23 November 2007

Save Our Swirl - Innovative Growing Techniques

Animals have always played an important part of all things Disney, from the True Life Adventures, to Discovery Island, to the now almost ten year old young Animal Kingdom. As far as the theme parks, audio-animatronic animals have been a staple since the Enchanted Tiki Room, as well as other animals animated through other techniques, such as the creatures of the Jungle Cruise. But what about completely inanimate animals throughout Walt Disney World? Oh, they are out there, albeit a slightly different forms than they have appeared in years past. What I am vaguely hinting at, or taking the labyrinth’s way to get to, are the topiaries.

This may not seem necessarily like a proper candidate for a Save Our Swirl, seeing how the topiaries all but have their own event in Epcot with the International Flower & Garden Festival, complete with displays on how the topiaries are formed, but take a moment to consider what type of topiaries are available there. A wide percentage of these topiaries are generally characters, usually dressed up in some sort of clever fashion, sometimes with a gimmick, like Cinderella and Prince Charming spinning, or rather “dancing,” on a pedestal. These are not your parents’ topiaries. To prove that fact, here are my parents, with topiaries in the background, hanging out at the Transportation and Ticket Center in 1980 (I apologize for their hair and clothes, they didn’t know any better, and they were fresh out of the 70s), as well as another topiary they felt inclined to snap a photograph of.

This form of topiary grew rampant all over the grounds of Walt Disney World in the 1970s and 1980s. It was not alarming to see a herd of pachyderms stomping their way from the Transportation and Ticket Center towards the Contemporary Resort, or to see other animals creeping along the perfectly trimmed grass along the banks around Cinderella Castle. But here is the difference, these were real life animals formed out of shrubbery. Very few, if any, were characters or had fake vegetation muddled in with true shrubbery.

These days you are lucky if the shrub you are looking at isn’t staring back at you with saucer like eyes. While that may be okay for a special event, say a festival that I am so excited about that I made sure my vacation was timed to see it next year, it does not create that smattering of fantasy, that taste of what was to come inside of Walt Disney World, any longer. Time to sound the S.O.S. for the topiaries., and while we’re at it, let’s not retroactively start a genocide on today’s topiaries either, but how about a happy balance of what created the buzz and what keeps them thriving today.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow...were your parents hippies? Or just stuck in the middle of the 70's?

Gee, I hope they're not reading this (looks over shouldre).