A year ago this week, the Diamond Mad T Party iteration of the Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure closed. So for the past several days, much of the T fandom has been in a reflective mood – some leaning towards mourning again, others towards nostalgia. Still others expressed gratitude for what we had and how the community has continued in the wake of the end of a show that touched so many lives for its four years of existence.
Yesterday I wandered over to T’s former home in the Hollywood Backlot area – currently mostly filled with Food & Wine Festival décor like a food booth, a soundstage with merchandise, and a culinary demonstration set up on the former T dance stage. I also saw what looked like a temporary new stage set up to accommodate the visiting performing school bands while the dance stage is currently occupied. (Although some have theorized that perhaps this could be the new location for the upcoming entertainment for the Summer of Heroes.)
You’ll notice next to that stage the remnants of the House of Cards bar still stands, a lone reminder of what used to be here.
Also from Hollywood Land (and really from just about everywhere in the Disneyland Resort), you can see the rising/evolving Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT overlay engulfing the former Tower of Terror. Another stark reminder that the Resort will always evolve – whether you like it or not.
Some of these changes may leave behind the bones of the attractions or shows you loved – such as the bar in the Backlot or the underlying Tower structure. Others may wipe them out entirely such as the final Skyway station at Disneyland Park being demolished in preparation for the construction of the new Star Wars Land.
Imagineers have been known to give nods and tributes and leave “easter eggs” in homage to what had once been in the parks. Fun examples of that include some familiar stuffed heads hidden inside The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction in Disneyland Park, in remembrance of this former location for the Country Bear Jamboree (fortunately still found at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort) or the statue of Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery at Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, in tribute to that former attraction removed at the Magic Kingdom to make way for another version of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Although happily you can still go on a wild ride with Mr. Toad in Disneyland Park. Other nods are more subtle such as the “CPG” shield embedded at Fantasy Faire in Disneyland Park to mark the former site of the Carnation Plaza Gardens.
There is rumor and speculation that there will be architectural or artistic tips of the hat to the long-lost Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland when more of the Star Wars Land construction and re-routing of the Disneyland Railroad are revealed later this summer – specifically, many see what could be a return of the Balancing Rocks from this early Disneyland Park attraction.
I find it very classy and respectful that the modern Imagineers still show their appreciation for the history of the parks with these touches. And while many of the changes may make me sad for the loss of childhood dreams and adult joys, I can take some comfort in knowing that people will continue to visit the Disney Parks & Resorts and create new memories from attractions and shows both old and new that they will subsequently pass down to future generations for whom the cycle will evolve once again.
You could call it a Carousel of Progress… though really, it will always be America Sings to me…
Do you have a favorite tribute in a Disney park that reminds you of a favorite former attraction or show? Or perhaps a place you just like to stop and remember?