Back in August, during the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, George Kalogridis, the President of Disneyland, took the stage during the Parks and Resorts presentation and told us about a plan that caused a lot of Disneyland fans to sit uneasy in their chairs. The plan was to expand Fantasyland onto Main Street and take over the beloved Carnation Plaza Gardens. The idea was to transform this quiet corner of the park into a ‘Village Square’ that would feature a ‘Tangled Tower’, a ‘Royal Ribbon Festival’ and a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ stage area. This new “Fantasy Faire Experience” would also have a dedicated space for guests to interact with Disney Princess, similar to how the Fantasy Faire currently exists at the Fantasyland Theater.
For decades the area has been used to showcase musical performers; from high school and community enrichment programs to well known artists such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. The most well known use for the Carnation Plaza Gardens is for the Saturday evening swing dancing event, the Jump, Jive, Boggie Swing Party, where Disneyland invites local big bands, such as Tim Gill & the Tim Gill All-Stars to come out and keep the joint hopp’n through the evening hours.
At the time of the announcement, George Kalogridis didn’t give a time line, or even a date for the start of the construction. It was assumed that with the announcement of the Main Street refurbishment, that is currently underway, that the Fantasy Faire Experience would be constructed at the same time. This would potentially give Disneyland a completion date in time for the heavy summer crowds, which will be even heavier this year fulled by the re-launch of Disney California Adventure and the completion of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.
But over the past 7 months, nothing has happened and Disney has been silent on the expansion plans. Aside from the original D23 announcement and a post on the official Disneyland Blog, nothing has been said or hinted at. So, every day another high school or community band takes the stage and plays for a small but appreciative crowd, and Saturday nights come alive with swing; and life goes on for this corner of the park, which just may get to live on.
Let’s Hope So!
Update: (April 12) Disney has officially announced that Carnation Plaza Gardens will close at the end of the month to begin transformation to the Princess Fantasy Faire. Read More about the announcement.