Carnation Plaza Gardens at Disneyland Park to Begin Transformation to New Fantasy Faire Experience on April 30

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

As Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis announced at the D23 Expo in August of last year, Carnation Plaza Gardens at Disneyland park is being reimagined into the new Fantasy Faire – an enchanting village square that will immerse guests in the stories of their favorite princesses. Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage will become the Fantasy Faire Stage, where the tales of Disney’s fairy tale heroes and heroines will be brought to life each day.


This transformation will begin with the closing of Carnation Plaza Gardens at the end of the Disneyland park operating day on April 30. There are three more chances for Disneyland park guests to enjoy the Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party at Carnation Plaza Gardens before it closes:

  • April 14 – featuring Doc Anello & the Swing Machine
  • April 21 – featuring Stompy Jones
  • April 28 – featuring Swingtown

And starting May 5, Disneyland Resort guests can keep on dancing each Saturday night when the Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party continues at the Westside Stage in the Downtown Disney District.


  • i dont like the idea of making that comfortable nook a busy thouroway i liked that quiet little corner of disneyland its one of the only ones left

  • Just a quick update, I found this while doing an online news search, here is a recent statement that Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown said;

    “Swing dancing will return to the park when the Fantasy Faire opens next year, the area is being designed to host a variety of entertainment, from princess meet-and-greets during the day, to a wide range of musical offerings, including our popular swing bands, in the evening.”

  • I am absolutely devastated by this. It was such a blessing to play in the Community Arts Showcase on this stage. Performing at California Adventure was just not the same. I will forever miss being able to play handbells right outside of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. This area is one of the last lovely, quiet, places in Disneyland and being able to perform there was simply magical. The swing dancing was always so fun as well and I loved seeing people all around Disneyland all dressed up. This area will truly be missed!

  • So glad both my daughters had the opportunity to perform on this stage. Needless to say, Disneyland is our organization’s favorite place to perform (aside from our home theater). Where will Community Arts performances be staged in the future?

  • So beautiful so peaceful I’m going to miss it so.. I’m confussed what’s wrong with the other area they had for the princess? I never bothered with it tbh.. Cause I have a boy.. Does that mean we can boot the old stage out and put a ride or two in?

  • Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that it is very hard to see things change, and I’m well aware of the nostalgia surrounding this area, but I do believe that Walt’s dream for the park should be kept alive. Change is not necessarily a bad thing, and just because Walt is no longer around to give his approval, doesn’t mean that the park should be kept the same forever.

    All we can do is hope for the best. I trust the Imagineers.

    On the bright side, this will almost certainly free up the Fantasyland theater to be used for new stage shows again.

  • Once I saw this announcement I wondered if the swing dancing might move to DCA. I thought it might go the area where TRON was and the Mad T-Party is going. There is a stage for a band, a sound and lighting console in a raised booth, and area that could be for dancing. All throughout the 20s, 30s, and 40s there were dance halls all up and down the California coast, of which only a few survive to this day. One great example is the Casino Theater and Ballroom in Avalon on Catalina Island.

    I am curious as to how this Fantasyland expansion will look on Main Street USA. It’s sad to me that the look will change because I have danced there with my grandmother, my Mom, my sister, and my daughters. I am glad to see that the swing dancing is planned to return once the remodel is done. It will look different but it will still be great to dance in sight of the castle like I have so many times.

  • I also have to add that I do not think it is a bad thing to want Walt’s dream for the park to be kept alive.

    We do not know if Walt would approve of every single change that Disneyland has made, but it wrong to think that Disneyland should not be changed just because Walt isn’t around anymore.

  • From the concept art that has been released, this will be more of a makeover than anything else.

    The stage will remain pretty much the same, and from what was reported at the D23 Expo, the stage will STILL host swing dancing at night.

    So basically, the only difference will be that the area will have a lot more activity and use during the day. Hardly anything wrong with that.

    I’m sure that when everything is said and done, this will not be as big a deal as some are making it seem.

  • Well said Larry! I’ll miss it. But Disneyland is so hard up for space. It will be good to see that area being used more. I know it will be quality no matter what.

  • Walt wanted Disneyland to change and evolve. He would not approve of the park staying the same forever.

    Its true, we do not know what Walt would or would not have approved of. (For example, he never saw how the final version of The Haunted Mansion turned out, we will never know if he approved of it, but its still considered a great attraction.)

