1994: First Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Editor’s Note: This post is part 23 in a forty-part blog series in celebration of Walt Disney World Resort’s upcoming 40th Anniversary. Please welcome to The Window Seat Jill E. Cooper, Walt Disney World Moms Panel Guest Author.
In 1994, the first Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival was held. Learn more about this annual spring event that transforms Epcot with flowers, gardens, music and special presentations.
After months of freezing temperatures, incessant snow-shoveling and insufficient sunshine, nothing suggests the long-awaited coming of spring like those tiny, precious blooms that bravely poke their heads up through the frozen ground in March. Multiply those blooms by a few million and you will have the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – a guaranteed cure for the wintertime blues.
Every spring since 1994, the master gardeners at Walt Disney World unveil a stunning tribute to spring in all her glory. It is a feast for the senses! From the moment you walk through the turnstiles at Epcot, you’ll be bombarded with a dizzying display of the world’s most gorgeous flowers. Stunning arrangements of native flowers appear in the 11 pavilions along World Showcase. The arriving monorail affords visitors an awe-inspiring view of the miraculous and colorful patterns formed by the parterre gardens along the sloping banks below. Even the ponds separating Future World and World Showcase sport the most glorious floating flower baskets. It would take many days to see all the horticultural magic Disney gardeners have in store for guests to Epcot in the spring. It’s a good thing the Flower & Garden Festival lasts 75 days!
Of all the lovely additions to Epcot’s gardens in March and April, my hands-down favorites are the topiaries. When I first visited the Magic Kingdom and the surroundings resorts for the first time with my parents back in the 1970s, one of my fondest memories was spotting the topiaries, seemingly shaped by magic into Disney characters, from the back seat of our family station wagon. Now the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival offers more than 100 whimsical topiaries to discover, all within the confines of one theme park. Be sure to have your camera at the ready because you’ll definitely want pictures of these feats of horticulture and imagination.
But, no matter how hard it may be to avoid, don’t be so distracted by the flowers that you miss the chance to partake in the educational opportunities available at the festival. Be sure to pick up the schedule for the Flower & Garden Festival special events at your Disney resort, on-line, or as you enter the Epcot turnstiles. You won’t want to miss the chance to learn gardening tips from big name stars from HGTV, professors from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and a variety of other local and national gardening experts. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, free seminars (included with your paid admission to Epcot) are offered almost hourly in the Festival Center (located in the former Wonders of Life Pavilion). Be sure to arrive early for these free events because they have become extremely popular and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. These presentations cover a wide range of topics, ranging from the secrets behind the magic of Disney horticulture to tips amateur gardeners can use to sprinkle a little extra magic in their own gardens.
So, if you’re looking for a way to escape the doldrums of next winter, plan your next visit to Walt Disney World Resort during the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. With butterfly gardens, daily planting pointers, meditation areas, Festival-specific pins and merchandise and nostalgic music at the Flower Power concerts, I guarantee you won’t want to miss the opportunity to welcome spring at Walt Disney World!
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