You can learn a lot of things from the flowers: Flower & Garden Festival Review

May 8, 2019

Spring is one of my favorite times to visit Disney because it means that the Flower & Garden festival is in full swing bloom. This year, the festival runs from March 6th to June 3rd, so there's still plenty of time to enjoy this festival. There are so many beautiful topiaries scattered around Epcot, including some new ones this year, like Miss Piggy and the gang from Toy Story (separate topiaries - though that would be interesting if it was a mashup!) 

Epcot is such a gorgeous park to begin with, but seeing it literally in living color with flowers blooming everywhere? Count me in because this must be what heaven looks like.

The other best part about F&G besides #aesthetic, is that you can seriously treat your tastebuds. While there are some festival staples that return year after year (lookin' at you, violet lemonade!), one of my favorite things about this festival is trying items that are brand new that year (or at least new to me).

So when I was recently at Epcot, I came armed with a list of snacks & drinks I wanted to try. I'm a habitual planner (& proud of it!), so I had done some in-depth research beforehand, which included pouring over menus & prices, watching YouTube & Instagram stories, and reading a few reviews online (you know, typical really tough & intense research; HA!). I’m one of those people that stares at a menu for a good 30 minutes before deciding between chicken parm or chicken alfredo, & then panics at the last minute and goes rogue with a red meat option, so being presented with some 300+ options at a festival heavily based around food did not bode well for me, had I gone in blindly. 

The list I came up with is as follows:
  • Violet lemonade (Pineapple Promenade)
  • Cider flight (Arbor)
  • Sugar cane shrimp skewer (La Isla Fresca)
  • Burnt end slider (Smokehouse)
  • Frushi (Hanami)
  • Carne Guisada (FL Fresh)
  • La Vie en Rose slush (Fleur de Lys)
  • Macaron pop (Fleur de Lys)
  • Coconut Key Lime Ale (Citrus Blossom)
  • Honey Cheesecake (Honey Bee-Stro)
  • Orange Blossom wine (Honey Bee-Stro)
  • Earl grey cupcake (Sunshine Seasons Bakery)

When it came down to it, I ended up loading $60 onto one of these nifty reloadable F&G giftcards. Not only are they cute (I love anything miniature) & green (the 100% recycled paper tag is embedded with actual seeds you can plant!), but I was drawn to them for 2 other main reasons: one, they were wearable & thus easier to swipe than digging my debit card out from 20,000 leagues under my purse (or in this trip’s case – diaper bag. Lord knows what lurks at the bottom of that bag), and two, each receipt post-purchase totaled up the remaining balance of your card. There’s nothing worse than going swipe-crazy with the plastic, only to get home after your trip and nearly faint at the sight of some of those Disney bills. Pre-loaded cards are kind of like having that one really responsible Mom-friend who gently touches your arm and says, “Oh honey, do you really need that 3rd violet lemonade with a side of mac & cheese? Really?” This way, I knew what I had to spend, and when it was gone, it was gone…and then it would be time to max out the husband’s cards. Kidding! Kind of.

While I didn’t get around to trying everything on my list (my husband chose some rogue items that threw off my list), I did get to try quite a few of them and had some definite favorites. The honey mascarpone cheesecake from Honey Bee-Stro was divine. It was a pretty generous sized portion of cheesecake with orange blossom honey ice cream and came garnished with mini meringues (& I'm pretty sure the honey also had glitter in it). I 100% regret not getting the orange blossom wine to wash it down with, because I think it would have been the perfect pairing. 

Frushi was something I normally wouldn’t pick, but after hearing about its basically cult-following, I had to give it a try. It's a combo of pineapple, melon, and strawberry rolled with coconut rice and topped off with a whipped cream/berry drizzle & toasted coconut. I'm not a sushi person mostly, but I was pleasantly surprised and definitely would get it again.

The brisket & pork belly slider from Smokehouse was awesome & 10/10 would recommend. It was juicy, tender, and incredibly flavorful. Just find some shade when you enjoy this one – eating something this hot (temperature-wise) while sitting directly on the surface of the sun (ie. the picnic tables NOT in the shade) is unwise. Rookie mistake, but it’s still better than using the unofficial tables of the Epcot festivals (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see exhibit A).

Aside from being a self-proclaimed foodie (which really only amounts to “hey, this is delicious!” or “ew, this is disgusting!”), I am also a beer aficionado. No, I couldn’t tell you the difference between an IPA or a saison, or describe the various flavor profiles of a witbier, but I do know that I just like beer and so it made the cut (move over macaron pop – it’s time to drink around the world. LET’S DO THIS!) We tried several beers at the festival, but the ones that stood out the most to me were part of the cider flight from Arbor.

From left to right: Black widow hard cider (Original Sin Brewery, NY); Strawberry Rose hard cider (FL Beer Company, Cape Canaveral, FL); Key Lime Apple hard cider (St. Petersburg, FL)
The strawberry rose cider was by far the clear winner (for me, anyway), but all 3 were really good and very refreshing. Bonus points for Arbor being in the A.C. It’s located in the Odyssey (between Test Track & Mexico), where they recently held Minnie’s Garden Party. We were there 2 days before the party started, and they actually had the pop up shop already set up inside, with Minnie’s Garden Party/flower & garden merch, as well as a Passholder merch section. (Sidenote: who else is super upset that Minnie’s Garden Party lasted LESS THAN A WEEK? That should be an entire event. I would pay extra money to attend what I saw plastered all over my Instagram feed this week. /endrant). I swooned over the Garden Party spirit jersey, which was shortlived until I saw the pricetag. I opted for the most adorable watering can mug instead, at a much more palatable price of about $14 (with my AP discount. Hooray savings!).

And of course, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t do it all in style? You know I had to dress for the occasion. I spent half the day in my Epcot dapper outfit (more on that later), and the other half (after we had returned from a much needed midday resort break) in my festival attire. I kind of felt very Coachella-meets-F&G Festival (thinking I might need to do a few Disney festival looks…)

Floral Minnie ears - Second Star Co.
I paired my shop’s violet lemonade/mean girls mashup tank (represent! Gotta get that content when I can!) with a pair of high waisted denim shorts. I love that high waisted bottoms with tucked-in shirts are a thing again. Just pretend I'm holding a violet lemonade. It didn't last long enough to make it to the photo sesh :)

Violet Lemonade tank - Second Star Co. | High waisted denim shorts - Amazon | Kimono - TJ Maxx but similar style via Shein
I threw on a floral fringe kimono over the tank to complete the look. I’ve had this little beauty hanging in my closet for over a year, just begging to be taken to the festival, so it was an obvious choice. I topped it all off with a pair of floral wire ears I made. I mean, that was a given, because if you didn’t wear a Minnie flower crown to Epcot while eating & drinking around the world (& Instagramming the entire thing), did you even go to the festival? Bruh. The answer is no. Life is short. Wear the flower crown. Then DM me on Instagram all your favorite festival picks - @secondstarco. Happy festival-ing! (Is that a verb? I think I just made that a thing.) 

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