Disneyland's iconic Carnation Plaza Gardens' entertainment venue will close at the end of the month to pave the way for a new princess greeting area, putting an end to rumors that the plans may be canceled.
Since 1956, the Main Street, U.S.A. plaza has hosted entertainers including famous musicians, such as Benny Goodman, and beginners, like high school bands and children's groups. Each Saturday, a group of swing dancers takes over for nighttime dances, which are expected to return after the transformation into the daytime Fantasy Faire.
The plaza is set to close April 30, Disney announced. The Fantasy Faire opening date has yet to be revealed, said Kevin Rafferty Jr., a Disneyland Resort spokesman. But it is expected to ready sometime next year.
Recently, unofficial Disney fan blogs and websites, including DisneylandLive, speculated that Disney could ditch the Faire plans, which were announced in August at the D23 Expo. At that time, construction was expected to begin in September.
Some fans are upset about the changes. An online petition on change.org had 300 signatures of supporters, urging the cancellation of the plaza transformation.
An unofficial Disney website recently reported that painters could be seen last month brushing red and white paint on the structure, creating speculation that the venue was staying.
Instead, Disney announced that construction would begin in May on the Fanasy Faire, a "village square" featuring the stories of princesses.
During the day, the stage will be used for fairy tale stories. It's unknown what will happen to the music and performances that have run during the day. "We have not yet announced how that will be accommodated," Rafferty said in an email.
While construction is underway, Disney is moving the Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party to the Westside Stage in Downtown Disney. The first free Downtown Disney party is set for May 5.
Cheryl Gilbert, a regular swing dancer at Disneyland, said she found problems with the Downtown Disney location when Disney tried it out recently because of the lack of places to sit and others interfering.
She is concerned that some swing dance regulars will drop out during the refurbishment, which she said will take at least nine months.
"I suppose that we should be grateful that Disney will continue to have the bands and dancing while that area is being refurbished, but there are other places they could have put it," Gilbert said.