In The Parks: Stopping to Smell the Roses at Disneyland

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, In the Parks

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Published on August 02, 2013 at 2:00 am with 21 Comments

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.


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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.

DISNEYLAND GARDENS and SHADE

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Grapefruit trees are now bearing fruit near the awkward rocks at the entrance of Tomorrowland.

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Below the grapefruit trees, herbs like rosemary, and lavender are planted with artichoke and chard.

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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.

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

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

 

A TYPICAL SUMMER DAY

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.

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The characters are nearly always out in Town Square.

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Few other parks have a live piano player interacting with a crowd like this.

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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.

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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.

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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.

STARBUCKS

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.  ;-)

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NO MORE TONTO HATS

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.

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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.”

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

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

 

DANCING WITH DISNEY

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).

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

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DCA LANDSCAPING

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

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

 

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

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Cones with reasonable waits.

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

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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.

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Speaking of Bug’s Land, the wild growth and flowers are a nice change from the otherwise manicured areas.

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It’s an unusual but lovely wild garden in front of the Bugs Land mural.

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Across from Bugs Land, near the Golden Vine Winery and Trattoria, the grape vines are now bearing fruit.

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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.

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Here we see some colorful coleus.

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Yellow coneflowers with contrasting pink vinca.

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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:

MICECHAT PODCAST

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.

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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?

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • 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.