Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

With convention-goers and spring breakers descending on Orlando, professionals and families alike may want to add a stop at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to their plans. This annual festival is a Walt Disney World tradition featuring lifelike Disney character topiaries and garden-inspired culinary creations.

Seasonal sweet and savory snacks and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are available for purchase at nearly two dozen outdoor kitchens throughout World Discovery, World Nature and World Showcase. The festival’s offerings are sure to please vegetarians with an abundance of plant-based items.

The Farmers Feast booth in particular serves up a rotating menu that follows Florida’s fresh fruit and vegetable harvest, with strawberries and peas appearing in the Early Bloom menu, tomatoes and blueberries in Springtime and corn and peaches rounding out the Summer Solstice menu.

In addition to topiaries, the festival features displays both beautiful and educational. At Butterfly Landing, park-goers can walk through a netted display for close-up viewing of a variety of butterfly species. Among many others, the Bamboo Garden in the China Pavilion and the Gnome Garden in the Germany Pavilion offer glimpses into cultures from around the world.

Like all Epcot festivals, the Flower & Garden Festival presents nightly musical entertainment. The Garden Rocks Concert Series at the America Gardens Theatre is included in park admission with nightly show times at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm. A different act appears every few days, with a diverse array of performers including Richard Marx, The Pointer Sisters and Simple Plan.

Dining packages offer the opportunity to see favorite artists from the best seats in the house. Guests who book a restaurant meal reservation on the day of their preferred concert receive guaranteed seats in the amphitheater. Concertgoers who prefer more spontaneity wait in a standby line and for seating after dining package guests based on availability – and there is always standing room in the back!

Epcot’s permanent attractions are worth visiting as well – including its newest ride, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Due to the continued popularity of this innovative indoor roller coaster, there is no standby queue. Most guests ride by entering the free virtual queue in the Disney World app. Two virtual queue entries are available: 7:00am (available from anywhere before the park opens), and 1:00pm (available from anywhere provided each rider has previously tapped into Epcot that day). Guests in the virtual queue are called back in boarding groups to wait in a line that can range from “walk-on” to an hour or more at the busiest times. Alternatively, guests may reserve a paid Individual Lightning Lane with a confirmed one hour ride window and minimal wait – also available in the park app.

The Genie+ paid line skipping service is available for all other major attractions besides Cosmic Rewind. Cost per day for Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes varies based on projected demand.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is Epcot’s newest attraction. This walk-through experience offers opportunities for kids – and kids-at-heart – to play with water in fun and surprising ways. The lush greenery and flowers surrounding the trail are accessible year-round but fit particularly well with the spirit of the Flower & Garden Festival.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 27, 2024. With a rotating assortment of festivals throughout the year – and new dishes and displays added for each iteration – there’s always something exciting happening at Epcot.