Springtime is in bloom at Disneyland with spring break crowds, color and changes

Written by Andy Castro. Posted in Buena Vista Street, Dateline Disneyland, Disneyland Resort

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Published on March 18, 2013 at 5:05 am with 46 Comments

About Andy Castro

Andy is a Southern California native, raised with Disneyland and a life-long fan of Disney theme parks and animation. Andy wrote the long-running weekly Dateline Disneyland photo, news and opinion blog here on MiceChat from 2007-2016. Andy continues to make occasional special guest contributions on MiceChat.

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  • Trumpet

    Great Update Andy

    I am disgusted that the Buena Vista Street windows are being changed for the worse. I first saw this oin Mint Crocodiles’s blog and was ashamed at the management. The carefully designed windows have now been changed to look cheap and tackt, what they tried to remove wirth the 1.1 billion dollars. Also, it is so crude. The images on the back are blurred, and don’t fit in with the circus theme. it is wriong, and us Micechatters need to do something aboyt it. I think that if any of us are in the parks, we should go to guest relations and City Hall to complain. Maybe they will see the error of their ways if there is enough people complaining.

    Fnatsay Faire looks good, and i like the hidden detail to Disney’s history. A nice touch, and long may it continue. Love the Tangled tower and the lights, a nice touch, again in a small area.

    Thanks Again Andy

    Trumpet

  • Wow. Doesn’t Imagineering have anyone left who can say NO to the destruction on Buena Vista street? Hopefully, someone is making notes on which departments get it and which just want to turn a buck no matter the cost.

    • ayalexander

      You might be surprised to read this, but Imagineering doesn’t care what happens to their creations after the project is done. -This is an answer taken from a survey given to Imagineering.

      • DisWedWay

        Hope they get those missing finials and flag staffs back on the castle turets with their pennants flying. I prefer the old Dietz inspectors lamps that used to light up the Big Thunder front enterance sign, not the electric gas station type now there. As the stamp mill says, it’s 1880. Everybody used to talk about the Mainstreet windows with It’s animated figures, and guests would stand there and watch them joyfully. The windows of DCA and Disneyland should be to attract customers and not to distract them. If Imagineers are not interested in what happens to their projects after management and operations take over, then they really are not True Imagineers.

  • JCSkipr79

    ws/ Baxter gone there is noone who cares. Vaughn prob. is loving the commercialism on BVS. I have watched for DECADES the Merch. Mafia ruin Main Street and H’Wood Blvd. Maybe you guys will have more luck fighting the BVS window display commercliasm. This is why Disney and WDI will NEVER EVER surpass Uni. Uni. simply does NOT go against an established theme IE Potter, Simpsons, Transformers, JP, Suess, Marvel…

    • WookieCookie

      Which is why I was able to buy a Thing 1 & Thing 2 shirt at Jurassic Park during my last visit.

  • eicarr

    The flowers and cupcakes look great! Nice update.

    Hopefully they can attract more strollers and screaming toddlers to the Faire, away from the rest of the park. Fingers crossed for 90 min lines.

    I normally skip Tomorrowland updates because they’re so depressing. A few fun arcade games is better than none I guess.

  • Grizzly

    The little tower on the castle has been missing one of its gold toppers AND a blue cone roof since the holiday overlay was taken down. Hope it won’t be too much longer before they are replaced.

    • ayalexander

      wow I woulda never noticed that unless you mentioned it.

  • waltopia

    So nice to see the “Little Lost Turret” has survived the remodel project, still a bit lost and still wearing its more naturalistic shades of stonework. A sleeping beauty indeed.

    • It’s a great little hidden gem! In researching this turret for this blog, I came across the thread you had posted on the MiceChat forums a while back, so thank you for your information on this and early tracking of its reveal! Thanks for reading!

  • Wyatt Furr

    The window displays on BVS are horrific. I have been doing retail window displays for over 25 years. Too many managers think windows should have a ton of stuff in them. The windows need to tell a concise story and have a bit of fun to them to draw your eye to it. I would prefer the period windows myself, but if one has to compromise, there are better ways to do it. All those years that the Main St Emporium had animated windows certainly did not put sales in the toilet ,now did it. But then, all of you here already knew that.

