The garden, a tribute to Oz the Great and Powerful (which debuted in theaters today), features a circus-like midway area complete with tents and games, a playground, floral yellow brick road, beautiful illuminated poppies, and of course, many photo opportunities along the way.
The interactive children’s play zone is geared to kids ages 5-12 (or Oz obsessed adults like me) and is covered in Oz themed décor including the infamous hot air balloon.
Obviously, the Oz area was a highlight for me, but there are many more blooming festivities at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival.
Other highlights include the larger-than-life character topiaries, including the classic Fab Five character topiary at the entrance to Epcot. Other Whimsical Disney topiaries pop up throughout the world showcase including the Disney Princesses and other beloved characters planted near their country of origin.
New festival additions also include food-and-beverage Garden Marketplaces. Culinary creations are available at these stands that include Florida Fresh at World Showcase Promenade, Smokehouse Barbecue and Brew at American Adventure courtyard, Primavera Kitchen at Italy showcase, Hanami at Japan showcase, and eight others around the World Showcase Promenade.
Specialty libations include an assortment of new fun cocktails and treats, but the only one you really need to remember is the Dole Whip with Spiced Rum. Whaaaaat?! For those of you who haven’t had a Dole Whip, you need to get one immediately. This is a bold statement, but the Dole Whip might be my favorite dessert to eat in the parks. The non-alcholic version of these treats are served at Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom and also within the Polynesian Resort at Captain Cook’s. (Stay tuned for my review of the spiced rum whip because that will be my first stop when I return to Epcot to experience the festival in full bloom!)
Throughout the 75-day garden party, guests can also enjoy classes with HGTV celebrity designers, daily hands-on gardening seminars and a Festival Center packed with events that offer innovative ideas, gardening know-how and design tips. The floral fun continues through May 19 and additional information is available by calling 407-W-DISNEY or visiting www.EpcotinSpring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.