Last dance for Carnation Plaza, Matterhorn testing, Starbucks on Buena Vista St, MORE
by, 04-30-2012 at 01:06 AM
Disney fans gathered to mark the end of an era this weekend as the final swing dancing performances took place at the iconic Carnation Plaza Gardens at the edge of Disneyland's Central Plaza. The performance space closes today to make way for the controversial new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area which will temporarily evict the swing dancing and permanently displace the visiting performing arts groups that have called the stage home for over five decades. Meanwhile, work is wrapping up at Main Street's Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Palace as those locations prepare to reopen this week after major changes. In Fantasyland, bobsleds are now hitting the slopes at the Matterhorn as that attraction begins ride testing now that its major repainting project has wrapped up. In Disney California Adventure, construction continued on the park's new main entrance area over the week as Disney officially announced the first in-park Starbucks Coffee location will open on Buena Vista Street this summer. We also take a first look at some views from inside Cars Land and in Downtown Disney, the LEGO Store unveils some fantastic new features.
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Inside Dateline Disneyland
- Welcome to Disneyland!
Touring Plans crowd forecast
- Magic Kingdom Makeovers
Carnation Cafe expansion, Gibson Girl and Candy Palace get ready to re-open, Matterhorn ride testing
- Last Dance
Big crowds turn out for Carnation Plaza Gardens' final swing dance
- California Construction
A look at the on-going construction at Disney California Adventure...
- Downtown Changes
Downtown Disney remodels and changes
- Sunrise to Sunrise
A new E-Book from our friends at Touring Plans
- This and That
AP-exclusive Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary party
- Weekly News and Information Round-Up
Weekly theme park hours, closures and refurbishments
Sponsored by TouringPlans.com | Do More. Wait Less.
With crowds expected to be very light this week, this may be one of your last chances to see the parks with so few people for the foreseeable future. Our friends at Touring Plans their crowd forecast to help you plan you visit.
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
Expect another lightly crowded week at Disneyland. Now is the time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds certain to flock to Disneyland once Disney California Adventure reboots. TouringPlans.com can help you navigate the parks with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. With spring break crowds here, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!
Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.
— Fred Hazelton Statistician, TouringPlans.com
Crowd Calendar Prediction
Crowd Tips Tues., May 1 2/10 Here are some quick-hit notes that we hope you'll find helpful as you prepare your visits for the week:
- Full block outs but light crowds on Cinco de Mayo.
- Thursday will be the lightest day for crowds this week in both parks.
- Disney California Adventure is a 2.7 on the Crowd Calendar on Monday.
Wed., May 2 2/10 Thu., May 3 1/10 Fri., May 4 5/10 Crowd levels are based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least crowded conditions and 10 being most crowded.
Work continues on the Carnation Cafe's extended refurbishment and expansion project.
Next door, however, the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is just about ready to reopen. Last week, the Disney Parks Blog announced that the Gibson Girl, Penny Arcade and Candy Palace would all reopen on Wednesday, May 2.
Candy Palace, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Penny Arcade to Re-Open May 2 at Disneyland Park
Has your sweet tooth been aching during the refurbishment of Candy Palace and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street, U.S.A.? If so, you’ll be glad to know that both of these Disneyland park favorites will re-open on May 2!
At the new, expanded candy kitchen inside Candy Palace, you will be able to watch our talented team of Candy Makers create some of your favorite sweet treats right before your eyes. Gourmet and caramel apples, toffee, fudge and other candy classics will line the shelves of this opulent turn-of-the-century location.
Next door, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor has undergone a transformation to make your ice cream experience easier and more convenient. With more registers and scooping space, you will be able to get your ice cream fix quicker than ever before!
You can get ice cream by the scoop or one of the specialty sundaes, but what I’m most excited about are the new floats added to the menu – in addition to the traditional root beer float, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor will offer Coca-Cola floats and Fanta Orange floats.
And you Penny Arcade fans will be pleased to know that the arcade will also re-open on May 2 alongside Candy Palace and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. [ LINK ]
A look at a new chandelier inside the Ice Cream Parlor:
A look at the new themed exit sign for the Candy Palace
Over at the Matterhorn, work has wrapped up on the mountain's complete repainting.
