For decades, Carnation Plaza Gardens has been home to regular dance parties at Disneyland, bringing loyal locals together for nights of swing dancing and socializing. Dating all the way back to the early days of Walt Disney personally enjoying “date night at Disneyland,” this location has remained an important part of the theme park in the hearts of many fans. But last night, April 28, 2012, Disneyland held its final Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party at the historic venue, as it will soon permanently close to make way for a new priness-oriented experience.
The dance floor crowded early in the daylight hours, with many fans arriving in “dapper” attire from decades past as well as Hawaiian shirts and leis. The event continued well into the night as dancers showed off their talents while counting down the hours until Disneyland finally pulled the plug on the party. Swingtown was the final live band to play the Carnation Plaza Gardens and famous Disneyland cast member Maynard strutted his stuff in a style clearly his own to commemorate the occasion.
Video: Highlights of the final night of swing dancing at Disneyland’s Carnation Plaza Gardens
Video: Disneyland cast member Maynard dances during Carnation Plaza Gardens’ last swing party
Dancing never ceased throughout the final swing party night at Carnation Plaza Gardens, whether it was to the live music of Swingtown or pre-recorded tracks. When each ended for the last time, applause rang out through the crowd. So many were in attendance that Disney ultimately had to bring out crowd control to keep the group organized. And in the end, when the dancing finally finished, many gathered to the famous Carnation Plaza Gardens stage to take a photo showing they were there on its last night.
As a side note, you may remember I first posted about swing dancing at Disneyland about two years ago. I’ve been attending the Jump, Jive, Boogie Swing Party about one Saturday a month ever since then. Happening upon the Carnation Plaza Gardens and watching the swing dancers on that first Saturday night was a profound moment for me and because of it I’ve made many new friends and had many magical moments at Disneyland. I’m so glad I got to be a part of the legacy even for only a few years.
Though Disneyland promises nighttime dancing will continue after the iconic stage is remade into part of Princess Fantasy Faire, those who have attended swing parties for decades know it will never be quite the same.
More photos from the last swing dancing night at Disneyland’s Carnation Plaza Gardens: