Disney’s Flower and Garden Show opens at Epcot

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – The 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival kicks off this week at Walt Disney World.

This year’s festival, which is presented by HGTV, runs through May 19.

The 75-day-long festival, held at the Epcot theme park, includes “sweeping garden landscapes” and more than 100 “topiary spectacles,” including one promoting the upcoming Disney movie “Monsters University.” The festival will also feature nighttime illuminated gardens in Future World and the World Showcase and a play area themes to “Land of Oz,” in honor of the forthcoming Disney film Oz: The Great and Powerful.

Festival Center seminars are scheduled for each Friday through Sunday and will feature home tips from HGTV design celebrities, including Chris Grundy, Meg Caswell and Carter Oosterhouse.

In addition, this year’s festival includes new “food-and-beverage Garden Marketplaces.” These will feature both non-alcoholic and alcoholic concoctions, including Hot Sun Tomato Wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery and the legendary Dole Whip available in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, but enhanced with Spiced Rum.

“This is a big family festival, and a lot of the items on the menu are geared toward families,” The Miami Herald quoted Jennie Hess, a Disney spokeswoman, as saying. “There’s a special try-it menu to get kids to expand their palates.”

Micky Dolenz, a member of The Monkees, will kick off the associated Flower Power concert series on March 8. The series runs throughout the festival and also includes performances by pop and oldies groups from the 1960s and 1970s such as The Guess Who, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Village People and Chubby Checker & The Wildcats.

Entry into the International Flower & Garden Festival is included with the purchase of regular park admission. Later this year, Epcot will host its 18th International Food and Wine Festival.

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Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.