The EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival has officially started!
And if you’re planning on traveling to Disney World over the next few months, you’ll want to know all about it, right? And there is a lot to know — you’ll want to know about the food available, what kind of activities you can find, what entertainment is going on, and more! We’ve put together a list of everything you need to know if you’ll be attending the festival!
First, you’ll need to know the dates — the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival runs from March 3 – July 5, 2021. It’s longer than ever before this year! You’ll need to know the specific dates you want to attend because you will not only need a ticket to get into EPCOT, but you will also need to make a Park Pass Reservation for the days you want to go there.
Once you have your dates, you’ll want to check the weather. It’s that time of the year when it seems to rain every day. (April, [and May, June, etc] showers bring…well, you know!) Also, it can (read: WILL) get hot and humid! So it’s best to be prepared. We recommend bringing a poncho that you can easily fold up in your park bag, but also don’t forget to dress for the heat. If you have a cooling towel or portable fan — bring it! Prepare for hot days, but also prepare for random thunderstorms, because, well, that’s Florida!
We also recommend bringing several masks with you each day because, on a hot Florida day, you will probably sweat through it (or in case of rain, it could also get wet). After the better part of the day in the heat and sun and breathing heavily under that mask, it can be just what you need to have a little chance to freshen up with a clean, new one.
And, speaking of masks, make sure you’re up to date on the latest Disney World face mask policy — right now, guests over the age of 2 must wear a mask at all times unless eating and drinking AND stationary. You cannot eat or drink while walking or while in lines. At restaurants, you must keep your mask on when you aren’t actively eating and drinking.
You can, however, use Relaxation Stations to take a break from your mask — they’ll be noted on your park map and you’ll see signs around the park showing where they’re located. In EPCOT, you can find stations at Akershus in the Norway Pavilion, in the outdoor seating area next to Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the U.K. Pavilion, and outdoors near Mission: SPACE.
Perhaps our best piece of advice, though, is a little self-serving. If you’re wanting to make the most of EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival, we recommend you check out our guide! You’ll get the best insider tips and tricks (we’ve been doing this for a LONG time), along with SO much information to help you make informed decisions about everything the festival offers (plus LOTS of tips for where to find the best food OBV!).
What To Eat
One of the most exciting things about EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival is the food! But be warned — there is a LOT of it! This year’s event has a total of over 20 outdoor kitchens! Each kitchen has both sweet and savory dishes to choose from along with special drinks. So how do you know what to eat and drink?
Well, that’s what we’re here for! We’ve already eaten everything (seriously…we mean EVERYTHING!) — you can read all our reviews here. We’ve also put together a list of the best food at the festival if you want to try our greatest hits. Our Guide also has a downloadable and printable Outdoor Kitchens Booth Menu Checklist that you can print out or save to your phone!
You can also score FREE copies of our downloadable printable list of ALL the food as well as get a copy of our map of this year’s booths. When you get to EPCOT, you’ll want to pick up a free Festival Passport, which includes every booth menu — these are generally available around retail locations.
Before you dive into the food, though, have a plan. Before you even get to EPCOT, know which dishes and drinks are your priorities to try. Why? You’re going to quickly discover that you might not be able to eat everything on your list because you’ll simply fill up faster than you think! (Been there. Done that!)
Finally, be sure to stop by The Citrus Blossom booth. Although this booth has appeared at the last few festivals (we’re starting to think this booth is permanently glued to the ground in World Showcase…it hasn’t left in over a year!), the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival is where it got its start. And there’s a nifty souvenir you’ll want to nab from there, too — the Orange Bird Sipper. He comes filled with a yummy Orange-Lemon Smoothie for $15. This year, everyone’s fav anthropomorphized citrus got a glow-up too in the form of a newly updated cup design!
Believe it or not, there’s WAY more to the festival than JUST food. There are a TON of fun activities taking place every single day (and most of them are FREE)! For starters, there are some beautiful gardens to look at, including a Prehistoric Garden, a Butterfly Garden (with hundreds of REAL butterflies!), a Tropical Rainforest Garden, and more! Here’s a full list of every garden you can see!
Also, beautiful topiaries are spread throughout EPCOT, bringing art and gardening together like never before. You can see plant sculptures of some of Disney’s most iconic characters, including The Three Caballeros, the cast of the Lion King, and more! Here’s a list of all the topiaries, along with where to find them! And you can even bring your own mini topiary home with you!
If you still prefer to mix your activities with food, there’s the Garden Graze Food Stroll. This stroll highlights five food offerings from the festival — for each item you eat, you get a sticker for your Festival Passport. Collect all five stickers and you can pick up a special prize at Pineapple Promenade!
And don’t worry — you don’t have to collect them all in a single day! That prize is a Mango Limeade Dole Whip in a souvenir cup. This is something ONLY available to those who complete the Garden Graze. And trust us, you’ll want to try this snack!
Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration is an activity you can do with the whole family. If you have kids with you, this is a great way to encourage them to navigate World Showcase with you (while you stop for nibbles and sips along the way!). You can purchase a map for this scavenger hunt for $7.99 at many retail locations. The map is full of the kinds of plants that Spike likes hanging around. You get to rush around EPCOT searching for everywhere Spike is hiding and match the flowers to the locations you find them!
Add a sticker for each location where you find him, and once you have them all, you can turn it in to get one of four sets of decorative plates!
If all those activities aren’t enough to keep you busy, then there’s also PLENTY of entertainment going on during the festival. That includes live performances from the Jammin’ Gardeners (the Jammitors get funky with gardening tools) in the Canada Pavilion, Voices of Liberty and Mariachi Cobre in the American Adventure, and a pianist at World Showplace. Check the schedule at EPCOT to find out when they’re performing!
And every weekend, a local band takes to the American Gardens Theater stage to perform classic songs from the past and present. From pop to the American Songbook, you’re sure to hear something you can get your groove on to!
So in a way, even though Garden Rocks is not present at the festival this year, the garden will still be rocking!
You want stuff to buy? Well, the festival is LOADED with souvenirs you’ll only find there! Want to grow your own Disney topiary? You can buy a kit to do that. Want to get a new watering can for your garden? You’ll find that, too. There are loads of items to choose from, including t-shirts, Minnie ears, mugs, and more!
What’s Not Happening
If you’re going to the 2021 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, though, you do need to know that there are a few things that aren’t returning this year. This includes the two Garden Tours that usually take place at the U.K. Pavilion. Those won’t be happening this year.
Another popular EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival offering not available this year is Garden Rocks, which is a series of free concerts from popular bands. Instead, the Jammin’ Gardeners, Voices of Liberty, and Mariachi Cobre will be performing, along with the local bands we previously told you about.
Also, most of the demonstrations, both hands off and not, are on pause this year. You can, however, head to the back of World Showplace to check out a cool display called Tips of the Trade, highlighting how Disney puts on the festival each year. You’ll learn how topiaries are made and even how they get those little gardnes to float in the water in Future World! Pretty neat!
So sure, you might be missing out on a few things, but we’re sure you’ll still have plenty to do at this year’s festival. And as always, stay tuned to DFB for all the best festival tips and tricks!