Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2014 Guide


The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs from March 5, 2014 until May 18, 2014 at Walt Disney World. The 11 food kiosks return for 2014, making this like a mini Food & Wine Festival! The event gives Disney guests a glimpse at expert-designed flower and garden displays and Disney character topiaries, and also includes the “Flower Power” live music concert series and special programs and seminars by HGTV (the main sponsor), DIY, and Epcot expert gardeners. Most of the offerings for Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival are included with theme park admission to Epcot. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you should see during the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!

Whether you’re a first time guest or a seasoned veteran of Walt Disney World, visiting during Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is a great idea. Epcot is at its most beautiful during Flower & Garden Festival. The place smells and looks wonderful, and there are a lot of unique offerings, displays, and photographic opportunities.

Just to give you an idea of how impressive Epcot looks at this time of year, here are some stats: 30-million blooms, 240 floating flower planters, 700 gardens, nearly 100 Disney character topiaries, 30 flower towers, and one beautiful butterfly tapestry of flowers all culminate in an incredibly vibrant time of year for Epcot! It takes more than one year and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to prepare for the 75-day Flower and Garden Festival.

Some of you are probably thinking, “yeah, but I loathe gardening and I much prefer barren concrete to vibrant flowers.” Well, if that’s the case, I can’t recommend visiting Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival. However, if your views on flowers and gardening aren’t quite that extreme, it’s a great time to visit. I groan when Sarah turns on HGTV (just how many episodes of a show about decorating a house to resell it can one person watch?!) and I’ve been known to (accidentally, I swear!) run over portions of our own garden with the lawnmower, but I love visiting during Flower & Garden Festival. The park is gorgeous, smells great, and there are a lot of unique things to photograph. Much like the Behind the Seeds tour, while the fundamental substance of the presentations at Flower & Garden Festival doesn’t appeal to me, the overall “feel” and ambiance of the Festival does appeal to me. It’s a really fun time to be at Epcot!

Flower & Garden Festival Stuff to Do!

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If you’re going to be in Walt Disney World during the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, here’s the full listing of special “stuff” for the event, and whether we think it’s worth your time to experience. It’s also worth noting that those visiting during the last weekend of the Flower & Garden Festival can also hit the first weekend of the 2014 Star Wars Weekends. Plan accordingly to make sure you are able to experience both!

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Outdoor Kitchens - The “Outdoor Kitchens” (previously Garden Marketplaces) are essentially Food & Wine Festival kiosks offering food and drinks. There are 11 kiosks this year, with returning options such as “Florida Fresh,” “Smokehouse BBQ & Brew,” “Primavera Kitchen,” “Hanami,” and “Fruits by the Glass.”

The kiosks last year proved quite popular, and the items we tried were on par with Food & Wine Festival, with some things being even better. Although we question the motive, we absolutely love Food & Wine Festival, and we blow big chunks of money at these Flower & Garden kiosks, too.

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If you’ve never attended Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, it’s worth noting that grazing from these kiosks will cost you considerably more than eating an actual meal. So if you’re looking to save money, stay away from these kiosks. If you’re looking to have a great time and are willing to spend a bit of money (we easily spend $40-60 in an afternoon at Food & Wine Festival kiosks), you should be able to spend an afternoon just wandering these kiosks!

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Expert PresentationsHGTV and DIY experts will be on hand offering presentations on a variety of gardening and home improvement-related topics. These TV-celebrities appear every weekend at the Festival Center and offer tips guests can actually use at home (so just because you don’t own a mansion with a team of dedicated horticulturists doesn’t mean it won’t apply to you!).

These presentations are actually pretty interesting, at least for someone like me who has only a rudimentary understanding of gardening. I wouldn’t want to spend all day at these seminars (that would get old quick), and I feel that maybe someone who is really interested in gardening would find the information here a bit “below” them, but for a novice, they’re something worth seeing. Our recommendation is to pick one that stands out and consider others if you really enjoy that one.

Special Gardens & Exhibits – New for 2014 is “Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden” display. It sounds like this is 50% garden, 50% play area. It’s unclear what this will entail, but it’s unlikely to be as impressive as last year’s Oz garden, since Monsters, Inc. won’t have a promotional budget.

