Exciting New Faces, Flavors at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

  • Epcot's Fresh for Spring

    Thirty million blooms; a thousand butterflies; and an innumerable collection of colorful containers, towers, trees and more serve as the backdrop to the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, an annual spring event running from early March through the middle of May. With 11 Outdoor Kitchens serving three dozen brand new items, the Orlando event is gaining some foodie cred, as well. See what new and (mostly) edible attractions await park visitors. 

    Photo courtesy of Ryan Wendler / Disney

  • "For the First Time in Forever . . ."

    . . . Anna and Elsa are topiaries! The Frozen femmes greet visitors at the entrance to the World Showcase, where festival foodies (They're not limited to the International Food & Wine fest anymore.) eagerly peruse the Outdoor Kitchens. Favorites from years past and a host of new flavors await. 

    Photo courtesy of Matt Stroshane / Disney

  • 24-Carrot Hijinx

    Anna and Elsa aren't the only beloved Disney characters making their topiary debut in 2015. With a prime location at Epcot's front-entrance garden, Chip and Dale are – no real surprise here – creating a bit of a gardening challenge for the hapless Donald Duck.  

    Photo courtesy of Ryan Wendler / Disney

  • Cool Pockets

    The falafel pocket comes with cucumber tomato salad and tahini sauce ($5). Pair it with a generous pour of the Taste of Marrakesh Outdoor Kitchen's white sangria, Gerrouane red or perhaps a Desert Rose (sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur). It's a nice way to get your antioxidants!

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Middle Eastern Morsels

    If you've only got a few bucks left on that Disney gift card and have a hankering for dessert, you can't beat the pistachio baklava you'll also find in Morocco. It's flaky, nutty, not too sweet and generously portioned for its $3 price tag. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Saucy Sushi

    Japan's Hanami kitchen boasts a few new offerings, one of which is the colorful Osaka salmon sushi ($5.50), awash in tri-colors of dynamite, volcano and eel sauces. The teriyaki curry bun features a ground amalgam of chicken and vegetables. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Dole Dog?

    You can pair this new pineapple dog ($4) with sparkling pineapple wine or hard pineapple cider: this is the Pineapple Promenade Outdoor Kitchen, after all. Or chase it with a rum-topped pineapple soft-serve. Any of these will temper the heat if the Sriracha mayo-pineapple chutney topping proves too spicy.

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Superfood Salads

    Among Urban Farm Eats kitchen's new items, the Urban Mary: Epcot's Smirnoff-infused take on the Bloody, served with a pickled green bean ($7.75). This healthful offering is kale salad with dried cherries, almonds and goat cheese with white balsamic viniagrette ($3.50), a goodie for gluten-free and vegetarian diners. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Light and Latin

    Color is the word at the all-new Botanas Botànico kitchen, which, after one or two flutes of the Monte Paschoal Natural Brut Sparkling Wine, is easily the most fun kitchen name to say. Botanas' new seafood ceviche ($5.25) melds shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado – a light, tropical choice for a hot, sunny festival day.  

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Pop a Cachapa

    On the Botanas veggie side: cachapas with farmers cheese ($3.25). Try the La Tizanas drink, leaded or unleaded, for a fruity infusion. "There's a delicious orange liqueur from Venezuela available to make it into an adult libation," says Content Development Manager Marianne Hunnel. "Or you can just enjoy the fresh juices that are a part of this beautiful beverage."

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Veggie Temptations

    You can learn about quinoa at the expansive Urban Farm Eats garden, then devour it at the outdoor kitchen. This quinoa vegetable "naanwich" ($4.25) is topped with arugula pesto and oven-dried tomatoes, another interesting selection for vegetarians. 

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Returning Classics

    Foodies were buzzing around the Florida Fresh Outdoor Kitchen, many excited to see a returning favorite. The watermelon salad embodies this year's hashtag, #FreshEpcot, adding to its fruity sweetness of pickled onions, B&W Gourmet Farms baby arugula, feta and balsamic reduction. Along with the Fleur de Lys Kitchen's duck confit, Executive Chef Gregg Hannon called the salad a "new classic."

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Gluten-Free Treats

    Guests in Italy will enjoy the Lady and the Tramp topiary, of course, along with Prosciutto e Pane di Casa, a new antipasti pinwheel of meat and cheese with a drizzle of olive oil and a hunk of ciabatta. Those with a sweet tooth might prefer this Limoncello Panna Cotta, a gluten-free offering at the pavilion's Primavera Kitchen.

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Florida-Fresh Fruit

    The Florida Fresh Kitchen is overflowing with "Sunshine State"-spun libations, such as a Key lime sparkling wine and crisp Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing. Food-wise, however, the new kid on the block is this Florida blueberry and lemon curd tart ($3.75).

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • Potent Pops

    Eric Weistroffer, general manager of Chefs de France, called the invention of this year's new ice pop, a "Why didn't I think of this before?!" moment. Hot on the heels of the popular La Vie en Rose frozen slush, "It's something between a dessert and a cocktail. And as it's a push pop, it's fun, something that will remind you of being a kid!" The icy treat features Grand Marnier Peach Raspbery, vodka and iced tea.

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

  • "Frozen" Magic Bands

    "There are only 5,000, and then they're gone," a friendly cast member says. For $29.95, one of these beautiful limited edition Magic Bands can be yours. Better hurry, though. Though the shelves were still stocked at press time, several were already listed on eBay!

    Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson