18th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Starts This Week

Some people go to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to see the cool topiaries designed to look like Disney characters. Some people go to hear the bands that play during the festival.

Well, whether you’re a hardcore horticulturist, or, like me, your green thumb is non-existent, the festival is fun for everyone. And it’s a nice transition from winter to spring, even without the snow (this is Florida, after all).

This year marks the 18th edition of the festival, and  it runs from March 2 to May 15, 2011.

HGTV is presenting/sponsoring the event, which means guests can expect to meet many of the network’s personalities and hosts on the weekends. Genevieve Gordon will start things off the weekend of March 4-6, and Vern Yip will close things out the weekend of May 13-15.

The front entrance of Epcot will feature topiaries by the lead toys of Disney’s Oscar-nominated film “Toy Story 3,” including Woody, Buzz and Lotso Bear. This marks the first time that “Toy Story” characters have been featured at the festival. Also new will be a section devoted to the upcoming “Cars 2” sequel,  featuring topiaries of Mater and Lightning McQueen.

Bambi’s Butterfly House has moved over by the Imagination Walkway by Innoventions West in Future World. It’s also more than double in size from previous years.

There will also be Disney Fairies signing autographs and posing for photos at the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, and the Tangled Magical Garden (featuring Rapunzel’s Tower) can be found in the World Showcase between Germany and Italy.

As headline entertainment, Walt Disney World is bringing back many classic pop and rock musicians from the 60s and the 70s for their Flower Power concert series. Different this year is that instead of daily concerts, the performances will be Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, only. That’s one change I’m not happy about – it means less musicians, plus I enjoyed going on weekdays, when there the crowds are smaller.

All of the International Flower & Garden Festival events are included with regular park admission to Epcot.

[Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World/Gene Duncan, photographer]

About Michelle Snow

Michelle is the owner and editor of CitySurfing Orlando. She also owns Zengrrl.com, is a freelance writer specializing in travel and entertainment, and has authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. She lives in Orlando near Disney, and hears Magic Kingdom fireworks every night.
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