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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? 

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah April 1, 2014 at 9:06 pm

i’m so jealous you got to spend a day at my home park 🙁 i’ll be back in may to work and i’m so excited!
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2 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I SO wish that I lived near Disney — there’s so much cool stuff that happens there! 🙂
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3 Jojo @ RunFastEatLots April 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Cool! I’m going to Disney world mid-April and will def go to Epcot!
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4 Emily @ The Swallow Flies April 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Oh my gosh! That food looks AMAZING! While it’s no Epcot, we do have a World Food Festival in Des Moines every September, and it boasts some pretty amazing treats as well. But, you have me craving all of that deliciousness NOW!
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5 Kristen @ Glitter and Dust April 1, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I love your super cute chevron maxi dress and hat. You are looking so summerish, as I look out the window and watch the snow fall. Sigh. Disney World is at the top of my travel list – that must happen!

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6 Erin April 1, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I just got back on Saturday from a few days in Disney! I used to go a lot as a kid but I hadn’t been in about 10 years. We stayed at the Boardwalk so we spent a lot of time exploring Epcot and the flower garden festival. This post is making me regret not trying more of the food! We saw a couple parents holding up their babies next to that Rafiki and Simba bush/statue for a photo – I thought it was such a funny picture!

We also did the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom, and I can’t recommend it enough. It was AMAZING. I know you got the Disney tour bug after you did the backlot tour, so you can tell Derek this would be great for your next birthday 😉

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7 Cheri @ Overactive Blogger April 1, 2014 at 10:31 pm

My sister works at the parks, and it is so cool to go down and visit her there, but DAMN the food can get so so expensive!
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8 [email protected] April 1, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Its been a year or so since Ive made it to Epcot. I always forget how gorgeous and awesome it is!
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9 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun April 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Sounds like you had a wonderful solo day at WDW! It looks like a blast, beautiful and so much delicious food!
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10 EB @ Running on E April 2, 2014 at 7:56 am

Oh, my that waffle looks awesome. Looks like a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon! Jealous!
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11 Tina Muir April 2, 2014 at 8:30 am

Whoa, I just got so incredibly jealous of you! I would LOVE to go to Disney again, and that looks like it was the perfect trip. So beautiful, such nice weather, and such a cool place! I wanna gooooooo 🙁 Glad you had an amazing time!
Tina Muir recently posted..10 Reasons Running is for YOU!

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12 Lesley April 2, 2014 at 8:42 am

The cinnamon sweet potato waffle with pineapple soft serve sounds like heaven! I saw the topiaries during the 2012 Princess weekend but I haven’t been to the actual F&G festival. I think I should so I can get F&G and F&W wrapped up in one trip 🙂
Lesley recently posted..Where in the World: Copenhagen

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13 Jen @ Pretty Little Grub April 2, 2014 at 9:04 am

Looks like so much fun! That waffle….
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14 Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} April 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

Love it!! I love going to Disney by myself as well, I can do whatever I want to do and I don’t have to confirm with anyone! 🙂
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15 Kate April 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

Glad you had a great time at Epcot! I frequently travel for work on my own, and I love exploring new places and events solo. Many times I’ll just take myself out to the movies after a long day. I used to feel self conscious about being the only person there on their own, but not anymore. You have to take advantage of life’s small pleasures. And sometimes that’s the enjoyment of your own company 🙂

Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics!

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16 Jennifer April 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

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.

Lol I think you use a speech to text because this is what all of my text message sent through Siri look like!

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17 joelle @ on a pink typewriter April 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

So fun! Love your dress- it’s super cute!

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18 Kelli April 2, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Looks like an awesome day! i wish we had that kind of weather and fun things to do in Utah.

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19 Kara April 2, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Wow those flowers are incredible! Love the lion king one…and the mickey mouse! So cute. And I want that food NOW, haha
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20 Runner Girl Eats April 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm

I’ve never been for the Flower festival but it seems right up my alley–flowers and food?! I am currently planning my sisters bachelorette party to go to Epcot for the food and wine festival and I can’t wait!
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21 Shannon April 3, 2014 at 10:10 am

Looks like you had a great time. 🙂 My favorite dish was the veggie/goat cheese gnocchi in France. Ah, it was so good. I wanted to try the Dole Whip booth, too, but was way too full by the time I got to it (we started in Mexico and went around that way). Oh, and that bacon cupcake was intense. A bit dry, but really tasty. There were 3 of us splitting it and we had a hard time finishing it!

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22 Amanda Tinney April 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Woman…you must go back and try the Ghost Pepper Dusted Tilapia at Urban Farm Eats. If you ever need a buddy to make a World Showcase loop with and split some dishes please hit me up. I’m game…and I so need to try that rib from The Smokehouse.
Amanda Tinney recently posted..Anatomy of an Epic Girls Weekend at the Walt Disney World Boardwalk Inn {Day 3}

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23 Mikel April 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

Just went last week and I loved everything in the Florida Fresh booth, especially the key lime pie! I also *may* have eaten 3 Beijing candied strawberry orders in one day. Agreed that the Cigar City Maduro is fabulous!!

I’ve totally gone into Disney by myself – I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like going anywhere alone but for some reason I enjoy going to Disney solo!
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