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Epcot news: Flower & Garden festival kicks off; changes at Canada's Le Cellier Steakhouse

By Robert Niles
Published: March 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM
The annual International Flower & Garden Festival kicks off today at Epcot. The 18th annual event features a collection of more than 100 special topiaries around the park, as well as concert series and special events featuring HGTV network personalities.

Disney-Pixar characters will be making their first appearance in floral form at the festival this year, including topiary Woody and Buzz from the Toy Story films.

Woody and Buzz at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Disney gardeners work on the Woody and Buzz topiaries. Photo courtesy Disney.

We'll be talking more about the Flower & Garden festival in a couple weeks, when it joins the field for the 2011 Theme Park Insider Tournament. (Yeah, I'm letting that one out of the bag early.)

I'd love to hear from some Theme Park Insider readers, in the comments, with tips for getting the most from this event. Disney's offering a variety of special events featuring show hosts from HGTV, as well as a concert series, with a collection of artists from the 80s and before, including Melissa Manchester and Juice Newton.

The Flower & Garden festival runs this year through May 15, 2011 and is included with park admission.

* * *

In other Epcot news, if you're using the Disney Dining Plan, you'll now need two credits to dine at Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion.

Chef Al Youngman is taking over the kitchen at Le Cellier, which is debuting a new dinner menu featuring all Canadian-raised beef, deflecting one of the criticisms of the restaurant from sharp-eyed diners who'd wondered why the Canada restaurant was serving American beef. (If you were wondering, the iconic Cheddar Cheese soup is staying on the menu.)

Disney's using the new menu as the peg for upping the point requirement for Le Cellier, but frankly, Disney would have been well justified making the switch even without the upgrade in cuisine, given the restaurant's enduring popularity. Le Cellier has long been Epcot's toughest table, one those locations you'd need to call exactly 180 days in advance to be certain of getting a priority seating time during your visit.

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on March 2, 2011 at 4:49 PM
Epcot's Food & Wine is second only to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights regarding theme park events I want to visit.

Is Chef Al Youngman Canadian? I don't care much, but I thought the head chefs of each World Showcase restaurant were from the countries of origin of the respective cuisines.

From Anthony Murphy on March 2, 2011 at 5:09 PM
As long as the soup stays, the masses will be happy!

Its that good!

From Mike Shirley Jr on March 2, 2011 at 5:21 PM
Le Cellier is like that band you listened to and followed when they were playing dive bars and small venues. All of a sudden, after making it big, everyone knows about it and its no longer your little secret. I miss it being a hidden gem. It was much more appealing to me. The food will always be great, and the cheese soup to die for, but the bigger it becomes, the less interested I am.
From Isaac M. on March 5, 2011 at 9:49 PM
Well, thats crazy, Its really odd how people say is crazy get a reservation to this restaurant, On dec 31 of 2007 without any reservation i just appeared there and got a table. It was really good anyways I was surprised how easy was to get in, i think nowdays is getting more and more popular. Maybe the next best restaurant at a Theme Park...

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