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Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Archives

March 23, 2009

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2009 – Part 2

The first topiaries you'll encounter when leaving Future World for World Showcase are Mrs. Pots, Chip, Cogsworth, and Lumiere from "Beauty and the Beast." I have to admit, Anita Answer and I were both somewhat perplexed by Chips lips. It looks like he borrowed a pair of Mrs. Potato Head's. Hmmmm.


2009 Flower and Garden Festival - Beauty and the Beast Characters


In keeping with the "Celebrate Springtime" theme, we find characters from the Lion King rejoicing in Simba's birth at the entrance to World Showcase.


2009 Flower and Garden Festival Lion King

2009 Flower and Garden Festival Lion King

2009 Flower and Garden Festival Lion


This year, the traditional arch that guests are accustomed to seeing in this area, is missing. According to Eric Darden, Horticulture Manager of Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival, Disney tries to rotate and change certain features of the event each year to keep things fresh and new. He told me that a particular design or topiary is used for 2-4 years before it is retired or reworked.

A number of shopping venues are available around World Showcase and feature both Disney and non-Disney merchandise with a gardening theme. Two favorites are the Mickey gnomes and the do-it-yourself Mickey topiary.


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I'm going to start in Canada and circle the World Showcase Lagoon. The first characters we find are Bambi, Thumper, and Flower.


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Even though they're always beautiful and difficult to improve upon, don't forget to take a stroll through Victoria Gardens.


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In the United Kingdom Twinings Tea has a number of teacups filled with various kinds of foliage.

Guided tours through the tea garden are presented on Monday thru Thursdays at 3:30 and 6:30 and Friday and Saturdays at 2:30, 3:30, 5:00, and 6:30. You can sign up at the Tea Caddy to learn the history and art of tea blending.


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The France Pavilion features a number of topiary in the shape of perfume bottles.


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Also in this area is the Fragrance Garden. The Guerlain Company sponsors this exhibit which allows guest to learn about the connection between plants and fragrances. A Guerlain representative conducts 20-minute informative tours of this area daily at 2, 4, and 6pm.

Ten different Guerlain fragrances can be sampled at the Lift & Sniff kiosks in this garden. An informative sign helps you understand the odor's complex blending.


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Located between the France and Morocco Pavilions is the Nature Conservancy display. While your kids enjoy themselves in the nearby playground, you can learn how to create an environmentally friendly garden in your own backyard.


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In Morocco you can see topiary Aladdin flying on his carpet.


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A perennial favorite are the bonsai trees found in the Japan Pavilion. But don't forget, besides the obvious collection near the tori gate, there are additional treasures behind the pagoda.


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I'm going to skip the American Pavilion for the time being.

In the Italy Pavilion you can find a large array of container plants. According to Epcot Horticulturalist, Eric Darden, all of the container plants throughout the park must be watered by hand - a task that takes endless hours. Also, his staff plans for a 70% - 100% replacement of all bedding and container plants during the festival.


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The other highlight at the Italy Pavilion is the Lady and the Tramp topiary. Who could resist getting their picture taken in front of this romantic spot?


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The Germany Pavilion did not have any special landscaping this year, so I'll share a bit of trivia with you. The large LBG train layout next to Germany was once a part of the Flower & Garden Festival. Each year this elaborate layout was assembled just for the event. But due to its popularity, and the expense involved with its construction and deconstruction, it was decided to make it a permanent part of the Germany Pavilion.


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Between Germany and Refreshment Outpost is the Pirate Adventure Zone.


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This is another beautifully landscaped area designed especially for the kids. Captain Hook, treasure chests, and a rickety boat are on hand for them to explore.


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A ferocious dragon and a decorative cow are on exhibit at the China Pavilion.


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Over twenty trolls have escaped from the Puffin's Roost and are hiding in the Norway Garden waiting for you to find them.


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The Mexico Pavilion did not offer any additional landscaping for this year's event.

As part of the press event, I was invited to attend a reception on the third floor of the American Adventure.


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This area was once a corporate lounge for American Express when it sponsored this attraction. It is now used for special events and parties.

As we stepped off of the elevator and into the lounge, we were offered white sangria cocktails adorned with flowers. Appetizers of cheese, fruit, eggrolls and crab-cakes were beautifully displayed on a table in the lounge. In the two corners of the dining area, chefs were waiting to dish up various pastas or carve slices of prime rib and turkey.


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For dessert we dined on chocolate flower pots with Oreo dirt and gummy-worms. How appropriate for the Flower & Garden Festival.


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Dan Cockerell, Epcot VP spoke briefly then turned the microphone over to Eric Darden who explain what goes into creating the Flower & Garden Festival each year.

Here is a photo I was excited to be given the opportunity to take - a picture of Spaceship Earth taken from the third floor of the American Pavilion.


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At 4:45 we were escorted to the American Gardens Theatre for reserved seating to see the Davy Jones concert as part of the Flower Power concert series that takes place during the event.


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Davy put on a great show. Although only 35 minutes in length, he packed a lot of memorable tunes into this concert. Most of the audience was made up of my generation - those old enough to remember seeing the Monkees' TV show when it first aired. A number of fans brought old record albums for Davy to sign. And even though he picked up several of them and showed them to the audience, he did not sign any as there simply wasn't time during this abridged concert.

