8 reasons to visit Epcot garden fest this spring

Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival turns 21 this year, and now’s the perfect time to make a toast — since the new Spice Road Table restaurant at Morocco in the World Showcase has some of the best sangria we’ve ever tasted.

Here are eight reasons to plan a trip to Epcot during the festival, which runs March 5 to May 18:

Groovy bands: Gary Lewis and the Playboys ( This Diamond Ring) hit the Flower Power concert stage for the first time March 14-16. The Alan Parsons Live Project ( Eye in the Sky) is also new this year, May 16-18. On opening weekend, March 7-9, the Guess Who kicks off the Flower Power concert series.

Monstrous Garden: A new Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden (near the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth) welcomes the kids with a playland and special topiaries, including Peter Pan.

Hummingbirds at Home: Do you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden? Check out a new exhibit with walk-through garden by the National Audubon Society.

Gardens aglow: After sunset, illuminated gardens will cast a glow.

It’s easy being green: Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy will make their topiary debuts among the 100-plus topiaries throughout Epcot during the festival.

HGTV stars: Alison Victoria of Kitchen Crashers and Matt Blashaw of Yard Crashers are among 11 HGTV personalities appearing on weekends at the Festival Center.

Outdoor Kitchens: For the second year, 11 outdoor kitchens will send delicious smells wafting throughout Epcot as chefs prepare delights like smoked turkey ribs and “Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes.” Last year’s top menu picks like the Watermelon Salad with local baby arugula, feta cheese, pickled red onions and balsamic reduction will be back for an encore at the Florida Fresh Outdoor Kitchen.

Spice Road Table: Now let’s get back to that sangria — the organic and delectable Spice Road Signature Sangria ($9.99 per glass) at Morocco’s newest restaurant. Spice Road is right on the lagoon and offers spectacular views of the Epcot ball, but you could be blind-folded and still enjoy the tapas and drinks here. We also like the wine flights — three 3-ounce pours of white or red wine, all from the Mediterranean region ($12.99).