When I took my first stroll down Buena Vista Street, I saw a nostalgic city street. I saw signs of Disney and a time long gone. I noticed quaint little stores, ice cream shops, and an old-time trolley. But, I hate to admit it, I was focused on making it into Disney California Adventure and catching my first glimpse of Cars Land during that first stroll down Buena Vista Street. There was so much I missed.
Once I learned a little bit of the history behind Buena Vista Street, I was amazed at how many “hidden gems” popped out at me the next time I walked past.
The story behind Buena Vista Street
Main Street in Disneyland is patterned after an idealized Marceline, Missouri, which was Walt Disney’s hometown. Buena Vista Street, the entrance to Disney California Adventure Park, is based on the view that Walt Disney would have had when he stepped off the train from Kansas City and into 1920s Los Angeles.
Behind the Scenes on Buena Vista Street
Sometimes it’s the things guests don’t really “see” that tell the story. How have you created an emotional connection for guests on Buena Vista Street?
LISA GIROLAMI – Director, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering: “Every piece has to be there when you walk into a story, to know where you are, what time it is, what’s happening and to really be able to take in the music, the colors and the ornamentation on the architecture. The whole street coming alive is meant to put you right there in the steps of Walt when he first stepped off the train in California and all the optimism and opportunity he felt was there for him at the time.”
“The sense of optimism will be very obvious on Buena Vista Street, and that story is told at the highest level of detail. Then there are many more levels of details, which our Disney fans will recognize and discover. I think we accommodate everybody as deep as they want to go, and the more you want to know, the more you’ll get out of it. I think we’ve covered it, too, for people who may be visiting a Disney park for the first time.”
What’s the Disney history behind the shop names and other items along Buena Vista Street?
RAY SPENCER – Creative Director Buena Vista Street, Walt Disney Imagineering: “At the front of the park, we have the gas station, which is called Oswald’s, and Oswald was an early Disney character … Then we have Los Feliz Five & Dime, a merchandise store that features everyday consumer products. The names of the shops, and the names of the restaurants, are all based on Disney history — and especially the history that surrounded Walt Disney and the Disney brothers’ arrival in the 1920s. We have Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, which is named after the Three Little Pigs from the Academy Award-winning animated short. We also have a merchandise location called Atwater Ink & Paint. It refers to the Atwater Village district of Los Angeles where Disney and the animators from Disney Studios spent a lot of time.”
“We have a new Walt and Mickey statue, called ‘Storytellers.’ We made a conscious decision to put the statue down on street level with the rest of our guests, rather than up in a monumental planter, like at Disneyland. Set in this time period, Walt Disney could have been you or I, or anybody at that time, out on the street. It’s part of the story of the street, a story of humble beginnings. It’s a story of a wonderful, inspirational time period with a wonderful, inspirational, gifted man who created what we can now enjoy as The Walt Disney Company.”
Tell us about this beautiful restaurant serving Southern California cuisine, and who will be drawn to this experience.
ANDREW SUTTON – Executive Chef, Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge: “Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge is serious Disney, and that means serious fun for the whole family. It’s casual, friendly and the food will feel like old Santa Barbara with all the ethnic flavors. At the Lounge, families will get one of these tapas and try one of those, and there will be a lot of sharing and interaction.”
Buena Vista Street is an experience in itself – part Disney magic, part walk down memory lane. But 100% Mickey (even if he IS an old-time Mickey).
Disclosure: I received an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles from Disney to cover the World Premiere of BRAVE and the opening of Cars Land. All thoughts and opinions (and photos included in this post) are my own.
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