Epcot®’s International Flower & Garden Festival is one of Mommy Frog’s very favorite events. She loves looking at the topiaries and all the pretty flowers. Plus, she gets more ideas for decorating our pond. So I knew it wouldn’t take that much convincing to get her to agree to “hop” over to Orlando for a visit. I, of course, wanted to shoot video of this year’s festival, especially the play areas.
Liliane Opsomer offered an awesome review of this year’s event, but I wanted to show you some of my favorite parts and offer a few tips, especially if you’re bringing tadpoles or young frogs with you. So without further ado, here are the highlights (and don’t forget, you can check out our other videos of the Orlando parks on our YouTube channel).
Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House
As Liliane mentioned, Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House is a must-do! Although many of the butterflies were still in their chrysalides, it was so cool to see them waiting to emerge. I loved walking through the garden and seeing the fairies in their natural habitat.
Land of Oz Garden, Play Area and Midway
This was the biggest and best play area — and by best I mean lots of cool things to climb on and get into! The whole place was themed to “Oz the Great and Powerful.” If you’re a fan of the movie, you have to get your picture in the crashed balloon’s basket. Since this play area is just off the main path connecting Future World to World Showcase, it can get pretty crowded, but it’s a good place to let your frogs get out and play (they just might not want to leave)!
‘Radiator Springs’ Interactive Play Zone
While this play area isn’t as large as Oz, it’s got Mater and Lightning McQueen! There is no shade at the play area, but there is nearby at the Garden Retreat. This is a great place for the tadpoles to stretch their legs after the older frogs ride nearby Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet.
Backyard Play Garden
This was my favorite play area, because by the time I made it to Morocco, I was really ready for a break! Mommy Frog liked this one best too, because it had all of these really cool ideas for turning common objects — into planters and yard art — and they were all on display in a backyard setting.
Tips for visiting the festival
If you’re heading to Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival or to Epcot® in general, here are a number of must-dos:
- Wear sunscreen. Epcot® always seems just a little bit sunnier than the other parks because of the reflection off of the concrete and water. The park is about 300 acres, so there is plenty of walking, and most of it is outdoors. While a sunny spring day is a young frog’s idea of heaven, remember the sunscreen — no one wants to be a peeling frog!
- Hydrate. Springtime in Florida can sometimes get hot! For the reasons listed above, you must hydrate if you don’t want to poop out before you’ve even made it past the American Adventure Pavilion (which is a great place to stop in and cool off)! If you’re traveling with younger children, make sure they do the same. I’ve seen more tadpole meltdowns in Epcot® than any other park, and they always seems to happen on the hottest days!
- Pace yourself when it comes to the alcohol. OK, I haven’t actually tried it myself, but Mommy Frog says the spiced rum Dole Whip is yummy. She also says you shouldn’t have too many because the sun combined with the alcoholic libations can be a double whammy.
- Make sure to take breaks, especially if you have young children. World Showcase is a big place! For those in strollers, let them get out and run around. The play areas are perfect for this! The pavilions are also good places, since they’re air conditioned, contained spaces, so there’s less of a chance of them getting lost.
- Don’t plan to see all of Epcot® in one day. If you can swing it, take two days to tour, especially during the Flower & Garden Festival. Spend the morning of the first day in Future World and then tour leisurely in World Showcase. You can hop a friendship boat at Morocco or Germany to take you back to World Showcase Plaza. It won’t save time, but it’s air-conditioned and will save your feet! Another good idea is take a break in the afternoon (I like to go back to the hotel and swim, but Lily usually takes a nap) and come back to see the illuminated gardens, topiaries and fireworks at night.
Some of the kid-friendliest places to hang out at Epcot® besides the rides:
- Land of Oz Play Area
- Duffy the Bear meet and greet
- Kidcot Fun Stops
- Character dining with the princesses at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (reservations recommended)
- ‘Radiator Springs’ Interactive Play Zone
- Cool Wash outside of Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet (it has cool mists and jets)
- Backyard Play Garden
- Character dining with Chip N Dale at The Garden Grill (reservations recommended)
What’s your best tip for touring Epcot® and the Flower & Garden Festival with kids?