Beginning today, March 2, 2016, Epcot's 23rd Annual International Flower & Garden Festival delights guests with its sights, scents, and sounds. The festival, which runs through May 30th, offers a multi-sensory approach to enjoying spring and features over thirty million vibrant blooms, 100-plus whimsical topiaries, 1,000 fluttering butterflies, weekly "Garden Rocks" performances, and dozens of outdoor food kitchens serving fresh bites and beverages. This year's event is themed to the phrase, "Fresh Epcot." How much goes into creating the festival? Check out the facts below!
The festival's front entrance is titled "Fresh Food, Fun, & Flowers" and is inspired by a 1943 Donald Duck comic book called The Victory Garden. Like the book, the scene features the first-ever Huey, Dewey, and Louie topiaries created out of over 30 varieties of flowers, plants, and other garden materials.
A "Floral Sun" topiary scene just behind Spaceship Earth paints a landscape of color with 15 yellow "sunbursts" of gold, red, and yellow.
In order to keep the floral displays fresh and seasonal, Disney horticulturists will complete two full crop rotations during the 90 days of the festival.
Plants included this year come from 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 unique varieties of bedding plants.
Well over 500,000 plants, trees, and shrubs have been planted this year; 250,000 of those are annual blossoms.
Close to 1,000 native butterflies representing 10 species are housed in the Butterflies on the Go exhibit. Guests will also find two dozen nectar plants including coral honeysuckle, lantana, passion flower, scarlet milkweed, and canna lily.
Some 25 different plants, grasses, and mosses of numerous colors have been used to create and define the facial features of the character topiaries scattered throughout World Showcase and Future World. Pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm seeds, and more are attached using hairpins; close to 200 one-pound boxes were used this year.
Anna and Elsa, new topiaries during the 2015 festival, will make their appearance in the Norway pavilion this time around and incorporate twinkling lights beginning at dusk. About 25 varieties of flowers are planted in this scene including pink, orange, and red Gerberas, blue and yellow Violas, violet Petunias, and purple Dianthus blanket. The topiaries themselves are each 6 1/2 feet tall. An illusion of Elsa appearing taller than her younger sister will exist as she is placed in this garden scene standing closer to guests by about 8 feet.
700 container gardens of herbs, plants, flowers, and vegetables in barrels, urns, and clay pots are set throughout Epcot to enhance the landscape.
Roughly 400 Disney horticulturists installed the festival topiaries, exhibits, and landscape; 100 maintain the displays during the festival.
This year, a new themed playground area called "Music Garden Melodies with the Fab Five" allows children to explore sights and sounds of spring. Interactive play systems feature musical gadgets and a collection of plants resembling instruments in one of the largest gardens created for the festival at nearly one-third acre. The playground will be lit at night to offer a bit of extra magic.
It takes over a year and close to 24,000 cast member hours to prepare for the annual festival.
13 Outdoor Kitchens, including the new La Isla Fresca and Cider House, offer a variety of sweet and savory food and beverage items. Each marketplace features a separate garden planted with select produce and herbs to represent the more than 50 beverage choices and more than 30 food items available.
78 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars will be presented.
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