A little gardening magic will go a long way when an eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary holds court at the entrance to the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7 – May 20, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort. Standing atop a 12-foot-tall floral mountain cliff and towering above the park’s front-entrance topiary bed, the commanding Sorcerer Mickey will direct a riot of color in the manicured shapes of dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators and elephants straight from the classic Disney film, Fantasia.
Disney topiary specialists worked to create the striking new design with innovative materials and recycled elements from years past, says festival horticulture manager Eric Darden. An earlier version of Sorcerer Mickey stood less than five feet tall; a larger frame was built, Darden says, to more accurately reflect the character in the front-entrance Fantasia scene. The new Fantasia ‘mountain’ grew from a 2003 topiary piece that once held a Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse display.
‘The challenge is to use our resources, repurpose them, and keep them fresh every year,’ Darden says. ‘These are some of our most popular characters from a topiary standpoint, and Fantasia was a groundbreaking film for its music and animation techniques.’
The front-entrance floral spectacle will welcome guests to a festival packed with new displays, featured speakers and hands-on fun for all ages.
For 75 festival days, Epcot guests can explore topiaries and gardens, learn planting, style and design techniques and rock to the tunes of popular Flower Power concerts:
- Bambi’s Butterfly House, three times the size of the festival’s original, will be a-flutter with multiple species of brilliant butterflies. At Imagination Walkway by Innoventions West.
- Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden – Fabulous Disney fairy topiaries alight to greet young fans who enter this whimsical garden designed with play structures for children ages 2-5. At the Test Track Walkway.
- The HGTV Designers Stage will present HGTV celebrities each Friday through Sunday and nationally recognized garden personalities Monday through Thursday. At the Festival Center.
- The Flower Power concert series will welcome back 20th century pop favorites this year when Jose Feliciano, Chubby Checker and The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Davy Jones and seven other bands rock the America Gardens Theatre with their timeless tunes. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Thirty million blooms, 240 floating mini-gardens on two ponds, 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables, dozens of Disney character topiaries, 30 ‘flower towers’ of impatiens and sweeping beds of floral designs will create a tapestry of brilliant color across the 260-acre Epcot landscape. It takes more than one full year and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to plan and prepare for the 75-day festival. One of the most interesting challenges is finding just the right plant materials to bring the park’s topiaries to life.
The front-entrance Fantasia rock cliff topiary will be carpeted with a ‘blackish-purple Ajuga,’ says Disney plant specialist Heather Will-Browne. White and blue flowers will represent streams of water tumbling down the rock face, she adds, and the Fantasia theme will be carried out with masses of hot pink geraniums, blue delphiniums, white poppies, violet petunias and blue pansies, among others. Other show-stopping character topiaries: Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars 2 at the Japan showcase; Buzz, Woody and Lotso the teddy bear from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3; and the Fab Five – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy — outside the Festival Center.
The horticulture team also will plant new landscape looks outside the Italy and Norway pavilions, Will-Browne says. In Italy, gardeners will display a mix of containers overflowing with bright flowers and pots of fragrant herbs used in Italian cuisine. Around Norway, ‘we’ll do a white show of geraniums, violas, snap dragons, poppies and alyssum,’ she says. A small Norway meadow will feature ‘a mass of brilliant, wild mixed color.’ Each of the park’s other nine World Showcase countries will feature special festival landscape elements.
More Festival Fun:
- The Festival Center: Guests can shop for festival merchandise, attend demonstrations and get ideas and tips from master gardeners. In Future World between Universe of Energy and Mission:SPACE.
- Disney Gardening at Home presentations: Disney horticulturists will share gardening tips and lead guests in a hands-on, take-home activity at the Festival Center.
- Special Festival Weekend Celebrations: An Art in the Garden celebration of plein air artists is scheduled March 23-25; a Florida Federation of Garden Clubs gathering will be April 27-29; and a Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market salute is slated for May 4-6.
Walt Disney World has released the official guide for the 2011 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival taking place between March 2 and May 15. In addition to the park map indicating where all the new florals and topiaries are including those inspired by Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 and the new Winnie the Pooh film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the guide also covers guest and celebrity presentation schedules, the Flower Power concert series and previews the new merchandise created for the festival.
The guide also confirms that Tinker Bell, Vidia, Rosetta and Terence will be greeting guests at the Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden at its traditional location between Mouse Gear and Test Track.
Special designated weekends for the festival are: Art in the Garden, March 25-27; Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market salute April 29-May 1; Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and Guerlain’s Enchanted Gardens events May 6-8; and a salute to Disney/Pixar from May 13 – 15.
You can view and download the guide from Walt Disney World here. For more information on the festival, including details on all the new topiaries and activities being offered at the 2011 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, follow this live bookmark.
Walt Disney World has confirmed dates for the highly anticipated Disney/Pixar Weekend celebration during the 2011 International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. In honor of Cars 2, Pixar Animation Studios takes center stage during the annual flora-focused festival.
Pixar pals take the stage front and center in the form of much larger-than-life, reaching heights of seven and eight feet tall. At the park’s main entrance, guests will find a sandbox display complete with sandcastle and playground toys featured in Toy Story 3. Also on display will be a brand new topiary of film villain Lotso who will (needless to say) smell like strawberries.
