Thirty million multi-hued blooms, 100-plus whimsical topiaries, 1,000 native butterflies and dozens of new food and beverage marketplace tastes bring multi-sensory fun to the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 5-May 18 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. 11 Outdoor Kitchens featuring sweet and savory food and beverage menu items, and more than one dozen brand-new menu items add tasting fun and variety to the festival. Each marketplace will feature a produce and herb garden to represent more than 50 overall beverage choices and more than 40 food items featured. The festival’s front-entrance Spring is In the Air topiary scene comprises three character topiaries - Donald, Daisy and Goofy on a butterfly spotting excursion – and more than 15 varieties of flowers, plants, and other garden materials. Guests will find 99 topiaries throughout the park — 79 of them are character topiaries. Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden, a themed playground for children with innovative play systems, is one of the largest festival gardens created at nearly one-third acre. A collection of large, leafy plants including elephant ears, rubber plants, sea grapes, fiddle leaf fig, banana plants and colorful bromeliads and hibiscus create the garden’s “monstrous” ambiance. The garden’s Sulley topiary is one of Disney’s largest, weighing in at 4,300 pounds. About 4,000 small plants fill his 13-foot frame. Two new topiary stars this year are Kermit and Miss Piggy! Dozens of additional character topiaries represent the largest collection of Disney character topiary in the world and include Timon and Pumbaa, Cinderella, Belle and Beast, and Phineas and Ferb. 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 facial and other features of festival character topiaries. 1,000 native butterflies represent up to 10 species at the expansive Tinker Bell’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. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will have a new place to visit during their migration this spring at the Hummingbirds at Home garden exhibit presented by Audubon. These magical creatures fly non-stop for 20 hours over the Gulf of Mexico as they hum their way to Florida from Central America. Hummingbirds are the only birds able to hover and fly backward and upside down! 240 extra playground hours add extra festival magic for children and their families with the illuminated garden playgrounds staying open through park closing. 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 several varieties of blooms and plants line Innoventions Plaza. 225 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 their Top 40 hits. This year’s musical hit-makers from the 1960s and ’70s include new-to-Flower Power acts Gary Lewis & the Playboys and the Alan Parsons Live Project. Returning are opening weekend act The Guess Who, plus Village People, Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Grass Roots, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Orchestra starring former members of ELO, Starship starring Mickey Thomas and Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone.