I am not sure when I was bitten with the Walt Disney World bug. Perhaps it was because I had young daughters and was forced to watch Disney movies over and over, or maybe because I moved to Florida and the parks are so close to my house. Whatever the reason, I purchased my first annual pass in January of this year and boy am I getting my money’s worth! The Epcot Flower and Garden Show is just one of the amazing special attractions throughout the year.
My Disney fan friend Lynne and I went to the Epcot Flower and Garden Show, the fourth year I had attended. During this special activity, Epcot is decorated with thousands of flowers, both in flower beds and in decorative landscaping, such as Disney character topiaries. Fun, fresh weekends (that is what Disney is now calling them) offer garden and cooking demonstrations in the festival center while classic musical groups perform free concerts at the Garden Rocks concert series. The concert schedule is located here and the festival guide here.
I always opt for a sit down restaurant reservation around lunch time because it gives you a much needed break after pounding the pavement and it is cheaper than at dinnertime. The price can be more expensive than the take away restaurants, but not having to fight for a place to sit is worth the extra few bucks to me.
During Epcot’s premiere events such as this one and the Food & Wine festival, kiosks (which they are now calling Outdoor Kitchens) are set up throughout the countries to offer a special menu available only for a limited time. The menus typically consist of three to four food items and drinks specific to the area. Prices vary but have gotten much more expensive over the past two or three years. On my visit, I tried the Kung Pao Chicken bun and Oolong peach bubble tea from China. They were spectacular! We had a lunch reservation in the World Showcase at Germany’s Biergarten Restaurant at 1:00. This time of day allowed us to eat our lunch before enjoying the lively musical show. It was a good value for the money.
When it comes to park preparation, it is always good to have a basic plan so one does not get overwhelmed by the size of the park. Lynne and I started with a ride on Test Track. If you do not need to go through designing your car and all that goes along with it, you can do the single rider line and have less than ten minutes wait time to ride. A great way to get your morning started. We then did our first fast pass offering: Spaceship Earth.
I have been to Epcot a dozen times in the past and I always end up doing something new every time I visit. This time it was Spaceship Earth. In case you did not know, this is what is located in the big white ball that is the Epcot icon. This ride takes you on a journey that explores the time line of communication technology through modern times. The time line hits on the discoveries and use of papyrus, alphabet, fire, mathematics, and computers through the use of Audio-Animatronics and a narrated history session with Judi Dench. During the final part of your ride, you are asked to answer a few questions about the kind of travel you prefer and a video is made based on your answers that can be sent by email to your personal address. What a cute idea! I have been missing out on this ride all this time!
Fast passes can also be used to meet characters at the Epcot Character Spot which give you photo and autograph opportunities for Minnie, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy. Other characters are available throughout the park; check the schedule for times and places. Belle, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, Duffy, Donald Duck, Mary Poppins, Chip and Dale, Mulan, Princess Aurora, Aladdin, and Jasmine are some of Epcot’s offerings.
When visiting the World Showcase, I encourage you to explore every country in some way, shape, or form. We took in the O Canada movie, an 18 minute movie narrated by Martin Short and is shown on a 360 degree panoramic screen showing all the beautiful sceneries of their dynamic country. Note that this event is a standing one. We also saw the Impressions de France movie (18 minutes) shown in a lovely theater, featuring the romance, grandeur, and amazing scenery of the gorgeous country. Both movies certainly made my travel senses rise up and take note.
Another new thing for me at Epcot was seeing Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This zany 45 minute presentation, based on my favorite Jeopardy game, teaches the audience members about dinosaurs, the Big Bang, fossil fuels, and energy conservation, all through Ellen’s comedic dreams. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, come sit here in this moving theater and enjoy the air conditioning and expand your knowledge. Scientist Bill Nye lends Ellen a hand in the fun.
We ended up missing our Soarin’ fast pass time because we were too tired to walk back to the front of the park during our scheduled time, but we did catch Voices of Liberty, the acoustic vocal performances of Americana music sung in the halls of The American Adventure.
Having attended the Flower & Garden festival in years past, I thought the topiaries were basically the same but the flower gardens more spectacular than the past. They were bursting with vivid colors of blooms all over the park and the entertainment was spot on. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I plan to do it again next week and take in one of the concerts: Pablo Cruise.
Tip: As with any visit to Disney properties, try to make your fast pass reservations as soon as possible.
Check out my other Disney articles:
- Epcot- 5 things to do
- Epcot- 5 more things to do
- Hollywood Studios– Day Trippin’
- Hollywood Studios– a First Timer’s Guide
- Animal Kingdom
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe (restaurant)- Hollywood Studios
- Downtown Disney
- A Very Merry Christmas Party– Magic Kingdom
- Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse (restaurant)- Canada
- Epcot’s Via Napoli (restaurant)- Italy
- Epcot’s Biergarten (restaurant)- Germany