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Disney announces new happenings at next year's Flower & Garden Fest

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An elaborate “Cinderellabration” topiary and an environmentally friendly Green Garden will bring fresh springtime flair to the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 18 to May 31, 2009.

Each year, Disney gardeners channel their creative energy into presenting an intricate topiary display against the backdrop of Spaceship Earth. This year, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip, and Belle and Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” will debut in all their “blooming finery” as the grand front-entrance topiary during the 75-day festival.

New gardens, events and children’s play areas will be offered for the 16th annual festival:

Green Garden– Here’s where guests will learn about low-water-use gardens, incorporating native plants into their garden and recycling.

Pixie Hollow – Colorful topiaries of Tinker Bell and her friends from Walt Disney Pictures’ “Tinker Bell” will sprinkle pixie dust over this playful garden designed just for kids.

Pirates Adventure Zone – Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Croc topiaries will lure young swashbucklers to this interactive space designed for exploration and adventure.

Special Environmentality Celebration (April 24-26) – This special event will showcase how to keep the planet green through solutions like reducing waste and using friendly bugs.

Throughout the festival, more than 70 topiaries will decorate the park landscap. Sweeping floral beds and exhibits will feature 30 million blooms. A Fragrance Garden at the France pavilion will tell the “love story” of plants and perfume, and the English Tea Garden at the United Kingdom pavilion will explore the art and history of blending tea plants. The art of bonsai will “wow” guests at the Japan showcase.

Other festival highlights will include:

Flower Power concerts – Popular bands will rock the open-air America Gardens Theatre every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. The concert lineup is slated to include new acts like Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, plus pop favorites like Davy Jones, Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, Tony Orlando, Jose Feliciano, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and other top acts.

Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly Garden – Hundreds of butterflies will flit inside a walk-through screened enclosure that includes a live exhibit showing how caterpillars form a chrysalis and emerge as butterflies.

Disney Gardening at Home presentations – Disney horticulturists will share gardening tips and lead guests in a hands-on, take-home activity.

The Great American Gardeners series – Gardening celebrities and authors from across the country will reveal their gardening secrets.

The Garden Town Festival Center – Guests can shop for festival merchandise, attend speaker presentations and demonstrations and ask gardening questions of the experts.

Simba’s Birthday Celebration – A lineup of topiary characters straight from Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Lion King” will greet guests at World Showcase Plaza.

Poster Signings – Artist Heather French will sign festival posters each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Canada Garden Retreat.

More Festival Celebrations – An Art in the Garden celebration of plein air artists and a Kids Paint Out will occur March 27 to 29; a Florida Farmer’s Market celebration will take place May 8 to 10.

More information about the 16th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available by calling 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or by visiting disneyworld.com/flower. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Click Here to see our photo gallery from this year’s Flower & Garden Festival.

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