This is not a picture of the literal last dance at the Carnation Plaza Gardens Stage, which took place last night. This dance was one of the last from the weekend before, the last weekend for Stompy Jones. Watching Twitter last night, buzzing with twit pics and sentimental journeys down memory lane, I was struck at how deeply we grow attached to things. Jumping and jiving near Sleeping Beauty Castle has been a Disneyland staple since near its start. Big band legends have graced this stage. Walt himself danced on this floor with his wife Lillian. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the transition that the historic Carnation Plaza Gardens will make into the Princess Fantasy Faire. I feel it’s important to state that Disney has said that the stage and the dance floor will not be changed, but rather the canopy to fit in with this new fantasy theme. This project, slated to open sometime next year, has displaced what may be the longest running swing dance event in the world to Downtown Disney. I have every confidence that swing dancing will return to this very stage and dance floor once construction has concluded and that it will do so with fervor and style.
The very nature of the Park promises change and at times change asks us to let go of some things we have enjoyed. This change seems to be asking us more to hold on than to let go. Hold on and see what the Imagineers have in store. I’m not a princess fan. I do have skepticism about an area dedicated to them. But I look at Buena Vista Street in awe. I marvel at Cars Land from a distance. Trader Sam’s is the most enchanted bar I’ve ever seen. I’m thrilled with the progress and improvements that seem to be taking place all the time around the Disneyland Resort. All these developments tell me that Disney is making progress and moving in the right direction. Walt loved nostalgia and hoped we never lost some of the things of the past. He was also one of the most progressive men in history. Finding a balance between those two ideals of preserving the past and pressing firmly into the future has never been an easy task.
What stands out most for me about getting to observe some of the final dances here is the unity. The mutual appreciation between band and dancers, skilled and novice, experienced and young. I’m grateful to have witnessed such an event. I’m grateful that so many made it here for one last dance.