Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival is in full bloom and ready for exploration. From the elaborate topiaries displays to the fresh tastes of the outdoor kitchen, it’s the best of spring with an extra dose of Disney magic sprinkled in. And for an extra dash of fun, don’t miss Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration 2021.
Thank you to GoGoSqeeZ inviting us to enjoy Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival 2021.
What You Need To Know About Flower And Garden Festival 2021
Our visit to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival 2021 was even more magical because it was my family’s first visit back to the parks in more than 15 months. As Florida residents, this is the longest we’ve been away from Walt Disney World in 13 years – thanks COVID – and we thrilled to return to the parks.
It was good to see such a return of normalcy visiting our favorite sites and tastes at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. There were some changes to what we were used to, both because of new COVID protocols and construction still taking place at Epcot, but nothing to dampen our spirits as we traveled around the world exploring everything the festival has to offer.
Flower And Garden Festival 2021 Topiaries
I adore Disney’s topiaries. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen them, they amaze me. With more than 100 topiaries around the park, that’s a lot of photo opportunities. (No, we didn’t manage to get a picture with all 100, but my kids would have liked to have done so. Perhaps one year we will.)
Find your favorite Disney characters created into larger-than-life floral works of art around Epcot at the following locations:
- Sorcerer Mickey Mouse, Broom, Ostriches, Hippo and Mushroom – Main Entrance
- Woody, Bo Peep and her sheep – Future World West
- Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy – Between Future World & World Showcase
- Pluto and Chip ‘n Dale – Between Future World and World Showcase
- Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie – Showcase Plaza
- Buzz Lightyear – Future World East near Mission: SPACE®
- Figment – Future World West near Imagination!
- Topiary Butterflies – Future World West
- The Three Caballeros (Jose, Donald and Panchito) – Mexico Pavilion
- Anna and Elsa – Norway Pavilion
- Troll – Norway Pavilion
- Dragon Topiary – Japan Pavilion near Torii Gate
- Pandas – China Pavilion
- China Zodiac Topiary Garden – China Pavilion in front of Nine Dragons
- Simba and Friends (Rafiki, Simba, Mufasa and Sarabi) – Future World West
- Snow White and Dopey – Germany Pavilion
- Lady and the Tramp – Italy Pavilion
- Beauty and the Beast – France Pavilion
- Remy – France Pavilion
- Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy – Between the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions
- Peter Pan and Captain Hook – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Winnie the Pooh and Friends (Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger) – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Tinker Bell and Fairy Houses – United Kingdom Pavilion
- Bambi and Friends – Future World East near Mouse Gear
Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration 2021
My family loves Epcot’s scavenger hunts, and Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration 2021 was just as fun as expected. While we’ve done countless scavenger hunts over the years, they are always changing so they continue to be a fun way to encourage exploration.
For those who aren’t familiar with Epcot scavenger hunts, maps are available for $7.99 at various locations, including Mouse Gear, Disney Traders, World Traveler, and Festival Marketplace throughout the World Showcase. Throughout the park, guests search for Spike the honeybee in the gardens, each time Spike is located he is hanging out with a different plant. Place the correct plant sticker on the map where Spike is found. When you’ve found Spike at all of the locations, redeem your map for a prize.
Mom notes, you do not have to finish the map or even have all of the stickers in the correct spots to redeem for your prize. It’s meant to be fun, not stressful. You also get to keep your map (it is stamped on the back once redeemed), which was very important to my daughters who didn’t want to give up their maps.
This year, Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration has had two different prizes. In March, the prize was plastic plates and currently, the prize is plastic coffee cups with lids. Each prize was available in four patterns – Minnie, Figment, Spike on a white background and Spike on an orange background. When we purchased our map on this visit, the cast member noted that she only had three cups left in the store (Mouse Gear) and wasn’t sure if she was getting more. So she went ahead and gave us the cups with the maps. (We hid them from the kids.) I’m not sure if there are fewer prizes available this year or it was just an off day. Either way, it’s a fun activity that ends with a great souvenir.
Flower And Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Epcot festival without special flavors. This year guests can enjoy fresh tastes from the garden at 20 outdoor kitchens.
- Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market (Germany)
- Cider House (World Showplace)
- The Citrus Blossom (Showcase Plaza)
- Epcot Farmers Feast – New! (World Showplace)
- Epcot Sunshine Griddle – New! (Future World East)
- Festival Favorites (World Showplace)
- Flavor Full Kitchen Hosted by AdventHealth (Future World West)
- Fleur de Lys (France)
- Hanami (Japan)
- The Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board™ (Showcase Plaza)
- Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico)
- La Isla Fresca (Between Morocco and France)
- Lotus House (China)
- Magnolia Terrace (The American Adventure)
- Northern Bloom (Canada)
- Pineapple Promenade (Showcase Plaza)
- Primavera Kitchen (Italy)
- Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco)
- Trowel & Trellis Hosted by Impossible™ Foods (Showcase Plaza)
GoGoSqueez Goddess Garden Butterfly House
While we spotted butterflies flittering around the gardens throughout the day, the butterfly highlight was visiting the GoGoSqueeZ Butterfly Garden located between The Land and Imagination. My kids were amazed by how many butterflies there were inside the tented garden.
Guests are invited to explore the butterfly garden filled with butterflies, flowers and signs about both. There were also “houses” filled with chrysalises in various stages, which everyone enjoyed seeing.
During the weekends, GoGoSqueeZ is handing out free samples of GoGo Big SqueeZ. My kids had not yet tried the GoGo Big SqueeZ, and they were big fans. New fun flavors and the pouches are 33% larger than standard GoGoSqueeZ pouches made them very popular with my family.
It’s a fun area to stop by and explore with the whole family. We also got lucky and Pooh Bear was out on the lawn just past the butterfly garden with his butterfly net waiving to guests.
What You Need To Know About Covid Precautions
Over the last year, I have heard from a number of friends about how safe Disney’s Covid protocols made them feel. I knew about some of the extra steps Disney was taking – masks, hand washing reminders, sanitizer, lower attendance, six feet apart, etc. But it was interesting and refreshing to see them in person.
Some of the new standard protocols make the experience really nice. For example, I’m not complaining about the line spacing. It’s quite nice to have some breathing room between myself and the families in front of me and behind me. And I think we can all get on board with lower attendance – even if reserving your day so far in advance is the downside to lower crowds. The sneeze guards in most places are pretty nice too, but there are places it is a bit of a tight squeeze. (The Three Caballeros ride in Mexico for example is tight, for example. But the area with these guards is short.)
As you can see from our photos, the week before our day at Disney the mask rule was loosened a bit. Guests are now allowed to pull their masks down to take stationary photos.
There are still experiences missing from the parks such as character meet and greets, big live performances and the playgrounds are closed, which my family noted missing. But there are still so many things to experience at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival we didn’t get to do everything we wanted because we ran out of time (and energy, we were done by 10 pm). There were notable differences because of the Covid protocols, but it didn’t stop us from having a magical day. I’m ready to go back.
What You Need To Know About Epcot Construction
Over the last few months, I’ve read complaints about the construction around Epcot. And you definitely can’t miss it. It is a huge part of the park right now. But it isn’t worth all of the bellyaching. Epcot is a huge park, and the construction is currently limited to the front of the park. And the entrance area is finally done, so that’s wide open again. There is also construction in the back of the park that you can see from the Skyliner where the new Remy ride is going in, but it doesn’t block anything since it is an expansion.
I love Disney’s ability to use construction barricades as living pieces of art. The Figment and butterfly wings are so much fun for pictures. The walls won’t be there forever, so I am glad we got pictures with the special murals while they are available.
My biggest complaint was the flow of traffic is routed differently than I am used to, and I couldn’t stand in my favorite spot for photos. But it wasn’t a big deal, and I just kept thinking about Walt Disney’s declaration that the parks would never be finished. Construction really means new magic is on the way.
Epcot Hours And Inside Tip
Park hours change from week to week and day to day, but on the day we visited Epcot didn’t open until 11 am. Wanting to maximize our visit (and unable to contain our excitement), we arrived at Epcot via the Skyliner at 10:15 am. We were pleasantly shocked to see guests already being allowed into the park. I looked into early hours for hotel guests before we arrived and didn’t find anything online about being able to get in early, but there at the back gate people were headed into the park.
We went straight inside and headed to ride Frozen. By the time the park officially opened at 11 am we had already ridden both Frozen and Mission Space. (Note, not every ride was open early, someone in line later told me Test Track didn’t start running until exactly 11 am.) It was a very exciting way to start our day.
Now that my husband and I are vaccinated, my family couldn’t wait to get back to Disney, and our visit to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival was everything we hoped for and more. We can’t wait to get back to the Magic Kingdom next and see everything we’ve missed (including the pink castle!).