The Court of Angels – New Orleans Square Disneyland

Written by Sam Gennawey. Posted in Samland

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Published on October 10, 2013 at 2:00 am with 76 Comments

The removal of the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square to make room for an expanded Club 33 has become the latest polarizing issue between traditionalists and those who are apathetic about change. How people view this little piece of construction says a lot about how they view the park in general.

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For those who are sad to see this little out of the way space go away, it represents one more example of Disney corporate greed over Walt Disney’s vision of creating exotic immersive environmental experiences for everyone. For those who never noticed The Court of Angels before or recognize that it represents an underutilized area that nobody visits even on the busiest day, their opinion tends to be “Get over it, things change.”

For anybody who has read Samland before knows, I am in the former camp. But I don’t want to get into that debate. Instead, I am going to take the opportunity to focus my lens on how filmmaking is used in Disneyland’s environmental design and how The Court of Angels is a wonderful example of an essential pattern to quality urban planning.

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First the film link. One of the things Walt Disney loved to do was to add little surprises throughout the park that guests could stumble upon. In filmmaking they were known as interstitials, events between the major events. Within the best films, you need occasional pauses in the action to catch your breath. If you remove them, the film would be a chaotic jumble of raw emotions. Disneyland and Walt Disney World were designed with interstitials in mind and that is why they are not a Six Flags style amusement park.

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The Court of Angels is an excellent example. Another favorite that is highlighted in The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide is the petrified tree in Frontierland. In July 1956, Walt and Lillian had driven through Colorado, near Pike’s Peak, just outside of Colorado Springs. Walt saw a “Petrified Trees for Sale” at Pike’s Petrified Forest. He pulled in and told Lillian to wait in the car. She was not happy with the detour and was starting to get agitated. When her husband returned, he proudly proclaimed that he had just bought her anniversary present; a petrified tree stump. The 5-ton stump was still in Colorado on their 31st anniversary on July 13, 1956. When she said that it was too big for the mantle, Walt brought it down to Disneyland. On Walt and Lillian’s 32nd anniversary, July 13, 1957, the 10-foot tree stump was installed next to the Rivers of America.

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For urban designers, an outdoor room such as the Court of Angels is recognized as essential element to creating spaces with a higher degree of life. In A Pattern Language, architect Christopher Alexander said, “An outdoor space becomes a special outdoor room when it is well enclosed with walls of the building, walls of foliage, columns, trellis, and sky; and when the outdoor room, together with an indoor space [the shops], forms a virtually continuous living area.” It is my belief that the Court of Angels satisfies that need and that is why so many people are lamenting its passing.

For today’s management, it is a tough call. They are being pushed to maximize the revenues for every square foot of the park and a beautiful “underutilized” space is very tempting. It is not like they have not already tried before. Look at the holidays when the space has played host to an expanded retail display. The baseline for revenues had already been set and it must be obvious that Club 33 should have a higher yield. But is that enough to close off a beautiful space to the general visitor? You be the judge.

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About Sam Gennawey

Sam Gennawey is an urban planner who has collaborated with communities throughout California over the course of more than 100 projects to create a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. Sam is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving municipal, county, and private sector planning documents from throughout Los Angeles County. Sam is the author of Walt and the Promise of Progress City which you can find on Amazon.

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76 Comments

Comments for The Court of Angels – New Orleans Square Disneyland are now closed.

  1. Instead of remodeling Club 33 Disneyland needs to add a water park in Anaheim. The summer crowds and lines are too long. A water park would thin out the crowd, and give Disney fans another reason to stay in the park and spend money instead of retreating to their hotel or motel pools. Most of those have too many people in them.

    • You’ll be thrilled to learn that Garden Grove just approved funding for an indoor water park a scant 1.5 miles south of Disneyland on Harbor Blvd! Now Disneyland doesn’t have to waste its extremely expensive real estate on a park where admission would be half of a traditional park, and which would be closed before sunset on days that its open.

