While much of the country is still covered in snow, spring arrives early here in Orlando, and your first stop for soaking it all in should be the 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year's festival, March 1 - May 29, offers guests a fresh take with beautiful and beneficial gardens, outdoor kitchens, live entertainment and 100 topiary characters.
Fresh, farm-to-market food and beverage flavors will debut at two new Outdoor Kitchens, bringing the total number of tasty kiosks to 15. Grab a festival passport and make your way around the World Showcase to sip and sample creative salads, savory entrees and amazing desserts along with signature adult cocktails designed just for the event. "Our already beautiful park becomes even more spectacular, and there's nothing like walking through Epcot's flowers and gardens this time of year with this beautiful weather and having a great bite to eat and a great glass of wine," says Epcot Vice President Melissa Valiquette. "Our festival has really evolved over the years. And while we've very much become famous for our beautiful gardens and topiaries ... as you know, food has also become a staple of our festival here at Epcot. We continue to expand that food offering in this festival every year, and we have two new outdoor kitchens this year: The Northern Bloom representing Canada, and the Berry Basket." The popular and free Garden Rocks concert series will expand to four days each week, with three concerts each Friday through Monday presenting performing artists that span four decades. Past favorites have been Boys II Men, Wilson Phillips, Tiffany and Kool & the Gang. Greeting guests at the front of the park is a new topiary garden inspired by a vintage Walt Disney short film featuring Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Pluto with a floral May pole. Another festival first is a 6-foot-tall topiary of the lovable blue dragon Figment. Returning favorites will be play gardens for kids, plus a new playground this year between Morocco and the Florida Fresh outdoor kitchen. Children will also love the Easter egg scavenger hunt, where they can hunt for 11 hidden eggs around the World Showcase while parents enjoy the culinary treats.