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Flower and Garden Festival Archives

June 1, 2012

HGTV's 'My Yard Goes Disney' returns tonight with 11 new shows

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After a one-hour special in February, the second season of "My Yard Goes Disney" returns tonight at 8 p.m. ET on HGTV. The special and recent presentations at Walt Disney World by host Brandon Johnson offered fans a look at all the wonderfully themed and unexpected elements the show will feature this season.

During the February show, "My House Goes Disney," viewers were treated not just to the unveiling of an outdoor makeover, but also those of three bedrooms that five children share in their Lakeland, Florida, home. Even the family pet's space got a magical makeover. 

HGTV designers and Disney Imagineers took their inspiration for the interior makeovers from upcoming events at Disney Parks. For the oldest son's bedroom, Disney World's Art of Animation resort -- which opened its Nemo-themed suites yesterday -- was the model. Two younger boys will share a souped-up room based on the new Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure. And the two girls have a new room fit for a princess and a fairy, which were recently showcased at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. 

Outside, the family's backyard was modeled after their favorite Walt Disney World resort, Disney's Beach Club. The New England touches were evident in the deck surrounding the existing swimming pool, a new wading pool with a fountain, and even the Adirondack chairs.

And that was just the first house chosen for a Disney-style makeover this year! Host Johnson described others -- and even showed photos -- when he was one of the HGTV celebrity speakers at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in April.

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" 'My Yard Goes Disney' is all about dreams coming true. We are about creating spaces that celebrate your family's favorite moments," he said.

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Certainly the one-of-a-kind outdoor features are beyond most people's wildest dreams, as the new season of shows attest. For the Trautwein family, reminders of Epcot are now no farther than their backyard, which houses a Spaceship Earth-inspired greenhouse, a Mickey Mouse fountain and a science center for the kids. And if the family needs to get a little air time, they can take turns on a sky bike with a track 12 feet off the ground.

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Another family's backyard fun was elevated to a higher level, as well. The Krantz family received quite a play fort, modeled after Disney's Treehouse Villas. This is no ordinary treehouse -- it gives residents a choice of bunkbeds for an afternoon nap and a roller coaster zipline to carry them to a splash pad on the ground.

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"The Krantz family's backyard really spoke to me. I love adrenaline and speed. Their zipline roller coaster is incredible," Johnson said. "And their Explorer's Club takes imagination to a whole other level -- literally. It's almost 30 feet up in the air. Could you imagine having sleepovers there as a kid? Unreal!"

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The We family loves to swim and splash and now they can do both at their own backyard lagoon with a private island, a nod to Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay. The lagoon has varying depths and includes a tropical reef, and the island in the center contains water play equipment that is reminiscent of Nemo's Reef on the Disney Dream. A new boardwalk offers space to entertain and a whole lot of palm trees add to the secluded feel.

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My favorite new "My Yard Goes Disney" backyard is one inspired by Blizzard Beach. It has the signature floating "ice" in the pool with the net hanging above it for kids to grasp as they try to stay afloat while crossing. There's a sleigh for photo opportunities, just like at the Disney water park, and plenty of skis and "snow" to complete the theme. But the best part has to be the patio-turned-concession stand that offers guests frozen drinks, snow cones, hot dogs, popcorn, and the park's popular mini donuts.

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Those who love Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be happy to see it, too, represented this season on "My Yard Goes Disney." Several of its popular features have been replicated for the Monize family: a 1,500-foot surrey bike path, an outdoor campground, an outdoor movie theater and a geyser that shoots 30 feet in the air to help keep the family cool in the Florida sun.

When you tune in tonight, though, the first of the 11 yards you will see this season will be that of the Morales family. HGTV describes it this way: "The Morales' daughters have all of their princess dreams come true as HGTV's designers turn one little girl's drawings for a Disney-inspired backyard into a reality. Host Brandon Johnson and the build team create a Snow White-style village, a backyard model train set that Walt himself would have loved and add a Cinderella-style dollhouse all the way from England. Mom and Dad get the royal treatment, too, with an extended entertainment area and a mini golf course reminiscent of Disney's Fantasia Gardens."

Here a sneak peek from HGTV:

To get the latest news about "My Yard Goes Disney" and other projects Johnson is involved with, be sure to check out his new website at http://www.officialbrandonjohnson.com/

May 10, 2012

Ideas for celebrating Mother's Day at Walt Disney World

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Celebrating Mother's Day at Walt Disney World is, of course, a wonderful treat in and of itself. But if husbands and children want to make the day perfect for the women in their lives, there is one simple thing they can do to make the day a success -- plan ahead.

If they're like me, what's important to most mothers is spending the day with family doing something fun. It doesn't have to be an expensive or unique experience, but it does have to be planned by our families. The gift -- besides spending time with our favorite people -- is that we don't have to make any decisions or pack the bags. For one day, we don't have to think ahead and plan for every eventuality. We get to just show up and enjoy the day.

To make this happen for the mother in your family, it's important to know what she enjoys. Are Mickey waffles the perfect way to start the day? Or is sleeping in and then lounging by the pool while the kids play even better? Does being the first one in line for Expedition Everest make her excited?

Here are a few suggestions that are sure to bring a smile to any Disney mom's face on Sunday:

1. Visit the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. It's beautiful with all the flowers and topiaries, and there are fun seminars and demonstrations for guests who like to garden. Herman's Hermit's, starring Peter Noone, will be performing. Plus, there are special activities and playgrounds for kids. If the little ones are happy, chances are, mom will be, too. (Florida residents still can purchase a three-day Walt Disney World ticket for $99 plus tax.)

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2. If brunch is on the agenda, why not make it a character meal and let her feel like a kid again? Two of the most popular are Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary Resort and Cinderella's Royal Table in her Magic Kingdom castle. At this late date, you can try for a reservation cancellation by calling WDW-DINE. Another great character brunch is located at Disney's Beach Club in the Cape May Cafe, which has just reopened after renovations.

3. For shopping aficionados, give her a Disney gift card and the time to shop. Try a gift-shop crawl on the monorail loop. It's fun to see the beautiful hotels while she's browsing for souvenirs. Or, if she's more of a boutique shopper, plan a visit to Downtown Disney and stores such as D Street, Something Silver, Apricot Lane, PoP Gallery and TrenD.

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4. Who doesn't like to visit the spa? There are many locations and services to choose from at Walt Disney World. Full-service spas, which include massages, facials, aromatherapy, salon services and exercise facilities, are available at the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Saratoga Springs Resort. (The Grand Floridian spa is closed for refurbishment.) There also are massage and fitness services at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary Resort, Coronado Springs, Wilderness Lodge and the Yacht Club. Disney World passholders receive 10 percent off one regularly priced service at the Saratoga Springs spa.

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5. Wrap up Mother's Day with dessert and fireworks at one of the Disney World parks, resorts or restaurants. This can be as simple as grabbing a casual treat and a table outside one of Epcot's World Showcase restaurants or as formal as paying for a ticket to the Wishes Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom. One of my favorite resort spots for viewing the fireworks is the beach at the Polynesian resort. A bonus there is being able to see the Electrical Water Pageant.

What ideas do YOU have for celebrating Mother's Day at Walt Disney World? Leave a comment below!

April 10, 2012

Easter activities at Disney World a sweet treat for kids

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Toddlers are invited to pose with oversized Easter eggs on the lawns at Epcot's U.K. pavilion.

This year, my children and I visited Epcot on Easter Sunday for the first time. Of course, we couldn't wait to check out the special holiday events, most of which were held outside the United Kingdom pavilion.

The setting was beautiful with the traditional green English gardens and mazes formed by hedges that were dotted with the colors from the variety of Easter eggs and spring flowers. In this area, kids could participate in three events -- egg hunts, egg relay races and meeting Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit.

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This cast member was immersed in the Easter spirit Sunday as she coordinated activity reservations.

The maestro for all the Easter activities was a very patient cast member stationed in a life-size ribboned basket. It was her job to hand out reservation slips for the various events, which were limited to a certain number of children per session to avoid overcrowding.

Our group started with the Easter egg hunt for children younger than 3. Our friends were welcomed into a small area with a low wrought-iron fence and invited to choose five eggs to place in the Easter-themed bags they were given. In addition, they could pose with some Easter eggs that were almost as big as the kids. Very cute photos! No reservation was needed for this area.

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The Maze Garden behind Epcot's U.K. pavilion added a fun twist to the annual Easter egg hunt.

