Bambi’s Little April Flowers

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Spring is well underway, and the gardens of Walt Disney World are in full bloom. This is especially true at Epcot, which is currently holding its International Flower and Garden Festival. As part of the event, a wide variety of flowers can be found on display all across the park. However, the Canada Pavilion also contains a very unique type of flower: Flower the skunk.

This year, topiaries of Bambi, Thumper, and Flower can be seen near the entrance of the pavilion’s Victoria Gardens. The display brings to mind the scene of the 1942 film in which young Bambi, still learning to talk, inadvertently names the shy young skunk when he misidentifies his new friend as a flower. Although Epcot’s Horticulture team is to thank for this beautify scene, the man responsible for the scenery in “Bambi” is Disney Legend Tyrus Wong.

While Wong’s artistic career was prolific and varied, in the late 1930’s his attention was focused on designing Bambi’s forest for Walt Disney. Inspired by the landscape paintings of his native China, his stylized watercolors and pastels set the visual look and tone of the film. A step away from the more realistic designs of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Wong’s art opened the door for an even wider spectrum of artistic expression in animation.

Nearly 75 years after Tyrus Wong completed his work on the film, “Bambi” remains one of the studio’s greatest artistic achievements. In spite of that, representation for this Disney classic is typically minimal inside Disney’s theme parks compared to its animated feature contemporaries such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “Dumbo.” For the spring, though, it’s nice to see Bambi and his friends getting a little time in the spotlight among the picturesque landscapes of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

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