Walt Disney Park is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading providers of entertainment and has entered the hearts of millions of families around the world. Luckily, we have our own Disneyland Park in Hong Kong since 2005 so that we can explore this story-telling park and appreciate the impossible dream by Walt Disney in 1955.

On 29 December 2016, 20 students from the Tree Management Concentration Study visited this world-renowned theme park and explored the spectacular scenery settings by the Landscape Designers of “Walt Disney Imagineering”. In particular, our students were interested in knowing how the arrangement of trees could support and exemplify the storylines inside the theme park. “It is crucial to understand the growth habit and characteristics of different tree species before applying the particular trees for landscaping,” said Mr. Gregory Chung, Head of the Horticulture Unit. “For example, the Weeping Tea Tree (Leptospermum brachyandrum 美麗薄子木) was selected to plant in Grizzly Gulch (灰熊山谷). Leaves of the tree produce a characteristic fragrance when crushed and have been used to extract essential oil in Australia. This tree is an excellent plant to create weeping and wild effects, together with fragrance and light green color,” added Mr. Chung.

the Weeping Tea Tree (Leptospermum brachyandrum美麗薄子木) planted in Grizzly Gulch.

Many tree species in Disneyland are not indigenous in Hong Kong and some of them are rare ones. For example, Macademia nut (夏威夷果仁) can only be found with our chocolate bars but now you can commune with that tree closely.

It was an eye-opening experience and I was absolutely amazed by the aesthetic potentials of different tree species.

-- said Mr. Tony Tsang Chiu Wong,
Year 1 student of the Tree Management Concentration Study

Besides visiting different trees within the various storylines of the theme park, the students had a unique opportunity to visit the backstage of the scenery. Led by the Head of Horticulture Unit, students were introduced how flowers and trees are prepared, maintained and managed everyday by a team of 60 horticulture specialists, including some certified arborists and tree climbers. To uphold high level of work and safety standards, workers have to be properly trained and complied with rules and regulations. “There is even a system to trace who has taken a particular key and perhaps a chainsaw,” said Mr. Chung. “It is because of the system it will create a highly efficient and effective working environment,” Chung said.

Our students enjoyed very much from this insightful visit and sharing by horticulture experts. The practical experience from this kind of “living” classroom is essential to their study. They already told me to organize other fieldtrips in the coming semester.

Mr. Gregory Chung (Fifth from right; Head of Horticulture, HK Disneyland) and Dr. Alvin Tang (Fourth from right; CIE lecturer)