The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2015 has begun! It was an absolutely stunning day and evening for the kickoff of this annual event. This is our 9th year covering the festival (we've attended since the beginning), and we have about 250 photos to share from yesterday over 2 pages. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs through May 17th, 2015.
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The opening topiary is called "Goofy About Spring" and includes Pluto, Daisy and Goofy for Spring. Goofy is wrapped up in his hose, which was turned on later in the day with hilarious results (we will show it at the end of the article).
I really like the logo for this year.
Goofy and his hose.
New for this year are Chip and Dale! They are adorable, and probably my new favorite topiaries.
Chip and Dale join Donald on the opposite side of the entrance topiary.
Chip has the chocolate chip nose.
Check out their stripes and tiny tails!
We have shown some of the topiary displays previously in updates, including these "Spring in in the Air" butterflies behind Spaceship Earth.
Phineas and Ferb are back this year in Future World.
There is a Festival Shop along the way to World Showcase.
Farmer Mickey and Minnie were turned around this year, which is great for photos.
Spaceship Earth is now behind them.
We enjoyed having a photo, although it looks like I have a prong sticking out of my hat.
I will write up an article on tips for the Festival, but one tip is to get to World Showcase early for great viewing of topiaries from several countries with few crowds. Anna and Elsa have longer lines later, but there was almost nobody here at 10:00 a.m. (and there would have been even fewer guests earlier). Les Halles Boulangerie in the France pavilion is open for breakfast, and there are quite a few topiaries available to see between here and there.
Elsa works her magic.
Anna and Elsa have been here for a week now.
There was no Photopass photographer yet, but no line for photos either.
Here is our video of Anna and Elsa from the day they arrived last week.
This is the view looking toward Spaceship Earth at about 10:00 a.m.
Anna and Elsa wave to Mickey and Minnie.
Before we head into World Showcase, look at this view! The flower quilt has grown in so beautifully in the past couple of weeks.
Monorail Blue passing over Mickey's head.
Monorail Yellow passing over the water planters.
There were no bad views yesterday.
Here is an Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival sign, with the Fresh Epcot slogan (which is also used on Twitter as #FreshEpcot).
Our first stop in World Showcase is Canada. Thumper, Bambi and Flower are back again.
I am really impressed with the abundance of flowers this year. Benches here are surrounded by beautiful pots of flowers.
I don't know what these flowers are, but they are beautiful!
Victoria Gardens is not open until 11:00 a.m., but I took photos here later in the day.
This is one of my favorite areas of Epcot, with brilliant flowers all year round.
Look up at the United Kingdom pavilion and you will find Peter Pan.
Peter Pan, Tick Tock Croc, and Captain Hook are back again this year.
Peter Pan with a blue sky behind him.
Tick Tock Croc.
The English Tea Garden Tour is a tradition for us. We don't always take it on the first day, but it is free and well worth the 20 or so minutes. There are samples handed out at the end. Get to the Tea Caddy at 11:00 a.m. to sign up.
The English Tea Garden is a lovely spot for photos.
Here are a few photos from our English Tea Tour, which we did take later in the day. It began with samples of Twinings Cold Brew Tea (which we drink at home all the time).
Our tour guide tells about the different kinds of tea.
This was my badge, which I turned in later for samples of tea.
This area is often busy with Mary Poppins or Alice in Wonderland meet and greets.
There is a new Shakespeare Garden, located near the restrooms.
Pooh is by himself this year, in Pollinator's Paradise.
Several small signs give information about pollinators.
We enjoy vising France in the morning (or at anytime).
We arrived here just after 10:00 a.m.
By 11:00 a.m, this location is usually getting crowded. But at this time, it was almost empty.
Belle and Beast are in a different location this year, with the Eiffel Tower behind them.
Beauty and the Beast from the back. It looks like they are on a purple carpet of flowers.
Cogsworth and Lumiere look happy to be back in France, as Chip and Mrs. Potts did not make the cut this year.
Lumiere and Cogsworth.
Cinderella and Prince Charming have been placed where Beauty and the Beast were in previous years.
Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing their way through France.
We spent 12 hours at the first day of the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, and chose to eat one full meal at a restaurant instead of dining at the Outdoor Kitchens. But we did plan on one, and that was Fleur De Lys in France. The Outdoor Kitchens open at 11:00 a.m.
This is the menu for Fleur De Lys.
We enjoyed two items here. One was the Ice Pop, which costs $6.75 and is made with Grand Marnier, Vodka and Iced Tea. It was very refreshing on a hot day.
The other item was one I had been looking forward to, a Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron. There was a delicious surprise inside! It looked very much like the Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich for this season. Everything at Les Halles Boulangerie and L'Artisan des Glaces is made fresh every day in the France pavilion.
After France, we went back to Future World for Mike and Sulley's Monstrous Garden (mostly a playground), which is back this year. There is an Urban Farm Eats display and Outdoor Kitchen here on the way.
Mike and Sulley topiaries are back this year in the playground.
There is covered seating, which I enjoyed for a couple of minutes.
Monsters guard the playground.
Walking along the Imagination path, we are on the way to the Butterflies on the Go butterfly house.
The butterfly house is very different this year, with no topiaries inside. It really is just butterflies and plants. While not as exciting as before, it is also less crowded and fewer guests were handling the butterflies.
Much of the butterfly house can be seen in this photo.
A butterfly sits on a flower.
GoGo Squeez is sponsoring it this year.
Here is a look from above (taken last week).
Tinker Bell is back outside the butterfly house again.
Future World West rarely has had any sort of topiaries (or much of anything else), but Sorcerer Mickey and this Fantasia display changed that this year.
Ostriches with Journey into Imagination in the background.
Turning it around.
Sorcerer Mickey and the broomsticks.
Hippo and alligator.
Jeff got up close and personal with this ostrich.
There are even some flower planters here.
The mushrooms are a little harder to see, nestled within these trees.
The Disney-Pixar Inside Out Emotion Garden is new this year. It is very colorful and shows how plants can inspire your emotions.
This is another location for gorgeous photos full of color!
The garden includes different plants based on emotions. These bright yellow flowers are labeled Joyous Plants.
And the last is Fearful Plants.
Here is our video of the Disney-Pixar Inside Out Emotion Garden.
Behind the garden, there is a great view of the Fantasia display from the back.
Keep reading - there is much more on page 2!
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