Some of the walls along the Tomorrowland side of the mountain have come down now that painting is done.
We've said it before here, but photos don't really do the new paint job justice. It really looks great.
The ivy has been completely removed from the Tomorrowland side of the mountain and it doesn't look like it will be returning. You can also see what effects the recent mud-throwing had around the base of the mountain. It looks good!
The new safety rail on this bridge is finished. The bridge has been widened to accommodate the new pillars that support the rope-themed handrail. It's a shame this addition was deemed necessary—the pillars and rope are completely out of scale.
On Saturday, Disney was sending the new fleet of bobsleds out for test runs.
The chalet at the attraction entrance is still getting some work done
This weekend marked the official end of the Carnation Plaza Gardens at Disneyland. The performance space will now begin its controversial transformation into the new Fantasy Faire princess meet-and-greet area. The stage is expected to remain largely intact, with a Fantasyland-style redressing that will serve as a backdrop to story time with princesses and other kid-friendly activities. Still, the popular evening swing dancing events will be temporarily relocated to Downtown Disney and the performing arts groups visiting from schools around the world will be permanently displaced throughout Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
This weekend marked the final performances for both the performing arts groups and the swing dancers and big crowds turned out for Saturday's final evening of swing dancing and guests attending were lighting up Twitter with photos of the packed Carnation Plaza stage..
Last week, the OC Register shared fan memories of Carnation Plaza Gardens:
Fans share memories of closing Disneyland plaza
The iconic Carnation Plaza Gardens, a staple at Disneyland since 1956, is closing next week.
The plaza has been used for many purposes: It used to have an ice cream parlor. The floor has held swing dances since 1958. Community group performances also are hosted there.
After its final day Monday, crews will begin transforming the plaza into the Fantasy Faire, a princess meet-and-greet area that will open next year.
We asked readers to share their memories of Carnation Plaza Gardens. Here are a few of their stories, which were edited:
From Leona Owens of Anaheim:
“Carnation Plaza has been in my blood since before I was born. My parents would often dance there in the days when you could buy a general admission ticket and just roam the park listening to the bands. In fact, my dad proposed to my mom at Snow White’s bridge across the way.
Disney was, of course, part of my childhood. And I performed in Carnation Plaza, as part of Disney’s Magic Music Days several times, both as a performer and later, as a choir director.
Now, as a middle-aged woman, life has come full circle as I have enjoyed swing dancing for the last couple of years on Saturday nights at Carnation Plaza.”
From Ethelyn Bernstein of Fullerton:
“This took place during the first years it was open. Roy of the Mickey Mouse Club, the cartoonist, would sit out by the pavilion and draw characters for the kids. I have a Minnie Mouse signed by him. I don’t think too many people have that memory!”
From Larry Watkins of Monterey.
NOTE: Watkins’ father, Glen Watkins, was the lessee starting in 1957 for the ice cream parlor, according to Disney records.
“I was there opening day at age 8. My father was good friends with Walt Disney. Walt would come into the Main Street store for lunch and order a bowl of chili and a chocolate malt.
One day, Walt said to my dad that his daughter wanted a place to dance with her friends at Disneyland. My dad recommended that they build a place where the old music gazebo was and call it ‘Carnation Plaza Gardens.’ So, there it was born.
I started scooping ice cream cones at age 13 for my dad and later learned all aspects of the restaurant business at both stores. I was so proud. He would let me carry the day-before cash earnings in an old Bank of America cloth bag to the bank on Main Street at 9 a.m. every morning for a deposit. Over the years, I met several celebrities, musicians, dignitaries and politicians who used to come to the stores.”
Chris Rodriguez of Laguna Hills.:
“As a child, I remember my dad taking me to see Lionel Hampton and Tex Beneke’s orchestras’ perform. I still remember it now almost 40 years (later) — the way the couples would swing and the crowd would cheer. Standing room only. I still remember watching this one elderly lady always dancing by herself and having the best time as the music brought her back to her youth.”
