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 writes the weekly Dateline Disneyland column, which can be found every Monday on MiceChat.

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  • 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!


    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!


      • QPerth

        Thankyou, and your welcome =)