  • chesirecat

    Looks like the double sets of princesses is helping keep the lines down for PFF, it would be expected to cut the wait time in half, so if you were looking for 60 minute wait times then that would happen only if the old line for the princess meet and greet was 120 minutes! (I don’t think this ever happened). The permanent queue will help if they only run one set of princesses during the slow periods, and probably during the really busy times (summer for those with little kids) you’ll see that the queue will get a good work out.

    But of course, the purpose of the attraction isn’t to make a long line, (they actually don’t want guests to wait as they have two sets of princesses), but to make visiting Disneyland a much more pleasant experience for those with little kids, which they have done marvelously. PFF is a valentine to parents of little kids, a loyal customer base, as well as providing some live entertainment and quick food options for the hub/Fantasyland area, totally livens up the place and is a major plus.

    The windows in PFF light up at night, and the popcorn lighting on the theater looks great, surprised Miceage doesn’t have any photos of this (!??), though there are some on Laughing Place.

    Buena Vista Street doesn’t have any rides, besides Red Car Trolley, and can’t hold a candle to Main Street, which has the horse drawn trolley, the train, “vintage” cars, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the Cinema, Dapper Dans . . . BVS is just gussied up Sunshine Plaza, the place you pass through on your way to Carsland, I personally wouldn’t care to look at what is in the windows as while BVS is nice, it’s not a traditional “land”. The Pigs Cafe looks nice, but the acoustics are horrible as it is always loud in there, even if one quarter full. Of course folks don’t buy stuff here, its a dead area with no rides!

    So who cares what happens to the windows? If BVS was a real land then I would care, but its goal has always been to sell junk.

  • Illusion0fLife

    Thanks for another great update, Andy! I’m still very impressed with how nice Fantasy Faire looks, I can’t wait to get to see it in person. As for the Starcade, it’s nice to see some of the classic arcade games, and it’s certainly an improvement over what was there, but I agree with some other posters here that I wish the space could be used for something more relevant to Tomorrowland. Of course, that won’t happen until we get a full update to Tomorrowland.

    And then we come to the BVS windows. These just make me so sad. There were so many great details there and to see theme systematically torn apart for cheap looking merchandise displays is severely disheartening. As you said, I think Disney’s missing the bigger problem here: there simply isn’t much motivation to visit different stores. Each store sells more or less the same stuff so why waste park time perusing different stores when you can just hit World of Disney on the way to your car? Sadly, I think this is only going to get worse, not better. 🙁

  • KENfromOC

    Just amazing what you folks nit-pick about!
    The windows along BV St. ??? Guess what? 99.99% of the people who walk down that street could care less. In fact, those of us with kids will note that they will love looking at all the plush in the Big Top Toys window. Personally I am far more concerned about the upkeep of rides and facilities, and new areas and attractions – for which they have done an outstanding job over the last few years!
    Another point to consider: Except for fixtures, don’t put items in a display case that are not for sale! It just frustrates people and I bet there were plenty of inquiries about many of those pieces that were there back in June, but not for sale (yes, it would be great if Disney re-created them for sale).
    Ever hear the expression “please 90% of the people 90% of the time” ? Guess which company follows that rule? – APPLE! You think they have done pretty well following that mantra? Yeah….I’d say so.

    And finally for the poster “eicarr” who seems to think small children need to be sequestered to only certain areas of the park, I can only assume you are one of “those” people who will never have kids. Maybe you should be sequestered …. To the parking structure!

    • stitch1085

      MEOW! Kitty likes to scratch! I must say I am getting rather sick of those with children who believe those of us without children don’t deserve a great Disney Park experience just because we don’t have little kids with us! Pleasing 90% of the people 90% of the time was not an ideal that Walt Disney adopted, it may work just fine for Apple, at least it did while Jobs was alive, but look at that stock plummet! Anyway back to the windows, it is just a tacky display, pillow pet Disney characters awkwardly positioned with a cardboard cutout of other toys looking on…I mean seriously? Whoever thought that was a good idea should go back to Merchandising school. It’s amateurish and insulting to the people who created the story and elements of BVS. That’s like buying a finely crafted dining room table and covering it with a table cloth from Party City. BTW maybe if those with children actually learned how to raise children with manners instead of giving them this sense of entitlement the world would be a much better place! Just because one can have children does not mean that one should, which is why I will not be having kids anytime soon because I know I am not ready to take on such a huge responsibility.