While a topiary Woody has made a brief appearance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the past, the 2011 Flower and Garden Festival marks the first year that any Pixar pal is represented as a topiary inside Epcot.
To further that, this year also marks the first time in seven years that new topiaries will be featured in this prized location. According to festival horticulture manager Eric Darden, ‘It created unique challenges and it’s meticulous work. Woody is skinny, and it was a challenge to create his legs. The detail on Buzz is pretty daunting.’
In honor of the new film, the World Showcase Plaza area will feature an all-new Cars 2 display featuring buddies Lightning McQueen and Mater beneath a black-and-white checkered arch, surrounded by floral flags representing Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, just like the destinations of the Cars characters in the film.
Also popping in to say hello will be Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and pals who will appear in topiary form in support of their new movie this summer. They’ll be located at the Hundred Acre Wood wildflower display between Future World and World Showcase.
Other special designated weekends for the festival are: Art in the Garden, March 25-27; Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market salute April 29-May 1; and Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and Guerlain’s Enchanted Gardens events May 6-8.
The Festival Center at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV will be alive with expert-led seminars, demonstrations, discussions and Q&A sessions daily throughout the 75-day event that begins March 2 at Walt Disney World Resort.
Located next to Mission: Space in Future World at Epcot, the Festival Center showcases HGTV and HGTV.com celebrities on weekends and other experts — including “Master Gardeners” from University of Florida, Walt Disney World Horticulturists and a mix of national and regional TV/radio personalities, authors and educators — seven days a week. Here’s what’s happening:
- The HGTV Designers’ Stage in the Festival Center features presentations daily at noon and 3 p.m. on a broad range of garden and design topics — beginning with “Butterflies & Beyond” by entomologist Jaret Daniels on the opening two days of the festival. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 15, popular experts from HGTV will take over, beginning with Genevieve Gorder (HGTV Design Star and Dear Genevieve) March 4-6 on the topic “The Art of Sculpting Space.”
- Meanwhile, at the Festival Center’s Greenhouse Stage daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Disney Horticulturists, authors and educators will share tips and secrets guests can plant in their own garden. These limited-space sessions include interactive hands-on discoveries during which guests make something to take home.
- Experts from University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) present Planting Pointers – gardening ideas for everyone — daily at 1 and 4 p.m. Guests also can Ask an Expert – a UF/IFAS “Master Gardener” — their gardening questions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Here are topics and speakers scheduled for HGTV Designers’ Stage and Greenhouse Stage:
Presentations daily at noon and 3 p.m.
(HGTV/HGTV.com celebrity distinctions are noted in parentheses)
March 2-3: “Butterflies & Beyond” — Jaret C. Daniels
March 4-6: “The Art of Sculpting Space” — Genevieve Gorder (HGTV Design Star and Dear Genevieve)
March 7-10: “Passalong Plants” — Felder Rushing
March 11-13: “Design It Yourself: Easy-to-follow Tips for Designing Your Favorite Rooms” — Lisa LaPorta (Designed to Sell)
March 14-17: “Grow Great Grub” — Gayla Trail
March 18-20: “The 5 DIY Secrets That Can Transform Any Space” — Kim Myles (Myles of Style)
March 21-24: “10 Heirloom Plants You Should Be Growing” / “New & Exciting Plants for Every Garden” — Danielle Sherry
March 25-27: “Mobile Gardens” — Brian Patrick Flynn (Design Happens, HGTV.com)
March 28-31: “Secrets of the Garden Revealed & More Plants For Free” — Ken Druse
April 1-3: “Adding Value to Your Home without Breaking the Bank” — Taniya Nayak (Designed to Sell and Destination Design)
April 4-7: “Four Season Garden & Proven Combinations” — Erica Glasener
April 8-10: “Life, Love and Landscaping” — Ahmed Hassan (Yard Crashers)
April 11-14: “Container Gardening: From Dirt to Design & The Secret to Combining Plants” — Steve Aitken
April 15-17: “Gardening with Kids: Fun Seed Starting Projects” — Patti Moreno (Garden Girl, HGTV.com)
April 18-21: “Year-round Garden-tainment” — Melinda Myers
April 22-24: “Creative, Back-to-Basics Style for All Things Natural and Decorative” — Michele Beschen (B. Original)
April 25-28: “Herbal Blends from Around the World” — Susan Belsinger & Tina Marie Wilcox
April 29-May 1: “The Design Process: Curb Appeal Projects from Concept to Construction” — John Gidding (Curb Appeal: The Block)
May 2-5: “The Small-Budget Gardener” — Maureen Gilmer
May 6-8: “Beautiful on a Budget: High Style, Low Cost Secrets to Bringing Indoor Styling Outside” — Frank Fontana (Design on a Dime)
May 9-12: “Slow Gardening” — Felder Rushing
May 13-15: “Top Design Trends Made Affordable and Accessible” — Vern Yip (HGTV Design Star)
Presentations daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
(Visit the Festival Center for topics on days not noted)
March 4-6: “Groceries from the Garden” — Robert Bowden
March 10-13: “Gardening for all Generations” — Brenda Sandberg & Scott Hulett
March 17-20: “Gardening in Miniature” — Joseph Rainey
March 24-27: “Helpful Mower & Small Equipment Tips” — Scott Franklin
March 31-April 3: “Tropical Edibles” — Jarrod Stewart
April 7-10: “Fun Holiday Projects” — Doug Benedict
April 15-17: “Gardening Challenges” — Tom MacCubbin
April 21-24: “Seed, Sow & Grow” — Ed Buhler
April 28-May 1: “Inspiring Patio Designs” — Allison Brooks
May 6-8: “Mastery & Mind in Living Flowers” — Ricardo Bansho Carrasco
May 12-15: “A to Z on Herbs” — Tracy Fischer
The presentations are included with Epcot admission, but seating is limited and on a first-come basis. Speakers, presentations and guests are subject to change without notice. For more Epcot International Flower & Garden information, visit disneyworld.com/flower.