  2. “Traditionalists and those who are apathetic about change?” Nice use of a false dichotomy. There’s a gigantic middle ground there that you are pretending doesn’t exist. This doesn’t have to be a “you’re either with us or against us” issue.

    • No kidding KennyVee – a symptom of the negativity around here which Kevin Yee was dialoguing on the other day.

      The problem here is that its being painted as an issue of Walt v Corporate Greed – its a touchstone for a particular sector of people, calling themselves traditionalists, who feel as though the park is focussing only on the corporate dollar, and not on the quality of the show.

      The reality is, Walt was not only about the show. Disneyland was always there to make money. The current Disney runners are not all about the money, they also want to put on a very good show. I think the gigantic people in the middle ground are pragmatists who aren’t locked into black and white opinions of complex issues.

  3. I think that so many people are upset about change in the park is that some of us grew up at Disneyland. As I’ve said before, I was born in 1958, so by 1959, going to Disneyland was an annual occurrence in my family. I’ve fantasized about someone keeping track of all the money I’ve spent at DL all these years. Certainly enough to somehow feel that I have a stake in what goes on in the park. We always called it “the park” and felt a special sense of owning just a little piece of DL. Of course that all changed with Walt’s passing and the rise of corporate greed and the need to please stockholders. I’m just saying this so that some of the younger readers can at least begin to understand some of the sentiments involved when something changes in the park. I love new rides. There have been precious few of them in the past few years. If you study DL history through “The E Ticket” magazine, and other Disney books, you’ll see that when Walt was alive, there was tremendous change almost every season. Walt put his heart and soul into the park, the way he did with everything he was involved with. I miss the “good old days” when I felt the park was changing for the better, growing more sophisticated but keeping the feeling of tremendous imagination and wonder. It felt like Walt and Co. were working tirelessly to create an alternate reality that was clean, beautiful and exciting. Now, when I go to DL, I just feel like it’s a cash cow for the company. Where are the grand projects like Tony Baxter’s Discovery Bay? Why are the newer additions, like Innoventions or Buzz Lightyear so lightweight and lacking true vision? I could go on and on, but as a community here, I think it’s important to try and understand why there is such resistance to change. I think the perception that most of the change coming to DL has little to do with creativity and mostly to do with corporate profits is correct. Hence the mourning of a little, quiet part of New Orleans lost to the public forever.

    • Well said!

  4. Fighting for sections of the park being walled off for rich people only doesn’t make you a traditionalist. I fear the old Disney Gallery and court of angels is just the beginning.

    • You must understand that the “old” Disney Gallery and Court of Angles never were INTENDED to be part of the general public areas anyways. Remember? Walt and Roy had that space allocated for their family apartment and for special dignitaries alike, etc.

      I understand though how after so many years of a given space be allocated in certain functional ways (a.k.a. Disney Gallery / quiet alcove for folks to take a picture at, etc.) and then changing those functions back to what they were more or less were intended for in the first place, could make one fell sort of “screwed”.

      I don’t feel “screwed” though nor am I envious of Club 33. Actually, I think that it just makes good sense.

      • Just because something did not follow its intended purpose doesn’t mean that its ultimate function should be ignored. It was supposed to be private and it became public. Instead of being a treat for the high mucky-mucks in the world, it became a gift to the public, an adorable little space where you can retreat from the madness 20 feet away and feel like you’re in a special, hidden cove. That was the feeling I used to get when I was in the Court, and on the back patio of the Gallery. I will miss those things. It’s like the PeopleMover – there didn’t seem to be anything special about it until you were on it, above Tomorrowland, and given a unique perspective. Sometimes those teeny touches mean more to the experience.

      • amy – fair point, but when people are making this story primarily about “walt v modern corporate greed’ – the original purpose is pretty relevant, don’t you think?

      • Everyone seems to profess they know Walt’s stance – well take a line from one of his most famous speeches:

        “To all that come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land.” EMPHASIZE: ALL AND YOUR.

        With this move, the Walt Disney Co. is taking away a cherished piece of MY LAND and designating it for the rich and pompous (I have yet to meet a Club 33 member that didn’t have an elitist attitude and an entitlement because of their income/financial status, and I have met MANY) and excluding me as I will never be able to afford to see it again.

