Yesterday marked the first day of Walt Disney World’s International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot. From March 5-May 18, guests visiting the park will be surrounded by an abundance of fresh blooms, impressive topiaries, and delicate butterflies. In addition, as done for the first time last year, numerous kiosks featuring spring-inspired flavors of treats from around the globe will offer a bite while you enjoy the event. If you’re looking to take a bit of the Festival home, check out the merchandise that is now available for gardeners and Disney enthusiasts alike.
Spring is my all-time favorite season at Walt Disney World, and that’s especially true when the Flower & Garden Festival is in full swing. Even though I’ve never been a huge gardener, I always learn something new and formulate great ideas to bring home to my backyard. The topiaries are amazing (who else has always dreamed of re-creating one?), and the special activities are fun to take part in. Of course, I also love seeing what merchandise is up for grabs, and this year is no different. The items for sale all compliment the Festival very nicely.
Whenever I set out to purchase something from Disney’s special events, I like to keep in mind the exclusivity and “wow factor” of what I’m buying. Now don’t get me wrong; I am absolutely not a fan of the dated merchandise that comes out each year in the shops. However, some of the items specifically created for this year’s Festival are impressive. Check out this 2014 t-shirt highlighting some of its icons for example. I absolutely love the design and think it’d make for a nice keepsake! There’s also a kids’ version that is tie-dyed – no two shirts are the same!
Other clothing options feature a Disney character topiary design as used in the past along with a new “Mow & Grow” one with Mickey Mouse himself. Matching hats and even a drawstring bag are available. These designs are also marked with the year to commemorate your trip.
You’ll also find some merchandise that has been sold in years past. Despite their not being new, items such as the traditional Mickey-earred pink flamingo and gnome mouse himself are always fun to see. In addition, the garden statues of Disney characters are truly something. I love how they resemble the topiaries found throughout Epcot during the Festival. They, along with the Mickey stepping stones, would be a fun way to add some pixie dust to your flower beds. Be sure to include a wrought iron Mickey bird feeder for your feathered friends and a wind chime to play a soft tune in the breeze.
One of the hottest items sold last year was this pair of greenery-inspired Mickey ears complete with a lady bug topper. They appear to be made out of a different material this time around and, as a result, are not as leaf-like. Still, they are fun to wear while walking the World Showcase sampling some of the food kiosks. This commemorative print is another great pick and would look nice on an office wall.
Ceramic mugs (with a hidden surprise on the inside), plastic tumblers, and even a collection of floral photograph bags would make lovely gifts for those who cannot attend the Festival this year. Like the print above, they highlight both our Disney friends and the beauty of nature. Even Duffy the Disney Bear is decked out for the occasion and dressed like a 12-inch garden gnome.
If you’re a pin collector, you need not feel left out. Several pins showing off some of the Festival’s best topiaries are for sale. A limited release Mickey pin will be available at several locations throughout Epcot. Also, limited edition pins in a themed series include such characters as Lightning McQueen and the Muppets. My favorite is the Peter Pan and Hook pin which is set in the United Kingdom pavilion just like in the park.
Unsurprisingly, live plants can be bought at the Festival – although I wish more were available. Various types of bamboo can be found in decorative pots and vases. To help display them once you’re at home, consider picking up a package or two of Bio-Gel, a bio-degradable potting soil alternative that comes in a variety of colors. The medium is sold in small bags of tiny solid balls; when activated, they can hold up to 400 times their weight in water and even contain healthy nutrients to keep plants well. Once watered, the gel balls will last 4-6 weeks before needing hydration again; they can even be used for over five years! I love how pretty Bio-Gel looks in a clear vase and can’t wait to pick up some.
When setting out to shop at this year’s event, consider loading a Disney gift card bracelet like these which originally became a staple for the Food & Wine Festival held in the fall. These cards are themed to Flower & Garden and come attached to an expandable bracelet. You can also use your MagicBand for charging by syncing it with a credit card on arrival.
Although the bulk of specialty merchandise can be found in the official Flower & Garden Welcome Center, be sure to check out the smaller stands and kiosks around World Showcase Lagoon. They have some great items from local artisans and retailers. You might even find something to inspire a new hobby in gardening.
I hope that you have enjoyed taking a look at some of the merchandise at this year’s Flower & Garden Festival. Be sure to report back here and let us know what treasure you bring home after visiting. Happy Spring, everyone!