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Tinker Bell’s Butterfly HouseTinker Bell’s Butterfly House returns this year, combining butterflies and fairy topiaries. This butterfly house is always really cool, as butterflies fly all over the place and even land on guests. We recommend spending about 10-15 minutes in here to watch the butterflies and take photos. 

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Hummingbirds at HomeA new exhibit presented by the National Audubon Society, this is a walk-through hummingbird garden (a la the butterfly house) and educational piece on how guests can attract hummingbirds to their own homes. We’re looking forward to this. I love the Audubon Society, and think something like this could fit really well with the “edutainment” aim of Epcot.

Character Topiaries – Throughout World Showcase and Future World, there are nearly 100 topiaries, with over 75 inspired by Disney films! The highlight at Epcot’s entrance for 2014 will be Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries engaging in a butterfly hunt. Although it’s unclear what this means, the topiaries will have a “new computer-generated look while telling an entertaining story.”

Anyone else ready for it to be spring? Nothing says

The unimpressive light-up topiaries that debuted in 2013 are returning (hopefully with improvements)  and Muppets topiaries debut in 2014 as well (presumably to promote Muppets Most Wanted). Other topiaries around Epcot will include Pixar characters, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Princesses, Lion King characters, and other classic favorites.

It's ridiculous that these Cars topiaries are placed in World Showcase's Japan during Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival.More Flower & Garden info: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/epcot-flower-garden-festival-photos/

For us, the topiaries should be the highlight of Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival, but they quite often disappoint. The topiaries are recycled from year to year and season to season (you can see some of the exact same topiaries in different locations at Christmas…we have photos of them from Christmas 2007 and they look the same) and are often shoe-horned in places they really don’t belong. The centerpiece this year sounds like it will have a new Goofy topiary, but based on the positions of the other characters, it sounds like the rest will be recycled. It would be nice to have new topiaries each year, especially since in the late 1980s and early 1990s, new topiaries regularly appeared when there wasn’t even a special event (as reflected in one of our favorite Walt Disney World books, Gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort). Still, there are some new topiaries each year, and it’s great to see them added to enhance the park.

We just wish there were a Figment topiary. Maybe a Figment AND Dreamfinder topiary. All else would be forgiven if a special topiary were added over by Journey into Imagination. There used to be a Figment topiary over there, so why not a new one?!

Flower Power Concert Series – This weekend concert series features live music from the 1960s and 1970s during the Flower Power Concert Series. Famous artists rock Epcot’s America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase (near the American Adventure) every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Bands include Chubby Checker and The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, new acts Gary Lewis and the Playboys and The Alan Parsons Live Project, among many other favorites!

We’ve never actually taken the time to watch a Flower Power Concert, but it’s great to see Disney bringing in some one-time big names, and many of the bands are some reasonably big names. For our short, weekend trips lining up for these shows and watching an entire concert is too big of a time commitment for bands that really don’t command high concert prices on their own, but locals and others really seem to love these shows. Now, if Elton John and Billy Joel were to appear together in a show as part of the concert series, we’d be the first ones in line at park opening to see them!

Other Stuff -  Other not-to-be-missed special exhibits include: Mater’s Parts, Plants, and Play Garden, which will feature topiaries from Cars and a small play area; The Festival Center (in the former Wonders of Life pavilion), featuring merchandise and presentations by Disney horticulture experts from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other parks and HGTV Design experts; and, illuminated gardens and topiaries that will twinkle and glow each night.

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Overall, there’s a decent amount to do at the Flower & Garden Festival, and something that will appeal to everyone. We recommend visiting during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, but it’s not something around which you should plan a trip. It’s our second favorite time to visit Epcot, after the International Food & Wine Festival.

One of the cooler aspects of the Flower & Garden Festival, in my opinion, is that you can visit multiple times and have a totally different experience each time. This is not only because the presenters and bands change, but because halfway through the festival, Disney gardeners remove the blossoms that thrive in early-spring to plant a new crop of flowers that flourish in late-spring’s warmer temperatures. This is great for those guests visiting during the concluding weeks of the Festival, as they don’t have to worry about seeing a bunch of wilted flowers. It’s beautiful during the Festival’s entire run!

Although there are new offerings each year, generally not a ton differs from year to year. The same character topiaries are used year in and year out (with a few exceptions), and most of the new content consists of thinly veiled promotional pieces for upcoming Disney films.

