Outdoor Kitchens with sweet and savory indulgent bites. The festival will also feature Urban Farm Eats, a new Outdoor Kitchen on the promenade with a sustainable garden. The entire park will be transformed into a wonderland of sweeping gardens and exhibits. You will also find stars of HGTV, Audubon’s new Hummingbird Garden, and Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden open as a fun-filled play land.
Here are a few more highlights for this year’s festival . . .
- Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries can be found in a new Epcot front entrance garden vignette celebrating spring with a butterfly hunt adventure. Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light on the back of his floral garb. A topiary bee buzzes on an exasperated Donald’s head. The garden will feature a real waterfall and pond with water lilies.
- Now in their second festival year, the festival’s 11 food and beverage garden marketplaces have been dubbed Outdoor Kitchens, where chefs will be cooking a variety of new and popular returning menu items, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, in 2014. At The Smokehouse BBQ Outdoor Kitchen, Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes and Smoked Turkey Ribs are on tap with a lineup of great brews. Last year’s top menu picks like the Watermelon Salad with local baby arugula, feta cheese, pickled red onions and balsamic reduction will be back for an encore at the Florida Fresh Outdoor Kitchen.
- A new Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden welcomes families with a whimsical play land of activities. Dozens of additional character topiaries, including Mickey Mouse and Peter Pan will surprise guests beyond the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth.
- The Flower Power Concert Series welcomes two new acts in 2014: Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) March 14-16, and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”) May 16-18. During opening weekend, the series kicks off at America Gardens Theatre with fan-favorite band The Guess Who (“American Woman”) March 7-9. Other pop acts set to perform include Chubby Checker & the Wildcats, The Village People and Paul Revere & The Raiders. (Entertainment is subject to change).
- Hummingbirds at Home, a new exhibit presented by the National Audubon Society, will feature walk-through hummingbird gardens and tips on how to attract the magical creatures that migrate to Florida from Central America each year.
- For the second year, illuminated gardens will cast a festive glow across the park when the sun sets each evening.
- Mater of the Disney-Pixar “Cars” film hit is back by demand with the new Mater’s Parts, Plants and Play Garden. Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House will be aflutter with hundreds of the winged beauties and a fairy topiary of Tinker Bell.
- At the Festival Center in the park’s Future World, twice-daily interactive gardening workshops will set the stage for outdoor do-it-yourself inspiration, and gardening guest speakers will appear daily. Fridays through Sundays, HGTV design celebrities will host home, garden and design seminars.
At the festival, you can sample from marketplace menus and wander among themed gardens and children’s play areas. Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers,” herb gardens and beds of multi-colored blooms will add to the floral splendor of the park’s landscape. Disney’s garden experts estimate 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat. Several special weekend events, including the popular Art in the Garden Weekend, will be scheduled as well.
Thanks to Disney for sharing all of these exciting highlights from this year’s festival with us!
If you’re heading to this year’s festival, don’t forget to download your guide here.
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