Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2009 — Part 2

The first topiaries you’ll encounter when leaving Future World for World Showcase are Mrs. Pots, Chip, Cogsworth, and Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast.” I have to admit, Anita Answer and I were both somewhat perplexed by Chips lips. It looks like he borrowed a pair of Mrs. Potato Head’s. Hmmmm.

2009 Flower and Garden Festival - Beauty and the Beast Characters

In keeping with the “Celebrate Springtime” theme, we find characters from the Lion King rejoicing in Simba’s birth at the entrance to World Showcase.

2009 Flower and Garden Festival Lion King

2009 Flower and Garden Festival Lion King

2009 Flower and Garden Festival Lion

This year, the traditional arch that guests are accustomed to seeing in this area, is missing. According to Eric Darden, Horticulture Manager of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival, Disney tries to rotate and change certain features of the event each year to keep things fresh and new. He told me that a particular design or topiary is used for 2-4 years before it is retired or reworked.

A number of shopping venues are available around World Showcase and feature both Disney and non-Disney merchandise with a gardening theme. Two favorites are the Mickey gnomes and the do-it-yourself Mickey topiary.

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I’m going to start in Canada and circle the World Showcase Lagoon. The first characters we find are Bambi, Thumper, and Flower.

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Even though they’re always beautiful and difficult to improve upon, don’t forget to take a stroll through Victoria Gardens.

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In the United Kingdom Twinings Tea has a number of teacups filled with various kinds of foliage.

Guided tours through the tea garden are presented on Monday thru Thursdays at 3:30 and 6:30 and Friday and Saturdays at 2:30, 3:30, 5:00, and 6:30. You can sign up at the Tea Caddy to learn the history and art of tea blending.

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The France Pavilion features a number of topiary in the shape of perfume bottles.

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Also in this area is the Fragrance Garden. The Guerlain Company sponsors this exhibit which allows guest to learn about the connection between plants and fragrances. A Guerlain representative conducts 20-minute informative tours of this area daily at 2, 4, and 6pm.

Ten different Guerlain fragrances can be sampled at the Lift & Sniff kiosks in this garden. An informative sign helps you understand the odor’s complex blending.

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Located between the France and Morocco Pavilions is the Nature Conservancy display. While your kids enjoy themselves in the nearby playground, you can learn how to create an environmentally friendly garden in your own backyard.

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In Morocco you can see topiary Aladdin flying on his carpet.

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A perennial favorite are the bonsai trees found in the Japan Pavilion. But don’t forget, besides the obvious collection near the tori gate, there are additional treasures behind the pagoda.

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I’m going to skip the American Pavilion for the time being.

In the Italy Pavilion you can find a large array of container plants. According to Epcot Horticulturalist, Eric Darden, all of the container plants throughout the park must be watered by hand – a task that takes endless hours. Also, his staff plans for a 70% – 100% replacement of all bedding and container plants during the festival.

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The other highlight at the Italy Pavilion is the Lady and the Tramp topiary. Who could resist getting their picture taken in front of this romantic spot?

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The Germany Pavilion did not have any special landscaping this year, so I’ll share a bit of trivia with you. The large LBG train layout next to Germany was once a part of the Flower & Garden Festival. Each year this elaborate layout was assembled just for the event. But due to its popularity, and the expense involved with its construction and deconstruction, it was decided to make it a permanent part of the Germany Pavilion.

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Between Germany and Refreshment Outpost is the Pirate Adventure Zone.

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This is another beautifully landscaped area designed especially for the kids. Captain Hook, treasure chests, and a rickety boat are on hand for them to explore.

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A ferocious dragon and a decorative cow are on exhibit at the China Pavilion.

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Over twenty trolls have escaped from the Puffin’s Roost and are hiding in the Norway Garden waiting for you to find them.

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The Mexico Pavilion did not offer any additional landscaping for this year’s event.

As part of the press event, I was invited to attend a reception on the third floor of the American Adventure.

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This area was once a corporate lounge for American Express when it sponsored this attraction. It is now used for special events and parties.

As we stepped off of the elevator and into the lounge, we were offered white sangria cocktails adorned with flowers. Appetizers of cheese, fruit, eggrolls and crab-cakes were beautifully displayed on a table in the lounge. In the two corners of the dining area, chefs were waiting to dish up various pastas or carve slices of prime rib and turkey.

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For dessert we dined on chocolate flower pots with Oreo dirt and gummy-worms. How appropriate for the Flower & Garden Festival.

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Dan Cockerell, Epcot VP spoke briefly then turned the microphone over to Eric Darden who explain what goes into creating the Flower & Garden Festival each year.

Here is a photo I was excited to be given the opportunity to take – a picture of Spaceship Earth taken from the third floor of the American Pavilion.

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At 4:45 we were escorted to the American Gardens Theatre for reserved seating to see the Davy Jones concert as part of the Flower Power concert series that takes place during the event.

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Davy put on a great show. Although only 35 minutes in length, he packed a lot of memorable tunes into this concert. Most of the audience was made up of my generation – those old enough to remember seeing the Monkees’ TV show when it first aired. A number of fans brought old record albums for Davy to sign. And even though he picked up several of them and showed them to the audience, he did not sign any as there simply wasn’t time during this abridged concert.