Next, we lined up with our time slips for the egg hunt for ages 3 to 9. This search was located in the Maze Garden every 10 minutes. Cast members were efficiently hiding eggs on one side while kids were participating on the other. Eggs were placed in bushes and on walkways, and guests were again instructed to find five for their bags, and a cast member checked each bag at the exit. Of course, as most of the kids spilled out of the mazes, they eagerly opened the plastic eggs, which contained trinkets, stickers and candy.

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Older kids were invited to participate in an Easter egg relay.

The Easter egg relay races for ages 8 to 12 were offered once each hour. Kids were first divided into two teams of 6 or 7 by two nature-themed characters from the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. I see this couple working together each year during the festival, and though their stage names change, their shtick doesn't. It's catchy and the kids can relate to their banter. The pair emceed the race, which involved each child balancing an egg on a large metal spoon while they speed-walked -- or ran -- a lap on the brick path that borders the gardens.

At the end, all the relay participants received goody bags with treat-filled plastic eggs. This, time, however, each bag had one special egg that contained a great prize, such as a Disney trading pin or a FASTpass for one of the big rides that was good during any time Sunday -- or the rest of the week.

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Mr. Rabbit greeted guests while the Mrs. took a break.

Finally, we stood in the long line to meet Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit. It took us about 30 minutes to approach the popular couple, who were dressed in their Easter finery. Both appeared refreshed, despite all their early-morning deliveries.

The Easter events at the U.K. pavilion began at 11 a.m., and it was somewhat busy. By the time we had finished all the activities, though, the crowds had dwindled and there still were hours left to go for guests who wanted to join the fun.

Epcot also hosted a second Easter egg hunt location for ages 3 to 9 at the Innoventions "East-er" Garden (between Innoventions and Universe of Energy). The advantage there was that it opened earlier at 10 a.m., but it did seem more crowded than the U.K. location.

For my family, the walk back to the World Showcase was certainly worth it -- beautiful photos and so many activities in one place. We certainly would recommend it to any families looking for a little seasonal fun during their visits to Epcot.

February 28, 2012

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival offers lots of activities for kids

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If you think the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which begins March 7, is just for adults, think again! Sprinkled throughout the beautiful scenery are several interactive opportunities for kids that will make parents smile as well.

For my elementary-age children, the hands-down favorite is the annual "Let's Get Moving" area along Imagination! Walkway. This is the only time during the year that guests will find play structures this elaborate at Epcot.

The first year we saw the crowded play area, my husband and I thought, "Why do we want to waste time at Epcot on a playground -- something we can do anywhere other than Walt Disney World?" But the bright colors and unusual shapes called to my kids, so we went inside to check out the PlayBooster play sets, which are made for ages 5 to 12.

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Our opinion changed after we saw just how much fun our son and daughter had. Honestly, they would stay there for hours each visit if we let them! There is also a PlayBooster Weevos area just for 2- to 5-year-olds and a Sensory Play Center.

The photos pictured above are from the play set from the past few years. I'm told this year's new, larger equipment, the PlayBooster Vibe, is expected to look like this.

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Bambi's Butterfly House

While you're on that side of Epcot, be sure to check out Bambi's Butterfly House. Hundreds of native butterflies float through the air and guests can see them growing at different life stages. Topiaries of favorite characters from the movie Bambi lead up to the enclosed gazebo.

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Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden

Another must-do for our family is the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, which is located in the Test Track Walkway and presented this year by Disney's Secret of the Wings, which will be released in the fall. The garden, which first debuted in 2009, has grown as Disney has released each direct-to-DVD Tinker Bell movie over the last four years.

Inside the lush area, guests will find beautiful topiaries of the Disney Fairies and miniature fairy houses. The creativity and attention to detail in the houses is just amazing, and my kids enjoy trying to find everyday items incorporated in the structures. A Disney landscape artist said they use things like watering cans and teapots because they help illustrate the size of fairies.

Kids of all ages can make crayon rubbings in the garden, and young visitors (ages 2 to 5) can check out the Weevos play set and the Cozy Dome hide-away tucked into the landscape.

Adjacent to the fairy garden is Tinker's Nook, where kids can color and receive fairy stickers and seed packets.