      • KENfromOC

        While I agree with that many kids are not well disciplined anymore, the fact is that it is very hard to reason with a toddler – up to about 3years old, as they do not yet have those reasoning skills. And toddlers all have “melt downs”, particularly on a hot and crowded day at Disneyland where sitting in a stroller all they can see are a “sea” of legs most of the time. It happens – thankfully those melt downs pass within a few minutes. And by the way, it happens to adults as well – they don’t cry, but they yell or get very rude about something they feel they are entitled to – you see it at Disneyland all the time. At least there’s a reasonable excuse for a 2-year old. Once the child gets older there is more that you can do. As APs, we just say to our daughter it’s time to leave – but a family that just spend $100’s of dollars to get in for their once-a-year day, that’s not an option. You pull them aside, have a talk and wait it out. The parks are far more crowded now, unfortunately most family can only make it there on weekends and holidays due to work and school – just the way it is.

        As for that 90% rule? Guess what? Walt was NEVER out to please everyone! In fact here is direct quote that pretty much says just that: “I go right straight out for the adult. As I say, for the honest adult. Not the sophisticates. Not these characters that think they know everything and you can’t thrill them anymore. I go for those people that retain that something, you know, no matter how old they are; that little spirit of adventure, that appreciation of the world of fantasy and things like that. I go for them. I play to them. There’s a lot of them. You know?”

        And who are those “sophisticates”? It this case those that complain about display windows! Again, maybe….maybe 100 people out of thousands will care about those windows! Indeed, if those same complaints were about the Carthay Circle restaurant, that would be a huge %, but not this. I appreciate pointing out these tiny mis-steps around the parks, but they are tiny!

    • Back in 2001 Disney banked on the idea that 99% of people wouldn’t notice a lack of detail, quality and showmanship when they originally designed, built and opened Disney’s California Adventure. 10 years later the company was forced to radically re-imagine, redesign and reinvigorate key areas of the park as well as expand it by 12 acres because the majority of people *did* notice a lack of detail, quality and showmanship.

      You might think that people don’t notice the small details, but they do. Even if they can’t articulate why an area, ride or show doesn’t work, they *do* notice.

      To say we’re being nitpicky and nobody notices the windows anyway is a huge mistake. Obviously Disney things people do notice the windows, otherwise they wouldn’t bother with them to begin with. The window displays are major parts of the Buena Vista Street “show” and their contribution to the Buena Vista Street experience is significant. *Everything* contributes to the overall experience — therefore, it’s important that everything is top-notch and Disney-quality.

      Thanks for reading and joining the discussion.

      • Gibson510

        Good point Andy. Before this major overhaul of DCA it’s no secret the park was suffering financially compared to Disneyland. People became tired of the lack of attention to detail and theming.

        Disney spent a lot of money to bring DCA up to the standard that is Disneyland, and by repainting a bridge for no apparent reason or dumbing down the window displays they are undermining the hard work put into making the park so great. It’s sad to see them take steps backward after such a giant leap forward.

        Besides, if I wanted cheap theming and lack of attention to detail I’d go to Great America or Six Flags and not spend a ton on an AP.

  • Tinkd

    Thanks for the update, the only thing about Monday’s I look forward to. I agree about the BVS windows, you can only have one first impression and for all the “new” visitors this is a shame.

    I’m not able to click on the videos anymore, just out of the blue the links do nothing for me, does anyone know what I should do? Update my flash or ???

  • scarymouse

    Nice update ! Always love this time of year. Would love to see a large wall around innovations…and destruction begin …..very sad ,Tomorrowland is so depressing…old machines more retail….boo

  • Tinkbelle

    Yikes, it looks busy! I am glad we didn’t go this weekend after all. Thanks for the pictures of the “hidden” tower.

  • Michael Greening

    Wonderful update with lots of gorgeous photos. Once again, you show me the reason why I bought a DSLR.

  • TodAZ1

    “Only a few items in all of Buena Vista Street’s shops are exclusive to Buena Vista Street. Do they really expect guests to buy the same merchandise they’ve already seen in countless other stores in California Adventure, Disneyland and Downtown Disney?” Bingo!

    Actually, I’d be fine with the BVS windows if they actually did have some diversity in their stores like they used to a loooooooong time ago. I wouldn’t be happy with the windows, don’t get me wrong. But, personally, I think the much bigger problem is the same things for sale in all the stores. And, really, does Vynilmation (or whatever it’s called) have to be sold EVERYWHERE??? They’re even available in the Disney Store now!

