Epcot, one of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, puts on the annual Epcot Flower & Garden Festival that draws visitors from around the world to marvel at all fo the botanical beauty on display around the park each March until July. If you’re not familiar with Epcot, this Disney park highlights food, architecture, and culture from around the world in different “countries” which is to say the park is organized in something of a World’s Fair style, with an emphasis of eating and drinking around the world. From Japan and Mexico to Great Britain, France, and China, Epcot’s International Flower Festival adds a botanic touch to this internationally themed theme park, all included in the cost of theme park admission.
Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival
Location: Orlando, Florida
Address: 200 Epcot Center Dr
Orlando, FL 32821
Date: March 3rd – July 5th, 2021
Rain or Shine
Cost: Included in Park Admission
Parking: Variable Rate Parking in Lots
Events: Spring themed food & drinks, musical performances,
topiary and garden displays, outdoor kitchens, passport stamping, and more.
When & How to Visit the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival happens each spring & summer from March until July, and this year it started on the 3rd of March and ends on July 5th. The cost of admission was included in our tickets and this event was part of the reason we chose to visit Epcot. I have heard such wonderful things about this festival that I couldn’t wait to see it for myself.
I was admittedly expecting a lot more floral displays around the parks. It would have been beautiful, and in keeping with the international theme, to have displayed traditional floral displays at the various “countries” around the park, like an Ikebana display in their representation of Japan, or displays featuring English flowers in Epcot’s Great Britain sections.
What they did have, were a few dozen life-size renditions of Disney characters made from topiaries, which were technically impressive, but didn’t have many other florals around them. For something billed as an International Flower & Garden Festival, I was expecting to see how each country represented in Epcot sales gardens, floral displays, and bouquets around the globe. The area with the most florals was by far Italy, where there were lovely planters overflowing with plants arranged around the section. I was a bit disappointed there were more flowers or representations of flowers and gardens at this festival, but it was lovely nonetheless.
What We Did at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
While there weren’t as many floral or garden displays as we’d hoped, the special foods and outdoor kitchens did not disappoint. The festival featured numerous plant based options around the parks, and many mini-meals were decorated with flowers and herbs to pay homage to the festival happening.
The thing I enjoyed the most about visiting Epcot was feeling like I was traveling again, finally. The architecture and attention to detail was really fascinating, and was so much fun to photograph. The Italian and Japanese sections were actually very similar to the food and architecture we saw in those countries, at least to my eyes, so that made me believe the other areas may have been quite realistic as well, with a Disney flare and modified for an American audience, of course.
Drinking Around the World at Epcot
Something we heard a lot about but didn’t actually do was Epcot’s drinking around the world activities. As far as I can tell, it’s not really an official event or activity, but each “country” does serve drinks, and if you get one at each of the 11 represented countries in the World Showcase, you probably won’t feel great the next day haha. Our friends that we were traveling with had a few drinks but even they couldn’t drink at all 11 countries in one go, between the two of them.
Food & Drinks
Aside from photographing the park and taking in the attention to detail for the first time, I loved trying the different springtime themed foods around the World Showcase. As I mentioned, most places had at least one plant based option, and the ones that didn’t have a seafood option that was delightful. I plan to make a full list of what Robin & I and our two friends ate at Epcot, but for now here are a few of my favorites.
United States / Port of Entry
This springtime dessert, the Citrus Shortcake, wasn’t gluten free, but it was beautiful and my husband said it was delicious. It was a miniature cake topped with whipped cream, fruit, and graham cracker crust, as well as a small pansy.
Sushi (tuna, salmon, and shrimp + California rolls) & Frushi (sushi made of fruit, topped with strawberry sauce and whipped cream)
I wasn’t a huge fan of the fruit sushi, and their plating was a missed opportunity to make the three rolls into a Mickey Mouse shape, but their actual fish sushi was fantastic. They even had gluten free soy sauce!
Lemon Magdalena Cake
Another one that wasn’t gluten-free so I couldn’t try, this Moroccan lemon cake was one of my husband’s favorite things we had at Epcot. He said it was refreshing and light, and the cake portion was very moist and delicate. He wants me to find a recipe for these so we can make these for his birthday, so if anyone has any leads, please let me know! I’d love to try making this gluten-free at home too!
Final Thoughts on Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival
I had never visited Epcot as an adult, so it’s difficult to say how much was specific to this festival and how much is there all year long. I will say however that I love the florals that were scattered around the park, particularly in Italy and France, and it was a very fun visit nonetheless. If you love food, and are planning a trip to Walt Disney World this spring or summer, Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival was a lot of fun and had plenty of wonderful food and drinks to entertain visitors all day long. If I lived closer I’d definitely go back to see more!