        The corporate officers are appeasing a few elite and are not giving consideration to THE MASSES that got them where they are today. Disgusting.

        How many marriage proposals have happened at the Court of Angels? How many first kisses? How many family photos have been cherished being taken on the winding staircase? How many cherished photos of friends? And how many of these MILLIONS will NEVER get to experience this LANDMARK ever again? Disgusting.

        This is enough for me to never renew my Annual Pass ever again. For me it represents not just a change to capitalize on an underused space – BUT A CHANGE IN MINDSET. NO LONGER ARE ALL WELCOME TO THIS HAPPY PLACE – BUT MORE AND MORE BITS AND PIECES ARE DELEGATED FOR THE FEW ELITE THAT CAN AFFORD THEM. Disgusting.

      • Golden
        October 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

        amy – fair point, but when people are making this story primarily about “walt v modern corporate greed’ – the original purpose is pretty relevant, don’t you think?
        ———-

        Yes and no. Intent is relevant to the times. A comparison would be arguments about the Constitution, specifically the 2nd amendment. Some people argue what the intent of the framers was, while others argue that the intent 200+ years ago can’t be relevant today because the world is so different. While that example might seem extreme, I hope you see where I am going.

        Do you think Walt would have done something different if he had known that we would become a world ruled by corporate greed and bean counting? It’s not like he existed in a bubble where he got to play with his imagination all day long. He had stockholders to answer to back in the day and he found a way to toe the line. It’s more likely that today’s executives lack both the creativity and cojones to do the same. I get the argument that dead space = dead profits. I disagree, as this was not dead space, but a momentary escape. It never bothered me when the Nightmare merch overflowed there. But when all of the private escapes disappear, the stress goes up, and the enjoyment of the overall experience goes down.

        In all honesty, I’m surprised the little waterway by Fantasia Gardens hasn’t gone yet. Will we cry “corporate greed!” when that disappears, too?

      • To accept that, though, we have to accept as given that ‘today’s executives are not as creative and don’t have cajones’ and that ‘we live in a world driven by corporate greed’ as objective facts that apply today more than they applied in the time of walt, which I simply do not. They are just opinions. Valid opinions, but subjective ones.

        One thing I will say is, they are definitely driven more by OSHA regulations. I think it sucks that their original entryway caused them OSHA problems. But anyone who states that closing Court of Angels off is to make that area more profitable? How? Disneyland users pay a flat fee to get in the park, Club 33 members play a flat fee to get in – and I can’t see how the Court of Angels is in any way responsible for the number of flat fees they get in either case. Anyone who says its a lack of creativity? Why?

        I’m sad the court of angels is closed, and I definitely think its the wrong decision, but I don’t think it is being closed because of corporate greed and a lack of creativity. This isn’t a 99% thing. I think perhaps the conversations around this just reflect the times in the USA, its a touchstone to the American view of the world generally in these times, but I think its a fundamentally flawed accusation when it is put against the backdrop of ‘what would Walt do’ – because Walt would have private spaces for higher paying guests, he would create attractions based on his movies, and he would sell merchandise that tied into those movies. And this is just my valid, subjective opinion ;)

  5. It seems like Disney is also losing sight of “tomorrow”. Disney has moved from aethstetics in urban/environmental planning to MERCHANDISING. I don’t think this movement can be stopped any more than the community was able to stop Knott’s from removing the Knott’s lagoon back in the ’80s.

  6. Unfortunately, this is what happens when the bean counters have more decision making power over Disneyland than the people at DL who really do love the park and do all they can to make it special.

    I also find it curious that Disney or Disneyland haven’t said anything official about the COA closure.

  7. I love all the so called “purists” who constantly whine about this sort of thing but are the first in line for “limited” runs of merchandise, collectors items, Boxed DVD sets, special park events, premium ticket movie premier events, seperate ticketed park times (like Halloween parties), stays at the Grand Californian Resort, and premium AP’s. Corporate Greed? How trendy a term. How about the fact that Disney is providing for its demand? Do you know how long the list is to get into Club 33? I’ve read that it’s years long.

