By Cory O’Born
Epcot's 24th annual International Flower & Garden Festival is a sure sign of spring in Orlando, and this year new additions have bloomed. Two new outdoor kitchens offer fresh flavors, while this year's topiaries and musical entertainment are not to be missed! Now through May 29, 2017, experience a celebration of spring like only Disney can offer. As a bonus, catch the full bouquet of food and flowers with discount ticket options from Visit Orlando.
Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket Outdoor Kitchens are two new additions that will join 13 returning spots for fresh, farm-market food and beverages. Get a taste of the new options at Northern Bloom with Seared Scallops, French Green Beans and Butter Potatoes with Applewood smoked bacon. Or for a sweet festival treat, grab a Maple Popcorn Shake (Crown Royal Maple Whiskey is an optional addition, but we recommend it!) At The Berry Basket, spring for the Lamb Chop with Quinoa Salad and Blackberry Gastrique, and quench your thirst with the new Founders Raubeaus Pure Raspberry Ale.
Each year 30 million blooms blanket Epcot during this event, including character topiaries from new and classic Disney films. Joining the new generation of princess topiaries with facial features, including Snow White, Anna and Elsa, is a brand new Belle topiary from "Beauty and the Beast," located at the France Pavilion alongside the Beast. Visit your favorite characters and get in on the action at the interactive play garden area, featuring the new "Cruz" character topiary from Disney-Pixar's "Cars 3" film. More not-to-miss additions include the Music Garden Melodies play area, one of the largest festival gardens, packed with interactive musical gadgets, a new garden design and climbing nets.
You'll want to plant yourself by the stage to catch The Garden Rocks concert series, where new acts have grown the 2017 lineup, including Simple Plan, Exposé and Berlin featuring Terri Nunn! This popular and free music series has expanded to four days every week of the festival, including three concerts each day, Friday through Monday.
Ever wonder how easy it might be to grow your own food, or start a flower garden? Now's your chance to try it out, with free gardening seminars and DIY workshops every Friday through Sunday during the festival. Curious foodies and even "black thumbs" of all ages can join these classes, or simply stroll by the Soarin' Around the World attraction in The Land Pavilion to check out edible flowers, plants that benefit health and gardens designed with bees in mind. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!
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Written by Cory O’Born, Communications Associate Representative at Visit Orlando. She enjoys puns, getting lost in foreign countries, petting every dog she sees and uncovering hidden gems in her hometown of Orlando.