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Celebrating Springtime at Epcot in the Land of Oz

posted on March 5th, 2013 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort


Yesterday afternoon was beautiful, and I found myself at Epcot, exploring the Land of Oz Garden – and I was not alone. This very interactive kids’ play zone was one of the happiest places I’ve ever seen, with children climbing, jumping, swinging and just laughing out loud. The theme was all about flowers – the real and the surreal. It was a visual treat for me, and a relaxing space for dozens of parents to just sit back and soak in the afternoon sunlight while the kids played with seemingly tireless energy.
The Land of Oz Garden at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Tomorrow is the first day of the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, and I can’t wait to see what more our horticulture partners have created this year.


Read on for more updates about the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival:

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Behind the Scenes: Horticulture Preps 100 Topiaries for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on March 3rd, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Although the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival doesn’t begin until March 6, preparations have been underway for weeks – especially to ready the festival’s more than 100 topiaries.

Eric Darden, manager of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, recently gave us a sneak peek at some of the work that’s been going on backstage. Take a look.

Visit the Disney Parks Blog next week for more on this year’s festival.

For more from the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, read the posts below:

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Take 5: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on March 2nd, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

The flowers are in bloom at Walt Disney World Resort for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Beginning this Wednesday, March 6, and lasting through May 19, guests at Epcot can help celebrate our 20th year with new tastes and drinks at the Garden Marketplace, The Land of Oz play area based on the upcoming “Oz The Great and Powerful,” HGTV-related activities with some of your favorite personalities, and more! Read the blog posts below to find out what’s budding in 2013. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

Take 5: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

  1. From Garden to Table at 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort – Pam shares some of the all-new food and drink offerings for the upcoming festival.
  2. The Land of Oz Garden Magically Appears at Epcot – Although the festival officially opens Wednesday, the Land of Oz Garden has appeared a little early at Epcot.
  3. ‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – Check out the fun dishes the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival chefs have chosen to encourage kids to try something new as part of Disney’s TRYit campaign.
  4. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Brings Perennial Favorites, New Faces From HGTV – The stars of your favorite HGTV and DIY Network shows will once again be on hand to meet festivalgoers and give expert tips and tricks.
  5. 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Will Whisk Children to the Land of Oz – Guests visiting the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival can visit the Land of Oz in the form of an interactive play area.
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Fantastic Food Marketplaces Are the Newest Festival Attractions at Walt Disney World Resort!

posted on February 19th, 2013 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


This year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is bigger and better than ever — with gorgeous new gardens and whimsical new Disney character topiaries, plus new Garden Marketplaces serving up tasty culinary creations. And this year, look for topiaries and select gardens to be lit up at night! All this and more gets underway starting March 6, 2013.
Culinary Creations at the New Garden Marketplaces for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

From the bounty of the garden to your table

Twelve new Garden Marketplace locations will sprout up around the promenade, offering culinary creations and special libations inspired by the gardens at World Showcase.

“Our horticulture team recognizes that our guests are curious about where their food comes from and how it is grown,” says Michael Jenner, Park Event Content Development Operations Manager. Garden Marketplaces are a great opportunity for discovery, as guests are able to sample some amazing dishes and learn how to incorporate their own garden harvests into their meals at home.”

“We had been planning to do something like this for many years, and the 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is the perfect opportunity,” Michael explains. It became a reality thanks to Walt Disney World Resort guests like you. Last year, just one experimental marketplace was so overwhelmingly popular, it “grew” this year to a dozen different areas with a wide variety of offerings.

It looks good enough to eat!

Each new marketplace will have two small gardens in front of them filled with plantings to match the host of food and beverage (many nonalcoholic) selections. For instance, the garden at the front of World Showcase Plaza will have blueberries growing to tie in with the Blueberry Wine. The garden near the Canada Pavilion will feature pineapples to match the Pineapple Upside Down Cake that you can purchase.

“I don’t think many guests have actually seen pineapples growing, and that should be a treat,” adds Michael. “We will also have ‘TRYit’ opportunities at these marketplaces to encourage children and adults to sample some out-of-the-ordinary delights like Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction.”

Many of these creative menu selections were developed by Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann, who made sure they would be “tapas-size” items, so that you will be able to explore multiple choices.

Don’t forget the new garden passport!

“We will offer guests a special passport with one page per Marketplace,” said Michael. “It will list the plants and other information so that guests can check off what they tasted, write notes and even get it stamped for free, like a field journal.”

One of the most popular marketplaces is sure to be at The American Adventure Pavilion. A huge smoker will be rolled onto the stage to barbeque brisket and pork. Guests can top off that meal sample with a glass of Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar River Blues in Lyons, CO (Czech-style Pilsner), or Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco, CA (India Pale Ale), or just a delicious Rocky Road brownie.

