Hallie Schmidt, AEPS student
On April 14, 2013, twelve members of the Horticulture Club drove down to Anaheim, CA to Disneyland theme park and resort. We got to spend our entire first day enjoying the park- going on rides like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean and enjoying classic Disneyland treats like churros and giant pickles. In the evening we went to the home of one of our members, Cody, whose parents had prepared for us an incredible dinner of authentic carne asada and chicken tacos. We were so grateful for their hospitality – it was a long day of driving and running around the park!
The next morning we woke up at 5am to get ready for our 6am tour with the Disneyland horticulture staff. Their regular working hours are 2am-10am so that visitors never see the anybody working in the park. After going through a rigorous security check, we met with Dave Garza, the manager of Disneyland Horticulture operations, and a few members of his staff on the back lot. They call this back lot “back stage” where all the prep goes on: a small nursery, growing topiaries, etc. “On stage,” or the park itself, workers were in giant bucket lifts trimming trees or hedging shrubs and topiaries. We walked through almost the entire park in less than an hour (no crowds at this time!) and our tour guides told us all about what it takes to keep their colorful annual beds looking so spectacular, how they grow the grass on Splash Mountain, and how they keep the Jungle Cruise looking and feeling like a real jungle, the IPM program among many other interesting horticulture secrets.
Overall, we accomplished a lot in a short time which was exhausting, but we learned a lot and had a lot of fun. This summer one of our club members will be interning with Disneyland in the horticulture department! Who knows, one of the horticulture managers graduated from Cal Poly in 2010…maybe we’ll be seeing more Cal Poly HCS grads working there in the near future.