New this year

The Backyard Play Garden, located between Morocco and France in the World Showcase, is a new play area full of unusual gardening ideas for families. See how to turn a concrete block wall into a planter, reuse an old bathtub outdoors or make the roof of your doghouse green. "The whole theme of the garden is getting your kids out of the house and into the yard," said Eric Darden, horticulture manager for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Also new this year is a Haiti garden near Germany -- only at Epcot! This is the first illuminated night garden in the 19-year history of the festival. Kids of all ages can participate and show off their creativity by coloring their very own Haitian "Tap-Tap." Families will also find other ways to delve into the Haitian culture and refreshments in this produce garden and marketplace.

(Check out the AllEars Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival page for even more details.)

There are many other kid-friendly aspects to the Flower & Garden Festival, from Sorcerer Mickey and Toy Story topiaries to concerts to HGTV presentations. Disney Channel fans won't want to miss Brandon Johnson, who plays Gary Wilde on Shake It Up, talk about his other show, My Yard Goes Disney, on April 13, 14 and 15. (The premiere of My Yard Goes Disney aired Friday, and you can get a sneak peek at what this season holds in my previous AllEars blog post.)

The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

April 5, 2011

Gardens of the World Tour

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During the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot, the Gardens of the World tour is offered. I went on this tour on April 1, 2011.

We met in front of Guest Relations at Epcot- this is to the far right of the turnstiles before you enter the park, not the Guest Relations inside the park. Around 8:50 AM, several Cast Members broke us into our tour groups - there was another tour that was meeting at Epcot as well.

We were given name badges to wear for the tour:

Name badge

We were also given a pin that is exclusive to the tour:

Pin

Headsets were distributed for everyone to wear. We were glad to have them because the music and noise of the park made it difficult to hear at times.

We got a late start because we had a couple of people who were running late. When everyone got there, we gathered in a group - there were about 20 of us - and he asked us our names, where we were from and why we were interested in the tour. We had several avid gardeners in our group.

Group

We went into Epcot around 9:30. The first stop we made was near one of the flower towers. Rickie told us that there were 40 of these in Epcot and they were easy to create. The tower holds the flower pots inside it so it makes assembling and disassembling the towers easy.

Flower Tower

Then, we went over to the area near the stroller rental. This plant (the name of this plant is escaping me) was around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The leaves are thicker than you would have expected.

Plant

The theme for Future Wold is the future. Therefore, the design team keeps flowers to a minimum except during Flower & Garden. Several different types of palm trees are used in this area.

Palm trees

When we walked through Pixie Hollow, he pointed out the eco-friendly mulch underneath the play area. This material is actually recycled tires and it won't hurt the kids if they fall. The 'grass' is actually artificial turf with padding under it.

Turf

The Pooh topiary area has bloomed nicely. He pointed out the various types of plants that made up Rabbit's garden.

Rabbit

He said that the flower blanket took about a night to plant. They had an entire team that evening. There is a staging area behind the Germany pavilion where it was all set up and then brought in.

Flower Blanket

At Bambi's Butterfly Garden, he talked about how the monarch butterfly tastes bitter to predators because of the nectars they consume.

Monarch butterfly

At the Mexico pavilion, he discussed how the jungle theme was created by using various tree and flower and types.

Mexico

He said there are some plants/trees that are look-alikes at the pavilions because they won't survive in the Florida climate.

At China, he discussed the Zodiac figures. They are all made out of seeds. But my favorite part was when he discussed the gardens. He said that Chinese gardens are all about tranquility, very little movement and letting the garden be. The grass is longer at this garden because of this.

China garden

In contrast, Japanese gardens are all about movement. The koi pond and waterfall help to create constant movement in this garden.

Japan garden

I never knew that this lantern at the Japan pavilion was a gift to Roy E. Disney from the emperor of Japan.

Lantern

He said that the Aladdin topiary is one of his favorites because it incorporates so many different plants and textures. Some of the plants are secured to the topiary using hair pins. Aladdin's hair is coconut fiber.

Aladdin

We spent some time at the Victoria Gardens area at the Canada pavilion.

Victoria Gardens

The tour ended with a backstage look at the Canada pavilion. No pictures are allowed backstage. We were given the Flower & Garden poster as a keepsake, which was unexpected and a nice surprise.

