In 1932, Disney produced a Silly Symphony called “Flowers and Trees”. The short earned the studio an Academy Award that same year. After the success, Walt continued to ensure that natural beauty was part of all his projects. When Disneyland was built, flowers and gardens were a unique idea for an entertainment enterprise back then.
In order to build Disneyland, over 12,000 orange trees had to be removed. Not only were some of the trees kept on the property, but Disney also realized he’d need to include more enchanting plant life to inspire guests. Disneyland now uses the trees, flowers and other plants to tell the story of each land and attraction. From the desert landscape of Cars Land to the edelweiss and pine trees of Matterhorn, it’s obvious that Disneyland plants are an important part of the resort.
To celebrate the beauty of the flora and fauna of Disneyland, we’ve gathered the best facts about these Disneyland plants. And don’t forget to let us know your favorite floral fact in the comments below!
Disneyland Plants - 11 Things You'll Never Be-Leaf:
1. The million-year old Disneyland attraction.
The love story between Walt and Lillian Disney continues to inspire many couples around the world. The couple celebrated their 31st anniversary with a trip to Colorado and the Pike Forest Fossil Beds. While there, Walt purchased the remains of one of the trees – a piece that weighed over five tons. Lillian kept the giant petrified tree piece for a year before donating it back to Disneyland. It’s reported that she claimed it was “too large for the mantle” at their home. You can still see the petrified chunk when you visit Disneyland today. Stop by the beginning of Rivers of America on your next vacation to get a lesson in history and the tolerance of a loving wife.
2. The Millennium Tree.
Speaking of old trees, there’s a Sequoia Tree hidden on the nature trail in Disney California Adventure Park. These trees have been found to exist since as early as 818 A.D. and you can guess their age by counting the rings. When looking for the tree, search for the sign that quotes John Steinbeck, “Redwoods are…. ambassadors from another time.” The tree is a great opportunity to learn about history, how trees grow and our environment.
3. The Halloween Tree.
Every year, the Disneyland Resort hosts “Halloween Time” and brings amazing changes to the park. Space Mountain changes to Ghost Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy is attacked by Aliens from the Collector’s library, and Disneyland transforms to fall colors and smells of pumpkin spice. Hidden in Frontierland is a decorated oak tree called the “Halloween Tree.” This Disneyland plant stands as a testament to a friendship between Walt Disney and Ray Bradbury, the famed science fiction author of Fahrenheit 451.
Bradbury worked with Disney to envision EPCOT and even penned the screen play for the Disney movie “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” In 1972, Bradbury wrote “The Halloween Tree,” a story about young people on an adventure where they learn the origins of Halloween and All Hallows’ Eve. The tree was dedicated on October 31, 2007. Bradbury said of the occasion: “I belong here at Disneyland, ever since I came here 50 years ago. I’m glad I’m going to be a permanent part of the spirit of Halloween at Disneyland.” Find the oak tree near the entrance to the Silver Spur gift shop in Frontierland, next to the Golden Horseshoe Saloon.
“Suddenly the day was gone,
night came out from under each tree and spread.”
? Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree, 1972.
4. One of the most photographed spots in the world.
Greeting families upon arrival, “Floral Mickey” has been part of Disneyland since opening day in 1955. Over 7,000 plants make up the iconic flower bed. Disney gardeners switch out the flowers often to ensure that it is colorful and fun. According to a December 2017 USA article, this Disneyland plant is among the most photographed spots in the world!
5. Living sculptures.
Located at “it’s a small world,” topiaries can be found adorning the happiest cruise on earth. Look for animals, fish and Disney characters. It takes over five years to grow just one of these living sculptures. They are a great example of the care that the Disneyland grounds crew put into details.
6. All of the plants in Tomorrowland are edible.
According to Disneyland, “the visionary landscaping doubles as a potential farm, projecting an ecologically astute future, where humanity makes the most of its resources.” Look close for fruits, veggies, spices and other plants that you could eat with your next churro! It’s important to note that while the plants are edible, the Disneyland Resort would probably prefer you not to eat their landscaping.
7. Cultivating the Magic Tour.
Disneyland is known around the world for one of the finest examples of beautiful gardens. The park offers a guided tour of all the Disneyland plants that points out specific details. Park entrance is required, and tours are typically available Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Look for fun examples of the history and philosophy of flowers and trees at the Disneyland Resort, including:
- The Disneyland Christmas Tree
- The Disneyland Rose – Floribunda. The rose is a beautiful orange and pink.
- How plants, trees, and flowers are used to tell stories and transform environments.
- 800 species of plants.
- Trumpet Trees at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
- A Moreton Bay Fig Tree that was a gift from an oil company. The tree had overtaken an oil line, so the tree and part of the oil line were planted at Disneyland!
- And many other specifics and stories.
8. The oldest living tree at Disneyland.
Great things come in small packages! Next time you are on the Storybook Land Canal Boats, look for the oldest living tree at Disneyland. Believed to be well over 150 years old, a small two-foot tall Mugo pine tree is part of the gardens that represent classic Disney tales. You’ll find the tree after you brave going through “Monstro’s Mouth” on your next adventure.
9. The Dominguez Family Palm Tree.
The Dominguez family was the original owner of the orange grove where Disneyland is now located. Walt fulfilled a promise to the family to keep the original tree on the property. Look for it close to the entrance of the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s hard to miss since it’s over 100 feet tall! it is a giant tree that is over 100 feet tall! On top of that, Ron Dominguez also has a window on Main Street U.S.A.. The window reads, “We’ll care for your property as it were our own.”
10. The Little Man of Disneyland.
When Disneyland was being built, many local residents were concerned about the orange groves being removed in their community. Disney published a book called “The Little Man of Disneyland” which told a story of a Leprechaun who was losing his home because his “tree home” would be going away. The book has recently found new popularity and is available in popular book outlets. And the Little Man of Disneyland did find a new home – in some of the Disneyland plants! Keep your eyes peeled for his little home when you’re near the Indiana Jones ride. If you can’t find it, ask a Cast Member in the area for details!
11. Tarzan’s Treehouse.
Disneyland Cast Members have named the tree Disneydendron semperflorens grandis, which means large and ever-blooming Disney tree. The tree is made of cement, stucco and other man-made materials. Look closely and you’ll see there are thousands of individual leaves on the tree that make it look real! Near the end of the attraction you can find Mrs. Potts and Chip from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the children’s play area.
Walt Disney’s mother was named Flora. So you could say the inspiration of beautiful fauna began even before his adventure into animation and theme parks. Wherever the inspiration came from, we just love appreciating all the beautiful – and practical! – Disneyland plants.
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