    So, as a company, what are you to do? Your job is to the stockholders FIRST…even Walt knew this. You maximize your profits by providing what your customer base DEMANDS. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. This looks to be a “no-brainer”. What do the rest of us give up? A 30-second peak at a picturesque spot that serves no other purpose. I thought it was cute as well…but honestly, has ANYONE ever thought to themselves when planning their trip to Disneyland “OMG, I CANT WAIT TO GE TO THE COURT OF ANGELS!”

    Uh…no.

    • I wouldn’t really say Walt thought of the stockholders first all the time. He put his entire company on the line to build Disneyland; had it failed, he would have lost everything.

    • Has anybody, when going out to eat at a fancy steakhouse, said “OMG, I can’t wakt to get a nice big glass of water!”??? No, probably not. But they’re sure glad they’ve got one.

      • Cute, but not parallel– a glass of water approaches necessity, whereas the Court des Anges is more akin to a garnish than a glass of water, in your analogy. They’re not deleting the water, they’re deleting a radish cut into the shape of a flower, set on a piece of kale.

    • “My brother and I have been right together in that right from the get-go. And we’ve felt that assets is the thing that we are responsible for not appeasing some stockholder. We’re not afraid of the stockholder coming in to us because we know we’re doing what’s right for the company.” -Walt Disney

      (From a 1961 Interview with Peter Martin)

    • Hey Snap (I’m sure that’s what they call you at the office)
      Too bad you don’t get Disneyland.
      As Sam related in the article, it’s the little things that Walt included in the park that make it stand miles above any other amusement franchise. Do they need a piano player every day out on main street? Why not just recorded music? I’m sure you were happy they got rid of those old clunky old arcade thingies…more room for plushie crap for you to buy. And what’s with that Snow White fountain? I bet you would love another churro stand there.
      NOBODY goes to Disneyland for the details – it’s the joy of finding them that makes the experience. Sad that has to be explained to you.
      By the way…your Hunter Thompson imitation is pretty lame.

    • Actually…yes. That is the only place that we did family photos. I am glad we got to do one trip in September before it closed. We will miss COA.

    • “Disneyland is like a piece of clay: If there is something I don’t like, I’m not stuck with it. I can reshape and revamp.”

      “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

      …..Walt Disney

      • Neither of those quotes were intended to excuse poor changes or profit over quality.

    • Their job is NOT shareholders first. Shareholders invest in the company because of what the company does. The company must continue growing and improving what the company produces. THAT’s what investors buy into. If the company doesn’t do what it does, and starts losing money, then investors can leave and find more profitable investments.

      If the company decides it’s going to make investors happy by increasing profits for them, but in the process, weaken their product, than they are doing neither the shareholders or the company any favors. Eventually they will have weakened the company so much that it’s no longer profitable and those investors will leave anyway.

      Eisner significantly damages the company in the 90′s by demanding a constant 20% ROA. The parks cut bask on maintenance, reduced hours, provided poor merchandise and food to the point where the company was in such poor shape that Eisner was eventually removed.

      Disney needs to focus on providing their guests, customers and fans with exceptional products that they will be more than willing to pay a premium for. THAT’s how to make profits, both for the company AND Stockholders.

      • I apologize, I’m not taking the time to read everyone’s comments before posting my own, but I’m pressed for time right now and DLFan1995’s comment about Eisner struck me as a good place to put this thought I’ve had recently.
        I just read Eisner’s “Work in Progress” and Marty Sklar’s “Dream It, Do It” and I’m re-reading “The Disney Touch”
        I’m not a fan of everything Eisner did. I generally feel that after the passing of Frank Wells, Eisner lost an important sounding board and balancing influence.
        But we had better not forget that when those two came in Disney was in big danger of falling to a hostile take-over and broken up into its various pieces. I don’t think it’s too far to imagine that if Eisner and the “Money grubbers” hadn’t started maximizing profits, Disneyland could have been sold off toe Cedar Fair or Six Flags at some point.
        That thought should blow the tops off the heads of all Court of Angels lovers.

