In The Parks returns to deliver the latest news and information from the Disneyland resort. This week, we take time to stop and smell the roses, literally.  We’ll also share the progress on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the near completion of Rainbow Ridge. It’s a fragrant update today.


As the Summer months grind toward their conclusion in just about 4 weeks, we pause, not to find more things wrong at Splash Mountain and Indy, but rather to enjoy something we REALLY love at the Disneyland Resort.  What In the Parks doesn’t catch, Andy Castro covers in Dateline Disneyland.  However, when there is little new in regard to breaking news,we can take the time to ruminate on some of the other things we see every week. Today, the Captain and I would like to share one of the things that make a visit to the park interesting and fun for us.


The plants and landscaping in Disneyland Park are, without question, some of the very best in any theme park on the planet.  There are few other parks, here or abroad, that have at their disposal such a rich and creative horticulture department along with the money to bring such colorful designs to life.

Fresh plantings of salvia and multi-colored celosia were planted in Town Square to offer some Summer color this week .


New flower baskets dripping with yellow and pink petunias (we believe this is the “Million Bells” variety) along with blue lobelia hang in Town Square.


Yellow marigolds surround purple blossoms at the castle-facing tip of Town Square. Doesn’t it seem like something should be in the center of that garden? Sundial? Fountain? Christmas tree?  😉

Despite the train-wreck that was Tomorrowland ’98, the agrifuture approach to landscaping was a brilliant and inventive idea that is still used to this day.  Every bit of foliage inside Tomorrowland is either edible, or produces edible fruit.

Grapefruit trees are now bearing fruit near the awkward rocks at the entrance of Tomorrowland.
Below the grapefruit trees, herbs like rosemary, and lavender are planted with artichoke and chard.


The landscaping even enhances Innoventions a bit.

Back on Big Thunder Trail, the foliage transitions from Fantasyland’s Alpine look to a more Southwestern feel.  You may not notice it directly, but it happens and you begin to feel you have moved into a different space and time.


In New Orleans Square, large trees create a canopy over much of the land.


While spanish moss doesn’t thrive here in arid California, this hanging basket evokes that same wispy, draping feel.



Another thing that is among the best in the theme park industry is the live entertainment at Disneyland and DCA.  Whether it’s running into characters walking around, the stage shows, or the parades, the parks offer stuff that is generally delightful for all ages.

The characters are nearly always out in Town Square.



Few other parks have a live piano player interacting with a crowd like this.
The Dapper Dans are another long-standing tradition.

Then there is Soundsational.  This has to be one of our favorite parades in a long time.  It is bright, fun, the music is catchy and upbeat, and it doesn’t have any show stops.  It’s a real parade. We understand that a new nighttime parade is also in the works for Disneyland in time for the 60th anniversary and we are encouraged that it is rumored to be designed by the same guy who brought us Soundsational, Steve Davison.







Mickey and the Magical Map, while not perfect, is still far above the usual theme park show, as is the Aladdin show over at DCA.




There is plenty to love about the park.  While we scoff at some of the maintenance issues (which we will check back on again soon), we feel equally compelled to point out the things we love.


We see here that things are pretty tightly wrapped up.  And there appears to be a new wider door in the works. Perhaps they are expecting folks to enter Noah-style, two at a time.  😉






The crazy Johnny Depp Tonto hats are gone.  You know the ones, they had the dead crow perched atop strands of hair and fabric.  According to a cast member, after the first batch “sold out” they were not planning on getting any more in stock. Too bad, we love seeing people in hats they’d otherwise NEVER wear in public.


At least the $49.95 Tonto outfit is still available. Keep that in mind for Halloween. “Who are you kid?” “I’m the reason Johnny Depp says he’s ready to retire.”


On to Disney California Adventure where there is very little to report on other than a second successful summer for this radically transformed park.

It appears that they finally got the billboards on Stage 17 replaced.



The silly seasonal Dancin’ with Disney attraction has enjoyed the addition of new signage and ground graphics this summer (a big improvement over last year’s attempt). Has it brought any more people in to dance with the obscure characters? We don’t know. Would love to hear from those of you who have dropped in (or perhaps work there).

When we were there late morning on Wednesday, the doors were shut.



Again, the horticulture department shines here in enforcing the theme of the various lands.  Some of our favorite examples are here.

Notice the coloring of the flowers and how similar they are to the light-up flowers that adorn the landscape of Cars Land.