Overall, I enjoyed the tour and I'm glad I did it but I didn't love it. The focus was more on how to do similar things at home in your garden and plant types and that wasn't of as much interest to me as hearing about the hows and whys Disney creates things the way they do. We spent a decent amount of time in Future World but made it through World Showcase very quickly because we got going late. Our guide was wonderful about answering questions and making sure our curiosity was satisfied before moving on. He was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I would do this tour again if someone really wanted to go but it would not be on my 'must-do' list.

The Gardens of the World tour is $60 per person ($63.90 with tax) for guests ages 16 and older. This tour is during Flower & Garden Festival only. Be sure to ask about Annual Passholder, Disney Visa or DVC discounts as well. The tour is offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 9 AM. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) to book.

To read reviews of the Gardens of the World tour, or to post your own, click here.

March 21, 2011

Walk Around Walt Disney World - What's New, What's Next: March 19-20

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We were able to spend the weekend at Disney. We stayed on-property and since it was Extra Magic Hours at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Saturday morning, we took advantage of the extra time in the park.

'Let the Memories Begin' banners were up near the main gates:

Banners

Work on the Tower of Terror exterior is still be done:

Tower of Terror

One of the things I love most about Extra Magic Hours is that's it's not overly crowded yet and you can wander a bit. It had been a while since we had been nto the Tower of Terror courtyard and store so it was nice to wander around and see some details that I'd never seen before.

We went over to the Animation Courtyard to look around. I had never seen the sketches of the princesses above the costumes- I love this kind of detail!

Jasmine sketch

I heard a lot of families talking about seeing the new Disney Junior show once the park opened for the day.

Disney Junior

It had been at least five years since my brother had seen the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show so we decided to catch the first show (pun intended). I had seen it a couple of years ago but missed the detail of the trident lighting up!

Unlit trident

Lit trident

One Man's Dream is one of my favorite attractions. I was hoping the back section might be finished but the walls still say 'coming soon.'

One Man's Dream

I'm a Star Wars fan so I knew I had to see what was going on around Star Tours. The area where the speederbike photo-op was/is is currently behind a very large wall:

Speederbike wall

Speederbike wall

Behind the Jedi Training Academy is a character meet-and-greet location:

Meet and greet location

[Star Wars side note: In the lobby of Mama Melrose's, there is a picture of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker). It's near the bathrooms. Also, in the dining room, there is an Italian version of The Empire Strikes Back movie poster.]

My brother and I rode Rock 'n Roller Coaster and noticed that they have put up these gates at the exit area of the ride:

Gates

I wandered through the watch shop and noticed an animator drawing Jedi Stitch:

Jedi Stitch

Friends from Chicago were in town and we met them at Epcot after lunch. On our way to meet up with them, we noticed this flamingo. It made us smile:

Flamingo

Our friends' son was absolutely enchanted with the train village at the Germany pavilion. I'm so glad he was- the village was hosting its own Flower & Garden Festival and I hadn't noticed it when I was there previously:

Train Village

The Lightning McQueen topiary was out at the World Showcase entrance:

Cars 2

Cars 2

Cars 2

For dinner, we decided to go to the Animal Kingdom Rainforest Cafe. On the way in, we noticed they had two lines:

Rainforest Cafe

The 'extreme supermoon' was visible Saturday night. My mom got a kick out of me leaving the room every 15 minutes to see if it was visible yet.

Supermoon

I went out to the parking lot around 7 AM to see if I could still see the supermoon. I definitely could! It was a great view:

Supermoon morning

Supermoon morning

Magic Kingdom opened at 8 AM Sunday morning so I wandered around to see what was new or had changed.

City Hall is still being worked on:

City Hall

The walls were down around Exposition Hall- the new sign says Town Square Theater. The doors are very ornate. The far right side of the building is open for PhotoPass viewing and camera accessories. Otherwise, the windows are still covered.

Town Square Theater

Town Square Theater

The exterior of Tony's is being worked on:

Tony's exterior

The Confectionery is also being worked on:

Confectionery

There is a wall up on the right side of the castle (if you're facing the back of the castle):

Castle wall

The exterior of Cinderella's Royal Table is still being worked on:

Cinderella's Royal Table

The tops of some of the buildings behind the Fantasyland walls are now visible over the walls:

Fantasyland

Fantasyland

The walls around the construction area had been moved back so there was a lot more room to walk around.

