Topiary is the art of shaping trees and shrubbery into ornamental shapes. It has been a fixture of the Disney theme parks since 1963 when a topiary garden was installed at Disneyland's Fantasyland, which was eventually incorporated into the exterior gardens of It's a Small World when it was brought to Disneyland in 1966. Walt Disney World would feature a topiary garden along a tram path connecting the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom in its early years, though changes and expansions to the area would eventually result in their removal, with a single elephant surviving until 2011. Today, topiary at Walt Disney World is a primary fixture of Epcot's seasonal events, especially the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, where many of them are based on familiar Disney characters.
While crafting traditional European topiary is a long-term effort to shape the plant as it grows, Disney horticulturalist Bill Evans developed a quicker solution that involved the creation of a metal framework to support the planted elements and guide their growth within a period of months. Modern Disney topiaries have upgraded this basic concept into a sturdier steel framework stuffed with sphagnum moss and close-growing vine material and incorporating additional color through the use of flowers. An internal irrigation system keeps these newer topiaries watered based on the needs of their component plants, with a slow drip process being a common method. In recent years, sculpted faces with a mossy layer have become a popular way to add more detail to character topiaries.