View Full Version : Topiaries

11-24-2014, 05:17 PM
First trip in 1975, we were awed and amazed by all of the topiaries along the monorail route.
This September, we did not see them. How long have they been gone?
I wonder if it was a cost cutting measure.

Main Street Jim
11-24-2014, 05:42 PM
Been gone since at least the mid-'80s, I *believe*...

**EDIT**: here's something I found:

"When Magic Kingdom opened in October 1971, one of the biggest challenges was getting the guests from the parking lot to the park itself. There were three monorails and a pair of "Osceola class" steamship side-wheelers that along with smaller watercraft, quickly brought in to service at the last minute, to do the job.

However, half the parking lot trams were also used to haul guests from the Ticket and Transportation Center, passing the Contemporary Resort hotel along the way, to the park entrance but they kept overheating and breaking down. Six months later, more powerful tractors were introduced.

Guests taking these trams missed out on the experience of the elegant and beautiful journey across Seven Seas Lagoon, so Imagineering (not Horticulture) was asked to quickly create a topiary garden strung out along the pathway to entertain guests. Of course, there wasn't time to grow new topiaries even using Evans' technique, so Imagineer Tony Baxter came up with faux topiaries. He cut and burned some real foliage and then painted it so that it resembled a real plant.

Mary Poppins holding her parasol high as if she were ready to fly away, a train of elephants holding each others' tails by their trunks as they seemed to be marching slowly toward the Magic Kingdom, a giraffe casually munching on the leaves of a nearby real tree and other creations were quickly installed with plastic leaves enhancing the figures.

This light-hearted series of botanical tableaus helped transition guests from the real world to the fantasies that awaited ahead, just as the monorails and the watercraft were originally intended to do. There was a cluster of these figures near the tram terminal area located approximately where the buses load and unload today at the front of the Magic Kingdom.

A decade later, this grassy "temporary" menagerie began to dwindle with the construction of a second monorail terminal for Epcot Center and the replacement of trams by buses. A handful continued to survive, but gradually disappeared, until by 2003 only two acrobatic elephants outside the Magic Kingdom, no longer showcased as they once were, remained.

The last remaining topiary, one of those elephants, quietly disappeared in 2011 with no one noticing."

11-24-2014, 06:02 PM
I remember the elephant topiary quite well. I think many guests did not see other topiaies because of their location and route(s) into the park. I, for one, greatly enjoy the topiaries that a regular feature of the annual Epcot Garden and Flower Festival. For me, that is more than a suitable replacement for the topiaries that once were!!

Pirate Granny
11-24-2014, 10:12 PM
In 1973 we were staying at the Contemorary and wanted to see the elephants up close. We walked over (yes, we strolled on the street under the water bridge to get there). As we were taking pictures a security car pulled up and weren't very happy with us, and gave us a ride back to the resort. :secret:

11-25-2014, 06:43 AM
Wow! Interesting info. Thank you! I'm trying to remember if we've ever seen any of those.

11-25-2014, 07:07 AM
I remember being about 7 years old (1970) and visiting the Welcome Center before WDW opened. The only thing to remember were the topiaries - and lots of dirt. There was a nice table top replica of what the park would be. But I was most impressed with the topiaries. It's a shame they aren't as much a part of the park as they used to be.

Denise :mickey:

11-25-2014, 05:46 PM
Thanx for all the replies. I did not recall when they disappeared, but just happen to notice their absence last trip.

11-25-2014, 08:03 PM
The topiaries were one of the things I remember most about my early trips to WDW. I miss them ... one more in a long, long line of nice little "plusses" for guests that are now gone.

Main Street Jim
11-27-2014, 08:56 PM
One of the *coolest* topiaries still in existence in the Magic King Kingdom is the dragon on the shores of the canal by the rose garden. Not sure if they're leaving it in place with the new walkway going in.

11-29-2014, 09:52 PM
I swear they also sold miniature ones you could bring home and grow in your house... Definitely remember them as well.

12-01-2014, 07:56 AM
I swear they also sold miniature ones you could bring home and grow in your house... Definitely remember them as well.

I know they have them at EPCOT during the Flower Festival. I can remember looking at them years ago and imagined my yard with Disney topiaries. Then I'd have to have a miniature railroad. And a castle......:cloud9: not happening but would be fun

12-01-2014, 10:47 AM
There is (or at least it was there last week) a Sorcerer Mickey topiary at the Contemporary. It was over by the mickey metal sculpture not far from the Sand Bar.

Main Street Jim
12-04-2014, 09:28 PM
I think the ones we were originally talking about were the ones you'd see on World Drive, coming up from US 192, when the property only had the one entrance (pre-EPCOT Center). In the very early days, too, before the ferry boats, the parking lot trams would take guests from the TTC right to the front of MK (where the current bus stops are). There were a couple of the topiaries along World Drive right across from the Contemporary, and along the right directly across from where Wilderness Lodge is now (where the Venetian resort was planned, but never built).

12-05-2014, 08:50 AM
LOL Main Street Jim is becoming our Intercot historian. Interesting stuff. I'll bet he even knows about the old wave machine in the Seven Seas Lagoon!