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Robert Niles
Editor

Last chances approaching for Carnation Gardens, Test Track, and Snow White

Published: April 12, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Get ready to say good-bye to the Carnation Plaza Gardens stage at Disneyland Park. We've known since D23 last summer that Disney would be closing the performance stage to make room for the new installation of the park's Fantasy Faire princess meet and greet, which is moving over from the old Videopolis/Fantasyland theater next year. But we didn't have an official closing date for Carnation Plaza Gardens until now - it's April 30.

That means there will be just three more Saturday swing dance parties at the stage, before the weekly event is moved to the westside stage in Downtown Disney. Some Disney fans on Twitter are upset with the end of this tradition, but I think it's a smart crowd-balancing move. Disneyland isn't the only thing in the resort anymore, and with the crowds choking the park most evenings, something's got to give. I'm happy that Disney's keeping the dance event on property, and I'd be happier if Disney used the move into Downtown Disney as an excuse to start offering more evening dance events there, as Orlando's Downtown Disney often does.

I'm more concerned with what will happen to the Magic Music Days student musical performances that have happened on that stage. While I believe the dance parties will find success in Downtown Disney, performing in the outdoor mall doesn't have the same allure for young music students as performing inside Disneyland. Disney's youth music pages still list Carnation Plaza Gardens as a performance venue, and I haven't yet heard if another venue inside the park will be taking its place.

We've got a couple other Disney closings approaching, too. This Sunday, April 15, is the final day to ride Test Track at Epcot before that ride goes down for an extended redesign and refurbishment. Expect to see the new version this fall.

And on May 31, Snow White's Scary Adventures come to a close in the Magic Kingdom for the final time, as that ride closes permanently to make way for a new princess meet and greet. Snow White and the Dwarfs will return in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride in Fantasyland sometime in 2013. If you want to ride the original Scary Adventures ride after May 31, Disney fans will have to make the trip to Anaheim.

Back in Anaheim, Disney announced today that you now can make dining reservations for Disneyland Resort table service restaurants via email, in addition to by phone. Just email dine@disneyland.com with the name of the restaurant you'd like to book, the date and time, and the size of your party. Include your name and phone number, too. If the table's available, Disney will send you a confirmation. If you'd prefer an immediate response, though, go with the phone: 714-781-DINE.

Disney also notes that it's not yet taking reservations for the new Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure, so don't even try. Remember that California Adventure will be closed all day on June 14, in preparation for the debut of Cars Land and the new Buena Vista Street entry plaza, including the Carthay Circle, the next day.

Replies (9)

James Trexen

Published: April 12, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I just don't get why Disney is choosing spring/summer as a time period for refurbishing Test Track, especially with all the current Fantasyland work.
Tony Perkins

Published: April 12, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Damn shame to see another classic dark ride bite the dust at the Magic Kingdom.

My understanding is that the swing dancing will return to the "new" Carnation Gardens after it's been rethemed to the Princesses. There's still going to be a stage there for the Princesses, and when they move out in the early evening, the swing dancing will be there on Saturday nights as always. Downtown Disney is the temporary location during the construction. The student bands however will not have a place to play in the park.

Randall Peek

Published: April 13, 2012 at 1:35 AM

I was in the Magic Kingdom this past September/October, and the Snow White ride rarely had a line. What this tells me is that it is no longer compelling enough to keep the attention of modern-day guests. I enjoy a good classic dark ride, but Snow White represented the most basic technology telling the story in a not terribly entertaining way. The new Little Mermaid attraction will be a more than adequate replacement for it, and allows for the princesses to have a good size meet-and-greet space of their own. I am sure with the next gen technology available, the space will be plussed in ways that will be extremely pleasing. Maybe the princesses waiting their turn will get a chance to talk to the Magic Mirror itself. Who knows?
Anon Mouse

Published: April 13, 2012 at 9:27 AM

WDW never bothered to update their Fantasyland dark rides unlike the Anaheim version. The Disneyland Snow White ride has the shortest line, but every other ride has much longer lines. This tells me WDW has greatly shortchanged their Fantasyland. What will be left after the renovation? Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Small World, and Little Mermaid, Ariel's Grotto. Anaheim has these rides and Pinnochio, Alice, Mr. Toad, and Snow White.
Randall Peek

Published: April 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Disneyland has always had an amazing number of rides and attractions in a remarkably small area. The rides are often occupying much the same space, such as Casey Jr. and the Storybookland Canal Boats. It's a shame that the Magic Kingdom, with its vastly increased space, still is underpopulated compared to its California older brother. True, it feels on occasion in Disneyland that it is cramped and crowded and if you sneeze you'll blow yourself into a different land, but these can also be seen as part of its charm.
Mark Kausch

Published: April 13, 2012 at 11:54 PM

While it is true that DL has Winnie and Little Mermaid, they aren't a part of Fantasyland; in LM's case, not even in the same park. Kinda like comparing, if not quite apples to oranges, then apple pie to apple juice.
norma box

Published: April 15, 2012 at 1:38 AM

I sure hope that TEST TRACk is open by october 12th,as grandmaamd granpa have boasted its brilliance to our grandkids prior to us taking them to Florida in october! There wilk be some upset folk about :-(
Anon Mouse

Published: April 15, 2012 at 7:48 AM

"then apple pie to apple juice."

No, its comparing rides to rides. The rides just don't exist in WDW. I said Anaheim, not Fantasyland, so you're reading isn't up to par. The core of Fantasyland is Snow White, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, and Mr. Toad. No only does WDW's Magic Kingdom eliminate most of these rides, it replaced them with attractions that exist elsewhere in Disneyland Resort. The two Fantasylands are not clones, but what we have is a strange mixture.

Mark Hollamon

Published: April 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM

My emotions on Snow White are mixed. That is because I am 50 and tend to go all traditional on people because that's what I grew up with. My wife and I ride SW maybe once a year when we catch the line at 10 minutes or so. That's because I won't wait in line even 30 minutes for this ride. The technology is decades old and while the story line is timeless, the delivery is not.

The new Snow White ride will be much better (I know, two different rides) than the original one is and in a few years the only way anybody will know about it is through old pix and we oldsters reminiscing about a better time, yada yada yada.

I am excited with all the changes. I am so happy I live in Orlando and get to see it first and more often. It really is the driving factor of my wife and I living here.

The parks, like us in life are on a journey. It's very cool to be able to take it together!

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