Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Disneyland - Carnation Plaza Gardens - Follow Up

I went back to the Park on Sunday, August 17, 2008. I made sure to visit Carnation Plaza Gardens with my camera so that I might more concretely document the changes there which I had described from memory in my most recent post.

The reality of standing there in the "new" Carnation Plaza Gardens was even worse than the sad image my memory had allowed.

You are welcome to take a look for yourself and compare then to now. In the past, as you can see in the top photograph, there was a more open view (with Big Thunder Mountain rising in the distance) and a brightly lit food service area. The band shell was painted a bright white and red. Even the trash cans provided splashes of red, white and blue.

Today, however, the paint is a rusty gold color. The canopy is brick red and off white/beige (gag). The trash cans are a bluish gray. The umbrellas and tables sit puzzingly far from any food or beverage source. And the umbrellas share the band shell's sad color scheme.
Large trees (in a planter where the restaurant used to be) have completely overtaken the skyline. This may make the the area more "natural," but the trees have also made it darker and, frankly, a little dreary.

In the past, even on gray, rainy days, a walk through Plaza Gardens lightened my spirits.
Perhaps this was because I was about to start my shift.
Maybe it was because of the warm glow of light from the food service windows that also reflected off the wet pavement.
Or it might have simply been the smell of hot coffee.

Whatever it was, the area had a warmth to it that deeply connected with Disneyland's unique atmosphere.
It stayed within its time and its theme.
Like so many things at the Park---it worked.

I will conclude with a few more pictures of "modern" Plaza Gardens.

It is now an open expanse of gray walkway, leading to what appears to be a barn.
There a dark, square pedestrian tunnel "invites" you to enter.

The simple red and white of yesterday has given way to brown, yellow, blue, brick red, green and turqouise?
The old band shell dance floor remains, however.
By the way, it too, does not quite fit with the new colors that adorn the new Plaza Gardens.

Oh yes, and that old door I used to walk through to get to Custodial Control (the one I mentioned in my previous post)?


In its place (and pictured below) is the new back stage access door.
Yellow, plain, drab.
Pure utility.

As the last picture below shows, at least the main entrance to Carnation Plaza Gardens has remained unblemished.
Even so, it stands as a sad reminder to me.
As I walk beneath it, I half expect to look up and see the old restaurant and to stride toward the little white door to begin another shift.
Alas, poor Yorick, old habits and memories die hard---thankfully.
See you real soon.