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Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-06 21:06:35

Sean

--Guest--
Here's an interesting photo that shows how the area, now occupied by Miniland, originally looked when it opened as the Gardens of the World (GOTW) exhibit back in 1974:


At the forefront are the Italian fountains. In front of the fountains is an English courtyard that has antique brick surrounding a formal English garden with plants and flowers native to England.

To the left of the fountains is the "Little Bit of Ireland" area, complete with shamrocks, lollypops and the Blarney Stone. In fact, there are two Blarney Stones, a gold one for women and a silver one for the men, both of which guarantee happiness for anyone planting a kiss on its rough surface.

Along the lake you can see the Grecian Stage and the Dutch windmill. Just over the trees you can make out the "All Amercian Rose Garden."

The Italian Fountains, composed of 2,000 individual water jets in a large fountain built with 10,000 hand-made tiles, could spray water as high as 30 feet in the air:


The 50-foot high Dutch windmill in the Holland area:


The Grecian stage was first designed as a television set for the show “Day of Discovery.” Large Grecian urns and columns overlook Lake Eloise:


The “All American Rose Garden” section featured 23 award winning varieties of roses. A giant floral cake stands in the background:


Close-up of the 36-foot diameter floral cake. It was constructed in 1976 as a a salute to America’s 200th birthday:


In the 1980s, a 20-ton sundial measurng 9-feet high was placed in the GOTW:


Today, the only remaining feature from the GOTW (other than the Southern Mansion) is the 27-foot high Mediterranean waterfall, landscaped to resemble the scenes found in countries bordering the Mediterranean. Seven thousand gallons of recycled water a minute cascade over the falls before flowing back into Lake Eloise:


Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I personally like what LL has done with this area by adding Miniland. It will be interesting to see how this area evolves in future years.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Coasterjunkie2012-05-07 15:51:48

Coasterjunkie
Orlando, FL

Brickster
243 Posts
Thanks for sharing that bit of history. I never knew Gardens of the World existed there. I was born in 1974 so I don't remember much about the park before HBJ bought it which I believe was sometime in the early to mid 80's.
 
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Life's a roller coaster, so enjoy it while you can with your hands high in the air.
 
re: Gardens of the World by LEGOLANDfan2012-05-07 17:48:28

LEGOLANDfan
Orlando, Florida

Purple Peg
93 Posts
What a beautiful garden! Thank you very much for sharing this with us!
 
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LEGOLAND Florida - a playful World of LEGO® adventures.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-07 18:49:17

Sean

--Guest--
Glad you enjoyed the pictures. You're right Coasterjunkie, HBJ did buy Cypress Gardens in 1985. In late 1985, William Jovanovich, chairman of the board of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, had this 1,500 pound bronze statue called "The Great American Horse” installed on the lawn in the GOTW. The horse measures 8 by 13 by 2 feet and is modeled after the weather vane horses found in the New England States:
 
re: Gardens of the World by Greg2012-05-08 23:54:53

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Builder
1451 Posts
Amazing. It's too bad so few people appreciate this kind of place these days.
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens of the World by Ed2012-05-09 13:28:34

Ed
Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
Most of the Garden of the World was eliminated in the 1980's. The appreciation of such things started to die 30 years ago. When new things come about that are bigger and more exciting (like Disney World, Sea World, Universal, etc.) what was considered great in the past becomes unappreciated. Most folks are very happy to trade a total garden experience for the more limited landscaping of the newer amusement parks to get all the variety of what the newer parks offer. Technology changes, what people enjoy changes, and times change. On the bright side, that made LL possible. History is nice, but live for and enjoy today.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-09 17:40:13

Sean

--Guest--
Greg, I think there's still a market out there for places that excel in botanical wonders. I believe part of CG's problem was it tried to be too many other things which distracted from its original theme...a world renowned botanical showcase.

Butchart gardens in Canada gets about 1.2 million visitors a year based on its botanical excellence alone. It's images like these that mesmerize potential tourists and make them want to experience Butchart first hand:







I know Ed will disagree and pull out the old argument about how CG failed by going back to its roots. We've already debated that topic and I don't want to clutter this thread with another exchange. Just relax and enjoy the pictures.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Coasterjunkie2012-05-09 21:37:18

Coasterjunkie
Orlando, FL

Brickster
243 Posts
There have been a few TV shows that have filmed at Butchart Gardens. Star Trek alone filmed some scenes for a few of their TV series. The only ones I know about are Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation.
 