From Tiffany Eliot of Fullerton:
“My memory is from 1985 when I worked there as an ROP student and that time in the corner by the stage was an ice cream place! I served up ice cream there. Many may not remember, but the area is still open just with tables. And soon it will all be transformed!” [ LINK ]
For more photos of Carnation Plaza Gardens, see our August 22, 2011 edition of Dateline Disneyland where we documented the area when the Fantasy Faire project was originally announced.
Meanwhile, back in Frontierland's Big Thunder Ranch, the old Festival Arena's stage upgrades are progressing. This area will open this Wednesday as the new Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and will be the new home for Disney Performing Arts groups at Disneyland as well as additional character meet-and-greets, arts and crafts and other activities.
Construction continues in Disney California Adventure.
Work at Oswald's Filling Station
Los Feliz Five and Dime
Scaffolding has come down at the Carthay Circle Theater's tower
Last Monday, Disney officially announced the long-rumored arrival of Starbucks at Disney theme parks. The announcement came with the confirmation of Al Lutz's reports that the first Starbucks location in a Disney theme park will be at the new Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe in California Adventure's new Buena Vista Street area.
The OC Register's Fast Food Maven had additional details on the Starbucks announcement:
Starbucks: Six cafes coming to Disney theme parks
Mickey Mouse is getting a big jolt from the world’s biggest cafe chain.
Starbucks announced plans Monday to open six cafes at Disney theme parks in Anaheim and Florida. The first will open this summer at Disneyland California Adventure.
The other cafes are planned for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort, including locations at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Starbucks announced Monday.
“Starbucks and Disney have many things in common,” said Arthur Rubinfeld, president of Global Development for Starbucks. “We share a passion for providing excellent customer service, delivering high quality in everything we do, and ensuring that every experience with our brand exceeds our customers’ expectations. This is something our customers and partners (employees) have asked for through MyStarbucksIdea.com since the site launched more than four years ago, so we are pleased to bring this idea to life.”
At California Adventure, Starbucks will be located in the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café on Buena Vista Street. (The cafe is named after the Three Little Pigs, Disney said.)
“The store’s location plays off the Spanish/Mexican architecture of the period, and baristas will wear 1920s-inspired attire,” Starbucks said.
On the menu: Starbucks coffee and espresso beverages, Frappuccino blended beverages, and breakfast sandwiches and pastries. “Guests also will have their choice of Disney favorites, including signature sandwiches and other items, as well as delicious desserts and sweet treats,” Starbucks said.
The “exact site” of the Starbucks location inside Disneyland has not been determined yet, Disneyland officials said Monday.
The addition of Starbucks comes as California Adventure prepares to unveil a multi-million-dollar makeover in June. The park revamp, set for June 15, will include Cars Land, a new entrance dubbed Buena Vista Street and new food options.
The Anaheim and Florida parks will not be the first to host a Starbucks. A Starbucks cafe opened in 2009 at Disney Village at Disneyland Paris [ LINK ]
Nearby the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, the new Trolley Treats candy store will be home to a great new model of Big Rock Candy Mountain, a tribute to a never-built Disneyland attraction. Disney gave us a small sneak peek last week.
So Good You Could Eat It! Rock Candy Mountain at Trolley Treats in Disney California Adventure Park
Trolley Treats is heading down the track and into your hearts on June 15 at Disney California Adventure park. So what will you find when you look inside? Well…in the window of Trolley Treats (the new confectionery store on Buena Vista Street) will be a model of Rock Candy Mountain.
For those of you who may not know, Rock Candy Mountain was originally envisioned for Disneyland park as part of the Storybook Land Canal Boats. The Casey Jr. Circus Train would have traveled around it. It was Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats who worked on concept art for the mountain back in 1957, and while the project was never built, the idea will live on in the whimsical model that guests can enjoy in the front window of the candy shop. Climb aboard, because this journey will take you across the Rio Fudge, through Taffy Valley and over Dew Drop Hills to Rock Candy Mountain.
