Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Plants at Disneyland

Nigel and I returned recently from a week-long vacation in Southern California. Some of you may know -- but I'm sure many do not -- that Nigel works for The Walt Disney Company. They have an office in Seattle. Fortunately for us, the job (employees are all called cast members) comes with a few nice perks, such as discounts on rooms at their hotels, and on admission, merchandise and meals at the parks. We had never been to Disneyland, although when our son was young and we lived on the East Coast, we used to visit DisneyWorld in Florida quite often.

While in California, we stayed at Disneyland, at the Grand Californian Hotel, and went into the park three or four days. I remember many of the plantings at DisneyWorld, having once done their garden tour while visiting, and was curious to see how different things would be. That was in the days long before digital cameras, so I'm going to have to rely on my memories. What I remember best about DisneyWorld is lots and lots of bedding annuals. Disneyland is smaller and there is more dependence on tropical and drought-tolerant perennials, although they do have drip irrigation, and there were roses and other flowers that require it.

We didn't go on a lot of rides. I had fun wandering with my camera taking pictures of the plants. In fact, I nearly walked into people and lamp-posts and tripped over curbs and strollers full of screaming toddlers, looking probably a lot like a zombie hungry for PLAAAANNNTTSSS (instead of BRAAAIIINNNSS).

So, I'll more or less shut up now and show you some of those photos.

They had a surprising number of large Agaves

Agave attenuata

Pretty sure those are Furcraeas behind the Agapanthus

Yellow daylily trying to escape

Intellectually I knew I was in USDA zone 10, but still -- Strelitzia reginae/Bird of Paradise. In. The. Ground.

Probably a Mexican fan palm

Pelargoniums that I'm sure stay out in that window box year-round

A beautiful Bougainvillea

Magnolia flower

We smelled this Brugmansia long before we actually saw it

Nigel asked me what the red-leafed plant was


Nope. No idea.

I know that's a Hibiscus

Hey look! It's a Bromeliad tree, dripping with Spanish moss.

They had huge Bromeliads in the ground too.

Begonias, including one with enormous leaves

Enormous Philodendron

Bamboo, palms and possibly giant Bird of paradise/Strelitzia nicolai

In Bug's Land, all the enormous plantings were designed to make both adults and children feel small

Not plants, but an excellent sentiment


  1. They do a great job with their landscaping. That's a nice benefit to get the discounts to enjoy the parks. Haven't been in quite a while and I wasn't all that focused on plants back then. I do remember how nice everything looked at both parks and your photos show that it still looks great. Can't wait to see the rest of your trip.

  2. I didn't know that Nigel worked for Disney. Cool! I think the red-leafed plant Nigel asked about is an Alternanthera of some sort.

  3. I haven't been since I was a kid and haven't seen the CA Adventure expansion. Glad you enjoyed yourself! My guess on the red-lvd plant is acalypha -- ask Deanne about those! She loves them.

  4. That brug is so pretty! Could you image getting to work as the main garden designer/landscape architect/whatever for the park? That would be fun! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  5. I went once , many years ago…don't think I took a blind bit of notice to the planting. Very nice !

  6. What a treat! I love tropical plants.

    Going out now to move some things to struggle to achieve that lush look in hot and humid zone 8..

  7. You got great pictures - plant photography strikes me as more fun than the rides, especially as you're not required to stand in long lines beforehand. Despite its proximity, I haven't been to Disneyland in nearly 20 years but my recollection is that the gardens of that era were also heavy on bedding plants - I'm glad to see that the planting scheme has evolved to fit our climate. I think Denise is right on the plant ID.

  8. What fun! I was in the 9th grade the one and only time I visited Disneyland. Of course I didn't even notice the plants.

  9. Wonderful! I could not imagine they have at Disneyland such a great plantings.

  10. Very refreshing to see these pics Alison, seeming as you don't normally associate the word/name Disney with exotic plants. We've never been to any of the Disney parks but do ponder on whether to just go for it one of these days. I'm sure we'll enjoy it!

  11. Finally...a tour of Disneyland that I can get excited about. Lucky Niget...he gets to work for Disney without having to live in LA or Fla.

  12. Oh, yes. I would have been staring at the plants too. Great photos!

  13. Don't worry about being a plant zombie, they're much better than the other kind. Great photos (especially the Bougainvillea and Brugmansia). Thanks for sharing.

  14. Amazing! We only have Brugmansias in pots here, the one you photographed is Huge! The agaves are amazing too, I've never seen any that big.

  15. Looks more like banana leaf rather than a Strelitzia?

  16. Oh California with it's mild winters and warm summers. So many beautiful plants and well kept gardens at Disneyland!

  17. That's seriously impressive. Especially the Begonias. I was there as a wee little thing. We're taking the kids next year. Now I have something to look forward to. ;)

  18. I grew up in CA and spent many of those years in southern CA. I used to avoid Bird of Paradise as a kid because they're so sticky. It made sneaking around being naughty much harder. Gorgeous landscaping and plantings. :o)


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