(Article last updated: February 6th, 2018)
There are several special events held throughout the year at Disney World. Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival is 1 of those.
In this guide, I've got details on when it's held, what takes place, how I suggest touring and my thoughts on whether or not it's worth it.
Let's get started...
In this article
What is it?
The Flower and Garden Festival is an event held at Epcot every spring that focuses on special exhibits related to gardening (hence the name). There are other activities including unique food offerings and music as well. All details are below.
How much does it cost?
There's no special ticket required to attend the Flower and Garden Festival. Your park ticket to get into Epcot will allow you to enjoy all of the Flower and Garden Festival events (except for 1 tour - more info on that below).
When is it?
The Flower and Garden Festival typically takes place from the first part of March through the middle or end of May. In 2018, the dates are February 28 - May 28.
What exactly takes place during the festival?
There are several different things that take place at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival.
These were the main highlights from 2017:
One of my favorite parts is that the whole park has lots of topiaries (over 100!) that have been created in the shapes of Disney characters. Almost every year Disney rotates new topiaries into their display. In 2015, Anna and Elsa topiaries were introduced for the first time and 2016 saw Huey, Dewey and Louie topiaries added. For 2017, additions include a newly re-imagined Belle in France, a new Figment near Spaceship Earth and new Phineas and Ferb topiaries near the Odyssey Bridge.
Gardening seminars and workshops
In the Festival Center (located between Mission: Space and Ellen's Energy Adventure), experts appear to answer questions about gardening on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Garden Rocks Concerts
Concerts are held during the weekends of Flower and Garden Festival and feature groups whose popularity peaked a couple of decades ago but who still sound great. Concerts take place at the American Gardens Theater on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and, returning for 2018, Mondays at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.
In 2018, Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be available on select days at a number of restaurants. More details of when and where should be out after the first of the year.
The lineup for 2018 is:
- March 2-5: Night Ranger (Sister Christian)
- March 9-12: STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas (We Built This City)
- March 16-19: Simple Plan (Welcome to My Life)
- March 23-26: Little River Band (Reminiscing)
- March 30-April 2: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO (Evil Woman)
- April 6-7: Foghat* (Slow Ride)
- April 8-9: Survivor* (Eye of the Tiger)
- April 13-14: Smash Mouth* (All Star)
- April 15-16: Rick Springfield* (Jessie’s Girl)
- April 20-21: Jo Dee Messina* (Stand by Me)
- April 22-23: Lonestar* (Amazed)
- April 27-30: Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice (Spinning Wheel)
- May 4-7: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (I’m Henry VIII I Am)
- May 11-12: Village People (Y.M.C.A.)
- May 13-14: Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles* (Hotel California)
- May 18-21: The Guess Who (American Woman)
- May 25-28: The Spinners (Working My Way Back to You)
* Acts new to the Garden Rocks Concert Series
Due to the popularity of the Food and Wine Festival, Disney started offering food and beverage options in special kiosks throughout the World Showcase.
For 2018 there are 15 different stations offering a variety of options, including a new one called The Honey Bee-Stro which will have a menu celebrating all things honey with selections like an Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream and a Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread.
Keep in mind that many items can be purchased with Disney Dining Plan snack credits. You can see which items are covered by looking for the DDP icon on the menus.
You can find all of the menus and see food photos on Disney Food Blog's 2018 Flower and Garden info page.
Various gardens and play areas
There are lots of gardens, play areas and exhibits throughout Epcot for the festival. A couple worth noting:
- New for 2018 - a brand-new Future World interactive garden featuring a play maze, sensory garden, and a covered seating area
- Updated for 2018 - a "revved-up Road to Florida 500 garden featuring new games and play challenges."
- Updated for 2018 - A redesigned "Cars" themed garden based upon Cars 3
- A hands-on Harmony Gardens musical playground featuring Disney’s Fab Five topiaries including “band leader” Mickey Mouse (plus Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck). With the playground’s interactive drums, chimes and xylophones, visitors can create their own musical sounds when they’re not scampering across innovative outdoor climbing systems with safe, but challenging, net-based structures. Also, be sure to watch for music-themed plants that add harmony to the play area.
- Tinker Bell's Butterfly House - located in Future World along the walkway that goes toward the Canada pavilion, this is a great place to stop along the way
Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Passport/Guide
Get the 2017 Flower and Garden Passport below with info on every topiary, food kiosk, concert, etc.
There are a couple of tours that are only offered during the Flower and Garden Festival.
- Epcot Gardens of the World Tour - a 3 hour tour led by a Disney horticulturist. These are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 9:00 AM to noon and cost $85.00, plus tax. You have to be 16-years-old or older to attend. You can book it by calling (407) WDW-TOUR.
- English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London Tea - this a free tour that lasts 20 minutes and takes place in the United Kingdom pavilion. Guests should register by signing up in The Tea Caddy in the UK pavilion.
Epcot's Kidcot Garden Stop Field Guide
Kids can pick up a free Kidcot Garden Stop Field Guide at any of the Kidcot locations in the park. The kids version has a place for a stamp from each of the countries and information about fruits and berries native to the corresponding location.
How to plan your day
With the advent of FastPass+, everything is much more planned out in advance now so here's my suggestions for how to put your day at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival together.
First, I'd suggest visiting on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. That's when more things are offered so you'll get to experience more with your theme park ticket.
There are really only 2 main scheduled things to plan around: the gardening workshops/seminars and the Garden Rocks concerts.
Taking my general advice for touring Epcot and adapting them for the Flower and Garden Festival, this is what I would suggest.
- Make FastPass+ reservations for Soarin OR Frozen Ever After, Spaceship Earth, and Turtle Talk with Crush
- Arrive 30-45 minutes before park opening
- Ride either Frozen Ever After or Soarin' (whichever one you don't have a FastPass+ for)
- Mission: Space
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Explore The Seas pavilion
- Use FP+ for Turtle Talk with Crush (suggested FP+ time: sometime around 9:30-10:30)
- Living with the Land
- Use FP+ for Soarin OR Frozen Ever After (suggested FP+ time: 10:30-11:30)
- Visit the Festival Center (open March 1st - 5th and then only Fridays-Sundays for the rest of the festival)
- Gran Fiesta Tour
- Rest of the day:
Use FP+ for Spaceship Earth (suggested FP+ time: anytime in the afternoon or evening)
Ride Test Track in the Single Rider Line
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Explore the World Showcase
Garden Rocks concert at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. or 8 p.m.
Explore Flower and Garden Festival exhibits and gardens
Ellen’s Universe of Energy (takes 45 minutes)
Illuminations (at night)
Is Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival worth it?
I think the Flower and Garden Festival is most likely worth it for people who are a bit older. And by "older" I mean those who were young when the featured musical acts were popular.
That doesn't mean other people won't enjoy it (my 20-something daughter loves it!); I just don't think it's probably worth designing a whole trip around, but if you're there, definitely take the time to enjoy it. You'll never see Epcot looking any prettier.
So, will you be attending the Flower and Garden Festival? Or do you have questions that weren't covered here?
Please share in the comments.