June 17, 2024

2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Preview: New Topiaries, Details & Event Ending EARLY?!

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Walt Disney World has revealed details for the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, including the end date and a sneak peek at the new topiaries. We have all of that, plus commentary about

Walt Disney World has revealed details for the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, including the end date and a sneak peek at the new topiaries. We have all of that, plus commentary about why we think they company has opted to cut short one of its biggest cash cows.

In case you’ve missed past coverage, this year’s EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival will start on February 28, 2024. This is two days earlier than the previous year’s event (because of Leap Day), but consistent with day-of-week trends from the last few years. So in other words, exactly what was expected.

That start date was quietly announced prior to the end date, which was a red flag to us that something was up. Potentially internal debate about when to end the event. All of this was (and still is, for now) discussed in commentary at the beginning of our Ultimate Guide to the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Guide, which was last updated when that start date was released in mid-December.

Walt Disney World has now also announced that the end date of this year’s EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival will be May 27, 2024. This is really notable, as last year’s event ran until July 5, which has become the common end date (within a couple of days) in the post-reopening era. The 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival is over a full month shorter than the event during any of the last 3 years.

The last time Flower & Garden ended before July was 2020, when it would have wrapped up on June 1 but for the closure. In the post-reopening era, both Flower & Garden and Food & Wine Festival have been extended by about a month each to encompass more of the summer months.

This is a big deal, but it’s what we predicted in the commentary to that guide above. Well, not exactly. My specific “bet” was that the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival would wrap up by mid-June (technically late May is “by” mid-June) and that Walt Disney World would introduce a brand-new summer festival for June through August by further scaling back both Food & Wine and Flower & Garden to allow for the new event.

That might seem like a bold prediction given so little information, but it was based on the lack of an end date plus Food & Wine Festival being shortened by two weeks last year plus our own anecdotal observations that the food booths have been less popular at the end of Flower & Garden (and first month of Food & Wine, after the initial opening rush).

Given all of that, we strongly suspected that Walt Disney World was seeing guests get “festival fatigue” and there were diminishing returns from running the same event for multiple months. Basically, that the events wore out their welcome at around three months, and there wasn’t value in extending the festivals beyond around 90 days. Although Walt Disney World sees a steady stream of fresh tourists for the duration of these events, they’re still fueled by locals and repeat visitors–and those groups aren’t visiting in sufficient numbers to justify the longer events.

Personally, I think this topic is interesting in and of itself–food & beverage have been huge for EPCOT over the years, sustaining the park even as it stagnated. So it’s fascinating that the labor and other operating costs would “outweigh” the revenue generated from keeping those booths open for a longer event. (At minimum, that was the case last year with the shortening of Food & Wine and nothing to “replace” those lost two weeks.)

I suspect many of you are more intrigued by a potential replacement for the dates cut from Flower & Garden and Food & Wine–an EPCOT summer festival. While it’s entirely possible this is simply a repeat of last year with Walt Disney World cutting dates due to diminishing returns, my money would be on a brand-new event that “solves” both that issue and sustains elevated food & beverage spending that EPCOT enjoys during its other events. Disney loves fresh revenue streams.

As for what this theoretical summer festival could be…how about simply a summer festival?! The 2024 EPCOT Summer Festival might sound lazy or too easy, but I think that’s what Disney should do. Summer festivals are common in Europe, Asia, and even the United States. If you narrow the name, it starts to exclude the countries of World Showcase that don’t do or celebrate that thing.

Simple as it is, the 2024 EPCOT Summer Festival is a catch-all name that could include celebrations for Bastille Day in France, Dragon Boat Festival in China, Summer Solstice in Norway, Independence Day in America, and various other music and fire festivals around the world–plus other events I’m probably forgetting or don’t know about.

