May 28, 2024

First Look at New Encanto Topiaries, Merchandise & More at 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival

Walt Disney World has revealed new details for the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, including a sneak peek at the Encanto topiaries and Orange Bird merchandise, plus full lists of the gardens and displays. We have all of that, plus commentary and thoughts about this year’s “Fresh EPCOT” event.

In case you’ve missed past coverage, this year’s EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival will run from March 1 to July 5, 2023. Held for 127 days, it is 2 days longer than the event has been for the last 2 years. Walt Disney World has extended both Flower & Garden and Food & Wine by around a month each in recent years, effectively bridging the gap between the two. See our Ultimate Guide to the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Guide for everything you need to know before you go!

During the four-plus months of the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, guests can explore lush gardens, sample sweet and savory bites with refreshing sips (for a fee, of course!), and shop new merchandise collections featuring Orange Bird, Snow White and Figment. Starting at sunset, a vibrant spectacle of light will be shown on Spaceship Earth, with the Beacons of Magic returning for yet another new display…

More than 200,000 bedding plants are added to the gardens of EPCOT for the Flower & Garden Festival, including an additional 60,000 bedding plants that create the iconic floral designs that make up the World Celebration East & West Lakes. The Dragon topiary, located in the Japan pavilion, is composed of sun-loving succulent plants, adding bursts of colors to the nearly 20-foot-long display.

Because the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival will be celebrated across two seasons, plant displays will also evolve with the weather, making for true seasonal beauty and detail. Guests visiting during both spring and summer months may see new selections as the season changes. A mid-festival “refresh” has always happened during the event, but it’s become much more pronounced in the last few years. 

Making their debut this year, topiaries of Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa from Disney Animation’s Academy Award-winning “Encanto” greet guests in the main entrance of EPCOT. Each Encanto topiary features details inspired by each character, including Isabela creating beautiful flowers between her hands and an illuminated butterfly for Mirabel.

A new topiary of Princess Tiana from The Princess and The Frog graces the American Adventure in World Showcase featuring a stunning ball gown and illuminated fireflies. In the France pavilion, Lumiere and Cogsworth topiaries return with innovative new elements, including lit candles for Lumiere and a working clock for Cogsworth.

Disney Horticulture and Walt Disney Imagineering worked together to design, build and grow diverse topiary displays.

This process began nearly a year ago. Artists developed sketches, Imagineers designed 3D models, skilled welders molded frames, and horticulture specialists chose plant materials. Here’s a behind the scenes look at how that happened:

Here’s the full list of topiaries at the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festvail and where you can find them:

  • Encanto, Including Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa – NEW!
    Main Entrance
  • Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip, Dale and Pluto
    Bridge to World Showcase and World Celebration
  • Woody, Bo Peep and Her Sheep
    World Nature Near The Land Pavilion
  • Goofy
    World Showcase
  • Tiana – NEW!
    The American Adventure Pavilion
  • Buzz Lightyear
    World Discovery Near Mission: SPACE
  • Donald and Daisy
    Community Garden Near Connections Café in World Celebration
  • Figment
    Near Imagination!
  • The Three Caballeros (Jose, Donald and Panchito)
    Mexico Pavilion
  • Anna and Elsa
    Norway Pavilion
  • Troll
    Norway Pavilion
  • Dragon
    Japan Pavilion Near Torii Gate
  • Pandas
    China Pavilion
  • Simba and Friends (Rafiki, Simba, Mufasa and Sarabi)
    Between Imagination! and The Land Pavilion
  • Pumbaa and Timon
    Between Imagination! and The Land Pavilion
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    Germany Pavilion
  • Lady and the Tramp
    Italy Pavilion
  • Beauty and the Beast
    France Pavilion
  • Lumiere and Cogsworth
    France Pavilion
  • Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
    Between France and Morocco Pavilions
  • Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Tick Tock Croc
    Between United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions
  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends (Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger)
    United Kingdom Pavilion
  • Tinker Bell’s Fairy House Garden
    United Kingdom Pavilion
  • Bambi and Friends
    Near Imagination! and Refreshment Port
  • Geese
    Canada Pavilion
  • Butterflies
    Main Entrance, Scentsy Garden, Butterfly House and World Showcase

Walt Disney World has also released new info about two new gardens that are debuting for the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival. First is the Community Garden in World Celebration. In this, guests can connect with the earth and each other at this celebration of a diverse and thriving communal garden plot.

Second, there’s Shishi-odoshi in the Japan Pavilion. This is a spot for quiet contemplation of the methodical movement and soothing rhythm of this traditional Japanese bamboo water fountain.