Orange trumpet vine mimics the cone shapes of the Cozy Cone Motel rooms.


Cones with reasonable waits.
Unless you stop to smell the flowers folks, you miss out on details like these.


Every year from spring to summer, the intoxicating smell of Orange blossoms fills the air near It’s Tough to be a Bug. It’s really quite delightful. Hard not to stop, close your eyes and enjoy a moment of zen.
Speaking of Bug’s Land, the wild growth and flowers are a nice change from the otherwise manicured areas.


It’s an unusual but lovely wild garden in front of the Bugs Land mural.
Across from Bugs Land, near the Golden Vine Winery and Trattoria, the grape vines are now bearing fruit.
Looks like these guys are just past their prime. But it’s neat to see grapes in a theme park!

Then, of course, there are the beautiful plantings that are rotated in Paradise Pier.

Here we see some colorful coleus.
Yellow coneflowers with contrasting pink vinca.


Tony Baxter Interview

The MicePod’s Season Pass Podcast has an AMAZING two part interview with beloved retired Imagineer, Tony Baxter. Have you listened to both parts yet? If not, you are missing something remarkable. There’s a reason why Tony is beloved and deeply missed by fans of the parks. . .

Part One:

Part Two:


We’ll have a new podcast for you next week (it was recorded yesterday and is just about ready for posting). So, here’s a last chance to listen to our July broadcast. Find out why Bob Gurr is so excited to meet Ursula at the D23 Expo on this show! It’s really quite stunning and charming.

Which one’s the character?

Direct Link | iTunes Link

MiceChat Magic at the D23 Expo – August 9th – 11th

As if the D23 Expo didn’t have enough things for you to see and do, MiceChat will have a magical booth in the Collector’s Forum area of the D23 Expo this year as well. We invite you and your friends to meet with the amazing lineup of special guests and Disney legends whom we have scheduled throughout the three day show (Imagineering Legends Bob Gurr and Rolly Crump, Disney notables Floyd Norman, Nik Ranieri, Mark Silverman, Margaret Tinkerbell Kerry, Carolyn Carroll, and surprise guests!) plus MiceChat staff (Andy Castro, Fishbulb, Monorail Man, Sam Gennawey, Doug Barnes, Scarlett Stahl, Rixter, Mickey Maxx, Jeff Heimbuch, Gwendolyn Dreyer, Sarah the MiceChatter, Indiana Jenn, Mamabot, Dustysage and more). We will also be giving away lots of great prizes, including hotel stays and an iPad Mini! Plus, we’d like to invite all of you to join us for a special cocktail party at the Anabella Hotel’s Tangerine Restaurant patio on the evening of Saturday, August 10th. The Anabella will be offering happy hour prices to us from 9pm until 1am. We’ll have some VERY special guests drop by, including Disney legend BOB GURR, buy him a Gurr-tini and let the stories flow!  SIGN UP FOR OUR EXPO INFO-GRAM AND A  CHANCE TO WIN

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Thank you for reading!

Sometimes the news is good, sometimes it’s not so good. But it always comes from a place of love and respect for the little park that a father built for his daughters. This week, we were intoxicated by some things we think make Disneyland special.  What are the little details that have you hooked on Disneyland?

  • Park Hopper

    Love the landscaping at Disneyland. There’s not a single visit that some element of it doesn’t spring out at me.

    One of my personal favorites — not mentioned in the article – is the undersea-like plants around the queue for the submarine voyage—just brilliant.

    Thanks for showcasing it this week. I always look forward to your photo essays of the parks!

  • notlemc

    AMAZING update! Great work on this week’s update and keep them coming!

  • Eric Davis

    Beautiful landscaping! Great photos, and the Tony Baxter interview and the Pat Carol interview are both simply incredible!

  • 3rdGateFan

    Great report! Like others said the tony Baxter interview is great.

  • DG2

    Walt once said ” Disneyland will get more beautiful” boy was he right. The park has never looked better and kudos to Iger for keeping true to Walts vision.

  • SpacemanSpiff

    Concerning The Lone Ranger merchandise, I was at our local Disney Store last night, and saw that the main display was for the upcoming Planes movie, and that ALL the Lone Ranger merchandise was gone from the store. Just a couple of weeks ago, it was the main display in the store. Kind of sad.

  • DisneyDesi

    Love the focus on the landscaping! You should do more features looking just at the landscaping. The different flowers in each land, the types of trees, transitions, how the landscape covers buildings. The Disney parks are really like botanical gardens in their attention to detail in landscaping.

