October 9, 2008

Annuals past

You can still experience one special aspect of Disneyland as it was before it became a “resort.” You don’t even have to go to Anaheim.

Just go to your local garden center. Wander over to the displays of annuals. All of those bright, colorful flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow. Put yourself right in the middle of the aisle. Close your eyes. Breath in.

It’s 1983, and you’re entering Tomorrowland.

The magnificent aroma you’re inhaling was exactly what once greeted you as you hurried to Space Mountain past a planted pool like this one. A similar smell greeted you on the other side of the Central Plaza as you hustled toward Big Thunder.

It hung in the air with Adriana Caselotti’s soprano tones along the path by Snow White’s Wishing Well as you skipped through on your way to the Matterhorn. I think it even felt like it was in the Flower Mart as I stepped onstage through the entrance on East Center Street, though all the blooms were plastic.

Flowers were in place and at work all over back then, adding a layer of olfactory beauty and their own visual splendor to the carefully designed Park. Waiting for guests to arrive while I was at work on an early morning shift, that scent set the mood for a happy day. Toward the end of a hot Southern California afternoon, it refreshed and revived.

Annuals never fail to trigger memories of the Disneyland of years past. If you remember being there when Tomorrowland looked like this, you know what I’m talking about. You couldn’t miss the contribution of flowers to the Disneyland experience, even as you raced to ride as many things as you could.

If I could live it again, I know one thing. I wouldn’t hurry to Space Mountain, or anything else.

I’d just stroll around with my nose in the air.

Tomorrowland entrance photo used under Creative Commons license.

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