With more than 15 Outdoor Kitchens located throughout the park, guests can enjoy the freshest flavors as spring gives way to summer, including more than 50 new food and drink items. Guests can also take a tasty tour through the gardens and explore EPCOT with Garden Graze, a fresh food stroll highlighting 11 delicious sweet and savory plant-based offerings – all listed in the Festival Passport.

We covered the FULL Outdoor Kitchen Food Booth Menus for the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival last week, so you can see all of the options there. If you ask me, this lineup sounds really good, with more promising dishes than we’ve seen at any EPCOT event in a while. I’m personally looking forward to the shrimp scampi poutine (no joke) and will likely inadvertently be testing whether it’s safe to eat an entire dish of that before riding Cosmic Rewind.

Also returning for the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival is the popular Garden Rocks Concert Series in the America Garden Theatre. Those performances feature internationally recognized artists Friday through Monday and local Orlando talent rocking the house Tuesday through Thursday. This year’s lineup includes:

  • Smash Mouth
  • Blue Oyster Cult (New)
  • The Pointer Sisters
  • Luis Figueroa (New)
  • Piso 21 (New)
  • Switchfoot (New)
  • AJ Croce (New)
  • Casting Crowns (New)
  • Jason Scheff (New)
  • Plain White T’s
  • Simple Plan
  • And many others! 

Dining packages for lunch and dinner are available at eight EPCOT locations with guaranteed seating at the Garden Rock Concert Series. See Garden Rocks Concerts at 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival: Dates, Lineup & Dining Packages for everything you need to know.

Personally, I’m holding out hope for Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken appear with Blue Oyster Cult as special guests. I got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!

Speaking of fresh additions to this year’s festival, the merchandise collections will feature new designs…with a blast from the past. In particular, Orange Bird is the star of a new ‘70s-inspired collection that reminds me of my grandparents’ living room. Just add some wood paneling and shag carpet to that Spirit Jersey and it’d be right on the money!

In addition to that, there’s a Loungefly backpack, headband, a limited-edition Disney Munchling, CORKCICLE tumbler, and a bunch of other stuff. As a fan of Orange Bird, I certainly appreciate the character being incorporated into more designs, even if these are not for me. (Also, the color choices look more like autumn than spring, but what do I know about fashion…)

Finally, there’s the new Snow White collection with a Dooney and Bourke bag, garden-inspired headband, and more. There’s also a Figment Collection with Crocs and more. Guests can visit Festival Markets, Odyssey, and Creations Shop to purchase these collections while supplies last.

Not to be a debbie downer or anything, but I’d love to see more normal Figment merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to see the character represented on EPCOT event items. However, there were (literally) more Figment “Dropping Beets” items last year than all regular new Figment merchandise releases combined.

No disrespect to the Dwights of the world, but as a bona fide beet-hater, there’s no way on earth I’m buying that stuff. I’m more likely to purchase the Figment crossover with bears and Battlestar Galactica (speaking of sci-fi, see the Stargate for a limited time–before it glows away forever after April 2, 2023!) than I am a bunch of beets merchandise! Why release so many niche products but not straightforward crowd-pleasers for the imaginative carnivores who love Figment but hate gardening?!

Ultimately, the tentative lineup for the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival sounds solid. We’re getting a new Encanto topiary display, which should be a great addition (still waiting on an Encanto meet & greet over a year later, though!). We’re getting a bunch of great new and returning items to the Outdoor Kitchens. We’re even (maybe) getting more cowbell courtesy of Blue Oyster Cult.

My only complaint is really about the Figment side of things. What was added for this year’s Festival of the Arts was a great start, but I’d really love to see Walt Disney World doing more with Figment. I’m definitely biased, but EPCOT’s festivals should incorporate the park’s unofficial mascot in more substantive ways, which I think in turn would help sell even more Figment merchandise (…and in turn increase the odds of a new attraction!).

With the Figment meet & greet and new movie around the corner–and the character clearly able to move merchandise that isn’t about beets–now is the time to improve his presence. Figment is to EPCOT what Duffy is to Tokyo DisneySea–a license to print money–but Disney just doesn’t seem to realize it because they’ve made too much weird beets merchandise that hasn’t sold well. But I digress. We’re really looking forward to the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Are you excited to experience the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, or will you be sitting this one out? Looking forward to the new topiaries of Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa from Encanto at EPCOT’s entrance? Excited for the return of the Garden Rocks concert series? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

Source link

Previous post Ladies You’re Not Entitled, And It’s Not Fair
Next post PS5 restock updates: where to buy a PlayStation 5 right now