  • Westsider

    The Big Top Toys window looks tacky. The photoshopped backdrop is the worst, but none of it is good. And I also dislike when those who have chosen to have children force their lifestyle on the rest of us and insist standards must be lowered or adult processes changed “for the children”.

    That said, I have to remind us all that Buena Vista Street isn’t supposed to be a literal re-telling of the day in 1923 that Walt arrived in Los Angeles. Because if it was supposed to be that literal, then the Carthay Circle Theater can’t exist at the end of the street because it wasn’t built until 1926, and the red/orange livery on the Red Car Trolley wasn’t introduced until the 1930’s, the Five & Dime band sings songs from the late 1920’s and 30’s instead of pre-1923, etc., etc. Buena Vista Street is only supposed to evoke an era’s mood of Los Angeles of the 1920’s and 30’s, not tell a very literal story of one day in 1923 when Walt stepped off the train. They just need to make the window displays less tacky.

    • TodAZ1

      Well said!

  • mysteriouspnai

    Thanks for the update! Mickey and the Magical Map will be opening on May 25, so I think the refurb schedule should be updated 🙂

  • Captain Pitchfork

    Did anybody notice the Premium Annual pass used to cost $499 and is now $649 coincides with the population formerly at 500 now 650 million???? Just thought the coincidence was too much to pass up mentioning!

  • DARTH MAUL

    Was a good update but all the complaining at the end ruined it for me. Just report unbiasedly. There are more important things in the world than window displays.

    • I agree, there are much more important things in the world than window displays – but since we’re just a blog about Disneyland, we don’t cover any of those bigger world issues here. Sorry! Thanks for reading!

  • PinBrian

    If you are a video game and/or pinball nerd (such as myself), be sure to play the Tron pinball in the Starcade. It appears to be a Tron LE, which they only made 400 of and commands about 10-11k in the pinball community.

    • Asterix

      Hey, thanks for the heads up! Now I’m looking forward to Tron pinball!

    • Thanks for the tip, Brian!

  • dlpostcardguy

    As others have mentioned I think the BVS window displays are important and add to the overall feel of the street. They did such a great job with them when the street opened and they have only gone downhill. I wish they would put more kinetic things that move in the windows like rock candy mountain. They did this at Wizarding World and it really prompts you to stop and look. If they are not selling merchandise on BVS maybe they should check their price points. The merchandise prices at Disney have skyrocketed and in many cases is insane. In addition if they plaster each and every store with the same exact thing why do they think people are going to bother to stop and look inside the shop when they have been conditioned to understand you can get the same products in most shops throughout the parks? Every shop in each park should have at least a few things for sale that are unique and you can’t get anywhere else.

  • Dreamagineer

    Did I miss a post or is no one talking about the return of the flying carpet at Aladdin?

  • AvanteGardens

    KENfromOC, you missed the important part of that Walt quote, “I go right straight out for the ADULT.” I would argue that Walt built Disneyland for people like himself, dads and grandpas that wish they were kids again. His problem at other parks of the time wasn’t that there was nothing for his kids, but rather that he was the one left warming the bench. So it would make sense that he would build something for adults. In Disneyland’s early years there were far more adults in the park than kids on a weekday. It just worked out that what Walt created was fun for taking the kids too. The approach by Disney the corporation is just the opposite today, build something designed to attract kids and let them drag the parents along.

    Disney wanted you to start your adventure in Disneyland from a central hub surrounded by a circle of choices, but they couldn’t very well put the entrance at the center since its geographically impossible for something to be on the edge of a circle and at the center at the same time. I believe that main street is intentionally monotonous and uninteresting so that you move quickly to the hub without noticing that you just walked half way across the park. In the same way Buena Vista Street doesn’t need to be spectacular, it should just move you along so you can get to radiator springs racers without noticing that you just had to walk to the far end of the property. That said, Disneyland is about exploring and if they put all the merchandise in the window, then there is no reason to go into the store to explore. It only will help if your set on buying a plush before you walk out the gate. Now for sure you will know which store to go in for that plush.

  • Gregg Condon

    I don’t think the windows on Buena Vista Street are something that a once a year, once a decade or once in a lifetime visitor to the park is going to notice. And even if they did I don’t think it’s something they’d be overly concerned about. I know I wouldn’t be.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    I am amazed that current Disney management seems to have forgotten the tried and true formula that Walt set out for selling things.

