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Photo TR: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2011


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During yesterday's park crusades, we also stopped by Epcot for a taste of this year's International Flower and Garden Festival. The event has been expanded to include several new areas, a few expanded ones and a brand new look and feel that has truly revitalized the already-popular offering.

 

I would like to make a special note (you'll read me reiterating this ten times over in my photo captions) how pleased I was with this year's presentation of the Festival Center (formerly Garden Town). I've always been a fan of this venue at the event, but this year, Disney has stepped up its game. The former Wonders of Life pavilion has finally been gutted of much of the clutter remaining from the closed Future World offering, leaving plenty of room for a comfortable event space that feels welcoming and wide for visitors. It was like the added room to breathe made the experience so much better! Take this, on top of the superbly-handled efforts to better tie the decor and stages into the theme of the event--everything felt like it was meant to be a part of the International Flower and Garden Festival, not just another event offered at Epcot.

 

I can only commend Disney on another incredible year of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year has renewed my interest in the annual event, and has me already heavily looking forward to next Spring when it starts all over again!

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This year's entrance theme is Toy Story 3, tying into the upcoming DVD/Blu-Ray release of the insanely popular film.

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It actually looks spectacular--one of my favorite entrance displays since the surfing one a few years ago!

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Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear (also known as Lotso) is represented with a unique topiary that emits a beautiful strawberry smell in the entrance plaza. Forget Horizons L'Orange! This stuff smells way better!

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It all just looks really nice as a whole!

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These were supposedly transferred from Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios for the festival.

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Another great topiary!

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Event guides and altered hub tarps help remind guests that the event runs all week long.

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Time to visit the Festival Center (formerly known as Garden Town).

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Some kind of work seems to be going on above the Wonders of Life windows.

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This year's event is sponsored by HGTV, a natural fit.

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Another really nice touch that took me by surprise!

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The old map stand has been removed... But as you'll notice in the next few photos, a good many things have also been cleared out.

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The seating area normally used as an extra event merchandise or book location is without use this time around.

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The food stand is also closed this year. Back during its time in the Wonders of Life pavilion, this stand used to offer healthier food options.

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A lone information booth sits at the front of the pavilion.

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The pavilion feels far more open this year--and it is truly comfortable that way!

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One of the former Wonders of Life attractions (I believe this one was Goofy about Health) has been repurposed as a stage for University of Florida agricultural experts to give presentations.

 

Go Gators!

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Food & Wine Festival signs were in storage in the food stand's kitchen, as seen here.

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So much space--it just feels so great!

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Interesting...

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The old lamp posts have been repainted with a great new color scheme that matches the more subtle colors of the pavilion's new look.

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I really can't get over how much space there is now!

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The space in front of the old Cranium Command entrance is now being used for a planting demonstrations.

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While it isn't my cup of tea, the presentation seemed to be well received by the audience.

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It is nice to see that the stage was designed with an agricultural theme. Everything fits so well!

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The former entrance queue for Cranium Command is currently being used for storage and pre-presentation preparation.

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Frontiers of Medicine, the Body Wars post show remains closed off from guest access, as it has been for many years.

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The exit to Body Wars is also off limits.

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The red lights from the post show seem to still be on after all these years.

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The Making of Me Theater has been repurposed as the HGTV Theater, playing videos on the making of the Festival, as well as clips from HGTV shows.

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Another beautifully set up presentation area within the pavilion.

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This is the former entrance area for Body Wars.

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It has been walled off for quite some time now.

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It is rumored that they are using this area for NextGen Initiative development--and they are clearly being protective about what is behind the wall.

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The Festival Merchandise area is packed with unique offerings for the year.

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Probably the busiest area in the pavilion...

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The Anacomical Players theater has also been repurposed for festival presentations.

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Notice the projections on the ceiling? The Festival Center has definitely been used to the fullest this year!

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I approve!

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New to the Flower & Garden Festival is an exhibit called Sounds of Nature.

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Sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, the path is a filled with bright colored flowers and a few playable exhibits with sound.

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Pretty.

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You are supposed to talk towards the blue wall of this "wonder dish." It didn't work for us, but I think we were doing it wrong.

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Just in case you wondered who made this.

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They also offered face painting in the garden.

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This year, Pixie Hollow has expanded into the area that was formerly Tiana's Enchanted Garden. With Magic Kingdom's Toontown closed, the fairies of Pixie Hollow have begun doing meet and greets here.

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Surprisingly, it all fits very well!

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The former site of the old butterfly garden is used merely as a walkway towards the World Showcase this year.

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It wouldn't be Pixie Hollow without Tinkerbell.

Edited by ernierocker
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(Continued)

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It's the minor details that always allow Disney to shine.

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Would you believe this isn't a real tree?

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It looks like it blends in perfectly!

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Onward to the other side!

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More hidden details...

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They really do an amazing job here!

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Tinkerbell and Terrance are now meeting guests here.

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The lines were actually pretty long for the meet and greet... I'd have to imagine this will remain here after the festival ends.

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Syngenta is also a major sponsor for this year's festival.

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It brings so much color into an already wonderful section of the park!

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This year, the butterfly house has been hugely expanded and moved to the other side of Futureworld. The theme ties into the upcoming release of Bambi on Blu-Ray.

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The newly widened venue was very busy during our visit--a great sign of its success!

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It fits!

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It is insane how much additional space is inside of this new butterfly house!

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Pieces of the Magic Music Days have been moved next to the Innoventions corridor behind Club Cool.

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It's be nice to see this stage back in place again!

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As a promotional tie-in with Cars 2 and the Flower & Garden Festival, a "stamp race" around World Showcase. Those who complete the activity get an exclusive button for their participation.

 

Oh, and clever brand name of the tires!

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Another impressive topiary!

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Well done!

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Topiary flags of the countries represented in Cars 2 have also been placed in the International Gateway plaza.

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An international Tea Garden has been placed on the backside of the UK Pavilion.

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And a great way to end our visit to Epcot? A caramel apple from Germany's recently opened Karamell Kuche!

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