Well, faithful Best Week Ever followers, I just flew in from Anaheim, and boy are my arms tired! (Hey, we can’t all be as funny as Derek Burgan.) I truly had one of my best weeks ever, as any week at the Happiest Place on Earth is pretty special.
I was visiting the Disneyland Resort to update the upcoming 2016 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, and especially to review the parks’ new nighttime spectaculars. I had mixed feelings about some of the new after-dark additions, and you’ll shortly be able to read my full reviews of Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever, and World of Color — Celebrate! both online and in print. But something I have absolutely no hesitation endorsing is the wonderful world-famous Disneyland flora and fauna, which I enjoyed observing in abundance during my stay.
I know that most guests’ main interests at the Disney resorts are the rides and shows, and I love a ride on Radiator Springs Racers or the Indiana Jones Adventure as much as anyone. But some of the most magical Disney park memories I’ve ever made have involved the beautiful bounty of plants and animals — both carefully cultivated and amusingly untamed — that reside therein. And not to knock the Walt Disney World horticulture department, which does and impressive job (especially during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival), but there’s just something awesomely intimate about the agricultural encounters I’ve experienced out west.
Without further ado, here are a few of the fabulous flowering, feathered, and furry friends I made during Disneyland’s 60th anniversary summer:
No matter how many times I visit, I’m always amazed by the every-changing variety of colorful flowers found all across Walt’s original Magic Kingdom, from New Orleans Square…
But I’ll present without further comment this display in Fantasyland, which may answer the question of whether Disneyland uses organic fertilizers to keep these displays looking so fresh:
Disney California Adventure Flowers
Disneyland is justly lauded for its foliage, but its younger sibling across the Esplanade is no slouch when it comes to floral displays. Here a few of the colorful flowerbeds found near the bridge to Paradise Pier:
The Golden Valley’s Blue Sky Cellar exhibit may be extinct (at least for now) but the surrounding vineyard still sports some stunning blossoms.
When visiting Disneyland, it’s important to stop and smell the roses — both metaphorically, and literally!
As someone who xeriscaped their front flower bed, I’m always impressed by the cacti and succulents around Cars Land. Yay for drought-friendly landscaping!
Disneyland Resort Ducks and Geese
Waterfowl are one of the most ubiquitous forms of wildlife found around the Disneyland resort, and it’s no wonder why: a duck is one of the park’s biggest stars! Here, you can see that Donald’s cousins don’t give a quack about disrupting the carefully crafted sense of scale in Storybook Land:
This guy is hanging out near these swan shaped hedges thinking, “Hey, why don’t I get a topiary?”
Is there anything cuter than a mother goose taking her brood of babies out for a stroll through Frontierland?
The Cats of Disneyland
As an self-confessed cat dad and feline fancier, it’s always a thrill to spot one of the elusive Cats of Disneyland around the parks. This visit, we were lucky enough to witness Nutmeg having an early evening frolic on Grizzly Peak near the Alfresco Tasting Terrace.
Disneyland Goats and other Farm Animals
You know what really gets my goat? When guests pass by the Big Thunder Ranch thinking it’s only another petting zoo, not realizing that it’s home to some of Disneyland’s biggest little celebrities: the Disneyland goats! While I was a bit saddened to hear that Stitch, one of my favorite long-time residents, had retired to a farm, it was delightful to meet Bianca and Bernard, the newest additions to Disneyland’s herd.
While visiting the ranch, don’t neglect the other friendly farmyard denizens:
Sheep says baa!
Cow says moo!
Horse says, look at my beautiful braid!
Disneyland Free-Range Characters
Finally, the most fantastic furry friends you’ll find scurrying freely around Disneyland are the animated characters themselves.
While Walt Disney World frequenters will be more used to characters being kept behind queues and corrals in carefully controlled meet and greets, you’re likely to find quite a few Disneyland characters strolling “free-range” around the park.
You never know when one might cross your path, making every day at Disneyland like spontaneous animated safari!
What are some of favorite encounters with animals and nature you’ve experienced around the Disneyland Resort? Let us know in the comments below!