Garden Rocks Concerts at 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival: Dates, Lineup & Dining Packages
Garden Rocks Concerts return to the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival starting in March 2023 at Walt Disney World. This post covers the current lineup of bands and musicians, whether the dining package is worth the money, dates of the performances, and everything else you need to know.
Let’s start with the basics. The EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival runs from March 1 to July 5, 2023. Walt Disney World has also confirmed that the event will effectively be split into two phases, although this doesn’t appear to be reflected in the musical lineup–there are big names throughout.
Once again the Garden Rocks Concert Series will offer its own ‘split approach,’ with internationally recognized artists performing Friday through Monday and local Orlando talent on Tuesday through Thursday at the America Gardens Theater. For 2023, the series is jam-packed with talent from returning favorites like The Pointer Sisters, Simple Plan, and the Plain White T’s, along with fresh talent like legacy guitarist AJ Croce and GRAMMY award-winning Switchfoot.
These Garden Rocks performances are held in the America Gardens Theatre across from the American Adventure in World Showcase. The concerts are included with EPCOT admission, and typically take place three times per evening, at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.
During the Garden Rocks Concert Series, popular bands from the 60s and 70s–the grooviest, flower-filled decades–and beyond perform some of their greatest hits for the Flower & Garden Festival crowds. Here’s the schedule of the Garden Rocks Concert Series during the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival:
- March 3-4, 2023 – Journey former lead vocalist STEVE AUGERI
- March 5-6, 2023 – Daughtry
- March 10-11, 2023 – Tommy DeCarlo
- March 12-13, 2023 – Smash Mouth
- March 17-18, 2023 – Mike DelGuidice
- March 19-20, 2023 – Blue Oyster Cult – NEW
- March 24-25, 2023 – Berlin
- March 26-27, 2023 – The Pointer Sisters
- March 31, 2023 – Luis Figueroa – NEW
- April 1-2, 2023 – Piso 21 – NEW
- April 3, 2023 – TBD
- April 7-8, 2023 – STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
- April 9-10, 2023 – Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles
- April 16-17, 2023 – Switchfoot – NEW
- April 21-22, 2023 – A Flock of Seagulls
- April 23-24, 2023 – Jo Dee Messina
- April 28-29, 2023 – Ambrosia with Peter Beckett, The Voice Of Player
- April 30, May 1, 2023 – Kool and the Gang
- May 5-8, 2023 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- May 12-15, 2023 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
- May 19-20, 2023 – A.J. Croce: Croce Plays Croce – NEW
- May 21-22, 2023 – Casting Crowns – NEW
- May 26-27, 2023 – Jason Scheff, longtime lead singer of Chicago – NEW
- May 28-29, 2023 – Rick Springfield
- June 2-5, 2023 – Plain White T’s
- June 9-10, 2023 – The Spinners
- June 11-12, 2023 – The Commodores
- June 16-17, 2023 – Vertical Horizon
- June 18-19, 2023 – Tony Orlando
- June 23-26, 2023 – Simple Plan
- June 30, July 1, 2023 – Living Colour
- July 2-3, 2023 – Wang Chung
Garden Rocks Dining Packages are only offered Friday to Monday during the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, from March 1 to July 5, 2023. Packages are not offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.
Walt Disney World guests who purchase the Garden Rocks Dining Package will receive concert badges at the restaurant after their meal. The badge will specify the date and show time they have reserved. Guests with the Dining Package will enter America Gardens Theatre in a separate queue and will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is guaranteed.
Each package includes:
- An appetizer, entrée and dessert or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage
- At Spice Road Table, the Garden Rocks Dining Package includes 2 small plates, a shared dessert platter, and a nonalcoholic beverage
- One (1) guaranteed seat per person to one concert performance on the same day; the concert time will be assigned at the time of booking
Here’s participating restaurants and dining package prices, which exclude tax and gratuity:
(ages 10 and up)
(ages 3 to 9)
|Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
|Coral Reef Restaurant
The Living Seas
|Garden Grill Restaurant
The Land Pavilion
|Le Cellier Steakhouse
|Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue
American Adventure Pavilion
|Rose & Crown Dining Room
United Kingdom Pavilion
|Spice Road Table
Book Advance Dining Reservations for the Garden Rocks Dining Package beginning February 9, 2023. Future dates will be released consistent with ADR rules for Walt Disney World, meaning that the entire event won’t be available at once, but rather, on a rolling 60+10 day basis.
If the Garden Rocks Dining Package is something you really want (more on whether you actually need it below), we’d recommend booking ASAP. That’s especially true for popular restaurants like Akershus, which is exceedingly difficult to book even without the package.
If you’re not able to score ADRs for Garden Rocks sit-down dining packages, fear not. You may be able to purchase a same-day dining package, which allows you to:
- Dine without reservations at Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue that day (Spice Road Table might also be an option)
- Enjoy guaranteed seats to a Garden Rocks concert later that day
To check availability for same-day dining packages, visit Regal Eagle’s Distinctly Patriotic Smokehouse: A Salute to All Foods, But Mostly Barbecued Meats ~ A Sam Eagle Craft Drafts & BBQ Joint. Same-day Garden Rocks Dining Packages are subject to availability and may not be available on peak dates.
Although we’re fans of Regal Eagle, Spice Road Table is without a doubt the way to go if you’re “forced” to do a same-day dining package. Yes, it’s $12 more expensive, but it offers at least that much more bang-for-buck, with a menu that’s more approachable than you might think.
