Monday, April 30, 2012

Disneyland Closes Carnation Plaza Gardens


This weekend Disneyland bid farewell to an important piece of its history. Since 1958, the popular red and white striped pavilion known as Carnation Plaza Gardens has been the place to go for live musical talent of all kinds.  Summertime evenings at the Plaza, aglow with shimmering lights, felt like a "night on the town", with toddlers, teenagers, parents and grandparents whirling together on the dance floor.  There are few spots like it in America today that can capture the same atmosphere for such a diverse and ever-changing audience.
The Disneyland Date Niters, featuring the bouncy, danceable rhythms
of the Elliott Brothers, were the star attraction during the early years.
The roster of talent that came to Anaheim to perform on the Plaza stage over the years was impressive. Big bands and jazz giants such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Louis Armstrong, and Tex Beneke performed here, as well as the legions of 'unkown' talent, school children, student choirs and performers.  Everything from barbershop quartets to electric guitar have been heard in Plaza Gardens.


1962


1984

1985

1984

Walt Disney and his wife Lillian swing dance in Anaheim,
 June 1958.
This past Saturday night, April 28, 2012, the Plaza Garden pavilion was overflowing with nostalgia as throngs of people crossed the quaint footbridges, passed under the familiar arched sign, twinkling with lights, to savor a final dance beneath the red and white canopy.

4 comments:

  1. This is just too depressing for words. I don't like the notion of one of the iconic locations disappearing, nor do I like that Fantasyland will be spilling out into Main Street.

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  2. I have many great memories of The Plaza Gardens. Spending times with friends and first girlfriends seeing Big Bands well past their peak of popularity in the strange time-warp that was Disneyland in the 1970s. I made my way out there to say goodbye yesterday.

    Let's be honest though, the "Gardens" hasn't operated in the way it was intended for almost two decades. The center of the park can't have a dead spot right in the Hub. So while I will miss and celebrate Plaza Gardens, I can't get involved in the phony outrage of of the "fan community" and the blogosphere.

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  3. For the past decade, I have had the privilege of hanging out with many, many Disneyland Guests and Cast Members who "get" the love for Carnation and are truly saddened and angry by this decision. It was a beautiful spot to catch your breath when it was quiet(yet still feel part of the action), only to lose it again later in the night from all the dancing! While Carnation Plaza Gardens may have been a gateway to Fantasyland, the love we felt for it was REAL.

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