For a 63 year old, Davy still can shake it and move it. Although he made numerous jokes about his age, there was no sign of him slowing down. And since the audience had memorized all of his songs when they were teenagers, much of the gang sang along with Davy, which he didn't seem to mind and even encouraged at one point.

When ending the concert, Davy let everyone know that he's putting on three shows a day with different numbers in each. He encouraged everyone to come back for a later performance - which I'm sure many did.

After the concert, I was tired and decided to call it quits for the day. When I got home I downloaded the 470 pictures I had taken and started to whittle them down to the few I will share with you.

Unlike the Food & Wine Festival, which cost extra if you wish to enjoy its benefits, the Flower & Garden Festival costs nothing more than your price of admission. It's a wonderfully beautiful event that everyone can enjoy and marvel at. I would highly recommend planning your next trip to Disney World around this occasion. I realize that Spring Break coincides with much of this event, but if you're into gardening, you won't be disappointed.

March 22, 2009

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2009 – Part 1

The 2009 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival officially opened on Wednesday, March 18 (and runs through May 31). I wasn't there on opening day as I usually am, but I had a good excuse. This year, Epcot held a special press event for a number of the Disney web sites like Allears.net - and I was invited! Cool.

I'm going to try to chronicle my day, but with an emphasis on the Festival and not on my adventures, but there will be some overlap.

The theme of this year's event is "Celebrate Springtime," which fits in nicely with the resort's "What will you celebrate?" slogan. This theme is generic enough that it allows for a lot of leeway when designing the different gardens and displays.

When entering the park, you first encounter the "Cinderellabration" garden. Here you'll find Princess Arora and Prince Phillip engaged in a beautiful waltz. Also in this area are Belle and the Beast, Snow While and the dwarfs, and Cinderella's coach.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


The two walkways that flank each side of Spaceship Earth have been lined with the Flower Towers.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


Once in Innoventions Plaza, Sorcerer Mickey and his brooms create a wonderful picture spot. Off to each side you can find the ostridges from the "Dance of the Hours" segment of Fantasia.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


In the nearby planters the Fantasia theme is continued with hippos and an elephant, also from the Dance of the Hours segment.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


In the Future World East section of the park you can find prankster Stitch.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


Near the south exit to Mouse Gear is a wonderful sand sculpture promoting Disneynature EARTH.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


The following is a quote from a nearby sign:

What is Disneynature? Disneynature is The Walt Disney Studios' film label dedicated to working with leading filmmakers to produce one cutting-edge theatrical release each year, celebrating the wonders of the world in which we live. In 1948, Walt Disney created the Oscar©-winning True-Life Adventure series, which produced landmark wildlife documentaries that taught an entire generation about the beauty and fragility of the world. As Walt Disney said of the series, "Nature writes the screenplays." Our journey into these true-life adventures continues with the first film in the Disneynature series, EARTH, starting in theatres on Earth day, April 22, 2009.


Disneynature Earth


Also in this general vicinity is a wonderful spot for kids. Disney provides a small plastic pot that children are encouraged to color and design. When they have completed their creation, they are given a packet of Fairy Dust Impatiens seeds and instructions on how to plant and care for their flowers once they get home.


2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot

2009 Flower Garden Festival at Epcot


Around the corner is Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden. Hundreds of these delicate creatures fly about and pose for some stunning pictures. Also in this pavilion are several signs that compare butterflies to the animals featured in Disneynature's upcoming movie "EARTH."


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New this year for the Flower & Garden Festival is Pixie Hollow. The opening of this enchanting area was one of the events I was invited to attend as a member of the Allears team.


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The festivities began with Mother Nature and Mr. Green Thumb welcoming us to Pixie Hollow.


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Soon after, five fairies from the Disney movie "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure" arrived on stage.

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After some impish mischief and coquettish poses, some additional fairies joined in the merriment and were officially sworn in as residents of Pixie Hollow.


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Each day at 2pm, all Fairies and Princesses are invited to this wonderful spot to show off their costumes and be a part of a daily celebration.

Also on hand was the new Epcot VP, Dan Cockerell (left) and the director and producer Klay Hall (right) and Sean Lurie (middle) of "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure."


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After some welcoming speeches, we were invited to experience Pixie Hollow for ourselves.


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I have to admit, I have not seen this movie so I can't offer any opinions as to this recreation's resemblance to that in the film. However, my good friend Anita Answer was visiting Epcot that day and her daughter, Mini-Answer told me that Disney did a great job of creating a magical place for your little fairies.

After leaving Pixie Hollow we headed over to the Odyssey Restaurant for a special buffet luncheon. I was fortunate enough to be seated next to Dan Cockerell and was treated to a delightful conversation with this Disney exec. I found out that he started his Disney career working in the Epcot parking lot directing bewildered tourists. And as his career progressed, he was fortunate enough to be part of the opening team for EuroDisneyland. He's been in his current position as Epcot VP for almost three weeks.

After lunch we were all given a chance to have our pictures taken with the fairies.


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Leaving the Odyssey Restaurant I headed over to the Rose Garden and checked out the "Let's Get Moving" display. This area is designed for kids and has a number of play structures for them to enjoy. Also in this area is a video display sponsored by the DIY Network.


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Of course, no Flower and Garden Festival would be complete without the tapestry of flowers.


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This concludes part one. Stay tuned for part two.

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About Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in the Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Epcot's Food and Wine Festival is the next category.

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