So, come one, come all! Pound for pound, this unique shop will offer temptations for anyone with a sweet tooth. Selections from our candy makers will range from gourmet marshmallows and hand-pulled taffy to caramel apples, dipped strawberries, toffee, fudge and other seasonal favorites.
Crave something more? Watch our Candy Makers amaze and delight you as they bring the magic of gourmet Disney candy-making to life, right before your very eyes.
If you’re wondering what’s next door…well, I’m glad you asked. A few additional shops will line Buena Vista Street, including Kingswell Camera Shop (sure to ‘capture’ special memories) and Julius Katz & Sons (gadgets and decor galore), as well as Atwater Ink and Paint (you’ll feel right at home).
Trolley Treats will be one sweet stop and one sweet shop! Are you tempted to try it? [ LINK ]
At the Carthay Circle Theater, scaffolding has come down from the building's tower. The scaffolding unexpectedly went up recently to remove the bumpy texture from the front of the tower. The bumps are all over the Carthay Theater structure as well as the adjacent Carthay Circle pump house and this texture is typical of this style of building and was found on the actual Carthay Theater in Los Angeles. For whatever reason, Disney has decided the bumps on the front of the tower needed to be removed, but they remain on the rest of the building. An interesting creative decision.
New lighting fixtures:
Elias and Co Department Store
Hyperion Bridge towers
Views from the Monorail — North Buena Vista Street:
South Buena Vista Street:
Last week, Disney released a reel of B-roll footage of the Buena Vista Street and Cars Land construction. Take a look:
Over in Hollywood Land, the upcoming Mad T Party nighttime dance party continues to take shape.
The set-up in this area is already significantly larger than the former ElecTRONica structures.
The former End of Line bar is now the House of Cards
Flynn's Arcade is gone, but the Madcade will coming soon...
The new California Screamin' queue canopies are all in place...
It's been a couple weeks now, but the Toy Story 3 toy box photo-op has finally been removed.
And the Cove Bar continues its refurbishment...
Work continues in Cars Land as the land gets very near to completion..
The street has been paved
Last week, Disney released photos of the marquees for the three new attractions opening in Cars Land.
Mailbox at Sarge's Surplus Hut
Ramone's neon surrounded by scaffolding
Disney also released a series of day and night photos of the new land:
Downtown Disney's various projects continue to make progress...
La Brea Bakery
Sunglass Icon's facade is completely stripped behind the tarps
Catal's Uva Bar is closed for refurbishment
The LEGO Store's fantastic new LEGO sculptures have been uncovered.
Buzz and Woody
Beauty and the Beast
Our friends at Touring Plans have just released a new e-book by DisneyTouristBlog.com blogger and photographer Tom Bricker. Tom is well-known throughout the Disney community for his incredible Disney photography and this new e-book does not disappoint.
SUNRISE TO SUNRISE
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While the book doesn't follow any strict chronological order, every photo found within was taken during this year's One More Disney Day event. This book offers a unique look at the very rare opportunity of being able to spend a full 24 hours inside the Happiest Place on Earth. And, if the spectacular photos weren't enough, Tom includes fun facts and trivia with every photo in the book!
The book is available now in PDF format for only $8, but Tom and Touring Plans are offering it to Dateline Disneyland readers for 25% off with the coupon code SUNRISE2012! Click here to buy!
THIS AND THAT
Back in the parks, the center portion of the Soarin' Over California marquee has finally been replaced
This could use a touch-up, though
Over in A Bug's Land, the entrance to Flik's Fun Fair is getting some TLC
And finally, Disneyland Annual Passholders can now sign up to attend a special after-hours Fantasmic! 20th Anniversary event on one of four dates next month.
Disneyland plans exclusive events for Fantasmic!
Disneyland is inviting annual passholders to exclusive events to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fantasmic! show.
Disney sent email invitations starting Wednesday to passholders, who can sign up to attend one of four nights. No anniversary events are planned for regular park visitors, said Michele Himmelberg, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman.
