The largest number of front-entrance topiaries ever, 1,000 brilliantly hued butterflies, 240 floating mini-gardens and 30 million blooms paint a landscape masterpiece at the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7-May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort. Among this year’s fun festival facts: 30 million blooms blanket the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days. The festival’s front-entrance Fantasia topiary scene comprises 28 topiaries - more than have been used in any front-entrance display. The 28 include Sorcerer Mickey, three ostriches, two hippos, two alligators, two elephants, nine stars, a spiral and eight mushrooms. 22,615 plant plugs of 15 plant varieties make up the Fantasia front-entrance topiary. They include reindeer moss for Sorcerer Mickey’s face and red begonias for his hat; creeping fig for Mickey, hippos and gators; Sweet Ayssum, and three shades of Lobelia simulate water spilling over a large topiary rock made up of Black Scallop Ajuga upon which the Sorcerer stands. 4,000 Blushing Bride air plants from Guatemala color the two hippos’ tutus and 300 Cotton Candy air plants from Peru feather the wings and tails of the three ostrich topiaries. Smaller air plants are used as ostrich slippers. 1,250 feet of quarter-inch irrigation tubing is woven into the Fantasia front-entrance topiaries. Dozens of additional Disney character topiaries represent the largest collection of Disney character topiary in the world and include classic film stars like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella and Tinker Bell. At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define features of additional festival topiaries. More color has been added to the topiaries than in any previous topiary presentation. 1,000 native butterflies represent up to 10 species at the expansive Bambi’s Butterfly House. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily. More than 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs are planted for the festival; 250,000 of those are annual blossoms installed for the festival. Festival plants include 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 varieties of bedding plants. 150 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars will be presented. Thirty “flower towers” of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza. 240 floating mini-gardens, each three feet in diameter, of multi-hued impatiens provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase. 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot. 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays. It takes more than one full year and about 24,000 cast member hours to prepare for the annual festival. The festival’s weekend Flower Power concert series includes 11 artists and groups known for more than 100 Top 40 hits. This year’s musical hit-makers from the 1960s and ’70s include Jose Feliciano, Starship starring Mickey Thomas, The Guess Who, The Spinners, Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night (NEW!), The Orchestra starring former members of ELO (NEW!), Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone and Davy Jones.