Many of us take for granted the beautiful foliage that helps create the myriad themes and settings at Walt Disney World. Little details are precise and blend so well they are barely noticed, but without them, the magic would be diminished. The exact placement of the palm trees lining Hollywood Boulevard at Hollywood Studios makes the setting real, and exudes the feel that you are actually amid the glamour of old-time Los Angeles.
It’s this attention to detail that really sets Disney apart from other theme park companies.
It takes a lot of talent to make the magic happen and to keep these exotic plants thriving in Florida’s extreme weather. Disney World has an astounding 650 specialists who look after the four million trees, shrubs and flowers on property – including more than 5,000 hanging baskets!
In fact, if you count just the major plants inside the buildings and hotels, you will come up with a number around 8,000. That requires a lot of green thumbs!
Next time you travel to the Grand Floridian, take a moment to appreciate the palm trees in the lobby or the myriad hanging baskets all around the Polynesian Resort. Take note that the plants are appropriate for the setting, even those found at the World Showcase countries in Epcot.
Deserving special mention are the topiaries at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. Disney guests are delighted year after year to see favorite characters and moments represented by these floral statues. Many of these special touches transcend the realm of gardening, moving into art work.
Continuously Adding New Plants
Every season, each plant is changed and thoughtfully placed to add vibrant natural colors that act as a backdrop among each stage-area. During the summer months, gardeners plant over three million bedding plants.
There are 13,000 roses, with over 100 varieties. Next time you visit the Magic Kingdom check out the rose garden near Cinderella’s Castle to appreciate the diligent work of this crew. During the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival season, there are 1,200 species with 30 million blooms.
Each theme park is filled with scenes set in their own, special landscapes. Notice the exotic jungles of Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland disappearing into the dry, cactus-filled climate of Frontierland. The lush greenery at The Oasis in Animal Kingdom blends into a genuine African savannah before transitioning into the jungles of the Kilimanjaro Safari and the verdant grounds of the Maharaja Jungle Trek.
Across all the parks, six different turf varieties cover nearly 2,000 acres. Disney gardeners have to mow the grass twice and three times a week. (They estimate that they mow one-half million miles each year!)
Disney’s amazing foliage isn’t just for beauty. Wildlife flourishes in the man-made ecosystems. Just take a look around to find everything from deer, to bunnies, to cats (and many other animals in between!) roaming around the property. Herbivores (vegetarian animals) get to munch away at the plants cultivated and planted before them.
Take an even closer look and you will see that Disney has set up more than just plants to help these local communities thrive. Bird houses abound all over Walt Disney World. These cute little structures come in various sizes, shapes and even heights to appeal to the many winged creatures who make their homes there.
If the birds don’t provide enough beauty, perhaps butterflies are more your speed. Epcot has multiple butterfly habitats on the property. During springtime, the fluttering beauties even have their own special exhibit in Future World.
Do you enjoy the flowers and gardens at Disney World? Have a favorite?