For a 63 year old, Davy still can shake it and move it. Although he made numerous jokes about his age, there was no sign of him slowing down. And since the audience had memorized all of his songs when they were teenagers, much of the gang sang along with Davy, which he didn’t seem to mind and even encouraged at one point.

When ending the concert, Davy let everyone know that he’s putting on three shows a day with different numbers in each. He encouraged everyone to come back for a later performance – which I’m sure many did.

After the concert, I was tired and decided to call it quits for the day. When I got home I downloaded the 470 pictures I had taken and started to whittle them down to the few I will share with you.

Unlike the Food & Wine Festival, which cost extra if you wish to enjoy its benefits, the Flower & Garden Festival costs nothing more than your price of admission. It’s a wonderfully beautiful event that everyone can enjoy and marvel at. I would highly recommend planning your next trip to Disney World around this occasion. I realize that Spring Break coincides with much of this event, but if you’re into gardening, you won’t be disappointed.

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18 Replies to “Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2009 — Part 2”

  1. Jack, I love your blogs! Because of your comments and pictures of the Caribbean Beach Resort’s Pirate Room, I’ve booked it! Thanks! Jennifer

  2. Hi Jack,

    I love allears.net. The information and pictures are always great. I love Walt Disney World beyond belief and look forward to each visit. I spent Spring Break there two weeks ago with students from our high school. We create many new Disney fans each spring. They can’t wait to return. The Flower and Garden Show was wonderful and your pictures are fabulous. Thanks for continuing the magic even when I can’t be there. See you in July.

    With Disney love,

    Karen

  3. Spent Spring Break at Disney World. I attended the Davy Jones Concert…a big Davy fan growing up. I also saw Paul Revere and the Raiders. The flowers were incredible. Wish everyone could come to the greatest place on earth to visit and experience what I did.

    A BIG DISNEY FAN!!!!!!!!

    Jan

  4. Thanks for posting the awesome pics!! I’m going May 11-16 with my sister and her husband. I usually go in mid-June with my family and the flower show is gone (which is fine because my kids or husband would not appreciate the beauty at all), so I went a couple of years ago in May with my sister and am hooked on the flowers! They do such an awesome job!

  5. Hi Jack–
    Thanks for the great pics and all the info. We were there last year right as they were setting up, this year we will be there for the Festival.

    Sheri

  6. Thanks for the photos! My husband and I are celebrating our 14th (supposed to be 15th, but we went a year early for the 4 nights 3 free deal) wedding anniversary in May. I can’t wait to see what the areas you’ve pictured look like the last weekend of the festival. We are arriving May 16th. Your blog was really well laid out and makes the 48 more days a little more bearable. 🙂

  7. Can’t thank you enough for the virtual tour. Was at Epcot 2 weeks before Flower & Garden opened. Took a few ‘before” pics but it was wonderful to see what it all became. Your blogging was priceless. Felt I was on an official Disney tour.

  8. Though I am 40, I LOVED the Monkees when I was a kid and loved seeing them in concert in the mid-1980’s for their 20 yr. reunion tour. And, I have see Mr. Jones perform at EPCOT as well…

    One note, I believe that Davy Jones was born on December 30, 1945 so that would make him 63! 🙂 I’m sure he would appreciate shaving a few months off of his age!

    Comment: Thanks. I’ve corrected it.

  9. Thank you for the pictures. This will be the first time in several years we will not visit during the flower and garden festival as we opted to visit for my daughters 13th birthday in Sept. The pictures reminded me of those past trips and fond memories. Thank you so much again!!

  10. My whole family enjoyed these wonderful pictures!! We are coming down to WDW May 14-22. My girls can’t wait to see the princesses and the faires!! Thanks for helping me give them a preview of what they are going to see!! The festival looks even better than last years!!

  11. Thanks so much for your beautiful pictures. My daughter and I hope to some day take a trip to WDW for the flower display. J. Leicher, Pittsburgh, PA

  12. I completely agree with “Chip’s Lips”. I wondered the same thing when I first saw a picture of it! Thanks for sharing your pictures and info on the Festival. I have not ever been, but your blogs have made me want to make sure I visit during this time next year 🙂

  13. I was also there on the first day – at the Pirate area each set of ship’s flags spell something to do with the area – the first says tieaknot over the rope tieing area, over the boat I beilieve it said Jolly Roger and behind Hook and Croc it said TicTokCroc.

  14. Another great job that makes you feel like your there!!!

    I am a yearly August person so never get to see this in person. It’s amazing what they do!

  15. Jack,
    Can’t wait until Thursday — going for a long weekend — it will be our first Flower and Garden (after several Food and Wines) and we are so anxious.

  16. I just love both parts one and two…Thank you for taking the time to place all the wonderful photos on line. My husband and I are heading to WDW for the week before Memorial Day and this just reaaffirms why we go at this time. This is one of our favorite times to go to WDW. Thank you again!!!

  17. Wow, thanks for the great pics/info!!
    I can’t wait to be there. April 19-21.
    Were the orchids blooming outside Mexico?
    Keep up the good work with your pictures and writing. I felt like I was already there.