The entrance planter’s theme changes every year, and this year Daisy Duck, Pluto and Goofy are the stars, with a new and dynamic touch as Goofy waters the garden with a working hose.
There is, of course a Photopass photographer stationed at the entry tableau, and you’ll find a few more Photopass snappers capturing other topiary shots as well. Look for them between Future World and Showcase Plaza, just behind the Fountain of Nations, where Farmers Mickey, Minnie and Donald, and scamps Chip and Dale, can be found, and at the back of World Showcase near Africa, where Rafiki and Simba hang out.
The butterfly house returns for 2015, with a ‘scavenger hunt’ that kids (and adults) can do with the goal of finding all 11 butterflies fluttering around the enclosed garden. Children are also fascinated by an elevated box containing butterflies-to-be in their chrysalises, and even more intrigued as each butterfly emerges and slowly unfolds its wings.
The area near the Imagination pavilion and The Land pavilion features characters from the animated movie Fantasia, including dancing hippos, ostriches and gators, plus the ever-popular brooms-with-buckets ‘performing’ at the command of Sorcerer Mickey.
Nearby is a new display featuring flowers that evoke emotions such as Sad, Joyous, Disgusting, and Angry, all themes taken from the forthcoming new Pixar film, Inside Out.
Also new this year are topiaries of Anna and Elsa from the blockbuster animated hit movie Frozen. Located at the entry to World Showcase, in Showcase Plaza, they have their own dedicated Photopass photographer, too.
Favourites from previous years have returned, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, appropriately located near the Germany pavilion; Cinderella and Prince Charming in France; Lady and the Tramp in Italy; and the characters from Peter Pan in the United Kingdom pavilion.
Food and beverage kiosks made their way from Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival to Flower and Garden a few years ago, and this year’s selection are:
Urban Farm Eats: Vegetarian; in keeping with the culinary fad, they offer a Kale Salad, the current darling of the vegetable world. Its health-conscious cousin, quinoa, pairs well with veggies in a wholesome “naanwich”.
The Smokehouse—Barbeques and Brews: smoked meats and craft beer; try the “Piggylicious” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and crushed pretzel; trust us on this.
Botanas Botanico: South American; the Seafood Ceviche of shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado is the stand-out favourite here.
Fleur De Lys: French; the kiosk offers this year’s hit item, the Ice Pop, made from Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry Liqueur, Vodka, and Ice Tea; also try the lush La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush, a combination of Vodka, Gray Goose Orange, Saint Germain Liqueur, and White and Red Cranberry Juice.
Pineapple Promenade: The only place to get a Pineapple dog, the strangely delicious hot dog covered in pineapple chutney and spicy Sriracha mayonnaise.
Taste of Marrakesh: Moroccan; Falafel and Baklava. 'Nuff said.
Primavera Kitchen: Italian; New this year is the Limoncello Panna Cotta. Go on…you know you want to!
Hanami: Japanese; their new Teriyaki Curry Bun is a ‘hand sandwich’ with a twist, and rather delightful.
Lotus House: Chinese; we didn’t try the new Kung Po Chicken Bun, but on the strength of Japan’s Curry Bun, we’re tempted for next time.
Jardin de Fiestas: Mexico; you know it well from Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, but the new Tecate Draft Beer with Patrón Citrónge is interesting.
Florida Fresh: Floridian; Go local and try the Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits.
Master Gardeners from across the country are on hand to answer questions and make suggestions for bringing a bit of Disney-inspired landscaping to your own garden, and the big Festival Center is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with in-depth seminars to help you grow your green thumb. Speciality merchandise is available, and, if you’re lucky, you can get these lovely ladies to pose with your brand new Flower and Garden cuddly. Have cameras at the ready; it’s a beautiful time to visit!
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is included in the fantastic value Walt Disney World tickets - currently offering you 14 days at Disney for the pirce of 7!