HGTV kicks up the “curb appeal” of the 18th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 2 through May 15 with a first-time sponsorship featuring weekend appearances by its acclaimed designers and landscaping experts. The star-studded lineup includes Genevieve Gorder, Lisa LaPorta, Kim Myles, Brian Patrick Flynn, Taniya Nayak, Ahmed Hassan, Patti Moreno, Michele Beschen, John Gidding, Frank Fontana, and Vern Yip.
The country’s leading home and lifestyle television brand brings an addictive blend of design, decorating and landscaping inspiration to the enduring, 75-day gardening extravaganza at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
At the Festival Center presented by HGTV, popular celebrity experts will appear each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival on the HGTV Stage. The HGTV hosts will deliver valuable tips to Disney guests on topics including “Mobile Gardens,” “Secrets to Bringing Indoor Style Outside” and “Gardening with Kids.”
“We are thrilled to welcome HGTV and so many of the network’s great Talent to Epcot this spring,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. ”HGTV’s design and gardening personalities add an exciting, and entertaining new element to a festival that reinvents itself year after year.”
As part of the sponsorship, HGTV also will present a new, twice-its-previous-size Bambi’s Butterfly House along the Future World Imagination Walkway. Inside this popular festival stop are hundreds of native butterflies and character topiaries from the timeless Disney classic film, “Bambi.” This year’s display celebrates the upcoming release of “Bambi” Diamond Edition, for the first time on Blu-ray Hi-Def.
“People visit Disney for a memorable experience where they are inspired, enlightened and entertained,” said Jim Samples, president, HGTV. “Our star designers will provide just such an experience for the Disney guest during The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV. Disney is the ideal venue and destination for us to connect face-to-face with our passionate viewers.”
|The HGTV celebrity lineup includes:|
|Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Design Star and Dear Genevieve||Mar 4-6|
|The Art of Sculpting Space|
|Lisa LaPorta, Designed to Sell||Mar 11 – 13|
|Design It Yourself: Easy-to-follow Tips|
|for Designing Your Favorite Rooms|
|Kim Myles, Myles of Style||Mar 18 – 20|
|The 5 DIY Secrets That Can Transform Any Space|
|Brian Patrick Flynn, Design Happens, HGTV.com||Mar 25 – 27|
|Taniya Nayak, Designed to Sell and Destination Design||Apr 1 – 3|
|Adding Value to Your Home Without Breaking the Bank|
|Ahmed Hassan, Yard Crashers||Apr 8 – 10|
|Life, Love and Landscaping|
|Patti Moreno, Garden Girl, HGTV.com||Apr 15 – 17|
|Gardening with Kids: Fun Seed Starting Projects|
|Michele Beschen, B. Original||Apr 22 – 24|
|When Nature Calls: Creative, Back-to-Basics Style|
|for All Things Natural and Decorative|
|John Gidding, Curb Appeal: The Block||Apr 29 – 30,|
|The Design Process: Curb Appeal Projects||May 1|
|from Concept to Construction|
|Frank Fontana, Design on a Dime||May 6 – 8|
|Beautiful on a Budget: High Style, Low-Cost Secrets|
|to Bringing Indoor Styling Outside|
|Vern Yip, HGTV Design Star||May 13 -15|
|Top Design Trends Made Affordable and Accessible|
In addition to its own celebrity stage appearances, HGTV will present the popular twice-daily Disney Gardening at Home series, where guests can join a workshop and take home projects ranging from hanging baskets to water garden features. The Festival Center’s HGTV Theater will present a special-engagement film featuring tips and hints from HGTV shows.
Dozens of Disney character topiaries are back by popular demand at this year’s festival. Woody, Buzz Lightyear and chief villain Lotso of the Oscar-nominated Disney blockbuster, “Toy Story 3,” make their first topiary appearance in front of Spaceship Earth at the park’s front-entrance garden. Topiary craftsmen also will debut floral versions of Lightning McQueen and Mater, stars of “Cars 2,” to be released in theaters this June.
Flower Power concerts will rock the open-air America Gardens Theatre stage three times each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening with popular acts like Davy Jones and Chubby Checker & The Wildcats. New-to-the-festival performers will include Melissa Manchester, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.