The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will soon be in full bloom at Walt Disney World Resort, a sure sign that spring is upon us. The festival begins March 1 and continues through May 29, 2017. Featuring a colorful array of flowers, gardens, topiaries, live music, presentations and educational events, this festival is a highlight for all visitors, from gardening pros to novice naturists.

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Throughout the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, guests will be able to explore topiaries and gardens, learn planting, style and design techniques and groove to the sounds of the Garden Rocks concerts.

Highlights of the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival include:


The 2017 festival features several new displays, as well as some old favorites, with over 100 topiaries. Here are the new topiaries you don’t want to miss:

  • Belle – Located at the France Pavilion
  • Figment – Located behind Spaceship Earth
  • Phineas and Ferb – Located near Odyssey Bridge
  • The Three Caballeros – Located at the Mexico Pavilion


Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Garden Rocks Concert Series

Groove to music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s at the America Gardens Theatre. Performances are at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Jon Secada
>March 3 & 4, 2017
Known for the Song: “Just Another Day”

Dennis DeYoung featuring the music of STYX
March 5 & 6, 2017
Known for the Song: “Grand Illusion”

The Pointer Sisters
March 10 to 13, 2017
Known for the Song: “I’m So Excited”

Simple Plan
March 17 & 18, 2017
Known for the Song: “Welcome to My Life”

Plain White T’s
March 19 & 20, 2017
Known for the Song: “Hey There Delilah”

Night Ranger
March 24 to 27, 2017
Known for the Song: “Sister Christian”

Little River Band
March 31 to April 3, 2017
Known for the Song: “Reminiscing”

Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice
April 7 to 10, 2017
Known for the Song: “Spinning Wheel”

Gin Blossoms
April 14 to 17, 2017
Known for the Song: “Hey Jealousy”

The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
April 21 to 24, 2017
Known for the Song: “Evil Woman”

April 28 & 29, 2017
Known for the Song: “Point of No Return”

Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – NEW!
April 30 & May 1, 2017
Known for the Song: “Take My Breath Away”

STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
May 5 to 8, 2017
Known for the song “We Built This City”

The Guess Who
May 12 to 15, 2017
Known for the Song: “American Woman”

Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 19 to 22, 2017
Known for the Song: “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”

The Spinners
May 26 to 29, 2017
Known for the Song: “Working My Way Back to You”

HGTV and DIY Stars Presentations

During the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, get inspired by the stars of these networks. Learn to build a better garden with fascinating tips, tricks and techniques from talented HGTV and DIY Network designers and personalities. All presentations are at noon and 3pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Monday through Thursday other experts will present at these times.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Don’t forget to make time for these special Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival family-friendly weekend events:

Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment and Conservation Specialists: March 31 to April 2 and April 28 to 30, 2017
Interact with team members from Disney’s Animal Kingdom park during this unique opportunity—an entire weekend featuring a variety of topics the whole family will enjoy, including what we can do to protect the planet, a.k.a. our own Spaceship Earth!

Celebrate Earth Day: April 22 to 24, 2017
Share in a celebratory occasion as we commemorate the place we all call home! Enjoy an assortment of special activities—and listen along as featured personalities speak at the Festival Center.

Discover the Bounty of Florida Agriculture: May 5 to 7, 2017
Don’t miss out on the chance to dig into Sunshine State! Interact with a whole cornucopia of Florida Agriculture specialists inside the Festival Center.

Florida Federation of Garden Clubs: May 12 to 14, 2017
Marvel at amazing flora designs that defy description—each one located inside the Festival Center.

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Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor Kitchens at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival present fresh, seasonal menus from countries spanning the globe. The list below is what’s featured for 2017.

Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market
Country: Germany

Cider House
Country: United Kingdom

Fleur de Lys
Country: France

Florida Fresh
Country: United States of America

Country: Japan

Jardin de Fiestas
Country: Mexico

La Isla Fresca
Features: Caribbean Islands

Lotus House
Country: China

Northern Bloom
Country: Canada

Pineapple Promenade
Features: Sweet frozen treats

Primavera Kitchen
Country: Italy

Taste of Marrakesh
Country: Morocco

The Berry Basket – NEW!
Features: Berry dishes

THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews
Country: United States of America

Urban Farm Eats
Features: All-natural food and drink

All of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival events, concerts and programs are included with Disney World tickets.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Disney World excels at keeping their parks fresh, fun and entertaining! This year is no exception, as the park is bursting at the seams with activity. With that in mind, it’s time to discuss what’s new and what’s next for Disney World Theme Parks.  To get the scoop on new attractions at Disney World for 2017, read on.


Enjoy a VIP viewing of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks at the end of your Highway in the Sky excursion.

Highway in the Sky Dine-Around

Open Now

Disney offers more than just character attractions and thrill rides. In fact, it’s an excellent place for foodies too! Experience the thriving food scene at Disney World Resort on the Highway in the Sky Dine-Around. It features priority boarding on the monorail, with stops for cocktails (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), appetizers (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort), dinner (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), and dessert (Disney’s Contemporary Resort). The night is capped by a viewing of the Magical Kingdom’s “Wishes Spectacular” from the Contemporary’s observation deck. Available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

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River of Light is an amazing new show sure to captivate audiences.

Rivers of Light

February 2017

Another element that will make Animal Kingdom a day and night experience is the addition of Rivers of Light. The innovative experience opened on February 17, 2017, and takes place on Discovery River. The show will combine live music, floating lanterns, water screens, and swirling animal imagery. As night show, it will become the perfect ending to a full day of fun at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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The Na’vi River journey will be unlike any other Disney adventure–ever!

Pandora: The World of Avatar

May 2017

As one of the most anticipated new attractions at Disney World in recent years, Pandora already has an eager fan base chomping at the bit to experience this one-of-a-kind world. Soon enough, they’ll get their chance!

Pandora comes to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27, 2017, right in time for Memorial Day Weekend. The immersive fantasy world will envelop guests in the world of Avatar, inspired by James Cameron’s epic film Avatar. Floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforest, and a banshee flying attraction, as well as after dark entertainment, will immerse guests in the world of Pandora.

Highlights include:

Avatar Flight of Passage: Fly high above the jungles of pandora on a Mountain Banshee.

Na’vi River Journey: A family-friendly boat ride through the bioluminescent rainforests of Pandora.

Satu’Li Canteen: Explorers can recharge at this canteen, the main dining location within Pandora.

Pongu Pongu: The go-to place for drinks and snacks.

Windtraders: An all-encompassing gift shop for all things Na’vi.


©Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars Tour

Spring 2017

New attractions at Disney World don’t stop at the Animal Kingdom. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is opening an all-new Star Wars Guided Tour. The 7-hour experience is an immersion into all things Star Wars and is offered on Mondays and Saturdays only. Character greetings, themed dining, ride experiences, insider tours, a dessert party and VIP viewing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectauracular are among the highlights. This new experience comes on the heels of several new Star Wars attractions that debuted in December 2016. Among them, the onstage showcase “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

Even more Star Wars themed lands are in the works for Hollywood Studios, so stay tuned!


Miss Fortune Falls features a treasure hunt through raging river rapids.

Miss Fortune Falls

Spring 2017

New attractions at Disney World also extend to their waterparks. Over at Typhoon Lagoon, guests are treated to an all-new family-style raft adventure. It’s themed after Captain Mary Oceaneer, who legend has it, was a treasure hunter who roamed the seven seas until a rogue storm marooned her vessel at Typhoon Lagoon.

The ride starts gently enough, as treasure rafts make their way through the open waters. But then, they plunge into a whitewater adventure! At two minutes long, this excursion is set to be one of the longest at Disney’s Waterparks.


Concept art of the revamped Planet Hollywood Observatory at Disney Springs.