    All the Imagineers are trying to do is kept Walt dream for the park alive.

  • Stephen–I agree.

    I am positive that is makeover is not nearly as big a deal as some are making it out to be. Yes, Tom Staggs stated that swing dancing will still be offered at night. So there will still be aspects of the past.

    I trust the Imagineers, they are all adults and professionals, and they appreciate Disneyland and its history as well the guests.

    Again, change is not necessarily a bad thing. Walt wanted Disneyland to change and evolve.

  • Perhaps Erin should have included a link to the original announcement about what this area will become. They have already said that Swing Dancing will be part of the redesigned stage at night. From what I see in the concept paintings, it almost…. almost.. looks like they are doing a re-dress of the current structure to make it blend in with the Fantasy theme, but the original stage will still be there. Perhaps I’m wrong and it’s a complete re-do. Would be a nice touch though to have something from the original still there, like the floor or something.

  • As upsetting as this is, as my mom took me to learn to dance there, I taught my daughte,r and have been trying to teach my 9 year old son, I know there must be progress, and I know the Imagineers will leave a little something behind so I and my kids can share our memories of it my future grand kids. I do hope that it will be dual use as stated at D23. Maybe DTD needs a permanent stage and facility built for type of event.

  • Disney should import some sort of Stage show from some other Disney Resorts like maybe something with the fab 5 (similar to Dream Along in MK, FL) or Outdoor Nemo Musical (Animal Kingdom, FL) Or even a show from the Cruise line like Believe or Wishes

  • So sad 🙁

  • We’re planning a trip in late July or early August 2013, will the new Fantasy Faire be completed then?

  • Warren – Walt was known to have a swing dance or two at the parks with Lillian, I suspect that’s why the stage was there in the first place. 🙂 Never saw so much disappointment at one new announcement.

    Katie makes a good point about Magic Music Days, though: In WDW, there’s no -one- real concert stage as there used to be in MK, and the school bands have to show up in the most unlikely spots–In Downtown Disney, on Stitch’s old stage, filling in for Sunny Eclipse…If the DLR locals still have an old-school performance area, it’s far from being”unused”.

  • erin this is so sad =-(

  • How is this going to affect traffic flow? Is it still going to be set up so people can walk through the area to get to Racho del Zocalo and the bathrooms back there? Or will it be blocked off to all but Fantasy Faire traffic?

  • Osmond Fans Unite LOL! Seriously though, something new needs to go there. It’s a better location for the princesses and having them vacate the current Fantasyland Theater will open that space for other things like the swing music.

    As for it being the stage that Walt built, I have a different take on the old “Walt wouldn’t do that” bit. If Walt could be resurrected I suspect he might say “Why is that still there?”

  • This makes me very sad because I love that original part of the park, especially for the swing dancing on weekends! Date Night at Disneyland is always one of the top things on our list when we visit, and it will be sad for this to go away.

  • With such a great history of top performers, and so many great memories of Saturday nights filled with the sounds of swing music and joyous people dancing, it will be sad to see this go.

  • It is hard to loose the things that remind you of your parents. My dad spent so many hours here on the weekends sitting and enjoying the music. I will be a little sad every time I pass the location.

  • Dear Ms. Glover,

    I think the new extension will be wonderful, and the space is certainly large enough to accommodate this new venture. I will, however, miss Carnation Plaza Gardens for its’ little slice of serenity with an amazing view of Sleeping Beauty Castle and the impromptu arrival of characters here and there.

    I’m certain that the Imagineers will design a wonderful new attraction!


  • What will this mean for the Magic Music Days performances? Will the on-stage performances be moved elsewhere in the park, or California Adventure?

  • Wait… my high school orchestra is scheduled to preform at the Plaza Gardens June 8th… I guess we’ll be relocated. I was so excited…thought I would be one of the last groups to grace the stage. Bummed, though I know it will be a better use of space just wish it could be a better use of space after June 8th!

  • This will make a wonderful extension to the castle. Disney has done such a beautiful job on their refurbishments and renovations. I totally trust the imagineers who designed this. They are very clever when making this area usable both during the day and at night. There will be lots of new beautiful memories made in this area. My family is very excited about this renovation. Thanks so much for the update Erin! We’ve been looking for one and were glad to see it posted.