Oz, monsters and lights into the night

There’s so much to see, do and taste during the 75-day garden party! Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival surprises are around almost every corner.

There will be new topiary creations, including a salute to Disney•Pixar “Monsters University.” You’ll find whimsical children’s play areas, the newest being The Land of Oz Garden, inspired by Walt Disney Pictures’ “Oz The Great and Powerful.” Look for a butterfly bounty, HGTV celebrity designers, hands-on gardening seminars and more. On weekends, rock to performances by top Flower Power Concert Series rockers of the 1960s and ’70s.

And the fun won’t end when the sun goes down — almost all the gardens will now be gorgeously illuminated for the first time, making the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival a complete delight, day and night.

For more information, visit EpcotInSpring.com.

*Entertainment subject to change without notice.

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‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 18th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Disney’s TRYit Campaign, Part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living Initiative


Do you think you can get your kids to try watermelon salad with pickled red onions? Or a Moroccan sweet pancake? The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival chefs have chosen some fun dishes to encourage youngsters to try something new as part of Disney’s TRYit campaign.

‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival ‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

 
“I approached the TRYit dishes for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival like I approach new foods with my own children, focusing on great ingredients and finding ways to make them interesting for our younger guests,” said Jens Dahlmann, executive chef for Epcot. “For some dishes, we found fun and interesting ways to present them, like the ‘Frushi’ [fruit sushi] for example, while other dishes such as the Watermelon Salad combine a familiar fruit paired with the unusual tastes of arugula and feta cheese, making it a whole new experience.”

TRYit is part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative, partnering with parents to inspire kids to try new foods and new activities. You’ll see TRYit dishes all throughout the World Showcase Promenade. The festival is a fun way to try small bites of something new.
‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Look for the TRYit logo on these diverse dishes in the Garden Marketplaces and Festival Center. The festival runs from March 6 – May 19, so there’s lots of time to try them all:

  • Beet Lollipop (Intermissions Café in the Festival Center)
  • Wild Berry Slush (Fruits by the Glass)
  • Baked Goat’s Brie with Kumquat Chutney (The Cottage, United Kingdom)
  • Frushi (Fruit Sushi) (Hanami, Japan)
  • Lasagna Primavera (Primavera Kitchen, Italy)
  • Potato Pancakes with house-made Apple Sauce (Bauernmarkt, Germany)
  • Spring Pancake with Grilled Chicken & Green Apple (Lotus House, China)
  • Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese & Balsamic Reduction (Florida Fresh)
  • Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida Berries (Florida Fresh)
  • Ratatouille Tarte with Goat Cheese (L’Orangerie, France)
  • Moroccan Sweet Pancake (Taste of Marrakesh, Morocco)
  • Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with house-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar & Basil (The Cottage, United Kingdom)

To learn more about TRYit and Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living, visit the Magic of Healthy Living web site.

And here’s one of the TRYit recipes from the Epcot chefs – super-easy to “try it” at home.
Watermelon Salad, One of the ‘TRYit’ Tastes for Kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Watermelon Salad
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Serves 6

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons finely diced shallots
2 tablespoons roasted garlic*
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pickled Onions
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grenadine syrup
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 pound red onions, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings

Watermelon Salad
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
3 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup white balsamic vinaigrette
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup pickled onion
1/4 cup balsamic glaze*
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

For balsamic vinaigrette:

  1. Combine white balsamic vinegar, shallots, garlic, honey, and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until well combined.
  2. With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Blend until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For pickled onions:

  1. If using frozen raspberries, thaw. Purée raspberries in a food processor. Pour purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard seeds; set puree aside.
  2. Combine raspberry purée, water, sugar, grenadine, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar.
  3. Add onions; stir to coat, then remove from heat. Set aside 20 minutes.

For watermelon salad:

  1. Divide watermelon among plates. Toss arugula with white balsamic vinaigrette in a medium bowl and lightly season with salt & pepper.
  2. Top each portion of watermelon with arugula. Top each serving with 2 to 3 picked onion rings, then sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Cook’s Note: Balsamic glaze can be found in most supermarkets on the oil and vinegar aisle. To make your own, place 2 cups balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 40 minutes.

This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens. The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version. All recipes are the property of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., and may not be reproduced without express permission.

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The Land of Oz Garden Magically Appears at Epcot

posted on February 15th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Although the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially opens Wednesday, March 6, one new garden has appeared a little early. The Land of Oz Garden is open now and at almost one third of an acre, it’s the largest garden ever created for the festival. The area is based on the new Disney film, “Oz The Great and Powerful,” which stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff, and opens in theaters March 8.

