Kids Love the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival by Liliane Opsomer
Here’s how to make this an exciting day for you and your children.
Topiaries—A Conversation Starter
The nearly 100 topiaries found throughout the park are perfect for talking about the movies in which they are seen. Some can be combined with a fun ride or a meet-and-greet.
Frozen fans will delight in meeting Anna and Elsa—both in person and in their larger-than-life topiary versions at the Norway Pavilion.
See Three Caballeros topiaries and ride the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros at the Mexican Pavilion. And if your kids are Coco fans, make sure to visit the “Remember Me!” La Celebración del Día de Muertos exhibit inside the land’s pyramid. Check the Times Guide for a musical presentation of Mariachi Cobre.
Next, at the German Pavilion, meet Snow White and see her topiary along the Seven Seas Lagoon. She is there with the Seven Dwarfs.
Strolling farther, you’ll find Lady and the Tramp at the Italy Pavilion, and Belle and the Beast at the France Pavilion. Crossing the bridge to the United Kingdom Pavilion, you will find Winnie the Pooh and Friends as well as Tinker Bell.
The stars of Walt Disney’s Classic Bambi, Flower, Bambi, and Thumper, are at Showcase Plaza. The Outpost Shop is home to Pumbaa, Timon, Rafiki, Simba, Mufasa, and Sarabi of Lion King fame. Mischievous Stitch, minus Lilo, is on the fountain side of MouseGear.
Toy Story is also represented. Buzz Lightyear is located at Future World East near Mission: SPACE, while Woody is found at the American Pavilion.
Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez from Cars are part of the desert-themed Road to the Florida 500 garden. If your child meets the height requirement (40″), now is a good time to ride Test Track!
Don’t leave the park without taking a picture with the topiaries of Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy with the iconic Space Ship Earth in the background.
Letting Off Steam at the Interactive Play Gardens
There are two interactive play gardens this year. The desert-themed Road to the Florida 500 garden located in Future World East is the favorite of all Cars fans. Here kids can play and participate in two free games, while parents can rest their feet in a quiet and comfortable setting.
The new Imagination Play Garden is equipped with children’s outdoor climbing systems and invites kids to discover different sounds through a musical maze. This interactive garden is located at Imagination Walkway. The garden also offers lots of shaded seating areas where parents can rest their feet. In Future World West, at the new How-To Garden, learn how to build your own butterfly house.
Eating Your Way Around World Showcase
Eating at the outdoor kitchens scattered around World Showcase is a great way to introduce your kids to the cuisines of other nations. You can do so without breaking the bank or wasting time with a sit-down meal. Start with something familiar such as Potato Pancakes with House-made Apple Sauce at Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market (at the German Pavilion) or Fried Chicken Dumplings with Peanut Sauce (at the China Pavilion).
Next, sample Provencal Tomato Tart with Sauteed Onions, Fresh Thyme, and Rosemary on a Flaky Pastry Crust at the France Pavilion, or be daring and try the Braised Duck Confit with Parisian Gnocchi; then reward the bravery with a Chocolate Macaron Lollipop.
Chicken Kebab with Dried Fruit Couscous Salad (Morocco Pavilion), Beef Teriyaki Udon (Japan Pavilion), and Slow-braised Pork Taco (Mexico Pavilion) are all well worth trying. At the Mexico booth free Coco-themed bookmarks are available. The bookmarks contain seeds that you can plant in your garden at home.
Stop at the new Honey Bee-stro booth (hosted by the National Honey board) for some delicious all-natural dishes with honey. The Honey Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream is amazing! It is also a good moment to discuss the importance of bees for the food we consume.
Dishes are priced $4-$8. Most are eligible as a snack item if you are on the Disney Dining Plan, making this grand tour of world cuisines very affordable.
After you have eaten your way through World Showcase, take the kids to the Land Pavilion to ride Living with the Land. Tell them that the vegetables grown here are served year-round in some of Epcot’s restaurants and in the outdoor kitchens during the festival.
Another must-visit is the Goodness Garden Butterfly House where kids can walk among hundreds of colorful butterflies and learn about the several developmental stages of these amazing animals.
Two Fun Scavenger Hunts Kids will Love
Making your way around World Showcase while playing one of the scavenger hunts is sure to thrill the entire family. The Egg-stravaganza game is offered March 16th through April 1st. Armed with a map and stickers, tour World showcase and be on the lookout for a dozen hidden Disney Character-themed eggs. The eggs are 1-and-a-half-feet-tall!
Every time you locate an egg, put the corresponding sticker on the map. Once you’re done, claim your prize—a choice of one Disney character-themed egg at the Disney Traders shop. The EGGstravaganza map and stickers are available for $5.99 plus tax at the Pin Trading kiosk in Future World, at Disney Traders at the entrance to World Showcase, or at World Traveler at International Gateway.
New this year is the springtime scavenger hunt called Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration. In this hunt, Disney’s favorite honey bee, Spike, has been pollinating his way around the festival. Just pick up a garden map and stickers at Port of Entry. Then, it’s time to follow Spike’s trail!
Be on the lookout for Spike as he pollinates Epcot’s gardens. In each garden, search for the plant Spike has pollinated, identifiable by Spike himself and a Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration plant stake. Kids will love to look for Spike and add a corresponding sticker to the map. After the journey is complete, return the map for a set of three embroidered sew on patches. Three different sets of patches are available.
Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration runs for the duration of the festival; maps and stickers can be purchased for $5.99 plus tax at Port of Entry.
Free of charge is the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Passport. Make sure to pick one up upon arrival at Epcot. The passport has information on all kinds of activities, festival merchandise, and the outdoor kitchens (including menus). It also has stickers for all activities listed inside the booklet. As the kids apply the stickers to all the gardens and outdoor kitchens visited, parents can help with checking off what food they’ve tasted.
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs now through May 28th.
Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.
She visits the parks several times a year.
Published: May 1, 2018
Published: May 1, 2018