With only one week left of the 2017 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, there’s not much time left to enjoy the many Disney character topiaries on display as part of this springtime event. Since first being introduced to Disneyland in the 1960’s, the European tradition of topiary with a distinctly Disney twist has become a become a signature part of not only Walt’s original Magic Kingdom but also the rest of company’s various theme parks that have opened since. Not ones to rest on their laurels, Walt Disney World’s horticulture team has continued to experiment, discovering new methods and materials to make their newst character topiaries look as much as their on-screen counterparts as possible. A perfect example of this evolution has been on display this spring in Epcot’s France Pavilion.
This year’s Flower and Garden Festival year saw the debut for a redesigned topiary of Belle, the well-read heroine of “Beauty and the Beast,” standing alongside her beastly co-star at the heart of the France Pavilion’s main courtyard. Last year, this blog posted a picture of the previous incarnation of the Belle topiary, and the biggest difference when comparing the two is as clear as the nose on her face. Using more complex sculptural techniques, Disney’s horticulturists were able to add something there that wasn’t there before by replacing Belle’s previously nonexistent face with one that is immediately recognizable as the beauty from Disney’s classic 1991 animated feature. Although any rose petals falling at Epcot right now are more due to the rising summer heat rather than an enchantress’ curse, there’s no doubt that the new Belle topiary made the 2017 Flower and Garden Festival just a little more magical.