These days, much of America knows New Jersey as a haven for gorilla juiceheads and table flippers, but the license plates speeding by (yes, speeding–some stereotypes are true) on the Jersey Turnpike denote a more positive image: the Garden State. As the winter that wasn’t (hooray!) comes to end, many Jerseyans are getting ready for spring break trips to Walt Disney World, and the timing is perfect to visit the annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which kicked off earlier this week and runs through May 20th.
Disney’s horticulture team works year-round to prepare over one hundred character topiaries and a dazzling array of flowers to bring a virtual world of color to Epcot each spring. Other highlights include Bambi’s Butterfly House, a Disneynature Chimpanzee sand sculpture, and the Flower Power Concert Series in the America Gardens Theatre, featuring artists such as Starship, the Turtles, and Herman’s Hermits (Henry the 8th, anyone?)
Those who were born without a green thumb can still enjoy Epcot’s gorgeous transformation. While it is visually appealing, it also smells fantastic, especially if you get close to Lotso from Toy Story 3. Fans of the movie will recall that the villainous bear smelled like strawberries, and Disney’s festival team remembered that detail when selecting the flowers for his topiary twin. The merchandise selection is also generally quite unique, including items such as lawn flamingos with mouse ears, character garden statuaries, and castle key hiders in previous years.
For fans who take the Garden State label to heart, the most exciting part of the Festival may be the daily lectures from HGTV experts and master gardeners. Located in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, these educational seminars are designed to help bring the magic of Disney to your own yard.
This year’s guests will be able to learn about gardening techniques for a variety of plants, including bamboo, roses, orchids, fruits and vegetables. Guests can also attend sessions on how to attract butterflies, cultivating prehistoric plants, landscaping equipment, the impact of color in the garden, and even how to grow topiaries at home. This is the perfect opportunity to ask an expert for tips on how to transform your yard into a masterpiece worthy of the Garden State moniker.
Cap off the day in Epcot by enjoying a stroll around the World (Showcase) with a margarita from Mexico or a Grand Marnier Orange Slush from France. Learning something on vacation? You earned it!
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