The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is my family’s favorite time to visit Epcot. With the festival running through May 29, 2017, there’s still plenty of time to go.

Here are my top five tips for taking kids to the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival:

1) Get a Garden Passport for everyone – including little kids!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Garden Passport

You can find the free Garden Passports in the park map stands when you first enter Epcot. These are great because they list all of the food available at the festival’s outdoor kitchens, as well as additional festival information.

But why get one for little kids? One word: Stickers! Each passport contains two dozen stickers. The stickers are meant to be used to self-mark the outdoor kitchens you visit. However, they can also be a fun game to help pass time in lines – find the matching spots for the stickers in the passport. (Or, you know, just let your kids go crazy decorating their passport with the stickers.)

2) Don’t skip the playgrounds!

Epcot has two special playgrounds that are only there for the Flower and Garden Festival: the Music Garden Melodies and the Road to the Florida 500.

Music Garden Melodies playground

The Music Melodies Garden is located on the walkway between Journey into Imagination! and the World Showcase, and it is illuminated after dark. It features musical instruments, including drums and xylophones. There are also two play structures for ages 2-5 and ages 5-12.

Music Garden Melodies (play area for ages 2-5)

 

Music Garden Melodies (play area for ages 5-12)

The Road to the Florida 500 playground, for ages 2-5, is located near Test Track, behind the Mouse Gear shop. This Cars-themed playground (with Cars topiaries nearby) was our favorite with a toddler. The main play set is completely shaded, and it was less busy than the Music Garden Melodies. However, it does close at dusk.

Road to the Florida 500 playground

3) Try some kid-friendly food at the Outdoor Kitchens.

The festival’s 15 outdoor kitchens (food kiosks) feature a number of kid-friendly dishes, like potato pancakes with house-made apple sauce (Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market kiosk) and meatball parmigiana (Primavera Kitchen kiosk).

Our family favorite is the Watermelon Salad from the Urban Farm Eats outdoor kitchen. It also includes pickled onion, baby arugula, feta and balsamic reduction. I’ve tried to copy it at home, but it somehow always just tastes better at Disney (like their popcorn!).

Watermelon Salad – Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

My toddler’s favorite is Frushi from the Hanami outdoor kitchen near the Japan pavilion. Frushi is fresh pineapple, strawberry and melon rolled with raspberry-coconut rice. It’s sprinkled with toasted coconut and comes with a side of whipped cream. It’s a fun and (mostly) healthy treat that my son looks forward to each year.

Frushi – Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Since the serving sizes are small, it’s also a great opportunity to expose kids to new foods.

4) Find your favorite Disney character topiaries

Tinker Belle topiary

During the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, you can find numerous Disney character topiaries throughout the park. Beauty and the Beast, Anna and Elsa, Simba, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Buzz Lightyear are just a few.

Our family loved two of the new topiaries this year. Figment is my childhood favorite, and my son was excited to see one of the new Cars 3 characters, Cruz Ramirez.

Figment topiary

Cruz Ramirez topiary

5) Get a FREE healthy snack!

GoGo squeeZ

GoGo squeeZ is the sponsor of the Butterflies on the Go tent, and they are giving out free packs by the handful! You can usually find people handing them out by the two entrances/exits to the butterfly tent, as well as along the walkway to the Music Garden Melodies playground (look for the umbrellas). The best part (besides being free) is that they are also chilled. A free, healthy, refreshing, non-messy snack? Yes, please!