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Life's a roller coaster, so enjoy it while you can with your hands high in the air.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Ed2012-05-10 09:13:41

Ed
Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
No doubt that a truly spectacular garden (especially in Canada) that has no major other attractions anywhere near it (except other less spectacular gardens) and is vastly more spectacular than CG ever was can indeed attract 1.2 million people. But unfortunately for CG it was never as spectacular as Butchart Gardens, it became surrounded by many very popular major theme parks, and while in one of the largest tourist markets in the world (Central Florida) could not attract enough guest to survive. CG did great when the competition was Weeki Wacheei, Silver Springs, Monkey Jungle, etc. - but the beginning of the end was when the Magic Kingdom was built and just got worse as each new major Central Florida amusement park was built. Central Florida tourists only have so much time and money - CG simply lost the ability to compete as a garden it was and no one was willing to risk investing the money to make it a garden as spectacular as Butchart Gardens. That is also part of the history of CG that you can't show in pictures but did indeed turn CG from the most attended park in Florida to finally being a partly opened side show to a children's amusement park.

I also miss what CG was and went to CG for the 1st time in 1972. Went many times for many years thereafter. Have many good memories of being there and enjoying it. All the "look at Butchart Gardens" or "what if's" or "what could have been" doesn't change what CG is today or how it got to where it is today. Sometimes there is a sad ending if we want it or not.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-14 22:01:19

Sean

--Guest--
Here are some more vintage CG shots for you to enjoy:









 
re: Gardens of the World by NG2012-05-14 22:30:40

NG

--Guest--
Some of the pictures Sean posted are from my Flickr account, slides taken by my grandpa in 1971. If you want to see the others, follow the link.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-15 17:59:59

Sean

--Guest--
NG, your grandpa took one of the best pictures of the gazebo that I've ever come across. It should have been made into a postcard! Another pretty shot of the gazebo was on the cover of this Golden Guild puzzle. I have no idea who took the picture...maybe it was NG's grandpa working is photographic magic again.

 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-17 21:03:50

Sean

--Guest--
Here's some more historical photos that show off the old Plantation Gardens behind the Magnolia Mansion. The Plantation Gardens opened in early 1993 and contained four interactive gardening displays: a Butterfly Garden, an Herb & Scent Garden, a Vegetable & Fruit Garden, and a Rose Garden. Here's a shot showing part of the Plantation Gardens along with the newly created butterfly conservatory (now the Fresh from Florida exhibit):


Another shot of the Plantation Gardens in their glory days:


Sadly, the Plantation Gardens are no more and the area is now reserved for school group lunches:
 
re: Gardens of the World by Coasterjunkie2012-05-17 21:24:04

Coasterjunkie
Orlando, FL

Brickster
243 Posts
Wonderful photos Sean, HBJ (Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich) really did a great job caring for CG when they had it. As I remember, HBJ purposefully incurred a large amount of debt in order to avoid a hostile takeover by its competitor. Keep in mind they already had SeaWorld and CG for many years before the takeover attempt. The hostile takeover was avoided but they had to sell all their parks to Anheuser Busch which included Boardwalk & Baseball. As I understand all that really took a heavy toll on the owners. From what I've been told, Jovanovich sailed off on his yacht and was never seen again, Brace retired and sold his part, so now HBJ was known as Harcourt until 2007 when the company was sold off. I wonder what would've happened if the takeover wasn't attempted. Would they still have all their parks today?
 
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Life's a roller coaster, so enjoy it while you can with your hands high in the air.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-17 22:20:00

Sean

--Guest--
Thanks Coasterjunkie--I'm glad someone else enjoys viewing these old photos I found on the net as much as I do. By the way, the Plantation Gardens were created by Anheuser-Busch after they bought the park from HBJ in 1989.

It certainly would have been interesting to see what HBJ would have done with the park if they didn't have to contend with a hostile takeover attempt. Busch ended up selling the park because they weren't seeing the kind of return on investment they were expecting. Would HBJ have done any better? Who knows. Here's a lengthy but interesting article that discusses the history of CG including its purchase by HBJ: Selling Sunshine
 
re: Gardens of the World by Ed2012-05-18 09:30:17

Ed
Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
The old photos are nice, but I was at CG from the 1970's on and photos don't do it justice - you had to be there to really appreciate what it was. In the peak years it had outstanding floral displays and seasonal displays. But as the years went on, especially after CG was sold by Anheuser-Bush, the high cost of floral displays and the lower attendance made the budget for floral displays less and less spectacular. Realizing that floral displays alone were no longer going to attract enough guests - CG added concerts, over 6 million Christmas lights, more animals, more shows, much smaller flower festivals, a small water park area, etc. They tried for years, it didn't work, and CG shut the doors for the 1st time. One failure after the next followed for CG. Now there is LL and what is left of the CG botanical garden as an often forgotten partially open side show.

CG had its run and it will never again be what it was - sad reality. So look at some old pictures to remember if you were there - but I would suggest going to the many spectacular botanical gardens that still do exist to truly appreciate the beauty in person. New experiences are always better than old memories and old pictures.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Greg2012-05-21 11:11:20

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Builder
1451 Posts
Sean, keep posing those old pictures. I love looking at them!
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-22 17:06:28

Sean

--Guest--
Another thing that evolved in the old Gardens of the World area was the first annual Spring Flower Festival in 1992. The festival ran from March 15th through May 15th each year thereafter and featured floral beds with thousands of colorful spring annuals. The highlight of the festival were the newly constructed topiaries. The first festival featured 10 topiaries that included a giant Easter bunny, 14-foot high swans, prancing pea@!#?@!s, recumbent butterflies, and three ducks.

