It’s great when your friends find fun Disney stuff for you at flea markets! One such find is a book I had been searching for for a while called Walt Disney Disneyland World of Flowers by Morgan Evans, © 1965.
Inside this book are some of my absolute favorite photographs of Disneyland in its early days. What I especially love about this book is how it brings the reader’s attention to the brilliance and importance of the landscaping in the park. I will be posting some of the photos from the book and talking a little about them throughout my next posts.
First thing’s first, though. We must begin with the introduction, signed by Walt Disney:
“This is the story of the landscape at Disneyland.
In a sense, Disneyland is a stage- a most unusual stage. Members of the Disneyland audience, unlike the audience at a motion picture or a Broadway show, do not simply look on. They participate in the drama, the adventure, or comedy. They walk onto the stage. They move through the sets. They touch the props. They examine the set dressings. And so sets, props, and dressings must be authentic.
At Disneyland, a jungle must have a jungle landscape. The Rivers of America must be banked by trees which are indigenous to American rivers. And a Living Desert must, in truth, appear as a living desert.
To achieve the right effect, our Disneyland landscape architects combined their talents with those of builders and maintenance personnel and created a believable and authentic scene of nature’s own design.
In giving credit for the landscaping at the Park, it is impossible to mention all who have contributed. Special plaudits are due to Ruth Patricia Shellhorn for her design of the formal Victorian plan for Main Street, the Town Square, and the Plaza. The trees and shrubs she selected in the spring of 1955 are still used. The late Jack Evans, to whom this book is dedicated, worked mightily to create authentic and delightful landscapes throughout the Park. Morgan Evans, a third generation horticulturist and brother of Jack Evans, has been supervising landscape architect at Disneyland since 1956.
This book by Morgan Evans is the story of the living scenery at Disneyland. It is also a guide for those who wish to take a landscape tour of the Park’s unique international botanical collection.” – Walt Disney
We will start with these two shots from Frontierland! First off is the landscaping in the area around Fowler’s Harbor/soon to be New Orleans Square area. This area is probably closer to Fowler’s Harbor which would be towards the left of the photo. Just walking around this area, you probably wouldn’t be that aware of the color play happening around you. Remember, this was pre- New Orleans Square, so even though certain elements are in place like the exterior of the Haunted Mansion, there were still plenty of retaining walls which are not fun to look at. Not only do the bright orange, peach, and yellow daisies pump this area up with visual interest, but they brilliantly match the bold colors and shapes of the Sailing Ship Columbia as she sails by; something the average guest would be quite aware of subconsciously. The intensity of the colors match the play of shadow and light on the ship beautifully. The white flowers soften the whole effect so it’s not too “in your face”, as well. Under the bright blue Anaheim sky, the contrasting appeal is definitely a winning combination!
Moving east, just down a bit towards the bulk of the upcoming New Orleans Square area and the older New Orleans/Frontierland section comes this change in landscaping. There hasn’t been any major change in “land” as we’ve been walking, but the color switch is very evident. The daisies have followed us on our walk and the white variety has led the way, increasing as we move east, now blending with a lighter shade of yellow and light lavender. The use of color in this area is also very interesting in that it mimics the Mark Twain in various lighting. The lavender picks up the cast shadows, the white obviously adopts the main color of the Mark Twain in the noon day sun, while the softer yellow daisies copy the highlights of color during dusk. The choice of flower is also sweetly frilly, adding to the charm of the area and details on the boat. Also note the pop of deeper reds and purples used very sparingly to break up the landscaping just enough to add a slight wild-grown quality to it and help begin the transition back up to the Fowler’s Harbor area. Fantastic!
More to come! Check back soon. :)