    1) First and foremost, Walt believed that show should come before sell. Main Street windows had elaborate animations that lead kids (and adults) to see the windows. That made the store “magical” and attractive to buy things in. The static, standard mall window does not cut it in a theme park.

    2) What is sold should be as interesting as where it is sold. The merchandise is selected not for the attractiveness of the product, but for the larger profit that is made by selling it. So even if the plastic toy looks like crap and is seen all over the park, Disney makes 50% more on that toy than something else of value and unique to that area. That is the wrong approach for a theme park.

  • DobbysCloset

    I want to agree one hundred percent with Andy and his opinions on the BVS windows.

    As a shopping maven who is always looking for unique souvenirs and who considers “window shopping” an entertainment in its own right, those windows are an absolute mess.

    As a kid in the sixties we all understood that Disneyland was for big kids, like six-year-olds, not babies. If you couldn’t walk around the park on your own two legs you were too young to visit! Families waited until their kids were old enough to enjoy the park before they went. Taking a baby to the park so the adults can enjoy the park isn’t a kind thing to do to the baby. A two-year-old doesn’t know the difference between Disneyland and the neighborhood park, nor does she care. Of course, I wasn’t tall enough for Autopia until I was twelve, so maybe I’m just grousing, but I would think that until a kid is at least five or six, most of Disneyland is simply irrelevant.

  • dazyhill

    I am sad that I did not get a chance to see the original displays of the BVS windows. I saw the windows during the Cars Land preview, but they were still being constructed. Even though they were incomplete, one could see that these displays were going to be special. These current displays are a travesty.
    I work in theme park retail for another park and a good window display is everything. You want guests to be drawn into the stores. A good window dresser puts a lot of thought and effort into their displays. There is none of that in the BVS windows. The toy display is one of the worst I have seen. The Merida doll in the circus crowd looks like she’s had a little too much (indeed there’s a coke bottle next to her).
    If Disney doesn’t want to use the beautiful (and period-appropriate) Steiff toys that were in the window previously, I would gladly offer them a home. 🙂 I wonder if they were sold off or regulated to storage.

  • RodeToad

    Andy I think your comments and summary about the windows are spot on.

    And your replies above are also well stated.

    Thanks for caring about a quality experience for everyone.

    PS Your photos rock !

  • JCSkipr79

    i bet Guest Relations will listen more to you guys there. Have you seen the window displays at DHS?? Straight from the local mall…

  • QPerth

    Andy, another stirling update for the fan community, especially those far away that cannot visit the parks as often as AP holders. Some terrific and terrible details revealed this week.
    The Spring flowers and colour looks stunning. The horticulture department really do a magnificent job, and inspire me with my meager gardening skills and courtyard. The gardens of Disney Parks are truly attractions in themselves. I am still slightly obsessed with Fantasia Gardens out the front of Disneyland Paris I was lucky enough to visit in February. And seeing the ducklings out, how wonderful! Especially if kids not used to seeing animals around get to see them too. I hope those Disneyland cats leave them alone and let them grow! The Disney ducks are always a wonderful part of visiting the parks and we look forward to seeing them around on our rare visits.
    The Tangled Tower and Rapunzel’s magic hair is a stunning detail. I’m correct in seeing that it’s illuminated from within?
    The uncovered castle Turret and wall is a terrific detail! A real clash touch of the imagineers to leave it AS WAS and a nod to history. Sure, Disneyland is not a museum, but everything has been crafted by artists of the time, and certainly many pieces, exhibits, art and construction ARE museum worthy. I quite like the more natural tones. And when will they get rid of that swirly, girly fence detail from atop the castle walls?!
    A great start to the Starcade, and I hope this is just the start. The original TRON arcade game should surely be displayed more prominently with the respect and focal point it deserves. Why Disney choose to ignore incredible franchises it already has over others is so wasteful.
    And now for the terrible. The merchandise departments destruction of truly stunning BVS Window Displays is so disheartening and surely not helping the stores bottom dollar lines. Better merch is needed, not the same stuff in every store. The window displays filled with crap are not going to help. Is there an email we can contact the department or TDA to voice our disaproval? Voicing our disapproval last time somewhat helped.
    Thanks again for the wonderful update Andy, I loved it! -Q

    • Thanks for reading and all of your great comments, QPerth!

      -Andy

      • QPerth

        Thankyou, and your welcome =)

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