        There has to be a balance. No doubt.

        And further comments about degrading the value of the property not being in the stockholder’s interest seem to be colored by a belief that stockholders have any inkling of the future value of anything beyond the next quarter. The system’s evolution makes that unlikely.
        You turn a profit – a BIGGER profit now or I vote you out. Or I sell if I can’t vote.

        The market does not have a brain. It is an amoeba that can consume, repair and reproduce or die. It reacts to forces, it does not understand them.

        Things will get worse.
        But some things will get better too.

        And let’s not forget that everything Walt believed in was a winner. “Mickey Mouse Club Circus” anyone?

    • I always did. For decades I would hop on the train, get off in New Orleans, ride Pirates, buy coffee and sit and drink it on those stairs, just grateful to be “home.” I feel like someone bought my uncle’s house and turned it into a resort for rich people and now I can’t even sit on the steps.

  8. I so Hate the Disney Corporation so much right now I have already let my AP expire and I am not going back to Disneyland EVER. I have been going for 50 yrs in the past sometimes as much as a few times a month, the main reason I am leaving as a guest for good is I am disabled and I find the DAS OFFENSIVE to Disabled people. But recently I have seen extremely poor decisions all in the name of making more $ in the short term but that strongly degrade the “Disneyland Experience” first there was the gutting out of the ice cream parlors 1910 recreation in favor of more queue space, now the gutting out of the Market Place for a #(*$&# Starbucks and the the demolition of my single favorite area in all of all the parks I have been too, all my life since 1967 i have loved this courtyard and would sit on the bench and soak it in and later park my wheelchair there and enjoy it now to destroy it to make a private club for the 1%’s to enjoy F U Disney Corporation!! GTH

    • I doubt anyone will miss you. Keep your bitterness at home and keep pecking away at the keyboard.

    • I must be about your age and am looking forward to being able to have the experience you have had, degraded or not, visiting the park when I need a smile. As a disabled person I am just grateful that people seem to suddenly be accommodating the dog (I’ve been training him for two years) and being with him can turn misery into joy not only for me but for anyone around who needs a bit of doggie love. I am sorry you are so angry. I hear your pain. The world in general has gone all money mad bottom line oriented tho, not just Disney.

      We will find a new special place… (I was in the art gallery that would have been Walt’s apartment and wanted to move in; I was in Club 33 for a moment as part of “Walt’s Footsteps” tour and it was loud and chaotic with teenagers chasing about. They can keep it.)

    • Don’t let the door hit you on the tailpipe on the way out.

    • I do love how disabled people want to be treated like everyone else….except when it comes to parking up front or cutting to the front of the line. The new system makes everyone equal so you’re pissed. Let your pass expire, stay home and enjoy your pity-party. “Boo-Hoo, they took away my free pass for every ride; they took away my quiet spot only me and 15 other people care about on a given day; they made a store bigger (and more accessible!!!)”. Congratulations, your life sucks…but losing your patronage will improve the quality of atmosphere for the rest of us. Good riddance.

  9. To commend to original designers who worked on developing New Orleans Square back in the 60′s let me say this: After growing up in Los Angeles and visiting Disneyland since age 2, I finally had an opportunity in 2001 to visit the real New Orleans. I was astounded at how much the two really did look alike (aesthetically if not culturally). On that trip I recall “stumbling” across a hidden courtyard while along Royal street complete with flower boxes, shuttered windows, brick paving, the works. At that moment I remember thinking “wow” we just found this courtyard just like the one at Disneyland, and my admiration for the designers was complete. To say people don’t notice the details, that they do not have an impact really means you have lost touch with the power of your own product. Thanks Walt for always getting it right :)

    • I worry sometimes that “Walt” the metaphor has become “Walt” the literal in peoples’ minds. Walt’s talent was– and he would say this– his talent was in recognizing talent. And as far as New Orleans Square was concerned, the talent was Herb Ryman.

