The 2023 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is now underway! Walt Disney World’s popular spring and summer event runs from March 1 to July 5, 2023. This guide covers everything new, our tips & tricks, best food, concert schedule, avoiding crowds, and how to maximize your time & money. (Updated March 1, 2023.)
This year’s Epcot Flower & Garden Festival is the longest ever at 127 days that encompass both spring and early summer, with many floral displays changing about halfway through the event to reflect the new season. The 2023 event starts one day earlier and ends one day later than last year, for those keeping score at home. We’ll be spending several weekdays and weekends at Epcot during the springtime event, eating our way around the park, admiring the vibrant displays, perusing the vendor booths–and updating this guide accordingly throughout.
While we think the topiaries and beautiful floral displays are the highlight of the Epcot Flower &Garden Festival, many people go for the food. For a lot of Walt Disney World visitors, it’s essentially a spring version of the popular Food & Wine Festival. If you’re more concerned with cuisine, refer instead to our Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Food Reviews, Photos & Booth Menus. As the title suggests, that’s comprehensive coverage of the culinary side of the event, particularly what to eat and avoid…
Now that it’s officially underway, we have new details about the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. New Encanto topiaries at the front of the park are one highlight of the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. For the first time, topiaries of Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa from Encanto make a grand appearance at the festival.
In addition to the Encanto characters, there’s a new Princess Tiana topiary gracing the American Adventure. EPCOT will also feature favorites such as Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs; Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and Tick Tock Croc; Figment; Anna and Elsa; and more.
Walt Disney World has also announced that more than 15 Outdoor Kitchens will offer specialty menus of scrumptious cuisine and beverages at the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Most notably, the Citrus Blossom (aka “Orange Bird Eats”) will move to a new location in the Odyssey, replacing Figment’s Inspiration Station.
If you’re primarily concerned with the Outdoor Kitchens, we have convenient reviews for each of the food booths from last year:
These will all be updated in the coming days as we have a chance to graze our way around the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival!
As the parentheticals suggest, the top 3 booths above are the best of the festival. We’d highly recommend prioritizing those Outdoor Kitchens, and those reviews, when planning what you’re going to eat and drink at the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival.
To make matters easier, that trio of Outdoor Kitchens is all located conveniently near one another towards the front of the park. While most of the food booths are in World Showcase, those options are much more hit or miss than BRUNCHCHOT, Farmers Feast, and Honey Bee-stro.
One big thing you need to know is that Epcot’s Future World is a veritable construction zone right now. Entire sections of the front of the park are closed for reimagining, and there are a lot of eyesores. Fortunately, almost all of the normal topiaries and flower beds are back, including the centerpiece mosaic flower quilt between Future World and World Showcase. This has made the front of the park look a lot better, but it’s still a pain to navigate.
If you’re looking for strategy to efficiently experience for navigating the parks amidst all of these changes, be sure to consult our Itineraries & Touring Plans for Walt Disney World. Those have been updated with all of the latest changes (like Genie+ and Lightning Lanes) plus the newest additions, like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Harmonious, and Disney Enchantment. As soon as Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind opens, we’ll add it, too.
Here’s what else we know based upon our past experiences at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival…
Epcot Flower & Garden Festival: Info & Tips
We visit Epcot for Flower & Garden Festival each year, and this guide is based upon experiences attending the event annually over the course of the last decade-plus. Every year, the highlight of Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is the topiaries and glorious garden displays. These make Epcot pop with color and beauty, and are a wonderful enhancement to Epcot.
There’s no additional charge to see flowers and topiaries that are arranged throughout Epcot, but it should be noted that almost everything aside from the food is included in normal Epcot admission. Most of the event is a “plussing” of Epcot at no additional charge, and this is part of why we highly recommend it.
For foodies, the Outdoor Kitchen food booths are another incredibly popular element of Flower & Garden Festival. These make the spring event like a mini Food & Wine Festival, which is Epcot’s most popular festival of the year.
Aside from the snacking and rocking, the event offers Walt Disney World guests the ability to enjoy expert-designed flower and garden displays, Disney character topiaries, playgrounds, and more. Here’s what else you can expect…
In terms of basic info about the horticulture on display at Epcot during Flower & Garden Festival, let’s start by hitting you with some fact-bombs. First, it takes a full year and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to prepare for the 90-day Flower and Garden Festival.
The culmination of those efforts are 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.
Some of you are probably thinking, “okay, 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 still love visiting during Flower & Garden Festival.
