The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has now begun for 2018! We were there for a full day yesterday and will be back continually through the Festival (update 3/12 – read our 2018 Royal Tea Garden Tour review here). I always write up some tips for the festival to help guests make the most of it. This year, there are a few changes for the Festival. First, the Festival Center – unless anything changes – is gone without a replacement. I also don’t see anything about weekends such as Art in the Garden, which is a favorite of mine. Coming off the highly interactive Epcot International Festival of the Arts, this year’s Flower & Garden version feels a little…quiet. But there is still much to see and enjoy. Here are my tips for 2018!
1 – Pick up a Garden Passport. Every Festival now includes a passport sized booklet, allowing for easy access to information specifically geared toward the applicable festival. For 2018, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Passport includes topiary locations, concert information, menus at the Outdoor Kitchens and more.
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Garden Passport
2 – Enjoy an early breakfast in France. Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie opens at 9:00 a.m., which is earlier than most of World Showcase. A full baguette is just a few dollars, but there are so many other items that can be purchased in addition, from pastries to quiche. There is indoor and outdoor seating, with the popular Belle and Beast topiaries in this pavilion. After breakfast, I like to take in the topiary displays between France and Norway in the direction of the United Kingdom, as well as in Future World. The remainder of World Showcase is closed off to walking until 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
A quiet morning at the France pavilion
3 – Check out topiaries and gardens – There are 60+ topiaries to look at around the Festival, plus the beautiful flower quilts and other smaller gardens. The orchids in Mexico are a particular favorite of mine and are back this year. There are also two playgrounds for children and the Goodness Garden Butterfly House.
Bromeliad Dragon in China
4 – Look for bees with the Spike the Honey Bee “Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration” scavenger hunt. This is a new scavenger hunt for 2018 (but the Egg-stravaganza will be back for a limited run). Find Spike the Honey Bee in a variety of locations in World Showcase and receive a set of fun patches. The prize is really a unique one this time around. Cost is $5.99 plus tax and Annual Passholders do receive a discount. Honey has a prominent place at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this year, with the National Honey Board sponsoring the Honey Bee-stro Outdoor Kitchen as well.
Spike the Honey Bee
Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration sign
5 – Find eggs with the Egg-stravaganza for a limited time. The Egg-stravanganza will be back from March 16 through April 1. Guests hunt for an egg in each pavilion, then put stickers on a map to receive a prize. The cost will be $5.99.
6 – Take a complimentary (or paid) Tea Garden Tour in the United Kingdom. The complimentary version of this tour is still available and we have enjoyed it for years. I wrote up the Royal Tea Garden Tour for its first year in 2017 and we booked it again this year. To book the Royal Tea Garden Tour at the cost of $18.00 per person – it does include tea and scones – call 407-WDW-TOUR.
United Kingdom Tea Garden
Sign promoting the Royal Tea Garden Tour and complimentary tours
7 – Enjoy a Garden Rocks (formerly Flower Power) concert, available Fridays through Mondays in 2018. The first weekend kicks off with Night Ranger, and there are a variety of acts coming that include Survivor and Rick Springfield. Find more information about the concerts here.
8 – Purchase food samples at Outdoor Kitchens. This is the sixth year that Epcot has offered food booths, which have become a staple of all Epcot festivals now. We tried one item so far this year, the Macaron au Chocolat en Sucette (chocolate macaron lollipop). I highly recommend it! We will try a small amount of items through the festival.
Macaron lollipop at Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen
9 – Take a break midday with a table service meal. Epcot World Showcase has a lot of wonderful dining options. On opening day of any festival we usually head to Via Napoli for pizza as opposed to buying too many food samples. It is nice to get out the heat for an hour or more and relax at a table service restaurant.
Pizza from Via Napoli
10 – Stay through evening and enjoy Illuminated Gardens. Many topiaries are lit up in the evening, and it allows for pretty photos that will look different than similar daytime ones.
Belle and Beast illuminated
11 – Purchase Festival Merchandise. This is my favorite year in a long time for merchandise, with Figment and Orange Bird figuring prominently on many items – Minnie Mouse does as well. There are pieces of clothing, mugs, Tervis, plush and more.
Here is our video of much of the merchandise for 2018.