EPCOT’s Topiaries Used To Be Nightmare Fuel

in Walt Disney World

Snow White freaked out at Epcot

Credit: ITM

EPCOT’s International Flower and Garden Festival is coming into full bloom at Walt Disney World, and soon the entirety of Disney’s futuristic theme park will be covered top to bottom in brilliantly beautiful botanical displays. While the event is perhaps most famous for its larger-than-life topiaries of famous Disney Characters, they weren’t always a magical sight.

Te Fiti at EPCOT's Journey of Water Inspired by 'Moana'
Credit: Walt Disney Imagineering

The topiaries at EPCOT are painstakingly created to resemble some of Disney’s most iconic characters, and many of them succeed by leaps and bounds. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice design is a particularly striking display as Mickey conjures a host of green blooming brooms. However, lifelike is not always the best thing for works of art.

Related: EPCOT’s International Flower and Garden Festival Is Blossoming Soon!

Disney has been incorporating their topiaries into many functions during the event for years, but some Guests might be a little eeked out by how impeccably detailed they are. For a prime example of this uncanny phenomenon, @ScottGustin posts a former advertisement for the Flower and Garden Show that did not age particularly well.

The Encanto topiaries already come equipped with an unsettling uncanny-valley-like gaze, but there’s something uncharacteristically disturbing about seeing these things in motion. If the Edward Scissorhands dreamscape wasn’t enough , Disney went even further beyond just an ad with them.

In 2013, Walt Disney World decided to pull this concept out of the ad and into reality by introducing a walkaround version of a Captain Hook topiary to mix and mingle with the Guests. On one level, this is a creative use of Disney Imagineering’s costume department. On the other, it’s also kinda creepy.

Divine at Animal Kingdom
Credit: BrendaHelenaa on TikTok

It might have been magical at the time, but the ad and the concept of living topiary Disney Characters did not age well. Aside from fan-favorite performers like Lady DiVine in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the concept has become more than a little off-putting in some circles.

Related: FULL EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Menus Released

Call it strange, call it an experiment, or simply call it marketing that only got creepy with age, but the idea of walking topiaries is still one of Disney’s weirdest moments in recent decades. Hopefully, the company considers carefully whether or not they want to repeat this stunt with their modern characters.

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