Check out our review, Spice Road Table: EPCOT’s Best Candlelight Processional Dining Package?, for more as to why that’s our top pick. Even though it’s written from the perspective of Candlelight, it applies equally to Garden Rocks.
The America Gardens Theater where Garden Rocks Concert Series is held can seat over 1,000 guests per performance, but a large chunk of these seats are set aside for guests who purchase dinner packages. All of these dinner package guests are guaranteed seats in one of the three nightly Garden Rocks concerts.
In addition to this, fans for particular acts often line up in advance, and seeing those lines, regular tourists also queue up. Consequently, it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy–the standby line for performances can get longer because it’s long.
However, that only applies to popular performers…and in perusing the lineup, there aren’t all that many of those. I’m personally looking forward to Blue Oyster Cult, but I don’t know that they’re truly popular these days. Perhaps if Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken appear with them as special guests. To that point, it’s relatively rare for the Garden Rocks concerts to fill America Gardens Theater to capacity. Just because the line looks long…doesn’t mean it’s going to be a packed house.
This is especially true for the earlier performances when the sun is still beating down on the outdoor amphitheater. Same goes for Garden Rocks concerts that don’t occur during the peak of Spring Break season. Much of EPCOT’s Flower & Garden Festival falls during shoulder or off-season, and the concerts aren’t too bad then.
To each their own, but we typically do not recommend purchasing the Garden Rocks Concert Series Dining Package. If your only experience with performances in this venue is Candlelight Processional, adjust your expectations. There’s far less demand for the Garden Rocks Concert Series than there is for Candlelight Processional.
FOMO is a powerful motivator, but you should be able to enjoy the concert just fine without paying extra for a dining package. We’ve watched many concerts in March through mid-October, and have never once bought one of these dining packages for either Garden Rocks or Eat to the Beat (during Food & Wine Festival).
We almost always show up a few minutes before the show starts and are easily able to score spots. In our view, the dining packages are a waste of money unless they’re the only way to get a specific, highly-coveted ADR (looking at you, Akershus) or you’re able to leverage them to the fullest advantage and don’t mind paying a slight premium for peace of mind.
In terms of value for money, the dining package is not that expensive. You are absolutely paying a bit of a premium for the Garden Rocks Concert Series Dining Package, and that’s even assuming you “optimization” your order and select the most expensive entrees, etc–but it’s not that bad.
If you elect not to do the Garden Rocks Dining Package and don’t want very long in line, you have a couple of options. First, show up to the standby line ~15 minutes before the first show of the day starts. Depending upon the popularity of the band and the weather, there are usually still plenty of seats in the sun (very few spots in the America Gardens Theater are shaded). If not, at least you didn’t waste a ton of time standing in line.
In most circumstances, that strategy will work just fine. You may not have the best seats, but you’ll still be able to see the show and have a seat. If the theatre is already full, we recommend trying to watch from the walkway behind the America Gardens Theatre.
Cast Members will manage crowd flow back here in the walkway, but you can simply stand behind the theater (not in the walkway) and watch the concert. This is actually a really good view for the Garden Rocks Concert Series, and is still reasonably close to the stage. It’s not like being in the cheap seats given the intimate size of the venue–think of it as sitting (well, standing) in the balcony of the America Gardens Theatre.
Honestly, this is more than what we do. We watched Garden Rocks maybe 3-4 times last year, and in each case it was a spontaneous thing. We simply happened to be passing the America Gardens Theater shortly before or after as the concerts started, and decided to grab a seat to get off our feet and enjoy some classic rock. I can’t even recall the last time we queued up in advance for one of these concerts. Our advice here is simply to give you more of a buffer and err on the side of caution.
Ultimately, watching the Garden Rocks Concert Series is pretty simple and straightforward, and should involve zero stress or pre-planning. Although we regularly buy the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages, we have never–not once!–bought dining packages for any of the other three festivals. From our perspective, it’s a waste of money, as we can still easily enjoy the performances with minimal effort.
We may not be right up front and center, but the views are good throughout the America Gardens Theater–and even behind it. To each their own, but we’d rather allocate our budget for visiting Walt Disney World on other things. If you have infinite resources and don’t mind wasting money, by all means, book the Garden Rocks Dining Package. As a splurge, it’s one of the absolute worst choices–save that money for something else…literally anything else…at Walt Disney World!
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Are you a fan of the Garden Rocks Concert Series? Which bands have you seen perform on the America Gardens Theater stage? Do you usually book the Garden Rocks Dining Package or wait in line? Think it’s worth the money? Do you have any strategy for seeing the shows without waiting? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? 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!
IF you are going to be at park on day of concert and are planning at eating at one of the restaurants is the concert included or do you have to purchase separately? Or how much is just the concert ticket?
do you need a park ticket to book the dining package?
normal ADR, I would say yes as long as you have a active My Disney Experience account, this being a special event, I’m not sure.
Definitely looking forward to Blue Oyster Cult as well. More COWBELL!!!
Great article as always.
Are you as excited as we are about Blue October playing on April 14th and 15th!?!?! Hope to see you there and please update the schedule when you can. Thanks a bunch for another great article! Until then, y’all keep on rockin’ in the free world.
I think that you have your dates mixed. BOC is March 19 & 20. Now I need to see if I can swap around my reservations so I am in Epcot one of those days.