Welcome back to the Disneyland Resort!
In this week’s Disneyland Resort Photo Report, we take a look around Buena Vista Street and Cars Land on the first anniversary of their grand openings. We also visit the former Carnation Plaza Gardens stage, now the Royal Theatre, to welcome back the long tradition of swing dancing. Take a stroll down Main Street for the flag retreat ceremony and take a look Around the Resort.
Swing, Swing, Swing
Following a nearly 14 month long hiatus, the decades old tradition of Saturday evening swing dancing returned to the former Carnation Plaza Gardens stage this past Saturday evening. The “Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party” was moved out to Downtown Disney in the spring of 2012 to help facilitate the construction of the Fantasy Faire, a new princess meet-and-greet location.
This past Saturday evening, hundreds of well dressed guests showed up to participate in the return of swing dancing at Disneyland. Stan Freese, world-renowned tuba soloist and long-time Talent Casting and Booking Director for Disney, kicked off the evening by saying, “I’m thrilled that this is back here where it belongs”. Stan went on to thank the Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier, vice president Jon Storbeck and guest talent manager Ben Goodner for their efforts in returning the tradition to the historical location.
It was great to see some night life return to this quiet corner of the park. Since opening a few months ago, Fantasy Faire has been shuttered and cleared in the evening hours. Instead, this past Saturday evening was filled with music, dance and laughter. Something this corner of the park has been without for far too long.
One unfortunate aspect is the renaming of the event from “Jump, Jive and Boogie Swing Party” to “Royal Swing Big Band Ball”. Neither royal, ball or swing go together, but I suppose it’s a small price to pay to get this tradition back into it’s rightful place.
It’s a strange fit for the area which once was designed to host a multitude of musical acts. But you have to applaud Disney for finally keeping their word.
Buena Vista Street Turns One
It was one year ago this past Saturday (the day these photos were taken) that Disney California Adventure was rededicated and Buena Vista Street and Cars Land celebrated their grand openings. Over the past year, Buena Vista Street has received some significant changes. Paint schemes were updated several times, store-front and Carthay Circle awnings were changed and installed, and most notably, window and shop displays have been significantly altered.
But despite these changes and how disruptive they are to the overall 1930’s thematic environment, Buena Vista Street remains one of my personal favorite spots at the Disneyland Resort.
Cars Land at One Year
Unlike Buena Vista Street, Cars Land remains very similar to how it opened a year ago. The removal of the Luigi’s Flying Tires beach balls is probably the most well known change to the area, and even then, it was an aspect which didn’t fit well to the California desert scene. The brightly painted buildings, after having been exposed to the Southern California sun another year, are beginning to show some wear and we should start to see refurbishments this fall.
Cars Land, which is credited with boosting Disney California Adventure’s attendance by 23% in the remaining six months of 2012 and 32% from this time last year, is fashioned after the fictional town of Radiator Springs from the Disney / Pixar film Cars. Guests literally feel like they have stepped into the movie as landmarks such as the Cozy Cone Motel, Sarge’s Surplus Hut and Flo’s V8 Café were brought to life. Of the three attractions, Radiator Springs Racers redefined what Disney Imagineering could accomplish with immersive storytelling, advanced animatronics, music and good old fashion speed! A year later the attraction remains so popular that FASTPASS tickets continue to run out in the morning hours and the standby line exceeds and hour most days.
Disneyland Flag Retreat
It isn’t anything new, but seems more appropriate during the warm summer evenings. Disneyland’s flag retreat ceremony, which typically includes a salute to current and past members of our nation’s military in attendance, is one of those unique Disneyland traditions which really shouldn’t be missed.
The ceremony takes place in Town Square and features the Disneyland Band, the Dapper Dans and a very dedicated color guard made up from members of Disneyland security.
Around the Resort
Scaffolding is starting to appear around Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The attraction closed on January 7 and will remain closed for an extensive, on-going, refurbishment through October 30, 2013.
The township of Rainbow Ridge is being re-built
The Disneyland Hotel has installed a new sign which reflects the updated retro theme. The hotel finished a multi-year refurbishment in 2012 which saw many classic Disneyland references and signage placed throughout the property. The new sign is based on the original Disneyland marquee which greeted arriving guests on Harbor Blvd from 1958 until 1989.
Here is the way the Disneyland Hotel sign appeared prior to this past week:
Signs based on the original Disneyland Harbor Blvd marquee were installed around the hotel grounds in 2012
That’s going to do it for this week’s update. You can see the past updates here.
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See You At Disneyland!