I’m admittedly biased to this idea because it would also mean celebrating my favorite event, which is Matsuri in Japan. This is an event in various cities, with the highlight being Gion Matsuri in Kyoto. For several years, Tokyo Disneyland did an excellent event called Natsu Matsuri (literally translates to Summer Festival) that melded authentic culture with characters. It would be awesome to see something like that, but expanded across the entirety of World Showcase!

Anyway, I think that’s the perfect idea and hope it happens. With CommuniCore Hall finally opening this summer (hopefully?), a new event would be the perfect way to commemorate that addition, too. Given how open ended ‘Summer Festival’ is, Disney could weave some sort of tech expo or something futuristic into the front half of the park, too. Ample opportunities to do something fun that would resonate with tourists and locals, while also being in the ‘edutainment’ spirit of EPCOT Center.

Festival of the Arts is EPCOT’s newest festival and also its best. So I’m confident that Walt Disney World could create something excellent. Just please not another “Incredible Summer” that brings super heroes and/or Pixar characters to EPCOT. That ain’t it, Disney.

During the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, guests can explore lush gardens, sample sweet and savory bites with refreshing sips (for a fee, of course!), and shop new merchandise collections featuring Orange Bird, Spike the Bee, and Coco. Starting at sunset, a vibrant spectacle of light will be shown on Spaceship Earth, with the Beacons of Magic returning for yet another new display.

More than 200,000 bedding plants are added to the gardens of EPCOT for the Flower & Garden Festival, including an additional 60,000 bedding plants that create the iconic floral designs that make up the World Celebration East & West Lakes. The Dragon topiary, located in the Japan pavilion, is composed of sun-loving succulent plants, adding bursts of colors to the nearly 20-foot-long display.

For the first time, Groot takes root at EPCOT! The flora colossus from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy will appear near Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in World Discovery.

For the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival, more than 70 topiaries, featuring a delightful array of Disney characters as well as other figures and whimsical items, will fill the park. Guests can even look forward to seeing the Figment topiary in the newly opened World Celebration Gardens.

Also new this year, guests can look forward to viewing new topiaries from the Walt Disney Animation Studios film “Wish,” including Asha, Valentino and the Wishing Star, at the park’s main entrance. In Mexico, Miguel and Dante from Disney Pixar’s “Coco” will take center stage!

Disney Horticulture and Walt Disney Imagineering worked together to design, build and grow diverse topiary displays. This process began nearly a year ago. Artists developed sketches, Imagineers designed 3D models, skilled welders molded frames, and horticulture specialists chose plant materials.

Here’s the full list of topiaries at the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival and where you can find them:

  • Disney Film, Wish (Asha, Valentino and the Wishing Star) – NEW!
    Main Entrance
  • Butterflies
    Main Entrance, Scentsy Garden, Butterfly House and World Showcase
  • Figment, Flower Topiaries and Flower Towers
    World Celebration – World Celebration Plaza
  • Huey, Dewey and Louie
    World Celebration – World Celebration Plaza
  • Donald Duck
    World Celebration – Community Garden Near Connections Café in World Celebration
  • Bambi and Friends
    World Discovery – Near Imagination! and Refreshment Port
  • Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy – NEW!
    World Discovery – Near Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Buzz Lightyear
    World Discovery – Near Mission: SPACE
  • Woody, Bo Peep and Her Sheep
    World Nature – Between Imagination! and The Land Pavilion
  • Simba and Friends (Rafiki, Simba, Mufasa and Sarabi)
    World Nature – Near The Land Pavilion
  • Pumbaa and Timon
    World Nature – Near The Land Pavilion
  • Goofy
    Rosewalk
  • Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip, Dale and Pluto
    Bridge to World Showcase
  • Encanto (Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa)
    World Showcase
  • Coco (Miguel and Dante) – NEW!
    World Showcase – Mexico Pavilion
  • Anna and Elsa
    World Showcase – Norway Pavilion
  • Troll
    World Showcase – Norway Pavilion
  • Pandas
    World Showcase – China Pavilion
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    World Showcase – Germany Pavilion
  • Lady and the Tramp
    World Showcase – Italy Pavilion
  • Tiana
    World Showcase – The American Adventure Pavilion
  • Dragon
    World Showcase – Japan Pavilion Near Torii Gate
  • Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
    World Showcase – Between France and Morocco Pavilions
  • Beauty and the Beast
    World Showcase – France Pavilion
  • Lumiere and Cogsworth
    World Showcase – France Pavilion
  • Butterfly and Flower Towers
    World Showcase – International Gateway
  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends (Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger)
    World Showcase – United Kingdom Pavilion
  • Tinker Bell’s Fairy House Garden
    World Showcase – United Kingdom Pavilion
  • Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Tick Tock Croc
    World Showcase – Between United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions
  • Geese
    World Showcase – Canada Pavilion

