Confessions of a Disneyophile: The Epcot International Flower & Garden FestivalUSA MAINLAND — By Betsy Villanella on May 29, 2012 at 14:22
Series by staff writer Betsy Villanella. Photos Copyright © Betsy Villanella.
DO YOU EVER get to the point where you just want a few days away from all the things you’re busy doing or that still need to be done?
We did, and we just happened to have our Disney World annual passes burning a hole in our pockets. We bought them last August while we were there, knowing we could use them again before the Disney cruise we’ve booked for this August.
We decided to steal away for a “just us” four-day long weekend in Disney World at the end of April. April is the perfect time to go. The weather’s not too hot and—being between spring/Easter holidays and summer—the crowds are normally not too bad.
But that’s not all!
It’s also the time for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year it was presented by HGTV, and was held from March 7 through May 20. I love going during the festival to enjoy all the flowers, topiaries and beautiful landscapes.
We were able to get a great annual pass discount on our room at Pop Century, and we also purchased a discount dining card that’s available to pass holders. This gives a 20% discount on most sit-down restaurant meals in WDW, including alcohol: a savings that pays for itself after the first day or so.
As we entered Epcot we were greeted by a group of topiary characters from the movie Fantasia, with sorcerer Mickey. There were beautiful flowers everywhere you looked, even floating in the lakes.
In the Future World side of Epcot we saw Peter Pan, his nemesis Capt. Hook and the croc. Along a side path was a fairy garden with all the fairies from Tinkerbelle, along with tiny fairy houses.
I enjoyed our stroll around the World Showcase, and seeing the topiaries in each “country.” A cast member told me there are more than 100 throughout Epcot, including more than 75 Disney character topiaries. We found the Toy Story gang with Woody, Buzz and Lotso Bear at the American Pavilion, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars 2 in Japan, along with some beautiful bonsai. We also saw playful Pandas in China, along with an amazing dragon.
Beauty and the Beast were found in France, of course, Lady and the Tramp in Italy and Snow White with her dwarfs in Germany. There’s a wonderful tea garden and Winnie the Pooh in the United Kingdom. With so much to see it’s a feast for the eyes.
The Flower & Garden Festival was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a weekend. The weather was warm with nice breezes and the crowds were small. I highly recommend Disneyworld at the end of April.
Our Disney specialist Elizabeth Villanella has lived in the Montrose, Pennsylvania area most of her life. Betsy married her high school boyfriend in 1973. As an Air Force wife, she has lived in Texas, Italy, and Virginia. Between the two of them, her sons have given her fourteen grandchildren and counting. Betsy and her husband currently live with Albert K. Ninestein, a mini Schnauzer who’s as smart as his namesake. She loves to travel and wants to experience (and share) as many places in this world as she can! Betsy tweets as @betsy_v.