Disney Toy Story 3 Heros Make Their Debut At 18th Annual Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Impressive! Then again, what doesn’t Disney do perfectly? Last week, Woody from the Disney Pixar “Toy Story” movies was prepping for his topiary debut today at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV.

Starting today, guests will be able to see Woody in front of Spaceship Earth at the front entrance garden. The festival, will run for 75 days through May 15 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and will feature dozens of Disney character topiaries.

This year’s 75-day festival will showcase over 100 expertly crafted topiaries with a stunning show-stopper – the brand-new “Cars 2” dosplay at thw World Showcase plaza. HGTV is a sponsor this year for teh first time and will present workshops and talks by a solid lineup of master gardeners, Walt Disney World horticulturists and a mix of TV and radio personalities, educators and authors.

New activities for 2011:

  • A roomier-than-ever Bambi’s Butterfly House more than doubles in size this year in its new location along the Imagination Walkway by Innoventions West in Future World. It’s the first time the popular garden has expanded since its 2005 debut, and guests will see more butterflies than ever, Darden says.
  • For the first time at Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, favorite Disney Fairies will pose for photos and sign autographs throughout the day. Young fans who enter this whimsical garden also discover play structures for children ages 2-5.
  • HGTV presents a Sustainable Beauty Garden with ideas for your own home garden.
  • Rapunzel lets down her hair at Rapunzel’s Tower in theTangled Magical Garden inspired by Walt Disney Pictures’ animated film, “Tangled,” located between the Germany and Italy pavilions.
  • Flower Power grows with new-to-the-festival pop acts. Melissa Manchester, March 25-27 (Don’t Cry Out Loud) and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., April 8-10 (You Don’t Have to Be a Star) are set to light up America Gardens Theatre with their timeless tunes.
  • A new Festival Special Weekend is slated for May when Disney*Pixar presents a Pixar Animation Studios celebration in conjunction with the upcoming “Cars 2” big-screen debut set for June 24.

Not to miss events:

  • Flower Power concerts – Popular bands will rock the open-air America Gardens Theatre every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. Jose Feliciano is scheduled to kick off the concert series March 4-6. The Flower Power lineup also will feature pop favorites like Davy Jones and Chubby Checker & The Wildcats.
  • The Festival Center – Guests can shop for festival merchandise, attend workshops and demonstrations and get ideas and tips from master gardeners.
  • Disney Gardening at Home presentations – Disney horticulturists will share gardening tips and lead guests in a hands-on, take-home activity.
  • Special Festival Weekend Celebrations – Art in the Garden celebration of plein air artists March 25-27; Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market salute April 29-May 1; Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and Guerlain’s Enchanted Gardens events May 6-8; and the Disney*Pixar weekend celebration May 13-15.

For more information on the festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit disneyworld.com/flower. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Photo Credit: Gene Duncan