THIS Wednesday, a new crew will greet Guests at Epcot. Topiary Donald Duck and pals are camping out at the Epcot front entrance to celebrate the 17th annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. The North American theme features Goofy fly-fishing in a pond and live waterfall, Daisy Duck roasting marshmallows over a campfire, and Pluto observing from his pup tent. It’s a must-stop photo op!
The campout scene is one of over 100 topiaries throughout the park, with more than 70 portraying Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, and Cinderella. At least 25 different plants, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, and lichen, are used to create a more colorful presentation than previously seen. Topiary Tinker Bell and her friends occupy Fawn’s Butterfly House at Pixie Hollow (formerly Minnie’s Magnificent Butterfly House), where 600 native butterflies of 10 different species flutter among plumbago, passion flower, honeysuckle, butterfly bush, milkweed, and canna lily.
There is a certain hierarchy to honey bee hives. One queen, who could live up to five years, reigns over the entire hive. Her sole job is to lay 2,000 eggs each day. The only male bees in the group, the drones, exist primarily to mate with the queen. Described as lazy guys with a life span of about two months, drones do help regulate proper hive temperature but they do not gather pollen or produce honey. Those jobs belong to the female workers. Responsibilities of the females are divided into nursery duty or caring for larvae, foraging to bring in the pollen, and processing the pollen into wax and honey. Worker bees live approximately six weeks.
4) A 1956 Disney True-Life Adventures film called Secrets of Life covers, among other topics, blooming flowers, pollination, and life cycles of bees. Search your local library or video rental store to view a copy of this film. I’ve heard it has a thrilling scene of two queen bees battling to the death!
5) The festival runs 75 colorful days. 600 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the landscape and 100 Epcot horticulturists are needed to maintain festival displays. You can hear from some of them in the 198 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars that will be presented during the event. Click this to be directed to the official Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival flyer.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Earth Science, Social Sciences, Art
SKILL LEVEL: All