Back in 2014, Snow White was the first Disney princess to receive a sculpted and lifelike topiary face along with sculpted hands for the Epcot International Garden Festival. Anna and Elsa followed the next year, and now Belle debuts a new look for 2017! She was unveiled a couple of days ago at an event, and is now standing with Beast (also more detailed) in the Epcot France pavilion. Cogsworth and Lumiere are nearby as well. It is always exciting to see changes to the topiaries and displays, I’ve been photographing the Festival since 2007. This is my favorite time of year at Walt Disney World! Here are a couple of dozen photos from today, with two older pictures to compare and a video from this morning. The characters are based on the Beauty & the Beast animated film, not the live action movie that opens next month.
Here is what Belle and Beast looked like in 2015. Beast looks similar to how he does now, but less sculpted. Belle is more primitive looking.
Back in 2012, Beast looked quite different. Belle looks similar to the photo above, although her glove was pretty large.
My recommendation for the Festival is always to head to France for breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, and enjoy topiaries in the portions of World Showcase that are available. Because of Frozen Ever After opening last year (the Norway attraction opens at 9:00 a.m.), guests can now walk from France, past the UK and Canada and then to Norway in that direction before World Showcase even officially opens. We arrived today at about 10:00 a.m. and there weren’t many guests around. (I added a few photos from a less cloudy day on February 23rd, 2017).
Here is our video, and then check out the rest of the photos from today!
Belle and Beast as seen past the fountain.
Belle’s gown is made from Joseph’s Coat plants and I expect it to change in color some.
Beast’s jacket also looks like it will change color a little. It is always fun to see the topiaries and gardens as the Festival progresses.
Belle and Beast with the Eiffel Tower in view.
I don’t believe that the face, neck and hair are actually plants. The rest of her is. You can see her gold earrings here.
This is a gorgeous location for photos in every direction.
Belle’s hands are now much smaller than Beast’s, just as in the movie.
Beast’s horns are somewhat different this year, but still in animated movie form.
It looks like only the princesses with the newer sculpted faces will be out this year (i.e. – not Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, who have been in many previous Festivals).
Here is a look from below.
This location gets very busy once World Showcase opens. It’s perfect for photos early.
Lumiere and Cogsworth look the same as in the past few years, they are in front of the maze.
Belle and Beast can be seen in the background.
Here is a look at Belle and Beast from the back.
I didn’t photograph from this angle until after 11:00 a.m., when guests were filling in.
Belle’s dress looks gorgeous from the back.
Here is a look at the sculpting of her hair.
Beast has a ribbon to tie his hair back.
Belle takes Beast’s hand.
The sun came out for a few minutes before disappearing again.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs from March 1st – May 29th, 2017, and I highly recommend visiting! The Festival is included with regular park admission.