Guests enter The Land of Oz Garden guided by a yellow-brick road and soon find themselves in an interactive children’s play area that features carnival-style games. From here, guests walk past a garden filled with a combination of lush, real flowers and fantastical art-glass poppies. As kids play in and around a giant custom Oz-themed play structure, parents can enjoy shaded, comfy chairs just a few steps away.

The Land of Oz Garden will appear for the complete run of the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, through May 19. Walt Disney World Resort horticulturists will keep updating the flowers throughout the festival as the weather warms up in late April, keeping the garden in a constant state of growth and color.

Here’s a look:

You can also follow the conversation for “Oz The Great and Powerful” on Twitter using the #DisneyOz hashtag.

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From Garden to Table at 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 10th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Epcot is a brilliant backdrop for millions of blossoms, classic topiaries, celebrities and live entertainment at the annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival from March 6-May 19. But for some of us, the all-new food and drink offerings are the stars of the spring show.

“What a natural progression (it is) to go from the garden to the table,” said Michael Jenner, Epcot Park Event Content Development Manager.

“That progression is showcased with raised garden beds around the marketplaces that will be growing some of the produce and herbs in the dishes,” says Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann.

“We want to show our guests how food grows,” says Dahlmann, “to help make that connection from the kitchen to the garden.”

Delicious food options at the International Flower & Garden Festival in Epcot

Some of our favorite tastes are at the Florida Fresh Marketplace, with watermelon salad with pickled red onions, baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction; shrimp and stone-ground grits with andouille sausage, zellwood corn, tomatoes and cilantro; and angel food cake with Florida berries. Pair that with tomato or carrot wine, or a cold Florida-brewed beer.

“Each marketplace has three to four dishes, and there are no repeats from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival,” says Dahlmann.

Refreshing drinks at the International Flower & Garden Festival in Epcot

Here’s just a small sampling of favorites, each can be paired with wines, beers and other fun beverages (like a white peach bellini in Italy, or Red Ale from Orlando Brewing at American Adventure):

  • Crab tostadas with chipotle aioli and salsa in the Jardin de Fiestas in Mexico.
  • A spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple at the Lotus House in China.
  • Savory bread pudding with spring peas and wild mushroom ragout at the Bauernmarkt in Germany.
  • Green asparagus and lobster with a garden cocktail sauce at Primavera Kitchen in Italy.
  • Stir-fried veggies and soba noodles served in a bun at Hamai in Japan.
  • Spiced lamb kebabs with couscous salad at Taste of Marrakesh in Morocco.
  • A pig slider with cole slaw at The Smokehouse at American Adventure.
  • A ratatouille tart with goat cheese at L’Orangerie in France.
  • Heirloom tomatoes with house-made mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and basil at The Cottage in the United Kingdom.
  • Sip the garden at Fruits by the Glass Marketplace, with watermelon passion fruit cocktail, non-alcoholic wild berry slush, blueberry beer and wine, mango wine, gluten-free raspberry ale, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
  • And, saving the best for last, Dole Whip with Florida-made spiced rum at the Pineapple Promenade. A grown-up delight!
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Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Brings Perennial Favorites, New Faces From HGTV

posted on January 25th, 2013 by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager


We are less than a month and a half away from the start of the 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival; and boy are we excited!

For the third year in a row, the Festival is being presented by HGTV which, of course, means the stars of your favorite HGTV and DIY Network shows will once again be on hand to meet festivalgoers and give expert tips and tricks.

David Bromstad, HGTV Design Star, ColorSplash, and Design Star All-Stars, Will be at This Year's Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

New to this year’s festival are HGTV and DIY superstars like Florida’s own David Bromstad (HGTV Design Star, ColorSplash, Design Star All-Stars); Egypt Sherrod, new host of HGTV’s Property Virgins; Sara Peterson, editor-in-chief of HGTV Magazine; Design on a Dime’s Casey Noble; Chris Lambton from Going Yard; and Chris Grundy from DIY Network’s Cool Tools.

And we also have returning favorites like Carter Oosterhouse (Million Dollar Rooms); Meg Caswell (Meg’s Great Rooms); and Jason Cameron (DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves).

Guests of the Festival can see their favorite HGTV and DIY stars on “The Designers’ Stage Presented by HGTV” at the Festival Center each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Festival at noon and 3 p.m.