The Outdoor Kitchens are another (newish) highlight, and while these are an obvious attempt to capitalize on the colossal success of the Food & Wine Festival, so what? Food & Wine Festival is a ton of fun for guests, so why not incorporate elements into other times of the year, as well? The best things Disney does are mutually beneficial for it and guests. Obviously Disney is a business, and in this case we love the booths at Food & Wine Festival, so we think these are a solid addition to the Flower & Garden Festival. It would be nice to see similar investments in overhauling the topiaries that haven’t changed in the last 5 years or so, but we can’t complain too much because clearly a lot of effort is being put into this festival that is included with theme park admission to Epcot. Based on what Disney has announced thus far, it appears 2013 will bring the biggest set of additions to the Flower & Garden Festival in a long time, which is great to see. It’s a beautiful time of year to visit Epcot, and we’re really looking forward to the Festival!

For more details on Flower & Garden Festival, including kiosk menus, check back once this year’s map becomes available!

Your Thoughts…

Have you ever been to Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? Considering attending? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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29 Responses to “Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2014 Guide”

  1. Laura B. says:

    We went last year at the end of February. While it was not officially F&G season, many of the flowers and topiaries were already up! It was beautiful!

  2. Paul says:

    We have been lucky to visit the past 2 years and it is fantastic, will be there for 1 day only in April and looking forward to it.

  3. Annie says:

    I have to go on a visit to see the MIL in Georgia this May, so I was going to try to tack on a few days at the end for the F&GF. I was really hoping that there would be a concert that would really entice my husband into agreeing to this plan, but I just don’t think that Herman’s Hermits is gonna cut it. I’m still gonna try!

    I’m really trying but I’m just not getting into all the Oz stuff.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Are you telling me your husband doesn’t love the world famous Herman’s Hermits?!?!?!

      I feel the same way about Oz. Disney is pushing it HARD. I wonder if it will be any good. No advance reviews as of yet suggests not…

  4. Mary says:

    Leaving on Saturday and will be there opening day!

  5. Katie says:

    I went to the F&GF last year and got engaged in front of the Winnie the Pooh topiary! It’s such a wonderful transformation of Epcot and totally worth checking out at least once!! :) There is so much effort into making the characters. The park really *POPS* with color and engergy.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m sure it holds a special place in your heart now, congrats! Epcot definitely pops with color and energy during Flower & Garden Festival, and as a photographer, it’s my favorite time of year in the park. Unlike me, most people probably wouldn’t visit simply because “flower planters are more photogenic than usual,” though! ;)

      • orangecrush says:

        I love the flowers at Epcot for the Festival. As a Floridian, it’s my favorite time to visit the park, with the added bonus of -usually- the best weather as well. Epcot to me is all about strolling, so it’s wonderful to have outdoor food booths which encourage enjoying the path instead of rushing to get the next stamp in a passport. I always find something new to enjoy at Epcot, but on Flower and Garden festival days I want to be there from open to close. The one bummer for me, and this is year round, is that I feel they don’t do a great job with fireworks viewing at Epcot; it’s almost impossible for large numbers of guests to enjoy the show from a good angle. As for the music, rather than paying for what used to be big name artists, I’d rather see a more diverse low key musical presence of world music performers on small stages throughout the park, more in keeping with Epcot’s international theme.

  6. Valerie says:

    I’ve been in 2009 and 2011 and liked it, but wasn’t blown away because to me it didn’t seem like much extra besides the topiaries, which are beautiful. So I can’t wait this year for the food and drink kiosks! Me and my husband are heading down for Food and Wine this year in October but have never been before, so when we’re there this April it will hopefully be like a mini Food and Wine Festival to prepare us for the real thing!

  7. Kevin says:

    Interesting – A friend of mine did a marathon down there and had a good time. I wish I’d known about them back when I could run.

    I’m more curious about the noob transportation mistake. Can it top our trip from AKL to AK when we got on the Downtown Disney bus and went ALK -> DD – AoA -> AK?

    • Kevin says:

      I’m not sure how this comment got on the F&G post instead of the RunDisney post. Sorry!

      As for the F&G, we’ve been lucky enough to visit during Food and Wine, Flower and Garden, and Christmas, and I think Flower and Garden might be my favorite time to visit Disney World. (Partly because it’s been 3 straight months of gray in the midwest and the color and slowers are an awesome change of pace)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Same idea as your mistake. Involves getting on the wrong monorail.

