The time has come for a little tour around EPCOT! With one festival wrapping up and another on its way, plus the park's ongoing construction projects and a new-to-me snack, it's clearly time to stop and get caught up. Grab a glass of Sparberry (or Beverly if you're feeling brave), and settle in as you and I take a virtual tour of the park.
Inside the park, as soon as we crest the hill just past and to the west of Spaceship Earth, we're met with the semi-demolished framework of the very last section of Innoventions West. As we know, the future Journey of Water interactive exhibit will be installed near here (close to where the Fountain View Starbucks used to be), and the building, which has been taken down a bit at a time, is very close to being completely removed. It's hard to look at for us EPCOT fans (I remember the first time I stepped foot into that building as a 10-year-old...sniffle), but progress waits for no one, right? Sigh.
As we make our way around the back of Innoventions West and head toward the World Showcase, we catch our first hint of the next festival: Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. The butterfly enclosure is being constructed in the grassy area between The Land and Imagination pavilions.
If you're worried that Joy and Winnie-the-Pooh have been ousted from the area due to the butterflies moving in, fear not. Joy and her furry friend are still delighting guests both young and old throughout the day. The space in which they can frolic is smaller, but they're making the best of it and are just as charming as always.
Across from the Imagination pavilion, we find the first Flower & Garden topiaries to appear: the butterflies. The topiaries, which feature colorful violas and ornamental cabbage, will welcome festival guests as they make their way to the butterfly house.
As we head toward the center of the park, we find that Flower & Garden's iconic hillside flower quilt is in the process of being planted.
The festival begins on March 3rd, and planting the annuals now will ensure that everything's blooming in time for opening day. See how the Mickey on the lefthand side of the picture above is outlined in the soil?
As we make our way around the World Showcase, a stop into the American Adventure reveals that Charlie "Bird" Parker's rare plastic saxophone has been added to the case that holds Louis Armstrong's trumpet in the Soul of Jazz exhibit. I'm glad that artifacts are being added to the exhibit, and I'm hoping that this trend continues.
If you're wanting to stop and take a look around in the pavilion's American Heritage Gallery, all of the amazing Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in Native American Art handiwork items and artifacts are still on display.
I highly recommend adding a bit of time to your EPCOT day in order to stop by the gallery, found to the right as you enter the pavilion's rotunda.
Of course, it would be a crying shame if you and I didn't stop and enjoy a snack or two as we make our way around the World Showcase. Yesterday, I stopped into Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway pavilion to try their newest treat: the almond-based Kransekake. Click here for my full review of the cake-like cookie. Spoiler alert: yum.
As we stop and take one last look at World Showcase Lagoon before leaving the park, we see that a team of cast members is testing the movable arm on one of the Harmonious barges. If you're wondering if the barges for the park's upcoming nighttime spectacular are really as big as everyone says, let me assure you that, yes, they truly are. Augh.
As you make your way out of (or into) the World Showcase during Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, be sure to stop and take a peek at the masterpieces that have been (or are in the process of being) created by the chalk artists.
The fact that we as guests have the opportunity to watch artists at work during the festival is such a neat thing.
And don't forget that there just might be a bit of chalk art that you can interact with! How much fun is that?!
Thanks so much for taking this virtual walk around EPCOT with me! If you're wanting to see anything in the park in particular that you didn't get a peek at in this article, let me know in the comments below and I'll see what I can do!