    • QPerth

      Totally agree!
      The gardens are a huge feature, and it’s great when they are covered here. Thanks for sharing the details of them with us!

  • davidrusk

    I was impressed with the landscaping in 1976 during my first visit to Disneyland and I see that it’s only gotten better. Thanks for the beautiful tour!

  • martinjbell1986

    Great update!

  • onelittlespark

    I am liking the breakdown of flowers and plants in the parks. I am a two-time former cm, and two things stand out in relation to this. When I worked at Storybook, we had a plant/flower guide guests could look at (relating to the attraction.) I asked a year or so ago if they still had that book, and, if my memory is correct, it is now at City Hall. During my orientation for my second stint as a cm, we were walked through parts of DCA. The part of this walk that sticks out to me today is when our CM guide showed us how the change in plants marked the change from the desert area of Condor Flats into the forested area of the Grizzly Peak area. Every time I take a first-time guest to DCA, I point that out!

  • Micah

    The landscaping has always been one of my favorite things at Disneyland — helps create the special ambiance of each location. Glad to see that Splash Mountain’s woes are not indicative of the park’s state in general. Can’t wait to visit in 2015. 🙂

  • heysi

    It’s always been a dream of mine to work for the landscaping department at Disneyland. They really are the extra touch that makes this the best theme park in the world. Sadly, family and financial commitments prevent me from chasing that dream…maybe someday when I’m nearing retirement.

  • jcruise86

    Excellent! Thank you!

    Maybe the doors weren’t open for Dancin’ With Disney on Wednesday morning because it may have been open from 1-5pm as it is on other days. I like the 4-hour length of this attractive, high-energy party since the CMs inside are energetic throughout. I don’t think this is a cheap-looking event and my daughter loved it. I liked taking a break watching from the chairs.

  • Aladdin

    Gotta love Bob Gurr and the photo of him by Ursula!!!!!! hahahahahah!!!!! Listened to the Podcast with him and Pat Carroll, and loved it! I had to search for a video of the Ursula he helped with for Tokyo Disney Sea, so I could see it in action. Please be sure to get a video of Bob and Pat meeting each other for the 1st time at the upcoming D23 !!! 🙂

  • El Bandolero

    For those of you who enjoy the horticulture at Disneyland, can I strongly recommend the “Cultivating the Magic” tour:

    This is one of the most interesting tours I’ve ever been on. Not like the other Disneyland tours that are aimed at casual Park visitors; this is the first tour I went on where I learned a TON and found out so much I didn’t before… e.g. the flowers in front of Snow White’s Scary Adventures; the wildflowers near Pixie Hollow; the alpine flowers near the Matterhorn; the white roses with slight red flecks on them near the Mad Tea Party (“painting the roses red”); the Disneyland Rose garden near Dumbo.

    Absolutely fascinating to observe all the flowers for their own sake, as well as to see how they are strategically placed with the attractions and overall theme of the area to tell the story.

    • jcruise86

      Thanks for that tip, El Bandolero!

      As a mediocre gardener I’d be fascinated to learn how Disneyland does it. I always notice the excellent gardening in that park, and the lack of gardening when I last went to Magic Mountain years ago has helped to keep me away from Valencia.

      The gardeners make Disneyland a park. Legoland leaders also appreciate botany, btw. And I’ve read good things about Knott’s flowers and seen the photos on Miceage to prove it. (I wouldn’t mind taking a Knott’s tour too.)

  • DG2

    IMHO the landscaping in Disneylsnd Magic Kingdom is far superior and detailed compared with WDW. To me it’s what gives Disneyland park much more “warmth” then WDW. Wish I could make it out to California and the D23 convention. Would love to meet Bob.

  • dmomof4

    From the Disneyland Horticulture Department….Thank you! Since the Hort Specialist doesn’t always get to go in the park with guests….they love hearing what guests say!

  • scarymouse

    hommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….thanks for the zenful moment.Great Pic’s Always love this time of year.Thanks Fish.

  • jabalmer1

    We love Dancing with Disney. My granddaughter (1yr old) loves the time out of the stroller. The CMs and characters are great to engage her. They will take her hands and walk her around the room (she doesn’t) walk on her own yet. It is a great rest spot for many parents while their kids can still be active. I’m sorry it seems to be a seasonal happening. We visit every time we go. It’s a great attraction for young children–no waiting in line, great interaction with characters. Disney has something for everyone.