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PHOTOS: A Look Inside the Zen Garden at Epcot

Matt Stroshane

by , Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort


Last week, when walking around the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, the zen garden and “Cars 2” topiaries in Japan Pavilion captured my attention. As Lightning McQueen and Mater sat surrounding the rock garden and a gardener raked the gravel into wave-like patterns, I imagined Mater yelling out, “Hey! You done good. You got all the leaves!” just like he did in “Cars 2” before eating the bad pistachio ice cream.

When he was done raking, I was able to talk to our zen gardener, Ben Taveras. Ben is a cast member with the Horticulture team and takes care of the Japan Pavillion area for the festival.


Early each morning, the gravel is raked into different patterns, he told me, based on the gardener’s state of mind — wavy and whimsical when he is happy and straight and simple if things aren’t going so great.

“I don’t think I’ve ever raked them straight,” he said smiling.

The topiaries and zen garden will be on display until May 20.

“Every topiary has a story to tell,” says Ben, “and sharing that story with guests is the best part of my day.”

Can’t get enough of the sights at Epcot? See the posts below for more:


  • (warning: terrible joke ahead)

    Does that make it the BEN Garden?

    BA-DUM-PSSH…ok, groan away!

  • I love the Zen Garden! I always stop and ponder it’s existence and meaning. It calms me and speaks to me in a very special way.

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