22 March 2021

Take a Stroll Around the Block

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is one of the longer festivals to grace the park. In a typical year it features garden ideas, seminars, shopping, food, music, and, of course, topiaries. It could be argued, and rightly so, that many of the festivals have lost their identity and have transformed into one year-long festival, with a couple of menu changes in the marketplace booths. Each year there is less innovative or original gardens and topiaries, with the individual spirit of the festival being relegated to new merchandise. That’s a story for another day.
The topiaries scattered about World Showcase and Future World have always been one of the true joys, and heart, of the Flower and Garden Festival. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a purist or just stubborn, but I’ve always liked the topiaries without the fake eyes. The more plant, the better.

Here we see a bit of topiary humor, with Aladdin modeling as the final touches are made to his topiary by a member of the horticulture team. This photo was taken in 1994, just days before the Aladdin topiary was installed for the first time in the festival. His spot for many years were the gardens, usually purple and green cabbage or marigolds, of Morocco. Situated along the miniature canals that connected to the waterwheel. A display, which while often overlooked, gave guests an up close and personal look at the model of irrigation.

When the gardens were removed to make way for Spice Road Table, Aladdin found other places to fly his carpet around the Morocco pavilion. While he isn’t part of the festival this year, I have a feeling he may be returning in the next year or two, as his film will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in November of 2022. I love Aladdin, especially his original placement, but I don’t know if he’s on the tops of my topiary list. As for you, which of the topiaries from the Flower and Garden Festival, new or retired, is your favorite? 

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