      “Walt was making his customary rounds early one morning, having just come off the offices of John Hench and Bill Martin. ‘Well, Herbie, I guess you guys of dropped the ball on New Orleans Square.’ I said I have some ideas, I knew how New Orleans ought to look, I knew how it ought to be, but it was not my project. ‘It is now. Do anything you wish. I’m coming back at noon tomorrow and I want my Square.’” –Herb Ryman, A Brush With Disney

      Ryman’s sketches of New Orleans Square, including two of Le Grand Court (the name Court des Anges came in 1997 to honor deceased Cast Member Sally McWhirter), are on page 185 of this book.

  10. Hello,

    If you like this sort of thing I would like to encourage you to Like my new Facebook page for The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide. The biography of the park comes out in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks,
    Sam Gennawey aka Samland

    • LOL…so let me get this straight. You blast Disney for “Corporate Greed” then comment on your own thread to sell your book? Thanks for ruining this quaint, quiet place on the internet with your greed….i’m offended!

      • Hello Mr. snappy,

        Yes I am plugging my book on my page.

        I suggest you read the article. You might enjoy it for what it is.

        To recap

        1. Walt Disney applied filmmaking techniques to the environmental design process. This was one of the breakthroughs of Disneyland and one of the reasons so many elements have been copied elsewhere.

        2. Based on Christopher Alexanders’s A Pattern Language, this type of space has been identified as essential in creating places that have a higher degree of life (quick plug: you could learn more about that in my first book – Walt and the Promise of Progress City).

        Any suggestion of corporate greed is just a recognition that management has shifted in its approach to manage its property.

        Now for the thoughtful comments…

        Apathetic

        You are right. That may be a bit harsh and I did not leave a middle ground. So noted. For that segment may I suggest that you too have such a place at the park and this was just not it? I am a fanatic for the Wizard of Bras porch more so than the Court of Angels. I think I know where you are coming from.

        Sam

      • If not for corporate greed, people will just allow themselves to be fired. I guess this is more noble.

      • @Sam – I agree with kennyVee – and the Court of Angels WAS my place at the park, and my families. I have 5 new family members I’m bringing to the park next year, and I’m sad they won’t get to take our traditional photo there. But it’s possible to not agree with or particularly like a decision, but understand it and accept it for what it is.

        We don’t have to be attacking, we can be philosophical and sad without blaming it on a soulless company who has lost sight of Walt’s ideals.

    • Dear Sam:

      For you I will visit Facebook and I will Like it. I hate Facebook. I find it intrusive and can’t stand most of what people think suitable to share.

      Is this biography a book that one can ask one’s library to buy?

      Today I was at a Community Planning/Fair Housing Advocacy meeting and, as always, I think of what you say about Walt having gotten it right. It inspires me to try to make every space as magical as Disneyland.

      • Thank you for doing that. Yes, this would be a fine book for any library. It is a fully annotated history with over 800 footnotes. Good for research.

        Sam

  11. I’m not sure “apathetic” is an appropriate term. I, for example, have never found the area to be especially charming or immersive – and so I simply don’t feel impacted by it changing. While I acknowledge that one small courtyard with a staircase is the “favorite area in the park” for many people, I just don’t understand that. I feel bad for those folks, but because I don’t personally have an attachment to the space doesn’t, I don’t think, make me “apathetic.”

    • ap·a·thet·ic
      ˌapəˈTHetik/Submit
      adjective
      1.
      showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
      “apathetic slackers who don’t vote”
      synonyms: uninterested, indifferent, unconcerned, unmoved, uninvolved, disinterested, unemotional, emotionless, dispassionate, lukewarm, unmotivated, halfhearted; informal couldn’t-care-less; rareLaodicean
      “an apathetic workforce”

      It looks like Sam used the word correctly. Weigh in on the corporate greed vs folk treasure argument, or tell us…what would break your heart if commandeered for backstage use?

