Walt Disney World always seems to have special events going on at its theme parks and all around the resort, and March is no exception. You’re in for a real treat if you visit any time on or after March 6 because you’ll be just in time for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Epcot always has lush landscaping, especially in the World Showcase area, but things really take off during this annual festival. Colorful flowers are everywhere, and butterflies float gracefully in a Pixie Hollow-themed enclosure. You’ll find amazingly detailed topiaries of Disney and Pixar characters, including many that are new for 2013. The Fab Five (and Daisy) greet you as soon as you enter the park, and other new living sculptures include a Monsters University exhibit. This year, for the first time ever, you’ll find lighted topiaries and gardens at night.
The biggest change this year is a melding of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Show with a hint of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which takes place every fall. This spring, you’ll find food and beverage kiosks all around World Showcase, with mouth-watering items like German meatloaf sandwiches, stuffed spring pancakes, and Dole Whip with spiced rum.
Every year there are playgrounds that spring up magically around the park for the kids to play. This year, the favorite is sure to be the Land of Oz play area, themed to the new Disney movie. Besides running, climbing, crawling, and sliding, kids can try their hand at carnival-style games to win cute little prizes like buttons and seeds. The whole family can get a great photo in front of the Wizard’s crashed balloon.
Parents who are avid gardeners will love the free seminars. They’re put in by local experts and HGTV celebrities in the Festival Center, also known to Disney buffs as the former Wonders of Life pavilion, located between Ellen’s Energy Adventure and Mission: Space. The Festival Center is a great place to wind down, too, since it’s indoors and has restrooms and many quiet seating areas, as well as a huge gift shop with themed merchandise (the Mickey Mouse garden gnomes are especially cute).
There’s also a Flower Power concert series with bands from the ’60s and ’70s. The youngsters might roll their eyes, but Mom and Dad can rock out every weekend to the sounds of performers like Mickey Dolenz, Chubby Checker, the Guess Who, Starship, and the Turtles. Even the kids are sure to join in when the Village People do “YMCA.”
If you visit Walt Disney World around St. Patrick’s Day, head over to Downtown Disney for a huge celebration March 8 to 10 and 14 to 17. There’s no admission charge or parking fee, so it’s a perfect spot to hit after you’re done at the theme parks or if you’re taking a day off from the major attractions.
While the celebration will span the entire Pleasure Island area, the epicenter will be Raglan Road, a popular Irish restaurant and pub. Listen to the bands, watch the Irish dancers, and get in on the fun yourself with a dance workshop. Raglan Road will serve up authentic cuisine, and you’ll also find food options scattered around Pleasure Island (hint: the kids will love deep fried candy bars from Cooke’s of Dublin).
Go to www.orlandovacation.com or call 1-800-641-4008 to plan your March vacation to Walt Disney World and enjoy all the fun this month has to offer. If you can’t travel until later in the year, you’re likely to hit another special event.