by Judy Bereza, guest blogger
I’m not afraid to admit it: I’m a Disney World groupie. My husband and I not only have Disney World credit cards proudly displaying an image of that iconic mouse, but we have treated ourselves to annual passes. That doesn’t mean that we line up to ride Expedition Everest every time we visit, but there are ways for senior citizens to enjoy the park that might be considered under the radar.
Our favorite time to visit Disney World is in the Spring, usually from the beginning of March to the end of May, when Epcot hosts the International Flower and Garden Festival. Epcot is resplendent with flowers year round, but during this Festival, a flower explosion occurs.
Exquisitely crafted topiaries of Disney characters are placed throughout the park. Areas normally covered with grass are replanted with flowers. Vegetable gardens emphasize sustainable food production. Outdoor kitchens “sprout” in numerous places around the park and feature farm to table tapas offerings. Special concerts are presented throughout the
An exhibition of all things relating to flowering plants, vegetable gardens, landscaping, and xeriscaping are housed in the Festival Center and staffed with experts who are eager to offer advice and answer questions. Oh, and a large tent features thousands of butterflies flying among the plants that sustain them.
There are special programs and tours that are offered during the Festival, and my husband andI took advantage of the Gardens of the World Tour only available during this event. There is an extra charge for this tour, but well worth it. A Disney horticulturist leads the tour, which lasts for three hours.
The best part? It begins at 9:00 a.m., two hours before the World Showcase opens. Can you imagine strolling through Epcot with no one else except your small group and your guide?
To borrow a phrase, it’s magical! Our guide explained how each country represented in the World Showcase is planted with flowers and vegetation authentic to it.
We had not paid much attention to that aspect on our previous visits, and we were amazed at how much visitors can learn about the horticulture of different countries.
There is so much detail that escapes you when you are part of the masses of people strolling along, but this tour was eye opening. From “imagination”, through construction, to planting and maintaining, plant lovers will be educated and entertained.
For more about the Gardens of the World tour, click this link. Note: Tours are offered both Spring and Fall.
Judy Bereza is a retired interior designer/kitchen expert, constant walker and “Nana” to five adorable grand children. With friends she has hiked in Wales, Cornwall, Switzerland, Smokey Mountain National Park, Ireland and California.
Occasionally she veers off the trail to explore a different kind of travel adventure that includes her husband..