Walt Disney World has also released new info about gardens coming to the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival. Weave through dazzling flowerbeds, stumble upon exotic gardens, learn more about sustainable foods and celebrate the ways we can live in harmony with the natural world.

  • The Community Garden – World Celebration
    Connect with the earth and each other at this celebration of a diverse and thriving communal garden plot.
  • Festival Blooms – World Celebration
    Admire thousands of flowers that form colorful, living panoramas.
  • Connections Conservatory Garden – World Celebration Near Connections Eatery
    Settle into this thoughtful garden full of floral inspirations for your indoor spaces.
  • Songbird Meadow Presented by Wild Birds Unlimited – World Discovery
    Songbirds are an important part of many ecosystems—including the one in your own backyard! Discover simple steps you can take at home to help these feathered friends thrive.
  • Camp Get Out ‘N’ Play Garden – World Discovery
    Bring the entire family to explore this camp-themed garden where little ones are invited to jump, play and climb.
  • Prehistoric Garden – World Discovery Near Mission: SPACE
    Imagine life on Earth 65 million years ago with astounding plant life that’s thrived since the age of the dinosaurs.
  • Floating Gardens – World Nature
    Peer upon more than 170 petite plots drifting on the ponds that border the bridge to World Showcase.
  • Bold Bromeliads – World Nature in The Land Pavilion
    Observe a variety of unique and colorful plants that can adapt to a wide range of climates and conditions.
  • Butterfly Landing – World Nature Near Imagination!
    View a kaleidoscope of butterflies up close, in all their extraordinary color. Learn about butterfly lifecycles and maybe even see one emerge from its chrysalis. Closes at dusk.
  • The Honey Bee-stro – Rosewalk Near Imagination!
    Learn about honeybees’ critical role in the environment, and delight in sweet and savory treats made possible by their hard work.
  • Blossoms of Fragrance – World Showcase Bridge
    Follow your nose and form lasting memories with the help of fresh, unforgettable fragrances.
  • Extraordinary Orchids – World Showcase – Mexico Pavilion
    Set eyes on spectacular plants blooming in radiant color.
  • Desert Garden – World Showcase – Mexico Pavilion
    Discover the special adaptations that allow plants in arid climates to adjust to the harshest of growing conditions.
  • Bamboo Garden – World Showcase – China Pavilion
    Visit this garden to see bamboo in a variety of colors, patterns and sizes.
  • China Penjing Garden – World Showcase – China Pavilion – NEW!
    Discover ancient Chinese art that recreates miniature landscapes.
  • Gnome Garden – World Showcase – Germany Pavilion – NEW!
    Discover topiary versions of magical garden gnomes, originating from German folk tales.
  • Miniature Garden – World Showcase – Germany Pavilion
    Appreciate the little things in this showcase of diminutive dwellings nestled in a forest of fine shrubs.
  • Garden Italiano – World Showcase – Italy Pavilion
    From fresh spaghetti sauce to pizza toppings, this Tuscan kitchen garden features all the produce and herbs needed to create a classic Italian feast.
  • Bonsai Collection – World Showcase – Japan Pavilion
    Learn about the art of bonsai, some of the finest living sculptures. Bonsai masters carefully shape and tend these miniature works of art, creating peace and balance with the earth.
  • Kokedema Garden – World Showcase – Japan Pavilion
    Admire fresh expressions of an ancient Japanese art at this tranquil garden.
  • Shishi Odoshi – World Showcase – Japan Pavilion
    Contemplate the methodical movement and soothing rhythm of this traditional Japanese bamboo water fountain.
  • Spice Garden – World Showcase – Morocco Pavilion
    Discover how Eastern cultures flourished, trading signature spices and herb blends once considered more valuable than gold.
  • Bouquet Garden – World Showcase – France Pavilion 
    See bountiful blooms perfect for a bouquet of cut flowers.
  • English Tea Garden – World Showcase – United Kingdom Pavilion
    Unearth the history and art of tea-blending at this elegant English tea garden—featuring plants used in some of Twinings’ finest blends.
  • Shakespeare Garden – World Showcase – United Kingdom Pavilion
    Explore the works of Shakespeare in this idyllic garden featuring excerpts from some of the bard’s most famous sonnets—and the dazzling flowers that influenced them.