Fantasyland walls

A solid wall has gone up between the Tomorrowland Speedway and ToonTown:

ToonTown wall

The Tomorrowland Speedway was back to four lanes:

Tomorrowland Speedway

Only Minnie remains on the ToonTown sign:

ToonTown sign

I went to the Haunted Mansion to see if the new queue line was being tested. I knew it was a long shot since it was around 9 AM when I got there. It was not being tested but I could see a good bit of it.

Entrance to the new queue:

Queue entrance

This is clearly visible above the shrubs:

Queue line

The walls around the queue line are down and have been replaced with thick green screens:

Queue line

The walls around the Adventureland bridge were down. The new bridge is flat- there is not a hill anymore. The bridge they had set up for guests to use is also still there:

Adventureland bridge

Adventureland bridge

Adventureland bridge

After I had finished my Magic Kingdom 'walk', Mom and I went over to Downtown Disney. The AMC Theater now has automated ticket machines outside the theater.

Automated ticket machines

Walls were up where one of the Pleasure Island clubs used to be. A sign showed the concept art for the store going in its place.

Pleasure Island construction

Concept art

The Lego Store is being worked on. Temporarily, they have a tent set up near Once Upon a Toy.

Lego Store construction

At World of Disney, they have a new section of D-Tech merchandise. It's got mouse pads, laptop bags, iPad and iPhone cases and other assorted 'tech' goodies.

D-Tech

The Winnie the Pooh and friends photo-op has been moved to the Guest Relations area since Pooh Corner has closed.

Pooh photo-op

The temporary Lego Store is in a big yellow tent between Once Upon a Toy and Earl of Sandwich. It was very busy inside... and very yellow because of the tent!

Temporary Lego Store

Tempoary Lego Store

Outside of the tent, they had a little display set up for Flower & Garden at Epcot.

Flower & Garden display

Pooh Corner, unfortunately, has closed.

Pooh Corner

Goofy's Candy Company has started letting guests their own treat.

Create your own treat

That's all for this update. Have a MAGICAL day!! :)

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April 10, 2010

Flower & Garden 2010

by Emily Owens-Pickle

There is no time like springtime, especially at Epcot in Walt Disney World. For several weeks each year this park is transformed into landscapes of color and Disney characters come to life through Gerber daisies, hydrangeas, monkey grass, veggies, moss - you name it!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

This is my fourth consecutive year attending the Flower & Garden Festival. Each show features old favorites and some new additions, while the flagship features of the show, the beautiful topiaries, move locations almost annually. Preparations begin more than a year in advance for this immense festival.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

My favorite part of the festival each year is the inspiration I take home with me. Disney has a strong focus on green gardening and living. Many of the landscapes and exhibits use systems and ideas that can be created with minimal expertise and with equipment easily found at your local home improvement center or with items you already have stored in your garage. This year I took at least five great new concepts home to use in my own yard -- all of these projects will require very little money and only a few hours of time. For that small investment I will have a beautiful outdoor area that is unique, easy to maintain and sustainable!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

New Additions & Old Favorites

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

A new addition this year was Princess Tiana's Wedding Bayou. This quiet little nook is tucked right behind Tinker Bell's Fairy Garden (near the Butterfly House). A small archway leads you along a path that features four different plaques where children can do crayon or pencil 'rubbings' of nature images from this animated feature. Special paper can be picked up from a Disney Cast Member at the bayou's entrance. At the focus of this exhibit is a scene featuring the cast of Disney's newest animated release, The Princess and the Frog. The backdrop includes images of Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen and all of their friends. Like most of the festival, beauty is found in the details. Spanish moss is draped to create a banner over the newlyweds and multi-colored bottles are suspended from the tree branches creating a magical bayou with minimal expense and fuss. A quick trip to the craft store and many of these ideas could be incorporated into a springtime meal in the backyard or neighborhood block party.


Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival


The butterfly house has undergone a major expansion this year. Renamed 'Fawn's Butterfly House' (formerly Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden) it seemed to still be a little cool for many butterflies to be out and about-we only saw a few guys fluttering around the edges of the exhibit. The butterfly house has small houses which hold the chrysalis which will eventually hatch into these gorgeous creatures. Look closely at the potted plants lining the perimeter of the walkway-tiny caterpillars can be found munching the leaves and it is a great time to show little ones the entire life cycle of butterflies emerging before their eyes from bush, to chrysalis, to beautiful butterfly!


Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Tinker Bell's Fairy Garden returns again in 2010 -- featuring topiaries of Tinker Bell and her friends, this lovely garden has fairy houses tucked throughout. Can you find them all? The back of the Fairy Garden is a great place for those traveling with little ones to grab a bench while youngsters run wild on state-of-the-art playground equipment only used during the festival.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival


This year the festival center, Garden Town, is only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During these days you can browse festival merchandise (also available at other locations throughout Epcot and online at the Disney Store), and attend seminars from various outdoor living and gardening experts. We were too late for the two o'clock seminar - make sure you plan to be at these events at least 30-45 minutes early-it was packed! Guests are given a talk by a horticulture expert and during the hands-on events are given FREE goodies!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Guests at the 2 p.m. seminar were planting in beautiful ceramic pots and also given a reusable grocery bag with the Epcot 2010 Flower & Garden Logo to carry their new garden additions in. The bags are very cute this year-full color logos on a cream bag. You also get the chance to hear some really simple and easily applicable tips on improving your outdoor spaces in a sustainable way; these events are included in your Epcot admission.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

So, what is my bottom line on the 2010 Flower & Garden Festival? I think this year's team did an outstanding job. The placement of exhibits and topiaries fit very well with the theme of each area; last year, there didn't seem to be a natural flow. It was like they had decided to place things wherever they hadn't put them before. This year there seemed to be a very organic feel to the placement of exhibits, topiaries, and flowers. For instance, the placement of the Peter Pan, Captain Hook and 'Croc' exhibit is right across the UK Tea Garden-it looks gorgeous in this shady spot and makes sense in a storytelling context.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

I was disappointed that there was simply a multifold brochure for this year's event instead of the usual multipage booklet. I was also surprised at the small number of lectures and limited hours of the Festival Center. I hope this is not a trend towards scaling back. I realize there is no way the Flower & Garden Festival generates as much traffic or sales as the very popular Food & Wine Festival and I understand that annual offerings must be productive in order to justify the time and expense given to events of such a large undertaking. Still, this is a wonderful event and I hope it is sustainable enough to continue for many (many) years to come.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Emily's F&G Must-See's:

-- The Disney Oceans display in the center of the Future World walkway is gorgeous! Pause and pay close attention to the wake made by the dolphins in this ocean-scape.

-- The Fairy Garden is just about as cheerful and whimsical as it gets. My personal highlight was the beautiful landscape in front of the Iridessa topiary -- it was a little sparse this weekend but should fill in quickly with our rising temperatures and afternoon showers!

-- The China pavilion has brought back their large and impressive Bromeliad dragon -- this beautiful piece sits in the center of the lily pond.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

-- I love the outdoor living display each year (near the Morocco pavilion). This year doesn't disappoint -- the display features a summer kitchen complete with dining room and edible garden-wall display.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

-- The small train village beside the Germany pavilion is an absolute must-see this year. The entire village is celebrating the 2010 F&G Festival with us! Look closely at the buildings, town square, and tiny details-what a treat!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

-- Last but not least, try to do at least one seminar while visiting -- they are entertaining and give even the novice gardener great tips to take home.


Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

I could go on and on -- everything is really a must-see for this event -- plan to spend at least a day strolling this show.

The Flower & Garden Festival offers so many things to see and do, but there is also something magical and unquantifiable about waking up spring in the most magical place on Earth. There are many unplanned magical moments at the Flower & Garden Festival that even Disney can't create! Duck parents waddle through the park with fuzzy newborns in tow, bunnies hop and munch their way through the flower beds, and that beautiful Florida sunshine pours down reminding us of warmer days ahead. Enjoy!

More Flower and Garden Festival Information HERE!

Tell us what YOU think about this year's Festival - Share your tips and thoughts!

March 30, 2009

Three for Tea and Tea for Three - Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

by Emily Owens Pickle

One of my favorite exhibits at the Flower and Garden Show is the English Tea Garden at the World Showcase, United Kingdom.

