The Nature and Environment teams’ role extends far beyond of your common or average gardener. The 130 horticulturists with varied areas of expertise ranging from tree surgery to wildlife management create plant environments and oversee the maintenance of the green spaces. As part of their work, they apply a green policy in order to conserve the ecological environments on the site and develop biodiversity. What is their role in the show? How do they adapt to the operational constraints of the tourist destination? A focus on these artists with green thumbs.
Adapting to the site’s unique characteristics
The 130 members of the Nature and Environment team have adapted their working methods to the resort’s operational constraints in order to create these environments and maintain Disneyland Paris’ vegetation. That is why the vast majority of the work on the parks’ green spaces is done at night. Conversely, in the hotels, the teams work through the day to get everything just right. Every year, the members of the team also play a key role in helping to prepare for the celebrations and seasons that are all part of the resort’s life. When producing plant arrangements for Christmas, pumpkins, topiary and other decorations for Halloween, or floral arrangements to celebrate spring, the gardeners must rise to the additional challenge of developing a central theme throughout the resort whilst respecting the feel of each different land.
Respecting the themes and echoing the Disney story
Respecting the themes and unique features of the decors created for the resort has led the team to develop spectacular techniques such as pruning trees from a cradle. The choice of plants is mainly based on their appearance and colour and of course how well they fit in with the themes at the various locations and seasons. The gardeners use their practical experience to accurately calculate the quantities needed. The team sources plants from nurseries in France and Europe, giving them access to an abundance and diversity of species. Each tree is individually selected in partnership with the Walt Disney Imagineering Imagineers (the Disney creative teams who design the theme parks), while thinking about how it can be ‘shaped’.
A bespoke irrigation system
Disneyland Paris has benefited from the irrigation experience acquired by the other Disney parks. Disneyland® Park alone covers 50 hectares and needs a powerful yet flexible watering system that can water all the different areas of the park at the same time. A decision was taken to use a centralised irrigation management system. A weather station measures a number of parameters (minimum and maximum hourly temperature, rainfall, relative humidity and solar radiation) and a central computer adjusts the data and operates the system. The data collected is sent to relay computers installed in each of the theme park’s land. Of course, this IT system is used in conjunction with the gardeners’ practical expertise and experience which allows them to assess the needs and constantly look for ways of optimising the use of resources. The irrigation system also covers the ornamental green spaces at the seven Disney hotels and the 27 holes of the Disneyland® golf course. As the vegetation is now well established, the green space maintenance and irrigation staff implemented an irrigation efficiency policy, taking into account both the needs of the plants and water management issues.