We have known for some time now about Buena Vista Street, the Carthay Circle Theater and the Red Car Trolleys, but after the announcements at the D23 Expo in Anaheim we have a much better picture of just how the new entrance area of Disney California Adventure will appear. It’s much more than a replica of the real Hollywood theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937, much more than re-theemed stores and a trolley system, Buena Vista Street tells a story.
Starting the summer of 2012, when guests walk into Disney California Adventure, they will be transported to a replica of Los Angeles circa 1930. Imagine a young Walt Disney, with no money or business, arriving in Los Angeles. His plan, to begin the animation of a new character that he jotted down on a napkin after having no luck with previous drawings. The way Walt Disney arrived will be immortalized by a statue called “Storytellers“. Storytellers takes inspiration from the famous “Partners” statue at Disneyland. This new statue will feature a young Walt Disney standing next to a travel trunk. Atop the travel trunk will be none other than Walt’s newest creation, Mickey Mouse. The fedora wearing Walt Disney arrived, not on a pedestal, but ground level, just as everyone else. In order to convey this, the statue will be placed ground level. It will be a touching way to tell the story of the way the Walt Disney Company started.
The entire area is based on real sections of Los Angeles, including Atwater Village and Los Feliz. Most of these areas and landmarks still exist, but will be represented on Buena Vista Street as they appeared in the 1930′s. Not only will Buena Vista Street represent art deco architecture, but plenty of benches and shade trees will be available as well. Immagineers will be using shorter landscaping to help keep the guests’ eyes on the level and in the story. And unlike the original California Adventure, the area will feature mature landscaping, including a large oak tree which will be placed in a park opposite of the Carthay Circle Theater.
The Red Car Trolleys will run from the front of the park, around the new hub and fountain, down Hollywood Boulevard and stop at the Hollywood Tower of Terror; they will have four stops along the route. The trolleys themselves are replicas of real Red Car Trolleys, which were in use in Hollywood during this time period.
The shops and food locations were designed to reflect different architecture styles within the time frame, the largest of which will be Elias and Company, Elias being a reference to Elias Disney, Walt’s father and middle name. The largest store on Buena Vista Street, Elias and Company will be similar to the Emporium on Disneyland. In fact, all of the stores on Buena Vista Street will be internally connected, making it possible to traverse from one store to the other, just like on Main Street USA.
Featured stores will include, Elias & Company Department Store, Los Feliez Five and Dime, Big Top Toys, Trolley Treats, Atwater Ink & Paint Shop. Food locations will include, Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, and Fiddler, Fife and Practical Café. The Elias & Company will fill most of the space that was occupied by Greetings From California, with the remainder of the space will be filled by Big Top Toys and Los Feliz Five and Dime. On the opposite side, where Engine Ears Toys, Bakers Field Bakery and Burrr-Bank Ice Cream once were will be Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream; Fiddler, Fife and Practical Cafe; Trolly Treats; Atwater Ink & Paint Shop and Julius Katz and Son.
The Monorail Bridge will become a miniature replica of the still standing, Glendale-Hyperion Bridge, while the new park icon will be the massive Carthay Circle Theater. The Carthay Circle Theater is a replica of the same theatre where Walt Disney premiered Snow What and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. The theater will feature a high-end restaurant and a “lounge” that is widely speculated to become an exclusive club, similar to Disneyland’s Club 33. The Carthay Circle Theater will also feature second story terrace seating, presumably for the restaurant or lounge and will be used for VIP seating for future parades.
At the center of Buena Vista Street will be Carthay Circle, a plaza containing a very large art deco inspired fountain. As the Red Car Trolleys circle the fountain, it will become a centerpiece for Buena Vista Street itself. Featuring several types of water jets, glass and references to the nearby Carthay Circle Theater, the new Fountain will help make the area visually stunning to newly arriving park guests.
All things considered, Buena Vista Street will be to Disney California Adventure Park, as Main Street USA is to Disneyland. When the main corridor reopens in the Summer of 2012 California Adventure will finally greet it’s guests with the heavy theming and immersive environment that we have come to expect from a Disney theme park!