Disney Springs

Throughout 2017

In 2017, the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs continues. This year the expansion is focused on food, with a bevy of new restaurants opening.

Paddlefish: Taking over the former Fulton’s Crab House location, Paddlefish offers a sleek and modern spin on a steak and seafood house. Menu options include a build-your-own-boil, while the rooftop lounge will offer a special late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.

Planet Hollywood Observatory: Out with the old and in with the new! This reimagined concept takes the old dome of the Planet Hollywood Restaurant, and transforms it into an observatory focused on a different kind of stars–the celestial ones! However, the interior still feature a ton of movie memorabilia, video screens, and music, so you can still get your pop culture fix. The menu, created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, puts an out-of-this-world spin on everything from burgers to cocktails.

The Polite Pig: Orlando locals love The Ravenous Pig. The Polite Pig, serving as it’s sister restaurant, offers the same scrumptious Florida cuisine. Wood-fired and grilled meats are their signature, as is an impressive beverage program that serves all drinks on tap–even wine!

Wine Bar George: Speaking of wine, at Wine Bar George master sommelier George Miliotes creates a unique place to sip, sit and eat. Infused with the themes of a winemaker’s estate, the vibe is very warm and cozy. Small plates dominate the menu as wines have a starring role. And, with over 100 to choose from, every palate will be pleased.

It’s Going to Be a Great Year

This is the latest update on new attractions at Disney World for 2017. As always, Reserve Orlando will keep you updated on all that’s happening in Orlando, Disney World and beyond.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The spirit of New Orleans is brought to life during Universal Orlando Mardi Gras!  A combination of electrifying concerts, a dazzling parade, delicious Cajun cuisine and plenty of authentic New Orleans musicians creates one of the biggest parties in Orlando, Florida.   

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras 2015

On select nights February 4 through March 25, 2017, Universal Orlando guests will be treated to a family-friendly version of Mardi Gras.  You know it’s Mardi Gras the minute you enter the park, with festive decorations, traditional Zydeco Music, street performers and stilt walkers creating quite the scene.  Of course, the biggest crowd pleasers are Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Concerts.  This year’s line-up features a variety of music with everything from rock to R&B, to country to pop sensations taking the stage. 

Concert_499673637The complete line-up of Universal Orlando Mardi Gras performers:
  • February 4: Trace Adkins
  • February 11: Ne-Yo
  • February 18: Collective Soul
  • February 19: X Ambassadors
  • February 25: Fifth Harmony
  • March 4: Yandel
  • March 5: Olivia Newton-John
  • March 11: UB40
  • March 12: Toby Keith
  • March 18: Jason DeRulo
  • March 19: Earth, Wind and Fire
  • March 25: The All-American Rejects


All concerts are included with the purchase of Universal Studio tickets.  Concerts are held at the Music Plaza stage.  Get ready for beads, bands and good times!

Before the concerts, be sure to take in the Mardi Gras Parade.  Winding its way through the streets of Universal Studios, the parade celebrates cultures from around the world  A lot of work, imagination, wood, glitter and paint went into making each float, all of which will take you around the globe to exotic locales.  The celebration continues at the French Quarter Courtyard, which is the central location of the Mardi Gras festivities.  Located near the Mummy and Twister attractions at Universal Studios, the French Quarter is where you’ll find food, spirits and music straight out of the Big Easy. 

The New Orleans Bands performing include:
February 4-14: Young Pinstripe Brass Band
February 15-21: New Breed Brass Band
February 22 – March 5: Free Agents Brass Band
March 6-15: Naughty Professor Brass Band
March 16-25: Dirty Bourbon River Show


After the concerts end, head to Pat O’Briens at Universal CityWalk.  It is a replica of the original bar in New Orleans.  Grab a hurricane and continue the festive fun you can find only at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Celebration.

Get Universal Orlando tickets for an authentic Mardi Gras Celebration unlike any other!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.