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Tea Time

The word 'fanatical' or 'addicted' might come to mind when describing my feelings for coffee in all shapes and styles. However, I also enjoy the occasional cup of tea and this garden is a tribute to all things chamomile, oolong, and peppermint hosted by the London-based tea company, Twinings (pronounced with a long 'i' like 'mine').

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Tea Time


Large 'cups' of tea are displayed throughout the gardens and include a description and some attributes of the different types of tea.

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Tea Time

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Tea Time


A little about the tea garden host, Twinings. Driven by a recession in the 1600s, the Twining family moved from the town of Gloucestershire and into the hustle and bustle of London accompanied by their young son, Thomas Twining. In 1706 Thomas purchased a coffee house in London after spending time working for the extremely wealthy East India Company. Thomas set out to convince the London elite of tea's superiority over coffee, a drink that dominated the male social-scene (think Starbucks, minus espresso, plus powdered wigs and a brandy with every cuppa' Joe).

Thomas succeeded and the Twining tradition of tea is now in its third generation. A few quick Twining facts:

The Twinings logo is considered the oldest logo in continuous use in the world

A famous writer during the American Revolution made careful note regarding the Boston Tea Party that it was not Twinings tea the Boston rebels tossed into the sea.

In 1941 a bombing destroyed part of the Twinings shop in London; within a few hours, the family had set up tables at the entrance and resumed tea sales as usual

(Information taken from http://www.twiningsusa.com/Twinings/HistoryOfTwinings.php)

The hydrangas are beautiful.

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Tea Time

The hybiscus are also amazing!

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Tea Time

Make the garden a cool and relaxing part of your day. In the words of Bernard-Paul Heroux, 'There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.'


March 25, 2009

I DO Believe in Fairies! Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

by Emily Owens Pickle

I Do Believe in Fairies-I do, I DO!

One huge addition to the 2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival is Pixie Hollow. Tinkerbell had a lovely fairy garden at the 2007 show and either I overlooked it last year, or it was majorly scaled-back.

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


Adjacent to Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden, the pixie hollow is sure to delight the young and not-so-young in your party. Tinkerbell is front and center to welcome you into her world.

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


Tink's friends are here to welcome you, too!

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


Can you find all of the fairy houses?

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


What do fairies do when they need to escape?

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


Of course! Though if you needed to fly, the fairies have left plenty of pixie dust on the ground

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


I promise you'll have plenty of happy thoughts.

2009 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Pixie Hollow


March 5, 2009

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

DizneyMike's World

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As I traveled through Epcot today I noticed that there is quite a bit of activity in preparation for the upcoming Flower and Garden Festival. The Flower and Garden Festival runs March 18th through May 31st and is not to be missed. Disney does such a wonderful job putting in thousands of beautiful flower and plants. Anyway, here's some pictures of what I saw:

The following pictures are of topiaries that are located in back of Spaceship Earth.

Mickey Topiary

Dancing Birds

Most of the flowerbeds surrounding the small ponds at International Gateway have been planted with bright, beautiful flowers.

Bed of Flowers


A lot of activity is happening near where the rose garden and Tink's play area was located last year.

Crew at work

Donald Topiary

Goofy Topiary

Goofy and Donald Topiary

As you leave the International Gateway and approach Canada you can see more work being done.

Temporary fence near Canada

Another view

The area between France and Morocco has a large wall hiding what they are doing there.

Looking towards Morocco

The area between Germany and heading towards China also has a large wall with work going on behind it.

Looking from Germany

Looking towards Germany

Finally, the Flower Power Concert Series line-up in posted in front of the American Gardens Theatre. This year the concerts are only going to be performed on weekend nights. Attending these concerts is always a highlight for me. I really enjoy them!

Flower Power concerts lineup

Well, that's all for now. As my good friend says "see ya real soon" - DizneyMike

Mike Bachand (aka DizneyMike) is a long time Disney Enthusiasts. Over the years Mike and family made numerous trips down to WDW from their home in Massachusetts. Now Mike and his wife live year round in the Orlando area. He is a Florida Annual Passholder who visits WDW on an average of once a week. Besides his love for WDW, Mike has a large collection of Disney books, figurines and ornaments and is a former Disney Cast Member working as a Concierge at the Contemporary Resort.

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About Flower and Garden Festival

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in the Flower and Garden Festival category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Club Cool is the previous category.

Food and Wine Festival is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.