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18th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
2011 marks the 18th annual rendition of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year you are greeted at the front of the park by Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story 3. This is the first time that each of these characters have made an appearance in topiary form at the festival.
During the 75 days that the festival runs there are estimated to be more than 30,000,000 (30 million!) blooms to be found thoughout Epcot. There are also an unbelievable 500,000 plants, trees, and shrubs that are planted just for the festival. These include a quarter of a million annual blossoms.
You don't have to go far to find your favorite Disney Character in topiary form. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto star in a new topiary vinette that shows them flying a kite at a picnic.
Donald Duck doesn't want to be left out.
Daisy Duck is tending to the flowers.
Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the 100 Acre Woods have moved to a new location in the area between Future World and the World Showcase. Not only will you see Rabbit, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet in topiary form (pictured below), you will see them in a magnificently landscaped garden.
Festival plants include 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 varieties of bedding plants. The areas surrounding the ponds in Future World have been decorated in a sea of color with amazing patterns, including a couple Hidden Mickeys.
There is a new topiary display in the China Pavilion showing the adorable Pandas pictured above.
In the Germany Pavilion you can not only meet Snow White at certain times to get her autograph and your picture with her, but you can also see Snow and all 7 Dwarfs in topiary form.
New to the Germany Pavilion for 2011 you will find the tower from the Disney movie Tangled, where Rapunzel was so famously kept.
One of the most beautiful displays is a favorite that has appeared for the past several festivals. It featured "Lady & the Tramp" in the middle of a container garden.
It is always nice to see the Disney Princesses in topiary form gracing the park. Above is Aurora located just outside of the France Pavilion.
In the United Kingdom, you can catch this scene from Peter Pan with Peter, Captain Hook, and Tick-Tock the Crocodile.
Pixie Hollow Fairies
Tinker Bell is not alone in the beautiful Pixie Hollow Gardens. You will find many of your favorite Pixie Hollow Characters in topiary form. The colors and choices of plant materials make this one of the best landscaped areas of the festival.
There is much more to enjoy beyond the topiaries. There are many gardens throughout Epcot and most have identification tags near the plants, so you can identifiy the ones that you like or want to consider for your own garden.
You will find towers of impatients and replicas of flags done in plant form. The staff of over 400 Disney horticulturalists that install the Festival landscape, topiaries, and more are truly amazing. Once installed it still takes 100 Epcot horiculturists to maintain them during the Festival.
You Need To See This In Person!
As amazing as the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival looks in pictures it is many times more impressive in person. Here you can get a true appreciation of the scale of the 305 acres that make up Epcot and all of the planting that is done for the Festival. In person you can also take in all of the wonderful scents of the blooms, herbs, and spices that have been planted.
It takes Disney Cast Members over 24,000 hours to prepare for the Flower & Garden Festival and it is truly a sight to see and experience. If you are a Disney World fan, this is a great time to plan a Disney World Vacation in order experience the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival for yourself.