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Gardens of the World
The Gardens of the World tour takes the guest around the World Showcase Promenade in a nation-to-nation review of the various plants and techniques used to bring the Epcot pavilions to life.
The tour begins with a video presentation on the philosophy and implementation of horticulture at the Walt Disney World Resort. Classic film footage on installation of Epcot lawns, trees, and bedding plants back in 1979 and 1980 is featured. Seminar notes, entitled "Planting Ideas," are provided to each attendee before the group heads out to walk the grounds.
Each World Showcase pavilion presented unique issues of plant selection, color, presentation, and maintenance that are discussed in detail throughout the four hour walk. Among the styles that are presented are the tropical gardens of Mexico, the formal plantings of Germany, container plantings primarily in Italy, the cottage garden in the United Kingdom, and "Victoria Gardens," a recreation of the rock gardens located at Bouchart Gardens just a few miles from Victoria, Canada. Another country whose gardens are unique is Norway. Often all flowers planted at the Norway pavillion are white, to simulate the snow that covers much of the country.
Innovations in Action
This is as behind-the-scenes tour of Walt Disney World. We took this tour in 1996 and saw the WDW laundry facilities, the North service area (where the machine shops and other service facilities of WDW are located), enjoyed a walking tour of the history of the Magic Kingdom, and went underground into the famous Utilidor system underneath WDW's first park.
The main attraction for Barb, though, was the stop at the South service area...the horticultural facilities and tree farm that services WDW and the other Disney parks world wide. This was a really neat stop for someone who is already awed by the horticulture, and especially the topiary produced by Disney. There were lots and lots of topiaries in various stages of completion. It was kind of cool to see several frames of the same exact topiary in various stages. The highlight of this stop, though, was watching a cast member actually planting a sphagnum topiary. She was clearly very skilled and thoroughly enjoying her work. Topiary is it's own art form!
The Land, Greenhouse Tour
This is a short walking tour (about one hour in length) of the experimental gardens in the greenhouses of the Land Pavilion in Future World at Epcot. Reservations for this tour can be made by any Epcot guest at the shop located on the lower level of the pavilion. There is a small fee for this tour, but it is definitely worth it! Only a small number of people are taken on each tour, and a limited number of groups are taken in each day, so get there early if you want to enjoy this.
Animal Kingdom, Backstage Tour
A backstage horticultural tour of Disney's Animal Kingdom is now available, but Barb and I haven't been able to enjoy it yet.
With the spectacular horticultural displays at this newest Florida Disney theme park, the tour promises to be a wonderful journey. What they have accomplished horticulturally, starting from scratch, is truly astounding!
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