The complete lineup includes:

  • March 8-10 – Chris Lambton, Going Yard
  • March 15-17 – Chris Grundy, DIY Network’s Cool Tools
  • March 22-24 – Egypt Sherrod, host of Property Virgins
  • March 29-31 – Brandon Johnson, My Yard Goes Disney
  • April 5-7 – Meg Caswell, Meg’s Great Rooms
  • April 12-14 – Jason Cameron, DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves
  • April 19-21 – Sara Peterson, Editor-in-Chief, HGTV Magazine
  • April 26-28 – Carter Oosterhouse, Million Dollar Rooms
  • May 3-5 – Casey Noble, Design on a Dime
  • May 10-12 – Dan Faires, HGTV.com, DanMade
  • May 17-19 – David Bromstad, HGTV Design Star, ColorSplash, Design Star All-Stars

Presentations by HGTV and DIY Network stars are included with admission to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The 20th annual festival runs from March 6 – May 19, 2013 at Epcot. Check back to the Disney Parks Blog for any updates and posts throughout the Festival.

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2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Will Whisk Children to the Land of Oz

posted on November 15th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you seen the previews for the upcoming Walt Disney Studios’ film “Oz The Great and Powerful”? I have and this movie sure looks amazing!

“'Oz

In case you aren’t yet familiar, the film tells the back story of Oz The Great and Powerful. Here’s the synopsis: When Oscar Diggs, a small-time magician, is hurled away from Kansas to the Land of Oz, he thinks fame and fortune are his for the taking, until he meets three witches who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Drawn into the epic problems facing the inhabitants of Oz, Oscar must use his magical arts to save them and transform himself into the great and powerful wizard—and into a better man as well.

We’re happy to announce today that guests visiting the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this spring can visit this Land of Oz in the form of an original interactive play area that will be one of the festival’s newest offerings. Here, guests can follow in the footsteps of Oz The Great and Powerful by playing carnival games in a circus-themed area. Here red-and-white tents will offer all kinds of midway games, plus fun photo opportunities.

The next stop is the “Land of Oz Play Area”, where bubbles fill the air, and where you can find: play equipment adorned with giant flowers, The Great and Powerful Oz’s crashed hot-air balloon, and more! Guests can also wander through the “Oz Movie Garden,” which will feature lush, unusual plants inspired by the Land of Oz.

The 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will return on March 6, however, click below for a sneak peek at the film to enjoy in the meantime.

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Sights & Sounds at Disney Parks: A Little Bit Micky, a Little Bit Mickey

posted on May 18th, 2012 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


When you’re part of a family, you try to take care of things for one another. Forty-five years ago, four young performers changed from complete strangers to a literal band of brothers, named Micky, Davy, Mike and Peter. The Monkees were a lightning-in-a-bottle international entertainment phenomenon. And in Epcot’s World Showcase, where great nations of the world share culture, flavor and fun, it became a tradition for Davy Jones to perform during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival’s Flower Power Concert Series.

After he learned of the untimely passing of the Manchester, England-born song and dance man, and how it rocked his legions of fans, Micky stepped up to continue the Epcot tradition. He will perform live on the America Gardens Theatre stage this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 18–20, at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.
“The

Micky is the first to agree that there is no way to replace his friend. “David was the brother I never had,” he says. “I only wish I didn’t have to appear in his place, but rather perform beside him — which I did as a surprise last year during a few of his concerts.”

This weekend marks Micky’s first solo engagement at Epcot — though it’s far from his first Disney project. “I was a Disneyland kid, growing up in Southern California,” he recalls. “I went there all the time with my parents, my sisters and friends. During The Monkees, we performed in the Disney Parks in Florida and California, more times than I can remember.”
“The

In fact, when The Monkees were experiencing perhaps the greatest pop band reunion in history, Walt Disney World Resort was celebrating its 15th birthday. Micky joined Peter Tork and Davy Jones for some Monkees songs from Magic Kingdom Park on a splashy network TV special, co-hosted by Betty White.
“The

Micky’s numerous Disney connections don’t stop there. When Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida toured the country, Micky became so successful as the villainous “Zoser” that he joined the Broadway company. Musical theater has become one of his passions, in addition to being an accomplished director, producer and, of course, multi-million selling recording artist. (Micky’s most recent albums include a spectacular tribute to Carole King called King for a Day.)

Cartoon fans know him as the voice of “Arthur”—a.k.a.”The Moth”—on The Tick, “Skip” on Hanna-Barbera’s Funky Phantom, and many more. “I was even considered to become the voice of Mickey Mouse!” he smiles, adding a spot-on “Hi folks! Ha, ha! Gosh, that’s swell!”
“The

Micky as Mickey? Maybe when we see this versatile artist live during this, the final weekend of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, we might find ourselves humming, “M-I-C… K-Y-D… O-L-E-N-Z!” After the concerts, we’ll be checking in with Micky about his Epcot adventures, so watch the Disney Parks Blog for our follow-up report. Anything you want us to ask him?

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