Preparations are underway at Walt Disney World’s popular EPCOT theme park for the 18th annual International Flower and Garden Festival. It opens March 2nd and runs through May 15th. In addition to the usual fun exhibits and beautiful displays, Disney welcomes a new sponsor to the festival this year with the home improvement channel HGTV importing the celebrities and how-to that will help the festival bloom.
Also returning to EPCOT’s Flower & Garden Festival are Tinker Bell and her Pixie friends promoting the fourth and final (?) film in their direct-to-DVD series. That series continues to improve every year and Disney’s in park promotion for the pixies gets better too. Can’t wait to hear what they bring this year, I hear that they’re introducing a new winter pixie from the next film.
HGTV’s first-time sponsorship will feature weekend appearances by its acclaimed designers and landscaping experts. The star-studded lineup includes Genevieve Gorder, Lisa LaPorta, Kim Myles, Brian Patrick Flynn, Taniya Nayak, Ahmed Hassan, Patti Moreno, Michele Beschen, John Gidding, Frank Fontana, and Vern Yip.
“We are thrilled to welcome HGTV and so many of the network’s great Talent to Epcot this spring,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “HGTV’s design and gardening personalities add an exciting, and entertaining new element to a festival that reinvents itself year after year.”
Expected appearance dates and more festival information is below the jump:
The country’s leading home and lifestyle television brand brings an addictive blend of design, decorating and landscaping inspiration to the enduring, 75-day gardening extravaganza at Walt Disney World Resort.
At the Festival Center presented by HGTV, popular celebrity experts will appear each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival on the HGTV Stage. The HGTV hosts will deliver valuable tips to Disney guests on topics including “Mobile Gardens,” “Secrets to Bringing Indoor Style Outside” and “Gardening with Kids.”
As part of the sponsorship, HGTV also will present a new, twice-its-previous-size Bambi’s Butterfly House along the Future World Imagination Walkway. Inside this popular festival stop are hundreds of native butterflies and character topiaries from the timeless Disney classic film, “Bambi.” This year’s display celebrates the upcoming release of “Bambi” Diamond Edition, for the first time on Blu-ray Hi-Def.
“People visit Disney for a memorable experience where they are inspired, enlightened and entertained,” said Jim Samples, president, HGTV. “Our star designers will provide just such an experience for the Disney guest during The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV. Disney is the ideal venue and destination for us to connect face-to-face with our passionate viewers.”
The HGTV celebrity lineup includes:
Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Design Star and Dear Genevieve (March 4-6)
The Art of Sculpting Space
Lisa LaPorta, Designed to Sell (March 11 – 13)
Design It Yourself: Easy-to-follow Tips for Designing Your Favorite Rooms
Kim Myles, Myles of Style (March 18 – 20)
The 5 DIY Secrets That Can Transform Any Space
Brian Patrick Flynn, Design Happens, HGTV.com (March 25-27)
Taniya Nayak, Designed to Sell and Destination Design (April 1-3)
Adding Value to Your Home Without Breaking the Bank
Ahmed Hassan, Yard Crashers (April 8-10)
Life, Love and Landscaping
Patti Moreno, Garden Girl, HGTV.com (April 15-17)
Gardening with Kids: Fun Seed Starting Projects
Michele Beschen, B. Original (April 22-24)
When Nature Calls: Creative, Back-to-Basics Style for All Things Natural and Decorative
John Gidding, Curb Appeal: The Block (April 29-30, May 1)
The Design Process: Curb Appeal Projects from Concept to Construction
Frank Fontana, Design on a Dime (May 6-8)
Beautiful on a Budget: High Style, Low-Cost Secrets to Bringing Indoor Styling Outside
Vern Yip, HGTV Design Star (May 13-15)
Top Design Trends Made Affordable and Accessible
In addition to its own celebrity stage appearances, HGTV will present the popular twice-daily Disney Gardening at Home series, where guests can join a workshop and take home projects ranging from hanging baskets to water garden features. The Festival Center’s HGTV Theater will present a special-engagement film featuring tips and hints from HGTV shows.
Dozens of Disney character topiaries are back by popular demand at this year’s festival. Woody, Buzz Lightyear and chief villain Lotso of the Oscar-nominated Disney blockbuster, “Toy Story 3,” make their first topiary appearance in front of Spaceship Earth at the park’s front-entrance garden. Topiary craftsmen also will debut floral versions of Lightning McQueen and Mater, stars of “Cars 2,” to be released in theaters this June.
Flower Power concerts will rock the open-air America Gardens Theatre stage three times each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening with popular acts like Davy Jones and Chubby Checker & The Wildcats. New-to-the-festival performers will include Melissa Manchester, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
More information about the 18th 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, presentations and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.