Unlike conventional topiaries, which are bushes trimmed to shape, these topiaries are built up with a frame work and then planted out with flowers that blend with and complement each other. Each topiary was also carefully constructed on a wheeled platform making it convenient to transport from the work area to the festival display area.

The swans:


One of the peaocks:


Ducks with topiary Anheuser-Busch logo in the background:


Other topiaries were added over the years. In 1994, the newest topiaries for the third annual Spring Flower Festival included a mother bird feeding her hungry chicks, a brightly-hued topical angelfish, and a rainbow with a pot of gold:

Mother bird feeding her chicks:


Angelfish:


Rainbow with pot-of-gold (the Easter bunny with eggs can also be seen):


Other topiaries were added over the next couple of years to include 8-foot-high cardinals and a 50-foot-long inchworm. In 1997, the park added three animated topiaries that consisted of an immense ladybug with her antennae scanning the park, a 12-foot snail searching for a tasty leaf, and a 13-foot-tall sea lion balancing a colorful beach ball.

Ladybug with antennae that move back and forth:


Snail with bobbing head:


Sea lion with spinning beach ball:


The last Spring Flower Festival ended abruptly in 2003 when the park closed. Many of the topiaries were brought back in 2004 when Kent reopened the park. You can view Greg's topiary pictures to look at some of them. Kent didn’t bring back the Spring Flower Festival but instead made the topiaries a permanent year round display.

The topiaries disappeared after LL reopened the park. So far, LL hasn’t shown any indication that the topiaries will return. They probably still have them all stored onsite—you can currently see the beach ball balancing atop the sea lion topiary jutting above the fence next to the Banyan tree. If the topiaries never make a return, I hope these pictures will bring back fond memories of these magnificent creations.

Most of these pictures were taken in 1994 and 2002 (about one year before the park closed). Click on the links if you would like to see more pictures from those years.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Greg2012-05-23 22:42:22

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Builder
1451 Posts
What got me was the Victorian Garden Party photo. Here's what it looks like now:



And here it is back in 1994:
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens of the World by Ed2012-05-24 10:07:36

Ed
Merritt Island

Lego Star V
956 Posts
Considering that parts of the historic gardens are not opened, the parts that are open are below the standards they use to be, and just about everything CG outside the original botanical garden area has been eliminated - there really should be no surprise what was no longer is. Just part of the transition from being CG to becoming LL.
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-24 21:02:39

Sean

--Guest--
This area was previously called the French Garden. It's a sunken brick oval area located under the spreading arms of a Red Silk Cotton tree. It's one of the areas that LL fenced off even though it's still easily visible over the fence. It certainly wouldn't take too much effort to get the area in a more presentable state. Here's how it looked back in 1990:


Here's another shot that was uploaded in 2000:
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-24 22:00:03

Sean

--Guest--
Here's a link that shows how the French Garden looked in 2005 under Kent. It looks just as good if not better than the earlier photos.

Here's another link if you would like to view some more photos from the 2002 Spring Flower Festival. Enjoy!
 
re: Gardens of the World by Greg2012-05-25 00:21:50

Greg
Winter Haven, Florida

Master Builder
1451 Posts
Nice shots Sean!

It's kind of hidden. I never found it under the Kent days. I only found it under LL because the sign said "No Outlet." It's blocked off so you can't walk around, but it's not hidden or anything. Hope they spruce it up soon!
 
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I am Legoland Florida's most zealous advocate!
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-26 18:05:29

Sean

--Guest--
One last thing that developed in the Gardens of the World area was the king of the flower festivals…the Chrysanthemum Festival which was held in November of each year. The Mum Festival began in 1984 as a modest display of approximately 60 plants shaped in simple cascades.

After receiving positive public response to the initial display, the park began adding new floral elements over the years to include a spectacular 20-foot blooming archway that served as an entrance to the festival, colorful striped columns, tree forms, miniature arches, and gazebos.

The Mum Festival eventually grew to include over 2 million mum blooms in a beautiful 5-acre setting! The last Mum Festival occurred in 2002 before the park closed in 2003. Here are some pictures to remind you of the floral extravagance of this truly remarkable festival:

Aerial view of festival area:


Mum covered waterfall:


Mum covered arches:


Blooming 20-foot archway:


Gazebo:
 
re: Gardens of the World by Sean2012-05-28 19:18:03

Sean

--Guest--
Here are a couple more links showing pictures that provide a good overview of everything I've previously posted under this thread. Some of the pictures were taken the last day the old CG was open (April 13th, 2003). This concludes my Gardens of the World historical presentation.
Gardens
Belles
 



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