Secrets Behind Tiana Topiary Coming to Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

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Secrets Behind Tiana Topiary Coming to Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is coming up soon! One of our favorite topiaries, the Tiana Topiary, is returning and Disney has shared some secrets about it.

Related – Everything we are Looking Forward to at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

Tiana topiary

As you can see, the Princess Tiana topiary at EPCOT is a one-of-a-kind creation that stays true to the New Orleans spirit and scenery – even using magnolias and florals native to the area. Two of the secrets to its success are Disney Imagineer Brittany Smith and Walt Disney World cast member Antoinette Valentin.

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Brittany, who is a Senior Production Designer with Walt Disney Imagineering, started off fresh to the topiary art world and quickly became known for taking characters from almost there to the one-of-a-kind masterpieces we see throughout the parks. Little did she know that with the help of her Disney Horticulture friends, she’d one day use her expertise to bring Tiana to life in an entirely new way.

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When original planning began for Princess Tiana’s topiary, Brittany studied every detail of the movie to turn a 2D animation into a 3D figure. She knew her design choices like Tiana’s fearless expression and facial features had to be perfect.

“I’ve always dreamed of working on a Princess Tiana topiary because, as a Black woman, she means so much to me and our community,” said Brittany. “I want children to see her confidence and courage, and realize that they can be a princess, too!”

Princess Tiana’s courageous spirit inspired Brittany and her team to explore something they’d never done before: creating a fully floral scene to surround Tiana with a piece of the bayou, complete with illuminated fireflies.

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And to make the overall vision a reality, Disney Planned Work Specialist, Antoinette, is using her expertise to create living art in topiary form. Much like Brittany, Antoinette said she feels a special connection to Princess Tiana not only as a fellow Black woman, but also because she loves her determined, go get ’em attitude.

Antoinette’s profession blossomed thanks to hard work and fellow cast members who taught her everything she knows through on-the-job training. Before her promotion to Planned Work Specialist, Antoinette was a Gardener backstage at Disney Horticulture’s Nursery. From learning about state-of-the-art irrigation systems to perfecting how to trim plants into fanciful shapes, Antoinette’s journey to become a horticulturist grew as her support system expanded, and her leaders quickly knew she was essential to authentically representing Tiana at EPCOT.

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So, what’s the secret recipe for a head-turning Princess Tiana topiary? Antoinette and Brittany agree that it’s three things – a mixture of blue skies, sunshine and a team of passionate Imagineers and cast members that planted the seeds of success.  

Now, just in time for the Mardi Gras festivities, the two friends that originally bonded over their love of plants, art and a favorite character are overjoyed to share Tiana and her blooms of the bayou with the world again.

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“Brittany and I feel so accomplished because we worked hard and made history,” said Antoinette. “We are the first Black women to bring the first Black princess to EPCOT!”

Ready to plan your visit to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival? Contact me today! I’m a travel agent with Destinations to Travel, my services are free, and I’d love to help you plan a magical and stress-free vacation.


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