Thursday, May 30, 2013

Carnation Plaza Gardens, 1996

About two months ago, the medieval "Fantasy Faire" debuted at Disneyland, forever replacing the old Carnation Plaza Gardens. Beloved as a place to hear live music and enjoy some dancing, this venue was admittedly a ghost town during the day. Why didn't they use this prime location as a major dining venue? Who knows.

There it is, looking almost completely deserted. I always found the red and white colors to be cheerful and festive. The pathway under the sign is calling to me...

The lush landscaping made the place very inviting too; looking at this photo, you would never guess that the hub was mere steps away.

There should be a long line of people beneath that red awning, waiting for their ice cream treats! I can only assume that the 1985 purchase of the Carnation company by Nestlé, which discontinued the brand (although they allowed it to still be used in Disneyland) had something to do with this area's demise. Sharp eyes might spot part of a Peoplemover poster beneath one of the umbrellas - even though the attraction had closed the previous year.

And here's one last look at the tented pavilion where so many legendary Big Bands performed over the years. At least we still have our memories!


TokyoMagic! said...

Yes, the red and white awnings and signage did fit in perfectly with Main St. and the Hub. Now the main pavilion is so bright and gaudy, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Just another eyesore for the park!

Nancy said...

too sad :(

thanks for sharing these really wonderful shots. its so peaceful a locale, a nice respite from the bustle of the Park if one so desired

Chuck said...

As young marrieds with APs, my wife and I used to go every weekend and get some mileage out of that ballroom dance class we took together in college. Great memories.

I remember the 1977 "New Mickey Mouse Club" (the one with Lisa Whelchel) used the pavilion as a shooting location for their "Showtime" episodes, which aired Fridays. I was always excited to see ANYTHING on TV with Disneyland in it, especially since we had left California for St Louis the year before. I wouldn't return until 1993, managing to survive the 17-year drought with sporadic trips to the Florida site to tide me over.

Sad to think that the Plaza's gone, but I'm intrigued by the footage I've seen of its replacement. It's just too bad that Disneyland is so space-restricted, almost like a closed universe - you add something and something else has to go. Sort of like the Land of the Lost, except Disneyland's Grumpy is rooted to one spot...while guests are around, that is. Cast members and the store window mannequins need to be extra careful after closing time.

As always, thanks for posting.

Melissa said...

That was one of the great things about the original park designs - mellow, out-of-the-way spaces to escape the crowds.

K. Martinez said...

Yes, the old timer's Disneyland is continually disappearing. I always thought the removal of the food concession took away from the place. I used to eat here quite a bit enjoying an occasional cheeseburger or ice cream during the day. It was a beautiful setting to relax in.

Since the current Disneyland business model is to generate the most revenue per acre it's princesses that seem to separate those dollars from guests pockets.

20-30 years from now there will be people posting about those wonderful childhood memories of Fantasy Faire and how Disneyland just isn't the same magical place it used to be in the 2010s.

Tom said...

Wonderful photos! I wish I'd spent more time there myself.

Yes, we will always have our memories. The Disney suits can't take those away and replace them with princess meet'n'greets!

Nancy said...

been thinking about this all morning... it bugs me that they did not leave Main Street USA intact...for me it is the most Walt-inspired part of the Magic Kingdom

Nanook said...

Although memories are certainly an important part of life, I've never been one to wallow in the past. However, Disneyland, as one example, makes it awfully hard sometimes to not want to 'stick around' in those former days.

I'm certain for a small crowd out there, Holiday Hill holds a number of good memories that were forever lost when it was removed for.... what was it again-? Oh, that's right: THE MATTERHORN-!. Holiday Hill wasn't replaced with yet another "shopping opportunity". Instead, Disneyland guests were treated to an original piece of theme park engineering, the likes of which had never been seen before.

A Princess "Meet'n Greet". Now there's an original idea. GAG ME-!

The Viewliner Limited said...

I can still hear the music of the big bands Major. It will never go away!

Anonymous said...

Of all the time I have spent in Disneyland, I never spent very much in here.

