Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

by Meghann on April 1, 2014

Sunday was one of those picture-perfect days that reminded me why I love living in Florida. The sky was a sparkling blue, the temps were in the high 60s, the sun was shining bright, and our infamous humidity was nowhere to be found. Such a juxtaposition to the typhoon that had swooped in the day before.

Fine by me, Saturday was dedicated to spring cleaning (I ended up donating SIX bag of stuff to Goodwill) and Sunday was Color Me Rad. And since I just happened to be in Orlando, it seemed like a waste not to stop at Disney World on my way home, right? So after a baby wipe rubdown in a Publix restroom and a quick change (please note the hat covering my purple and pink hair), I was ready to tackle the Flower and Garden Festival currently happening at Epcot in Walt Disney World.

Flower and Garden Festival

The original plan was to tackle Epcot with a friend, but she ended up canceling that morning due to an oncoming cold (I hope you’re feeling better!). When she cancelled, I didn’t think twice about still going through with my Disney plans. Personally I love exploring Walt Disney World on my own. It gives me a chance to be a little selfish and set my own schedule for the day. I think we all need those selfish days every once in a while and Disney is the perfect place to take it.

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The Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot is a seasonal festival that debuts every March at Epcot and runs through mid-May. The whole park is transformed into an outdoor show piece and features outdoor play grounds for the kids, a butterfly garden, beautifully sculpted topiaries, rare and exotic flowers, and a wealth of interactive and informative presentations.

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In recent years, Epcot has introduced a new element to the Flower & Garden Festival – Outdoor Kitchens.

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The “Outdoor Kitchens” are set up around the world showcase, similar to the Food & Wine Festival. Each kitchen features a seasonal menu of sample sized dishes and drink selections from the country’s origin.

Oh, yes. This is really why I made the trip to Epcot. Flowers are pretty, but we all know the real way to my heart is through food. I’d been dying to make the drive over and check out the mini Food & Wine Festival Epcot snuck into the Flower & Garden Festival. Sneaky, sneaky. I also had a Disney gift card leftover from my birthday (thanks, Hilda and Steve), that had been burning a hole in my pocket. It was meant to be!

After entering the park, I headed straight to London for the Buttercup Cottage.

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I almost got the lemon scones (which smelled AMAZING), but ended up with the Pork and Apple Sausage Roll as I was pretty hungry at that point and craving something hearty.

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The cold curry vegetables served on the side were flavorless and disappointing, but the roll itself was delish. The apple and pork sausage was very flavorful with just a slight sweetness to it and the flaky crust was chewy and buttery. It was a great dish.

My next stop was Morocco.

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I was craving something sweet and opted for Baghrir (Moroccan pancake with honey, almonds, an argon oil) with a side of sangria.

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It tasted like, well, a pancake with honey syrup. A little plainer than what I was expecting but still pretty good.

The sangria was refreshing and went perfectly with the wonderful sunny weather.

Sangria

My parents had ventured to the festival the week before and highly recommended I stop at the Smokehouse in America to sample the turkey rib.

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They were serving a maple and bacon cupcake, but I wasn’t daring enough to order it just for myself. Instead I got the recommended turkey rib and a Cigar City Maduro (quite possibly my favorite beer of all time).

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The turkey ribs were full of tender meat that fell off the phone. The smoky flavoring was a little lighter than you standard rib, but still very good. I happily cleaned by plate.

The problem with hitting the outdoor kitchens on your own, is you have no one to share the dishes with. By the third stop I was already feeling pretty full, but knew I had at least one stop left in me. I had walked by the Pineapple Promenade at the beginning, but was saving it as a special treat for last.

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I ordered the Cinnamon Sweet Potato Waffle with Pineapple Soft Serve.

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Oh, my. This was amazing. I could have easily polished off two (or three… or four…).

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday! Now I’m itching to go back to try more. I’m hoping I can make another trip before the festival ends on May 18th!

Have you tried any of the Outdoor Kitchens at the Flower & Garden Festival? What were you favorite items? 

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