It bears repeating: during Flower & Garden Festival, Epcot is gorgeous, smells great, and there are a lot of unique things to photograph. Much like the Behind the Seeds at Epcot Tour (which I highly recommend), the fundamental substance of the presentations at Flower & Garden Festival doesn’t appeal to me, but the overall “feel” and ambiance of the Festival does appeal to me. It’s a really fun time to be at Epcot.
While we recommend visiting during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, but it’s not something around which you should plan a trip. The good news is that there are a few low-crowd, nice-weather periods of time during Flower & Garden Festival’s run, and targeting those is a good idea.
Consult our 2023 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars & When to Visitso you can plan specific dates. As a general matter, the best times to visit are on weekdays at the start of the event, before the arrival of Spring Break Crowds at Walt Disney World. After those school breaks end in late April 2023 is another good time to visit, as is the entirety of May 2023. Crowds will start to pick up again in June, growing gradually over the course of the summer until the event ends.
Here’s a rundown of everything you can experience during the 2023 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival…
Outdoor Kitchens – These are essentially Food & Wine Festival kiosks offering food and drinks.
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.
Special Gardens & Exhibits -There will be 20 different garden areas all across EPCOT, including floating gardens on the waters of Future World, a bamboo garden in China, a tropical rainforest garden in Mexico and the English Tea Garden by Twinings in the United Kingdom, where you can also take a Self-Guided Tea Tour. At Outdoor Escapes, you can unwind in refreshing spaces that show you just how easy it is to create an outdoor escape for family and friends
Goodness Garden Butterfly House – The 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.
Per Disney, an orchestral version of the Academy-Award winning song “Colors of the Wind” was chosen “for its message of intrinsic value and respect for beauty of nature and living things – with visual flourishes that evoke the musical scene from the film with techniques entirely original for Spaceship Earth.”
Character Topiaries – Throughout World Showcase and Future World, there are dozens of topiaries inspired by Disney films. The highlight for last year was a main entrance topiary display featuring Goofy and a 50th birthday cake for the World’s Most Magical Celebration. With that event ending, the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival will feature an all-new centerpiece topiary. As discussed above, it features the characters from Encanto!
Other character topiaries will include Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Remy, Anna & Elsa, Lady & the Tramp, Figment, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Germany pavilion, Lumiere and Cogsworth in the France pavilion, and more.
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 about 10 years ago and they look the same) and are often shoe-horned in places they really don’t belong.
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.
Concerts – The 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival will feature live music from the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond thanks to the return of the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Famous artists rock the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. each evening.
Unlike Candlelight Processional, we have never found the dining packages to be necessary for any other Epcot concerts. However, if the very best seats are a must so you can truly appreciate the rad hairstyles sported by A Flock of Seagulls, the dining package will help you there. Just don’t feel like you need to buy it in order to get a spot, because there’s usually plenty of seating for walk-ups.
Expect to hear live music every evening at the 2023 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. In addition to the Garden Rocks Concert Series, local Orlando bands step into the spotlight Tuesday through Thursday, performing in the America Gardens Theatre.
There will also be other acts throughout World Showcase, including Mariachi Cobre, the Jammin’ Gardeners, and more.
Other Stuff – Other exhibits include the Festival Center (in the former Odyssey pavilion), featuring merchandise, one of the Outdoor Kitchens, and other activities.
One of the cooler aspects of the Flower & Garden Festival 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 fresh 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.
Personally, we think it would be nice to see investments in changing the topiary designs that haven’t changed in the last 10 years or so, but if you’re a first-timer, these will obviously still be fresh to you.
The Outdoor Kitchens are another 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 incredibly popular with guests, so why not incorporate elements of it into other times of the year?
The best things Disney does are mutually beneficial for it and guests. We love the food booths at Food & Wine Festival, so we think these are a solid addition to the Flower & Garden Festival. If you disagree with us, you can simply ignore the food booths. No harm, no foul.
Overall, Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is a really lovely event. There’s a decent amount to do at the Flower & Garden Festival, and something that will appeal to everyone. It’s our third favorite time of year to visit Epcot, after the Festival of Holidays and newer Festival of the Arts (but ahead of Food & Wine 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 lot of fun. Epcot is at its most beautiful during Flower & Garden Festival, and you can enjoy much of what’s offered during the event without spending anything extra. Epcot smells and looks wonderful, and there are a lot of unique offerings, displays, and photographic opportunities.
Have you ever been to Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? What do you think are the highlights? Are favorite foods, demonstrations, or other aspects of the event? Do you agree or disagree with our advice for the event? Are you considering attending the 2023 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!