On May 13, Fantasmic! will turn 20 years old. Fantasmic! made its debut at Disneyland and later was added to Florida and Tokyo parks, as well.
To sign up for the anniversary events, passholders must visit a Disneyland Resort ticket booth to get vouchers. The events are set for 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. May 14, 15, 21 and 22.
On those days, annual passholders can watch Fantasmic! at 11:30 p.m. and stay after hours until 1 a.m. in Adventureland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square.
Fantasmic! runs along the Rivers of America and features mist screens, characters and performances on boats. Several additions have been made over the years, including a 40-foot-tall animatronic dragon that debuted in 2009. [ LINK ]
Passholders must RSVP for the Fantasmic! events in-person at a Disneyland Resort ticket booth.
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WEEKLY NEWS AND INFORMATION ROUND-UP Weekly Theme Park HoursApril 30 — May 6, 2012
Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure Monday-Thursday: 9 am - 9 pm
Friday 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday 8 am - 12 midnight
Sunday 9 am - 12 midnight
Monday-Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday-Sunday 10 am - 10 pm
For a complete listing of theme park hours, visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
Expected Crowd Levels presented by TouringPlans.com Disneyland Park Disney California Adventure LOW 1.1—3.9 out of 10 LOW—MEDIUM 1.1—5.0 out of 10
Closures and Refurbishment Schedule Disneyland Park
- Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed for major refurbishment including the addition of new ride vehicles through June 14.
- Carnation Cafe, Blue Ribbon Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Palace, and Penny Arcade: Food service locations and shops are closed for major restaurant and shopping expansion projects affecting current spaces.
Disney California Adventure
- ElecTRONica: Tron-themed nighttime dance parties ended April 16. The new Mad T Party evening dance party will begin June 15.
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Soda Fountain: New Ghirardelli chocolate shop and soda fountain will open in the space formerly occupied by the Mission Tortilla Factory. New dining location opens late-spring 2012.
- Buena Vista Street: Re-themed main entrance including new Red Car Trolley attraction are under construction through summer 2012.
- Cars Land: New 12-acre land opens summer 2012.
- Disney California Adventure: Entire park will be closed to the public to apply finishing touches and for a media event on June 14, 2012.
Downtown Disney & Hotels of the Disneyland Resort
- La Brea Bakery & Cafe: Quick-service cafe portion closed. Reopens spring 2012 with significant modifications.
- Island Charters and LEGO Imagination Center: Downtown Disney retail location closed permanently. A temporary LEGO Store has opened in this location, with a permanent replacement yet to be announced.
- Compass Books and Cafe: Book store and cafe to close permanently March 31. Earl of Sandwich dining location to open in space late-spring 2012.
Ponzi scheme to sell milk to Disneyland gets women 3 years in prisonA strange story from the LA Times: Women sentenced in Disneyland milk sale fraud
Two Diamond Bar women were sentenced Monday to three years in Los Angeles County Jail stemming from charges that they defrauded seven people out of almost $600,000 in a Ponzi scheme to sell milk to Disneyland.
Maricela Torres, 42, pleaded no contest to seven counts of securities fraud in a Pomona Superior Court room, according to the district attorney’s office. Juliana Celeste Menefee, 51, also pleaded guilty to the same charges.
Between June 2008 and August 2010, the women, along with ringleader Eva Perez, 52, told victims they were investing in a contract with the Alta Dena Dairy to sell milk exclusively to Disneyland. More than 30 people invested between $2,000 to $100,000, and victims were promised “extraordinary” rates of return, according to the office.
Perez pleaded no contest in April to seven counts of securities fraud and one count of using a device to defraud. She was ordered to repay more than $1 million in restitution and is now serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to the same scheme in San Bernardino County, according to the office. The two women were sentenced to three years in county jail and ordered to repay the seven victims a total of $590,000.
Full Story: Women sentenced in Disneyland milk sale fraud
Okay, that wraps this week's Dateline Disneyland. Thank you for reading and be sure to join the discussion in the comments section below! Are you sad to see the Carnation Plaza Gardens close? Are you happy about Starbucks joining Disneyland?
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