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2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival to feature Muppet topiaries and more

by Banks Lee

Epcot Flower and Garden

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy topiaries are just two of the new things debuting during the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 5 to May 18, 2014. Nearly 100 topiaries will animate the landscape during the 75 days when Epcot transforms to a land of sweeping gardens and exhibits.

After debuting at the 2013 festival, the food and drink marketplaces will return with new menu items such as Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes and a Barbecued Chicken Leg at the Smokehouse Barbecue marketplace. Floral-flavored lemonades will feature rose and violet notes, and specialty cocktails, wines and beers will offer menu-pairing possibilities. Last year’s top menu picks such as the Watermelon Salad with local baby arugula, feta cheese, pickled red onions and balsamic reduction will be back for an encore at the Florida Fresh marketplace.

Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries will appear in a new Epcot front entrance garden vignette celebrating spring with a butterfly hunt adventure. The topiaries will have a new computer-generated look while telling an entertaining story. Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light on the back of his floral garb. A topiary bee buzzes on an exasperated Donald’s head. The garden will feature a real waterfall and pond with water lilies.

The Flower Power Concert Series welcomes two new acts in 2014: Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) March 14-16, and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”) May 16-18. During opening weekend, the series kicks off at America Gardens Theatre with the band The Guess Who (“American Woman”) March 7-9. Other pop acts set to perform include Chubby Checker & the Wildcats, The Village People and Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Florida agriculture will be in the spotlight at a large World Showcase garden exhibiting fresh Florida crops to include citrus, sugar cane, berries and vegetables. For the second year, illuminated gardens will cast a festive glow across the park when the sun sets each evening.

At the Festival Center in Future World, twice-daily interactive gardening workshops will set the stage for outdoor do-it-yourself inspiration, and gardening guest speakers will appear daily. Fridays through Sundays, HGTV design celebrities will host home, garden and design seminars. List of stars to appear (subject to change) include:
March 7-9 – Vern Yip, “Design Star”
March 14-16 – Chris Lambton, “Going Yard”
March 21-23 – Matt Blashaw, “Yard Crashers”
March 28-30 – Matt Meunster, “Bath Crashers”
April 4-6 – Taniya Nayak, “House Hunters on Vacation”
April 11-13 – Amy Matthews, “Renovation Raiders”
April 18-20 – John Gidding, “Curb Appeal”
April 25-27 – David Bromstad, “Color Splash”
May 2-4 – Chip Wade, “Elbow Room”
May 9-11 – Genevieve Gorder, “Design Star”
May 16-18 – Alison Victoria, “Kitchen Crashers”

For more information about the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407-W-DISNEY (934-7639). As the festival nears, more details will be available at epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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