Monday, October 22, 2007

Plaza Gardens, July 1961

Disneyland has lots of places to catch a nice lunch, and here's one of them. The Plaza Gardens is right at the end of Main Street, and as you can see, it has plenty of old-fashioned ambiance. I love the cheerful candy-cane red and white striped decor. If only you could order something appropriately "yesteryear", like a Moxie, or a grape Nehi, or maybe even a cherry phosphate. You're in luck if you want a burger or a Coke, though!

The family walking towards us is weighing their options. Meanwhile, each of their three little girls received identical souvenir hats so that nobody feels left out. You can also see four custodians (can you say "summer job"?) in crisp white uniforms, making sure that the restaurant is spic and span. I wonder if this was a full-service eatery, with waiters and tableware, or was it a "counter service" place?

Here's a second view (from the same day), even the trash cans look spiffy. If you were lucky, you might hear the Disneyland Band playing nearby during the day, and in the evenings various Swing and Jazz bands livened things up. And don't forget the dancing, for those folks who hadn't spent enough time on their feet!


Stub Winged Bilge Rat said...

This was a counter service place. In fact in the background of picture 2 you can read the signs that say,"Please place your order at this window" and "Please pick up your order at this window". Great pics as usual. I think of the restaurants at Disneyland, as an important part of the experience. I'm always baffled when I go to the park with friends or relatives,, and they suggest eating outside the park. My reply is always that maybe we should ride some rides outside the park while we're at it.

walterworld said...

I really miss the original Plaza Gardens. When they re-did the area in the late 90's, they ruined a really nice spot.

Sure it's still a good place to put your feet up (and I'm gald that big-band music can be still be heard there sometimes), but it was extra fun to grab an ice-cream cone or hot dog and relax with the kids under one of those red-and-white striped umberella's.

Funny thing, it was always busy as I recall...I never saw the sense in doing away with that charming old food location. Ditto the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street...

Anyway, thanks as always for your posts!

pixiegirltink said...

Oh how I miss the Plaza Gardens! My family and I ate there every time we visited the park. The hamburgers were called "The Lamplighter" and you could get it with or without cheese. Around the corner at the other counter you could order the trademark "Fantasia" ice cream on a cone. I loved sitting there at the table, with my burger, fries and (diet) coke and enjoy all the full sized attraction posters around the back of the seating area. If you were there at lunch you could listen to the variety of live acts in the bandstand. This is definitely something that needs to come back to Disneyland. The tables and chairs as well as the bandstand are still there - just add the food Disneyland, PLEASE??!!

If you look hard, to the very back of the first picture, you can see the red, white and blue can-can dancers of the Golden Horseshoe Revue attraction poster. Pepsi was the sponsor, which explains the colors of the dancers.


Anonymous said...

I remember in the days when Space Mountain first opened .. this was a nice place to grab a hamburger or icecream sunday .. and look at the attraction posters against the wall. When they took this out in the late 90s, I couldn't get over how utterly lame that decision was. It turned a lively place into a dead one by day. They didn't always have performers within the bandstand area. And the area was nothing but a stack of chairs and tables that served as overflow to everything else nearby. Now it's a meet and greet. And though I have absolutely no interest in hanging out with CMs in customs with a big plastic grin on their face .... It will at least be a lively place again. Especially for little kids. But if I had it my way, I would have left the Carnation Gardens area alone. It was nice, pleasant area to eat, with it's old fashion charm, and served as an extension to Main Street USA.