It’s no secret that Flower & Garden Festival is Epcot’s most photogenic season. Chances are if you’re visiting during this annual event, you’re going to have your camera in hand and snapping some photos of the topiaries and gardens will be a priority.
I always take advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass service, but for events like the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival it can be even more useful. If you’re not familiar, PhotoPass Cast Members can be found all over the theme parks and at select character meet and greets and dining locations. These Cast Members are great at getting everyone in the shot and they often have some extra magic they can work, some of which only takes place at the festival!
Keep reading for all of my tips for making the most of PhotoPass during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, and let me know what you love about this festival in the comments!
Look out for Magic Shots
If you’re looking for something a little different in your photo, ask the photographer if they have (or know of any) magic shots. If you’re not familiar, Magic Shots are when a character or prop is magically added to the image after it’s taken.
I actually never ask about Magic Shots because I think they’re more fun when they’re a surprise, but if you’re really hoping to get one it never hurts to ask. Some of the Magic Shots at Epcot’s festivals (like the one above) are only available during these events, so if you’re hoping to get something Flower & Garden specific definitely check with the Cast Member who takes your photo!
Use your own phone or camera
Disney PhotoPass Cast Members are always happy to take your photos using your own phone or camera. I think many first-time Disney guests are afraid to approach these Cast Members because without knowing how all of this works it may seem like you’ll have to buy the photos after. But this isn’t the case. I’m able to download all of my photos because they’re included with the cost of my annual pass, but if you aren’t a passholder and you don’t want to pay for them, you can always ask to use your own phone or camera.
The only real downside to doing this is that you won’t be able to take any magic shots (since the magic only works on Disney’s cameras!). It’s not as much of an issue during Flower & Garden Festival specifically, but depending on the quality of your phone/camera (and how well another person will know how to use it) some areas, particularly character meet and greets don’t have the best lighting, and I’ve had better luck with the PhotoPass photos.
Or purchase Memory Maker
Before I was an annual passholder, I always purchased Memory Maker, and I still recommend purchasing it to anyone looking to get the best photos on their trips to the parks. Memory Maker gives you unlimited downloads of all of your PhotoPass photos including character meet and greets, ride photos, select dining locations, and any other photos you take with Disney’s photographers in the parks all for one price. It isn’t cheap ($170 if you buy in advance, $200 if you buy during your trip) but in my opinion it’s so worth it!
With Memory Maker PhotoPass photographers can snap away and simply scan your band. And for Epcot’s festivals, particularly Flower & Garden Festival which I think is the most photogenic, doing this can be so much easier. Getting Memory Maker saves you the hassle of carrying your camera around or handing off your phone to random guests, and best of all you can get the whole family in the picture. My photos always come out better when these Cast Members take them as opposed to selfies or asking other guests, and especially for an event like Flower & Garden Festival you can easily get your money’s worth with a day or two in Epcot alone.
Be prepared to wait in line
Everyone is out taking photos of the topiaries during Flower & Garden Festival, so you’ll want to come to Epcot prepared to wait in line for rides, the outdoor kitchen, and more specifically to this festival: photos. To avoid the crowds, it really does pay to get to Epcot right when the park opens in the morning. During the first couple of hours of the day there are not too many guests in the park, and most of them are rushing over to Soarin’ or Test Track. So if you take this time to get some topiary photos you can cut down on some of the crowds.
If you do get stuck in a crowd for photos, the only thing you can really do is be patient. I find that using PhotoPass when you can helps because they have an organized line formed and they know how to manage it. Otherwise you’re kind of on your own waiting for other guests to get in and out of your shot. Just be sure to be considerate of other guests and plan for some extra time to take photos if you’re hoping to avoid getting anyone else in your shots.
Bring your food, drinks, festival merch, or style!
Make the most of your festival PhotoPass memories by bringing whatever you have into your photos! If you get one of the souvenir cups like the Orange Bird above get it into your photo! I’ve also taken some cute photos in the past with whatever we were snacking on from the outdoor kitchens (this year’s cotton candy in China would be a great opportunity for that!) or with whatever outfit you’ve chosen specifically for the day.
Don’t have a ‘prop’ to use? Some PhotoPass locations during Flower & Garden Festivals have the festival-specific photo frames you can hold. I usually find them at photo spots that don’t really have much of the festival in the shot otherwise, like near International Gateway between England and France or behind Spaceship Earth. If your photographer has a frame, you can always ask to shoot with it!
- 7 Must-See Gardens & Topiaries at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
- Complete Guide to the 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
- 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchen Menus