  12. Personally I’m not thrilled about it. However I am FAR more concerned about the total Star Wars transformation in Tomorrowland that appears to be coming in the next few years. I was a die hard star wars fan long before I set foot in Disneyland and it bothers me.

    • For me the chance of walking through the Millennium Falcon before I die will be a dream come true. It will be almost like if I lived long enough to see Zefram Cochrane invent warp drive. And if I should become delusional in my eighties and get confused and start thinking that Han is going to arrive any minute for our date, I’m sure the CM’s will be sweet to me.

      But I understand that it could bother someone. Are they going to screw it up?

      I am willing to calmly accept the loss of COA as part of that awful Carousel of Progress and assume it is understood that if the Millennium Falcon and the rest of that universe are’t immaculately constructed, Disney will have to contend with the Force as wielded by millions of Star Wars fanatics.

    • Just wait until they make a Star Wars musical on the Tomorrowland Terrace ;-)

  13. I’m still pushing for Club 33 exclusive rides. Or lands! Just close off everything before the Hungry Bear, turn that into an “outdoor” Club 33 restaurant, and Splash Mountain becomes a perk of your “extreme value” $50,000 membership. “Thumb your nose at the cheapo park guests as you go down the drop, in your exclusive log ride!” Unlimited fastpass entrances? Why should assistance cards be limited to disabled guests, when Mickey can cash in on that? Merely an extra $1000 per month. Those Disney fans don’t care anyway — why I just read from someone on the Internet that “Splash Mountain wasn’t really MY favorite ride, and I almost never go into Bear Country anyway, so I won’t miss it.” Really, they just aren’t taking this far enough. ;)

  14. Great article, IMHO, as Disneyland was built by people who had film experience. Look at Universal, for a while you had some decent rides, but no “lands”, no amazing reveals when you see the Rivers of America for the first time, or ride the Mark Twain for the first time into the wilderness, you get a cinematic experience at Disneyland.

    Then Universal hired the same people who worked on the Harry Potter films to do Potterland . . . the result was amazing! Pixar was heavily involved with Carsland, and the result was similar, I think that the idea of just plugging in attractions without “interstitials” such as the Court of Angels is a bad idea, then you’ve got a theme park where guests just rush from ride to ride, making longer lines, and a more boring theme park experience.

    Hopefully, Disneyland will at some point get a quality expansion where guests can have more explorable space, such as a Frontierland expansion, or even a New Orleans Square expansion west of the train tracks which the company had plans for at one point with “World Holidayland”. In terms of crowd control, if the lands themselves are highly themed, almost walk-through attractions in themselves, then you don’t get the massive lines and the guests who don’t enjoy their time when they’re not on the rides. More than just a nice add-on, little areas like the Court of Angels are integral to Disneyland’s design and guest flow system.

  15. Why does this “Court of Angels” need to be THAT “interstitials” that needs to be saved? Is the rest of Disneyland a bunch of “raw emotions”? Disneyland has plenty of quiet spaces. I just find it strange that people are decrying the removal of a space that really serves no purpose. The highlight is a stairs to nowhere. It doesn’t even take you upstairs. It’s a dead end and you usually enter from one spot. It can be a pass-through hall to another store in the back, but not always. It can be a meet and greet, but not consistently. The stairs is the real highlight and it isn’t exactly a quiet stop if people are trying to use it as a photo spot.

    The real problem is the closure of the lobby to members only. I question why it need to be closed off completely. Members should be allowed to pass through and regular guests should still be able to get an occasional peek and do a photo. Perhaps keep the meet and greet at the stairs for guests at specific time periods, thus access can be controlled and not restricted.

    • Exactly. These rants are more about being excluded from the new Club 33 then the loss of any visual “Treasure”. It’s pretty simple, you either will pay to go to Disneyland or not, that is your only real option. I’m not saying that people are not entitled to their opinion, but I wish they would be honest about their motives…

      I’m not a member of Club 33 and never will be. I don’t lose any sleep over this fact. I would rather it stay as it is now over being converted to a place I will never be able to utilize, but it has ZERO impact on my DLR experience.