Disney has announced the first details on the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2016 and there are some pretty huge changes coming to Epcot this year.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2016 Dates

This year’s festival is going to be running at a record of 90 days (previous festivals have run for around 75 days). The festival kicks off on March 2nd and will run through to May 30th.

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are making a return once again this year (why wouldn’t they when they make Disney some serious cash?) and the 11 we have seen previously are making a return. These are:

  • Urban Farm Eats
  • Pineapple Promenade
  • Fleur de Lys
  • Florida Fresh
  • Taste of Marrakesh
  • Hanami
  • The Smokehouse: barbecue and brews
  • Primavera kitchen
  • Lotus House
  • Bauernmarkt
  • Jardin de Fiestas

Disney are also looking ago add two brand new outdoor kitchens to the event this year.

I am a huge fan of these outdoor kitchens and they really bring something extra to the festival, the dishes are distinctly different from the Food and Wine Festival, my personal favourite from last year is the beef brisket pictured below.

beef brisket with jalapeños

La Isla Fresca

This new location will focus on Caribbean flavours and will have items on the menu such as:

  • Jamaican braised beef with pigeon pea rice and jerk spiced grouper
  • Chicken with mango salsa

Cider House

This new location will of course feature various ciders (very popular here in the UK) but will also feature food. New items revealed thus far include:

  • Field greens salad with greens harvested from The Land pavilion
  • Blueberry hard cider

I will provide full menus to all 13 of the outdoor kitchens as and when the information becomes available.

New Topiaries at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2016

Disney are adding three new topiary characters into the mix this year with the introduction of Huey, Dewey and Louie.

Donald Duck’s nephews will be based on the 1943 Donald Duck comic book entitled The Victory Garden and will feature with Donald and Daisy at the front entrance of Epcot throughout the festival.

Pictured below is the Elsa topiary from last year (this year relocated to the Norway Pavilion).

Elsa topiary

Harmony Gardens Musical Playground

This brand new playground will debut with interactive drums, chimes and xylophones as well as challenging net based structures for kids to play on. Harmony Gardens will also feature the fab five topiary of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.

Cactus Road Rally

For families who kids loved the Cars themed play area from last year don’t fret, the play area is returning along with the topiary versions of Mater and Lightning McQueen.

Fun Fresh Weekends

In addition to the standard activities that go on throughout the duration of the festival, Disney are adding Fun Fresh Weekends that each take a different theme and help to educate guests while ensuring they are having fun. At the moment the weekends are broken down as:

April 1-3 – Art in the Garden Weekend

Spotlights nature through the works of plein air artists.

April 8-1o – Family Fun Weekend

Outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy and the Festival Centre focuses on bugs with experts coming from Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

April 22-24 – Earth Day Weekend

A celebration of our planet with special appearances and activities.

April 29-May 1 – Florida Fresh Weekend

Features Florida State’s edible bounty from Apalachicola to Zellwood.

Ranger Mickey Topiary Garden

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service Disney will be offering guests a chance to take a selfie and photo opportunity with Spaceship Earth in the backdrop.

Garden Rocks Concert Series

While the full lineup hasn’t yet been revealed for the yearly concert series, Disney have revealed that the lineup will kick off on March 4-6 and will feature former members of ELO. Also new acts to the festival will be featuring such as Bad Company. More on the full lineup as it is announced.

Butterfly House

The Butterflies on the Go garden will return this year and will tell the story of the Monarch’s journey across the continent and will feature butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.

Festival Center

The Festival Center of course makes a return and will be open for guests to enjoy complimentary gardening seminars as well as selling souvenirs and running a number of other seminars on a number of topics outside of just gardening. Signature merchandise, food and beverages will all be available from center.

With 90 days of festival fun this year’s Flower and Garden Festival is set to be the biggest yet!