Opening Day Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
March 2nd was the opening day for the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot! I arrived about 8:30 to a fairly long line of folks. It was a cloudy day but the sun was predicted to break through the clouds mid morning.
The turnstyles opened about 8:45 and it seemed most everyone was headed either to Test Track or the Pin Station for LE pins. Since I was not interested in either, I began my tour around Future World to see what gardens and topiaries I could find.
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Passport is back with expanded checklists so you don't miss anything! I highly recommend you get a Passport as it contains all the important information in one place. And if you like to collect "stamps" each location has their own themed mark to include in your passport.
The highlight for me was the entrance topiaries of Daisy Duck greeting guests to Fresh Epcot and on the back side a great grouping of Donald Duck and his nephews! I really think this display is first rate and a wonderful way to start my day at the Flower and Garden Festival.
I had my first glimpse at a Pin Trading Cast member using a "trash can". I thought that was creative. No idea if this is new, I just haven't see it or what.
On the south side of Spaceship Earth was this year's new display called Floral Sun Garden with yellow sunbursts. While pretty, I have gotten used to this area being a color full topiary display. According to the Press Release, this area "will sprout in a new Future World topiary garden featuring Minnie Mouse and Pluto." I 'll check it out later in the festival.
As a huge fan of our National Parks, I was very happy to learn that there would be a display honoring the 100th anniversary of the parks. Ranger Mickey is all set with his binoculars and camera bag. I loved the detail and color arrangements. It was interesting that as I stood there taking photos, a mother brought her sons over to show them "Indiana Jones"!! She seemed excited and so did the kids.
On the opposite side facing World Show Case Chip and Dale were out having fun by a small waterfall. Looks like Chip is ready for lunch!
Over to the West side of Innoventions the Butterfly House looked fairly empty (usually its packed) so I went in. I didn't see anything new or different and being so early in the festival the chrysalises were not yet emerging. Also due to the cloudy cool morning, there were no butterflies flitting about.
Happy to see Fantasia Mickey along with the broom water buckets, the dancing hippo and other related topiaries return.
The Pollinator Paradise Garden was back. My favorite part of these are the seed created pollinators :) Take some time to check out the garden destinations (page 8 in the Passport) as they are not only beautiful to look at but you might learn something too (I did :)
The new Edible Garden by the Land was colorful highlighting hibiscus and other edible plants.
The Kids Play Area that had been Monsters Inc themed the last few years is all changed this year with new play equipment and a new theme -- Harmony Gardens Musical Playgrounds. Lots of interactive displays for kids (ok, so a few adults too) creating musical sounds with drums and a variety of xylophones. Lots of children running here and there. Returning is the nice shaded tent area for adults to watch their kids!
Cactus Road Rally is back with it's play area - great photo ops with both Mater and Lightening McQueen.
As you walk around World Showcase there are many topiaries to see. Some have moved to new locations, such as Winnie the Pooh characters and Anna and Elsa.
In terms of merchandise, there are lots of fun Figment items including t-shirts and mugs.
Even a cute Stitch shirt:
We had lunch at the popular Smokehouse in the American Adventure area.
I tried 3 of the new items and overall they were good.
Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad (GF) $6.50 ddp snack -- The ribs were a bit light in meat but tasty. The roasted corn salad was tasty.
Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos $5.75 ddp snack -- The hash was tasty (although I removed the Jalapenos) Beef Brisket had two meaty pieces and 2 fatty pieces. I don't care for the fatty parts of meat so if you do, you might really like this item!
Finally the Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans (V) $3.75 ddp snack - The new Warm Chocolate Cake was moist and quite tasty.
I didn't' try any other foods and and about this time the park was getting very crowded so I headed out, stopping first to get my Annual Passholder print.
Annual Passholders should be sure to get their complimentary Ducky Williams artwork. This month the print features Donald. Future months will be Goofy and Mickey. The location is behind Club Cool and there is signage.
Of course there is MUCH MUCH more see and experience at the Flower and Garden Festival. In fact, I'll be back in a couple days!
I have lots more photos to get on AllEars. Be sure to visit our comprehensive Flower and Garden section! I have lots more photos to get online too!