This day in Disney history, April 30, 2012, Carnation Plaza Gardens was open for its final day before being transformed into what is now the Princess Fantasy Faire. CPG opened on Aug 18, 1956. Some of the very talented musicians that performed there were Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra Jr, Bill Elliot, Lionel Hampton, Count Baise, Cab Calloway, The Osmond Brothers and many others. During the day, high school bands, choirs and orchestra would perform. On the weekends, swing dancing would take place. Walt and his wife would spend many weekends dancing there. On June 28, 1957, the first Date Nite at Disneyland was held. For the first time, Disneyland would extend its hours until 1am on Fri and Sat nights for Date Nite. Couples could purchase Date Nite discounted tickets and gain admission after 5pm. My grandparents would tell me stories of how they spent most of their weekends dancing at CPG and how wonderful the Big Bands were! The Elliot Brothers released the album "Date Nite At Disneyland" in 1958. In 1961, Disneyland's Big Band Festival would begin. In 1984, from June-Sept "Big Bands at Disneyland" premiered on the Disney Channel. There was once a food area there that served grilled burgers, fries and Carnation ice cream. One of my favorite memories was in between sets, cooling off with some ice cream! I first started dancing at CPG in 1997. It was quite the scene back then. Every weekend, I would be dancing a CPG for a good 5 years. It was the place to be! We would get dressed up and have some amazing jam sessions. There were couples dancing there that had been going for decades and it was fun listening to their stories of how it was back in the day! April 28, 2012 was the final night of dancing at CPG. There were so many people who came out for that iconic night! It was a night I will never forget! Here is a link to the final dance that night, fittingly the song was "Let's Dance At Disneyland" http://tinyurl.com/c6q78r9 Here is also a link to a video I took of CPG on its last day so that I could remember what it looked like http://tinyurl.com/d3cp6aq I keep my fingers crossed that the dancing will soon return at Disneyland!!! What memories do you have at CPG?
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