My parents weren't dancers and in high school, the music was un-cool. (I liked it, but none of my friends did). I did sit here off and on when visiting with my children since it was quiet and out of the way, but I can't recall food or music.

So, we just sort of slid past this place, year after year. Weird, I guess, but I miss it anyway.

I didn't realize until the demolition was planned, how many famous musicians played here, and how many people had great memories of this place.

Thanks for posting, Major, and thanks everyone for sharing your stories. You've filled up a gap in my Disney history. I appreciate it.


K. Martinez said...

When I took my sister along with her grandson and granddaughter to Disneyland about ten years ago, the thing most on the mind of her granddaughter was to meet the princesses. Her face lit up from that experience more than anything else at the Park. As a 50+ year old male, I wouldn't expect to be enamored by the Princess Meet'n Greet, but it does seem to delight its target audience.

As for Carnation Plaza Gardens, I remember seeing several big bands as well as local talent perform there back in the day. My parents danced there as well (it was their generation's music). There are a lot of great memories from the Plaza Gardens, but in its last few years of existence it felt like its better days were behind it.

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

Oh, the pain-of-it all!

Irene said...

I used to love to get ice cream there and was so sad when they stopped selling it and that's when it started to become a ghost town. Then I loved to sit over there to get away from the crowds for awhile and listen to guest groups from schools perform. And of course swing dancing!
Now speaking of swing dancing - it is coming back this Summer to this location - yes, the new tent. The first night will be June 15. But apparently it will not be every Saturday night and also this is an experiment on Disney's part to see if they will continue it. I have heard from several people that they did do swing dancing there at the recent all night 24 hour thing and that the sound was very good. But the space for dancing seems smaller and during the Summer it will be hot!
Also to ToykoMagic, it was great to meet you this morning at Knotts. Thanks so much for coming up and introducing yourself :)

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I agree with you SO MUCH regarding the colors of the Fantasy Faire. So cartoony. In my opinion, the fact that it is adjacent to Main Street means that the colors should be desaturated. Colorful, but in a tasteful manner.

Nancy, it is a shame that this peaceful, pretty area is gone.

Chuck, wow, you know how to ballroom dance. I took swing dancing lessons and had two left feet. It was embarrassing. I remember that version of the MMC Club, maybe it was my age at the time, but I thought it was pretty terrible. Maybe it was great!

Melissa, you are so right.

K. Martinez, it sure seems like the "old Disneyland" is pretty much gone, with a few small exceptions. And your remark about people's postings 20 or 30 years from now reminds me of comments on forums, where people would say, "I so miss the Disneyland from the 80's when it was great!".

Tom, I only wish I didn't have to rely on my memories quite so much.

Nancy again, don't let it get you down!

Nanook, the only people who miss Holiday Hill are the couples that made out there! Although it does have a certain odd charm in vintage pictures. And I guess you could argue that the Plaza Gardens were replaced with something - and that it was deserted much of the time in the past.

Viewliner Limited, are you receiving radio signals on your fillings?!

JG, since there was no food available most of the time, I don't know if I spent much time there either. But I liked knowing it was there! I have some photos of some of the great band leaders performing there - they are old men, even in the 1970s, but they are fun pictures.

K. Martinez again, I know that for MANY things, I am no longer the target audience for the new stuff at Disneyland. It's a bummer, because everything I like is so great! ;-)

….But It Wasn't ALways That Way!, I am almost numb by now.

Irene, I sincerely hope that guests show up for the swing dancing when it is back. The lights and music and movement were something to behold, even as a spectator. It is just one of many small touches that made Disneyland the unique place that it was. Cool that you got to meet TokyoMagic! How did you two recognize each other?

TokyoMagic! said...

@ was nice meeting you today, too! Major, Irene had posted that she would be at Knott's today for the re-dedication ceremony of the Log Ride. Since she uses a pic of herself for her Blogger icon, I just kept my eyes peeled and sure enough.....I spotted her in the crowd!

Anonymous said...

I am so sad they replaced it, my Sister performed with her high school choir there! Great snapshots :)