Morgan "Bill" Evans, who guided the landscape design of Disney's theme parks for half a century, from the planning of Disneyland to consulting in the planning for Hong Kong Disneyland, expected to open three years from now, has died. He was 92.
Evans, of Malibu, died Saturday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. The cause was not reported.
Although he officially retired from Disney in 1975, he continued to work as a design and landscaping consultant until just weeks ago, Disney officials said.
Throughout his career, Evans imported vegetation from around the world to create accurate fictional settings that amplify the storylines of Disney's various attraction – rom the giant bamboo, ficus and towering palms of the Jungle Cruise in the Anaheim park to the African plants that he brought to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla.
Evans' knowledge of plants was legendary, colleagues said, and his skill at matching plants to a story can be seen everywhere in the parks, from the forest on the Tom Sawyer Adventure in Anaheim to a planned jungle in the Tokyo park, which has to use heaters to preserve the plants in winter.
And he cared about even the most minor details. "He could walk through the park and tell you where every specimen, every tree and plant came from," said Marty Sklar, vice chairman of Disney Imagineering, who oversees the creative team for the theme parks and worked with Evans since Disneyland's opening.
"He was one of Walt's favorites," Sklar told The Times.