The new Gnome Garden in Germany sounds very promising.

Also returning for the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival is the popular Garden Rocks Concert Series in the America Garden Theatre. Those performances feature internationally recognized artists Friday through Monday and local Orlando talent rocking the house Tuesday through Thursday. See Garden Rocks Concerts at the EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival: Dates, Lineup & Dining Packages for everything you need to know.

Garden Rocks Dining Packages will available at these EPCOT restaurants:

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Garden Grill Restaurant
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Brews & Barbecue (same-day, in-person walk-up packages only)

The whole family can enjoy two seasonal scavenger hunts during the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival. Throughout the event, follow Spike the Bee on his pollination trail where he’s “buzzing” to collect nectar from all the beautiful gardens with Spike’s Pollination Exploration. For a limited time, you can also hop around World Showcase for the Egg-stravaganza Hunt! Twelve beautiful, bunny-inspired eggs will be placed throughout the park; can you find them all?

Both scavenger hunt maps will be available for purchase while supplies last. Once your journey is complete – whether or not you find all the items – you can redeem your map at Disney Traders, Creations Shop or World Traveler at International Gateway for a special surprise.

As always, there will be stuff to buy at the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival. Food, for one thing. We’ll have menus for the Outdoor Kitchens soon, but it sounds like the booth lineup will be very similar (if not exactly the same) as last year. There should be a mix of new and returning dishes, regardless.

There will also be souvenirs. This will include Orange Bird apparel, accessories, garden decor and more. For Annual Passholders, there’s a collection of merch featuring Spike the Bee. There will also be Coco headwear, home decor and apparel. Fluttering into the spotlight at the 2024 EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival, the Butterfly Collection stars Minnie Mouse in a beautiful, flowery assortment. Wow, can’t wait.

Ultimately, the lineup for the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival sounds solid. I’m honestly surprised about the new Wish topiary display given how that movie underperformed–but topiaries take months to develop, so this was probably set in motion last summer when internal expectations were that Wish would be a smash success. Adding that and Coco while keeping Encanto and pretty much everything else (the only “loss” that I see is the Three Caballeros, but in the past those have often moved over to Coronado Springs when not in use at EPCOT) is a win in my book.

My only complaint is the same one I had last year, which is that Figment should be the park’s unofficial mascot and ambassador for all festivals, not just Festival of the Arts. I’m definitely biased, but more Figment would mean a more popular event with fans, which in turn would help sell even more Figment merchandise (…and in turn increase the odds of a new attraction!). In any case, we’re really looking forward to the 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival! And, hopefully, the 2024 EPCOT Summer Festival. Fingers crossed!

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YOUR THOUGHTS

Are you excited to experience the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, or will you be sitting this one out? Looking forward to the new topiaries from Wish at EPCOT’s entrance or Coco in Mexico? Thoughts on a potential 2024 EPCOT Summer Festival, or think we’re getting carried away with speculating? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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