Cultivating the Magic Tour at Disneyland – Much More Than Just Plants!

Cultivating the Magic is NOT about the plants…well, of course it’s about the plants.  And the flowers.  And the landscaping.  But it’s really about Walt’s vision for the park and about his vast attention to detail.  It’s about the dedication to one man’s dream and the innovation the people who worked with Walt had in making the magic happen.  The tour will also have you look at Disneyland in an all new light.  Walt had a passion for realism, for detail, and for speed.  When others would say it was impossible, Walt pushed his talented people to find a way to make it happen.

Beautiful roses named in honor of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland found near the Dumbo attraction in Fantasyland
Beautiful roses named in honor of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland found near the Dumbo attraction in Fantasyland

Location: Disneyland
Type: Guided Tour
Specialty: Insight into the horticultural details of Disneyland
Cost: $49 (before discount – Annual Passholders get 20% off)
Craig’s Favorite: Personal tour of the Jungle Cruise

Like other tours offered at the park, guests get the special VIP treatment from beginning to end.  During the excursion, we were able to get “backdoored” on three different attractions, meaning we didn’t have to wait in any lines to get on board.  We were able to ride the Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Storybook Land.  But unlike other tours, we were able to experience two of the rides in a completely unique way that you’d never get to do otherwise in the park.  On the Jungle Cruise, we had the boat completely to ourselves as our tour guide, Michael, took the lead on the ride and once we left the dock, he told us stories about the attraction and it’s development.  We saw the last remaining upside down tree, found out that the waters of the Castle moat, Rivers of America, and Rivers of the World (Jungle Cruise river) are all connected by an underground pipe system, and because of the way Disney does its landscaping has won a Green Star Award for sustainable landscape maintenance.  On the Storybook Land attraction, once again we had the boat to ourselves as Michael shared with us lots of details about how these different scenarios were made to look real with creative landscaping.  It was a completely different and unique way to ride these attractions!

Our tour guide Michael as we headed out on our Jungle Cruise personalized excursion
Our tour guide Michael as we headed out on our Jungle Cruise personalized excursion

The tour, which lasted two hours, took us to nearly every land in the park.  The only one we didn’t actually enter was Tomorrowland, but even there we stopped at the entrance and talked about Walt’s vision for “agrifuture” and how landscaping should be both harvestable and edible which it is in the land of the tomorrow.  We started at the Tour Garden and ended at the Tomorrowland entrance where we were presented with beautiful pins that could magically “grow.” And the card backing for the pin is also a packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds to help us not forget the tour.  Overall, everyone had a great time on this detailed and interesting 2-hour romp through the park.  Highly recommended!

The Dawn Redwood thought to be extinct until 1946 and given to Bill Evans as a gift - planted in Disneyland near the Golden Horseshoe Revue
The Dawn Redwood thought to be extinct until 1946 and given to Bill Evans as a gift – planted in Disneyland near the Golden Horseshoe Revue

Some interesting tidbits we learned on the tour…

  • There are more than 800 species of plants in Disneyland
  • The Mickey Mouse at the front is replanted up to 9 times a year with 10,000 flowers
  • Bill Evans, who not only landscaped Disneyland but also Walt’s house, was a consultant for every Disney park worldwide
  • Trumpet trees frame the castle because of how they look in full bloom
  • The huge palm tree between Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones is called the Dominguez Palm since it was the palm tree from Ron Dominguez’ front lawn! (Ron was the Executive VP of Walt Disney Attractions)
  • A group of three trees near the Frontierland entrance are called the Matterhorn Trees because they are trimmed to hide the Matterhorn from view from the other side of the Rivers of America

For more information on other tours, search “guided tour” on the Disney Nerds blog and read about these amazing excursions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World including the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps Tour, Behind the Seeds at Epcot, and the Holiday Time Tour at Disneyland

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3 thoughts on “Cultivating the Magic Tour at Disneyland – Much More Than Just Plants!

    1. There’s a lot to write about! Did you get a chance to read my review of the Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot? I loved that, too. It was amazing. But the Land is one of my favorite exhibits at WDW. I hope you will let me do an interview with you about your experience as a horticulture intern. I think that would be fascinating.

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