  8. Deborah says:

    Can’t wait to see all 30 million blooms! We’re heading down in April! YAY!!!

  9. Jay says:

    I think the addition of the food kiosks is genius. I don’t see it as a sceme for Disney to make money, although I’m sure they will. Instead, I think it’s really just giving the people what they want. Everyone I know raves about the Food & Wine Festival and we all devoutly attend each year. Outside of the F&W Festival, we don’t visit Epcot very often. The addition of the food kiosks at the Flower & Garden Festival has changed that. We are all so excited to have an entirely different menu offered with a spring garden theme. It’s a great time of year to be outside in Florida and I bet the flowers at the festival will be beautiful, all of which I will be seeing purely because of the addition of the food this year. F&W and F&G will both be marked on my calendar from now on.

  10. Sara R says:

    Tom, both of my girl share your desire for a Figment topiary as well!

  11. Sean says:

    visiting march 14th-22nd this year, can’t wait to see what this is all about. we were there for food & wine in november for the first time, excited to experience this and even a little bit of that again!

    will you be visiting during this F&G Festival?

  12. Tammy says:

    We will be there for the first full week of May this year and I am so excited to get to see the Flower and Garden Festival for the first time. We have been at all other times of year and participated in the parties for Halloween and Christmas and for Food and Wine, this is the last thing we have to “check off” the list. Looking forward to the sunshine!

  13. MJ says:

    Does anyone know how the kiosks work with the Disney Dining Plan? Can the credits be used at the kiosks?

  14. Do you know if they take the topiaries and flowers out immediately after the festival? Or do they leave them for a week or 2? I am going over Memorial Day weekend, curious if we’ll get to see them.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You might still see some remnants of nicer flower beds, but the topiaries and other displays will be gone by then.

  15. Steve says:

    F&G at Epcot has been a wonderful festival in years past.
    However as time as gone ahead from it’s origins less and less money seems to have been spent. Along with less sponsors present.
    There was a time when there were outside displays of suggested home gardens for example. There were samplings of gardens depicting foods grown in other countries.
    Over time gardens have been themed to promote the latest movie or tv program.
    It’s a bit sad.

    Last year there were noticeably less ‘experts’ at the greenhouse stage.

    Disney to cut costs has partnered with HGTV, and a large part of this festival is really the HGTV festival.

    As is the case with a lot of disney’s venues, the prices continue to rise as the there are services and products subtracted.

    Now the focus has shifted to maintaining a “food and wine” like presence , why not enhance what the people come to see?

    It’s time to turn the Imagineers and epcot gardens loose and let them wow the crowds.

    Looking at a cars topiary doesn’t do it for adults.

    BTW Gary Lewis has performed at Epcot before, though they say “NEW” for 2014

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sadly, I think you’re mostly right. I think it would be great for Disney to really reinvent the Flower & Garden Festival to give guests a totally NEW experience, but I don’t see that happening.

  16. Lyndie says:

    Is there going to be a ladybug release? I was there in 2008 and they did this, It was fasinating! And is there a butterfly tent again?
    Do you have a link to a 2014 guide?

  17. Cr8zyC8tL8dy says:

    Hi, I’m planning to go in 2015 and take my mom, but we want to miss the “spring break” crowd. Most colleges seem to have spring break the first 2 weeks of March, would you recommend the last 2 weeks of March as a good time go to the Garden Festival? We dont want to go in April (even though Peter Noone is usually there then and yes we do LOVE Peter!), because by then the heat is a bit too much for us Northern gals! Thank you!

  18. Robin says:

    We are such huge Disney fans but I’m sorry the flower and garden festival has
    Turned into the same as the food and wine festival, a reason for
    people to get drunk and act stupid. We have witnessed sooo many
    things over the years that we finally quit going during food and wine
    Now that they have added more booze to the flower and garden festival they
    have spoiled that for us too. We went 2 weeks ago and had a beer dumped down
    my back and watched a guy so drunk he fell into the bushes.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sorry to hear that. While I agree with you completely about Food & Wine Festival, I haven’t noticed any issues (yet) at Flower & Garden. Maybe we’ve been lucky…or you were unlucky?

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