If you’ve been to the Cast Connection building located off of Western Way and Bear Island Road, you’ve driven by the massive WDW Tree Farm!
The Disney Tree Farm is where a variety of plants, trees and shrubs are grown for use in the parks and resorts on property. Think of all the stuff Disney grows in there year-round!
For every three trees you see in the Magic Kingdom and the other parks, there is one “behind the scenes” tree growing at the huge Tree Farm that is similar in size and looks.
These trees are kept in case a tree is damaged by wind or lightning during a thunderstorm – it can be replaced at night without anyone knowing it was missing!
To meet some of the horticulture cast members, take a Behind the Seeds tour at The Land in Epcot: Behind The Seeds Tour.
How Horticulture Cast Members Keep Walt Disney World Looking Beautiful
Landscaping is an essential part of the appeal of the Disney’s theme parks.
The resort sits on 25,000 acres of what was essentially Florida swampland, and all plant life has to deal with the hot, humid Florida climate and a host of hungry insects. Disney established a huge nursery and tree farm, and experimented with different plant species until it found ones that looked appropriate and were capable of thriving.
Nowadays, some 4,000 acres are landscaped across the resort’s theme parks, hotels, golf courses and other public areas. An army of more than 600 Cast Members is responsible for maintaining this acreage, and carries out a wide range of tasks to do just that.
Eight Great Roles for Cast Members with Green Thumbs:
1. Setting up the Flower & Garden Festival in the Spring
Cast Members produce thousands of floral displays and over a hundred topiaries in advance of the event.
2. Feeding the Guests
The plants in Epcot’s The Land Pavilion are not just for show. More than 30 tons of fruits and vegetables grown in the pavilion are served at Walt Disney World restaurants every year, including lettuce, cucumbers and peppers.
3. Creating Edible Landscapes at DAK
The animals that roam around the savannas are browsers and grazers, and the landscape provides plenty of options for them to chew on. Cast Members have to constantly add plants to the savannas to replace those that have been gobbled and to keep the animals interested. Disney also “cheats” by introducing thousands of pounds of pre-cut leaves every week, to discourage the animals from devouring all of its pretty plants.
4. Planting Species from all over the World
The team plants around three million bedding plants annually across 300,000 square feet of flowerbeds, as well as tending to 175,000 trees and more than four million shrubs. There are 13,000 rose bushes alone at the resort. There are over 3,000 species of plants representing flora gathered from all over the United States and more than 50 foreign countries.
5. Creating Topiaries
A team of around 30 Cast Members staffs the nursery, which produces more than 4,000 hanging baskets every year. It also produces the topiaries that add to the theme of the various theme parks and resorts, with more than 200 designs.
6. Carrying out Daily (and Nightly!) Maintenance
Cast Members at Walt Disney World are up bright and early, allowing them to carry out maintenance tasks by the time guests arrive. Every day, they weed gardens, chop dead heads off flowers and replace withering flowers with new ones. When a theme change is demanded, i.e., from Halloween to Christmas, the Cast Members work through the night to completely transform the garden flowers overnight.
7. Mowing the Lawn
There are 2,000 acres of turf at Walt Disney World, and all of its gets mowed at least twice a week. This requires an astonishing 450,000 mowing miles every year to keep the grass in shape.
8. Setting the Scene
The landscaping sets the scene in every area of WDW’s theme parks.
For example to recreate the lowlands surrounding Mount Everest for Expedition Everest’s Forbidden Mountain, more than 900 bamboo plants, 10 species of trees and 110 species of shrubs were planted.
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Two Girls and a Mouse Tale