Thursday, March 1, 2018

GRAND OPENING! Welcome to the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! PART ONE

Happy Springtime, Disney Guys and Gals!!!

     Did ya'll get to enjoy the Festival of the Arts this winter? It was gorgeous, but if you didn't make it to the event, have no fear, because the next Festival is already here! Welcome to the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!!!

     I LOVE Flower and Garden, because it's an amazingly colorful, vibrant and fragrant festival, that engulfs ALL of Epcot, and gives Guests three gorgeous months of flowers and topiaries, incredible rock concerts, exciting opportunities to learn about how to grow and maintain their own gardens, AND delish food and drinks from the Outdoor Kitchens! 

     This year's festival is bigger and better than ever, with longer running dates, (February 28th-May 28th), SEVEN new entertainment acts, (Foghat, Survivor, Smash Mouth, Rick Springfield, Jo Dee Messina, Lonestar and Don Felder of the Eagles), and one brand new Outdoor Kitchen. Not to mention 70+ topiaries, dining packages, events and tours, appearances by home and garden experts, playgrounds, and a massive butterfly garden. Whew! I'm exhausted just naming it all! There's tons to see and do at this kid-friendly festival, and I was there to check out opening day with a bunch of my gal pals, so if you stick with me, I'll take you on a photo safari of the festival, as well as share with you menus and reviews of the food items that we tried. Let's go....

     As expected, opening day of the festival was slammed! The weather was hot, hot, hot and gorgeously sunny, which made all of the colors that much more vibrant. This year's entry topiary is super cute...

I loved the addition of the large, colorful metal flowers! Just like previous years, there is a passport, containing all of the menus and everything you need to know.

     I started with a stroll around Future World, where there were plenty of beautiful sights to behold!

     There doesn't appear to be a "Festival Center" this year. There is usually one in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, but it was all closed up this time. Hmmm.... I did take a minute to check out the Cars themed play area. I noticed that it was pretty open and empty. Not much for elaborate play equipment, like they have had in the past. A Cast Member told me that they decided to try something new this year, and make the play areas more of an open space, where kids can use their imaginations and run around and play. Both playgrounds seemed to be this way. There were cute little games and things built in, but less to climb and play on. The kids that I saw didn't seem to mind, though!

Never fear though, parents... The important parts are still there:  

     There is a scavenger hunt this year too, but rather than being Easter egg themed, it is all about Spike the Bee and helping him find pollen all around. For $6, Guests can purchase the map and sticker set, and locate the hidden bees all around World Showcase. They can then turn the completed map in for a special surprise!

     The butterfly tent is always a fan favorite, though it does tend to get better over the course of the festival, as more caterpillars transform. I did still see plenty of little lovelies today, though!

     Of course, one of the most iconic sights of the whole festival is the gorgeously landscaped flower beds around the beginning of World Showcase Lagoon:

Just amazing. And kind of hard to stop taking pictures of! Of course, there are all of these other sights to ooo and ahh over, too:

     Incredible, right?

     The merchandise this year is getting a lot of attention. There are some really beautiful items! Especially popular are the pink "spirit jerseys". They were being snapped up by the handful! 

And to buy them all up with, there are new wrist tag gift cards this year, coming in a variety of flower shapes and colors. And each of them has a scratch and sniff floral scent! They are perfect for wearing around the festival to pay at the Outdoor Kitchens.

     Ok, what do you say... Time to hit the Outdoor Kitchens??? Let's DO IT! But first, I need to rest a bit. All this walking is wearing me out! Come back tomorrow for PART TWO of my review of the 2018 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! And in the meantime, if these pictures have you dreaming about a Springtime getaway, contact the crew at Kingdom Konsultant Travel and they will be happy to help you plan for this year, or next! 

     Until tomorrow, folks, have a magical day!

                                                                                     - Jenn

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