Spring is here and that means the weather is nicer, the amount of travelers to our favorite Florida theme parks has started to increase and one of EPCOT’s most popular festivals is up and running. The Flower and Garden Festival 2022 edition began early March and is already seeing amazing attendance as we get back to “normal” in the parks. But what is this festival? Who can go and who will enjoy? Is it just flowers…and gardens? That leads us to today’s article…
Welcome to Believe Vacations’ weekly post where today, we are going to talk about the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival 2022. Joining us once again is agent Kim Haig. This festival is Kim’s favorite and is also a favorite for her husband and daughter. She attended opening day and was kind enough to share her thoughts on this year’s activities.
What is the Flower and Garden Festival?
EPCOT is home to four festivals during the year and this one shows you all things “Fresh.” The festival starts early March and runs all the way to early July. You have topiaries of your favorite Disney characters, there are outdoor kitchens featuring fresh ingredients and spring garden selections, there are educational scavenger hunts for kids, a wellness area and a butterfly house. It is a wonderful ramp-up to spring (Floridians call it “comfortable summer”) where it is perfect weather and the kick-off to the best time of the year at Disney.
Which was your favorite topiary?
I didn’t notice newer ones, possibly Cogsworth and Lumiere but regardless, we always enjoy Rafiki. It’s our family tradition where we hold my daughter up like Simba in front of it. We started that when she was 8 months old and now 5 years old. Who knows what we’ll do when she’s a teenager! If you want to enjoy these and the flowers when they are most vibrant, visit earlier in the festival. Don’t expect pristine condition when you visit in the heat of the summer months.
What are the wellness options?
Advent Health has a tent area that contains a kids play area as well as a place to discuss mental health. If for the play area for kids alone, I definitely recommend you go. Obviously, the health tips from professionals are amazing but it reinforces, this festival is for kids too.
What are the food and beverage options?
In 2011 or so, they introduced the outdoor kitchens. The food options are more of the fresher ingredient variety and not heavy holiday dishes. They still do have sweets and desserts but we always enjoy the Honey Bee-stro. There are chicken flatbreads, honey cheesecakes, jalapeno bread and others. There’s also the citrus booth that has a crispy pork belly dish, a rare tuna dish, etc. It’s not about the national flavors; it’s more of a theme around a certain ingredient, food type, spice, etc.
Will kids be bored?
Overall, the kids will love it. Every festival at EPCOT can be kid-friendly but this one does have the play areas and the wellness areas that benefit the entire family. Plus, who doesn’t like to see the topiaries of your favorite characters?!
What are the crowd levels?
We got there opening day so it was very crowded with the bloggers, media people, etc. We were there on a Wednesday and that knocked out a ton of potential guests. Because it is a lengthy festival, the crowds will seem lower than other festivals. But those locals will descend on the weekends so watch out for that. The topiaries run from the front of the park all the way back to France and they are themed to their location. It’s not like there is just one area that gets congested. They stick with themes so imagine Figment in front of Imagination Pavilion, Buzz Lightyear in front of Mission: Space, Snow White in Germany, etc. We always tell people to go early and enter through the main gateway and get the attractions done to start the day but you can take the Skyliner and start in France and work backwards.
Where are more people during the middle of the day?
It really does spread out come mid-afternoon. People are in Future World, people start in Canada for World Showcase but there are many people who start their World Showcase adventures in Mexico. We will do one or two of the attractions but for festivals, we tend to enjoy the booths, scavenger hunt and topiaries more. As the day goes on, you may want to find yourself back at the front of the park as World Showcase will get congested at night and the attraction wait times will calm down slightly.
What are other entertainment options?
The big thing that is back is the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Bands that have seen more popular days in the past return for some live entertainment every single night of the festival. It adds some great fun to the festival and amazing crowds just outside the American Pavilion. Peter Noone & Herman’s Hermits, Rick Springfield, The Guess Who and others are back this year. And some of the restaurants will allow you priority seating for these shows if you book that particular dining package. I do hope the cooking demonstrations come back in full swing one of these years as they were special ticketed events and were very popular.
Why go to Flower & Garden Festival?
I think it’s the larger than life topiaries of our favorite characters. We do our own scavenger hunt, point out the specific flowers, use the passport book to check off all the topiaries as we go. As we go, we enjoy talking about why they are in that specific spot or country. We do like the food and entertainment but making it a family event is why we keep going back.