  • The Carnation Plaza Gardens was (and will always be) my favorite place in Disneyland. It was clean, inviting, and had its own beautiful magic to it–exactly what Walt dreamed for Disneyland. I could imagine Walt sitting on that park bench dreaming up the Plaza Gardens while I was there. Nowhere but there could I feel closer to Walt’s true intentions for his park: change and evolution for the sake of Disneyland’s unique ability to bring people together, not change for the sake of change. I don’t think there’s anything disrespectful about believing in that.
    I wish I could visit one last time before losing all that.

  • I was there a few weeks ago and I saw an elderly couple dancing there with the swing music. I told my mom, “THAT, is why Disneyland is a special place.” I’m sure that this will be nice, but it makes Disneyland a little less special…

  • …By the way,

    At the Parks and Resorts presentation at the Expo, I remember Tom Staggs stating that at night, the Fantasy Fair area will STILL host swing dancing, Erin, can you confirm if this is still the plan?

  • I am devastated. Dancing there means so much to me. I can’t believe they are doing this.

  • Thanks for the update Erin.
    As I mentioned numerous times the last time this topic was mentioned on the blog, this is nothing to worry about. I am actually looking forward to seeing how this develops.

    Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to change and evolve, and I for one, respect and believe in Walt’s dream.

    I first heard about this when it was first revealed at last year’s D23 Expo, and from everything I have heard, this will not be as big a deal as some have made it out to be.

    And for those of you who are old enough to remember, this is NOT the first time that the Carnation Gardens stage area has had changes. Back in the early ’90s, the stage was home to a couple of character-based and Fantasy-inspired stage shows, such as a Beauty and the Beast show, and a show featuring Goofy and Roger Rabbit.

    Some people have Disneyland squeezed to tightly that it can’t breath.

    Change is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • While I understand the need to reinvigorate the area, I don’t believe princesses was the necessary solution. There are other areas in Fantasyland that could have been used to house them. Plaza Gardens is a unique and historic piece of the park. Revitalizing it with new entertainment offerings, an enhanced version of the current theme, and perhaps a new quick service eatery would have been a tasteful and classy way to bring new life to the area.

  • Any idea what is gonna happen at the theater once this moves?

  • I’m excited about it, personally. I understand the nostalgia, and I did really enjoy the Carnation Garden Plaza, but I think the Fantasy Faire is a great concept that will create a rich immersion experience.

    Question: I know construction begins April 30th, but has there been an official completion date set (or at least an expected duration of construction)?

    • Bob – The new Fantasy Faire experience is scheduled to be complete in 2013. We’ll share more updates as they are available.

  • Carnation Plaza Gardens will always have a special place in my memories. I performed on that stage in my middle school jazz band, just like countless other Magic Music Day groups have, and many music legends, like Louie Armstrong, Count Basie and Benny Goodman. Built in 1956, it’s known as the longest running big band stage in the world.. “The stage that Walt built.”

    It was one of the last quiet areas of the park, too. A nice place to sit and relax. I am sad to see it go.

  • Oh no! That was the best place to go and just rest quietly in the park without having to walk all the way back to Critter Country. Oh well, let’s see what the new magic brings. That is never a disappointment.

  • No! That stage means so much for so many people. I know I’m only one of thousands who got the chance to perform up there. Every time I visit the park I stop and pay homage to that stage. Getting the chance to dance at Disneyland as a little girl really made me feel special, and was one of the significant factors that makes Disney such an important part of my life. I know it goes unused so much these days, that it makes more sense to convert it into something new that will create millions of new memories for others, but I’ll be sad to see it go.

  • Was there no other option other than DtD? :/ Sad to see swing dancing, as well as a nice serene area of the park go. I will be there to see Stompy Jones one last time on the 21st!

  • What does this mean for the Princess Fantasy Fair in the Fantasyland Theator? Do we get a stage back for regular stage shows? You could always do the Toy Story Muscial there.

    • Brian – Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for updates on the new Fantasy Faire experience as well as the current Disney Princess Fantasy Faire.

  • Im sorry Erin for the upcoming onslaught of people that will be up in arms because of this. But to me, I actually think this will be a nice area that is more unused than used.

  • This is soooo sad. 🙁

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