Thanks to the lockdown and the parks closing, Epcot’s Flower Garden Festival ended a few months early last year. A lot of people were upset because the weekend it closed was the pass holder Orange Bird magnet distribution. I’m just happy I was able to go in at least once before it all shut down.
To make up for last year’s shutdown, Flower Garden runs through July 5th! This is the longest the festival has ever run. I know a lot of people are big into Food and Wine Festival that happens later in the year, but spring is my favorite season and Epcot shines so brightly you need sunglasses. It’s how I kick off my spring season every year and I always make at least two trips during this festival.
Here are my top five favorite things about the festival.
The landscaping and the topiaries are the stars of the show and really shine this year throughout the park. My favorite has to be Snow White and Dopey and Chip and Dale. Snow White is located back in Germany and Chip and Dale are located at the front of the park in the same landscaping as Pluto. Remy was one my husband and I debated on if he was a statue or a topiary because he was green but his surroundings didn’t scream, “topiary.” A quick look in the book when we got home and we learned he was, in fact, a topiary. Fitting seeing as his ride opens up October 1st, 2021.
Who doesn’t love to go shopping in a theme park, especially when that merch is exclusive to the event? This year we have four lines to shop from including Orange Bird, Figment, Minnie Mouse, and Spike the Bee (or as my husband and I call him, Buzz Buzz, from the old Donald Duck cartoons). Each line has unique items that are not in the other lines. Minnie Mouse has an adorable tank top, complete with a baby blue bow on the back. Spike has a garden spike that kind of resembles the statues they are using around the park for the scavenger hunt (more on that in a minute). Orange Bird has hats and Jerseys similar to last year. Figment has shirts and a really cute (but heavy) display bowl.
The piece of merch that I was most excited about this year was the Dooney and Bourke event exclusive featuring Minnie Mouse. They have a tote, crossbody, mini satchel, and wristlet. The wristlet is a bit smaller than past years but it’s still adorable and worth the cost in my opinion. The tote and crossbody are available on Shop Disney while the mini satchel and wristlet are park exclusives. I bought the mini satchel and wristlet with my annual pass discount (20% off) and snagged them for a great price. The strap on the mini satchel is long enough to make it more of a crossbody than a satchel and the handles fall to the side when not in use.
3. Scavenger Hunt ($7.99)
This year, the scavenger hunt features Spike the Bee and you have to find him hiding around the park, each marking a different flower in the area. Once you put all your stickers in the right places on the map, you take it to a redemption location and they will let you pick one of four prizes. This year, the prizes are plastic cups with your choices being between Figment, Minnie Mouse, Spike the Bee, and Orange Bird. There’s nothing saying you can’t buy a map for each character plate you want and just request your prize upfront though. That’s what we did to keep from going back to a redemption area when we were done with our map. The prizes make this well worth the $7.99 price tag. Of course, if you’re a pass holder, you can knock 20% off that.
The festival is actually the Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Not just the Flower Garden Festival like in years past. The popularity of the Food and Wine Festival has basically leaked into all the other Epcot events and each festival now has its own themed food to go along with it. Of course, Food and Wine is still the biggest festival Epcot has and you get the most food options during it, but Flower Garden offers quite a few options and every country participates in some way. My favorite was the violet lemonade from the Pineapple Pavilion (located near the front of the World Showcase) and the giant macaron on a stick in France. I saw so many kids devouring the macaroons that I had to try one for myself.
Epcot is under major construction right now with the very center of the park and all of Innoventions being demolished. That means there’s plenty of construction walls up. Disney got creative though and along the walls, they painted wings for guests to stand in front of and make it look like they have wings of their own. There are wings of all sizes so both adults and children can get in on the fun. My favorite pair of wings are the Figment wings with matching horns.
Rides are an honorable mention for me because I’m just not that into the ones at Epcot. My husband loves the thrill rides like Soarin’ and Test Track (when it’s working…) and Mission Space is cool as well. I have a love-hate relationship with Frozen Ever After because I rode it once being promised there was not drop just a “slide” at the end. Yeah…that was one long freaking slide and I had a panic attack outside the ride. I’ll give Disney this though for sure. When they see someone in distress, they act quickly to make sure they are taken care of and get what they need. Props to the manager who got me a Coke and the cast members who offered me a seat in the Princess dining experience so I could cool off.
So there you have it. My top five things you should check out at the Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2021.