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This festival is returning to Disney’s Epcot with a totally new look

Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival opens this week for its 30th year, and the park’s recent transformation was designed to make festivals like this more comfortable.
 
A topiary of Mirabel from the Disney animated film “Encanto” will greet guests once again at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, running Feb. 28-May 27. The annual springtime event is filled with creative topiaries, gardens, food kiosks and free daily concerts.
A topiary of Mirabel from the Disney animated film “Encanto” will greet guests once again at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, running Feb. 28-May 27. The annual springtime event is filled with creative topiaries, gardens, food kiosks and free daily concerts. [ DAVID ROARK | David Roark, Photographer ]
Published Feb. 23

Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival opens this week for its 30th year to show off lush gardens, creative character-themed topiaries, seasonal menus and free concerts during what is typically a more temperate time of year in Florida.

The festival, which runs Feb. 28 through May 27, is about a month shorter than in previous years, which could mean the hugely popular fall Food & Wine Festival will be expanding again. But the bigger difference this year will be the recent opening of Dreamers Point and World Celebration Gardens in the front of the park. It debuted in December as part of a multiyear transformation.

Related: Haven't been to Epcot in awhile? It looks totally different

It was festivals like this that planners had it mind, they said, when they added generous, shady seating options to the area near the iconic Spaceship Earth sphere, many with electronics charging stations included. It solves one of the biggest problems at the theme park’s festivals, when dozens of food kiosks sprout up and guests have to eat standing up or over garbage cans when seating options disappear.

A Disney World visitor, decked out in Orange Bird attire, checks out Epcot's topiaries in 2023.
A Disney World visitor, decked out in Orange Bird attire, checks out Epcot's topiaries in 2023. [ JOE BURBANK | Orlando Sentinel ]

The Flower & Garden festival focuses on outdoor fun, from bee-themed scavenger hunts to fragrant strolls and a collection of food booths (or outdoor kitchens, as they call them). You can purchase themed snacks like strawberry shortcakes and grilled warm-water lobster tail with Key lime butter from the Florida Fresh booth. Drinks and snacks tend to hover in the $5-$12 range, and the fanciest cocktails may hit $15. This year there are over 60 new menu items.

There are also free diversions that make strolling the park a pleasant spring day, including:

This Chocolate Pudding Terrarium at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in 2019 was an eye-catching way to show off a vegetarian and gluten free dish as the Trowel & Trellis outdoor kitchen. It has avocado cream, matcha crumb topping, pomegranate and baby herbs.
This Chocolate Pudding Terrarium at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in 2019 was an eye-catching way to show off a vegetarian and gluten free dish as the Trowel & Trellis outdoor kitchen. It has avocado cream, matcha crumb topping, pomegranate and baby herbs. [ SHARON KENNEDY WYNNE | Times (2019) ]
  • Gardens and character topiaries: Eye-catching flower gardens are set up specially for the festival, but dozens of topiaries are a highlight with their realistic faces and figures. New topiaries this year include Groot, the tree-like Marvel character near the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster that debuted in 2022. Miguel and Dante from “Coco” are new topiaries in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion. And near the front entrance of the park, Asha, Valentino and the Wishing Star will represent “Wish,” a Disney animated film released last year.
  • Blossoms of Fragrance: This walk-through experience is surrounded by butterfly topiaries and lets you follow your nose to six different scent stations.
Spring will be in bloom at Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival running Feb. 28-May 27.
Spring will be in bloom at Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival running Feb. 28-May 27. [ ABIGAIL NILSSON | Abigail Nilsson, Photographer ]

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  • Garden Rocks Concert Series: There are free concerts each day in the America Gardens Theater. Well-known artists perform Fridays through Mondays, while local talent performs Tuesdays through Thursdays. The lineup includes Richard Marx (March 3-4), Rick Springfield (March 10-11), A Flock of Seagulls (April 14-15), Plain White T’s (April 19-21) and Casting Crowns (May 26-27). See the full lineup at disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/epcot/flower-garden-rocks-concert-series.