Monday, August 29, 2011

Soon to be gone at Disneyland ~ Carnation Plaza Gardens


Soon to be gone at Disneyland ~ Carnation Plaza Gardens

       For those that don’t know, Carnations Plaza Gardens is a beautiful state area that opened in 1956. It is the longest running Big Band Stage in the world according to Disneyland’s Stan Freese, Disneyland talent casting and booking director. Some of the biggest names in Jazz have played on this little outdoor stage. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller played on this stage.

       Over the years this area has gotten smaller as the restaurant and restrooms behind it in Frontierland expanded. The counter service food area was removed years ago and by day the area became a walk through area from the Central Hub to Frontierland.

       During the day the stage would showcase armature dance and music groups during dance and music days. For decades on Friday and Saturday nights you would find Disney’s Big Band on the stage playing Swing music as guests danced on the stages dance floor.  

In recent years the Big Band and Swing Dancing has gone to just Saturday nights. The band starts playing around 7 pm but a large group of Swing Dancers and fans start gathering around the stage/dance floor at 5 so they can get a seat at the railing for the best view of the dancers. None of the dancers are on duty Disney Cast Members. They are guests who come on Saturday nights to dance. Some have 40’s style clothing while others just come in comfortable street clothes. Most are more than willing to show anybody willing how to do a few steps. It is enjoyable to just sit and watch the dancers fly across the floor.

Soon this historic stage will go dark for good. In its place will be a Fantasy Faire village. According to Disneyland officials there will be a stage in the new Fantasy Faire village with a dance floor and the Big Band and Swing Dancing will be there.

Since Rapunzel got her tower in Fantasyland the other Disney Princess’ got jealous and demanded official homes or a place to hold court. Disney now wanting a royal battle between their lovelies fighting decided to make a home for all of them together.
Rendering of new Fantasy Faire Experience Coming to Disneyland Park
During the day Fantasy Faire village will have the Princess’ doing meet and greets along with a Ribbon Ceremony that is inspired by the dance scene in Rapunzel’s movie Tangled. On Saturday nights, according to Disney Officials the Big Bands will take the stage.
Rendering of New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Stage at Fantasy Faire
To be honest I’d rather not see the iconic stage removed. There is so much history there! Not just Disney history but music history. Steeping into the area on Saturday Nights is like going back to the 1940’s. The changes planned will change the feel forever. Also I feel that it will take away from Main Street USA. Carnation Plaza Gardens is the end of Main Street and the biggest entertainment venue on Main Street.  
Rendering of the Royal Ribbon Festival at Fantasy Faire
       Carnation Plaza Garden is scheduled to close this fall. Construction of Fantasy Fair village is scheduled to be completed early 2013.

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