Yesterday Disney debuted a highly celebrated new feature of the annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival: Food. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients and many healthy choices, Disney’s culinary team has worked with their horticulturalists to develop a menu inspired by the festival, but entirely familiar to anyone who is a fan of the park’s popular Food and Wine Festival held each Fall.
Though the Flower and Garden festival still features many great Disney character topiaries scattered throughout the park, plus special presentations, exhibits, and interactive features, it’s the new food and drink offerings that are really getting attendees excited, hopping from booth to booth around the World Showcase sampling all that’s new.
As an introduction in the video below, Eric Darden, Epcot Festival Horticulture Manager and Jens Dahlmann, Epcot Executive Chef, talk about the collaboration between plant and food experts for the new multi-sensory experience.
Last night my wife Michelle and I ate our way around Epcot, determined to try at least one item from each of the 11 booths featuring food. We focused mainly on the food of the festival, though there are plenty of unique drinks available across those booths, plus a 12th devoted exclusively to beverages. But we did need to wash down all that food with a little liquid, also included in the review below.
Before we get to the dining details, leading up to the World Showcase are a few impressive new topiaries for 2013, beginning with huge versions of Disney’s “Fab 5” at the Epcot front gate, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
On the other side of Spaceship Earth, Phineas and Ferb are prominently featured in their backyard, lit up at night with the ever-popular Perry the Platypus (as Agent P) lurking behind them, though not in topiary form.
Approaching the World Showcase entrance are Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan from the upcoming Disney/Pixar film “Monsters University,” definitely the showstopper topiaries at this year’s event, making a great photo opportunity.
Moving past the plants and onto the entrees, we take a trip around the World Showcase moving counter-clockwise, skipping the first booth on the right, returning to it at the end of the night (for reasons I’ll explain below). The booths are largely recycled from the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival but given new names. The food is not all based on cuisines around the world, as is the case with the Fall festival, instead simply uniting like flavors.