Saturday, February 23, 2013

Party Gras Madness!

My collection has a huge void when it comes to the 1990's; I can't say I've spent a lot of energy collecting images from that period, and I only visited the park twice during that decade. Thanks to a member of MiceChat who saw some of my photos, I have been permitted these photos taken by Kathy Schneider of Party Gras.

Running from January through November of 1990, The Party Gras parade graced Main Street U.S.A. with an elaborate mix of over 150 singers, dancers, and stiltwalkers. Souvenir beads and coins were tossed to guests on the sidelines in honor of the Park's 35th Anniversary.

Most interesting to me is the construction going on in the background at Town Square; most likely this is when the reconfiguration of the façades occurred at the former location of Bekins/Global Van Lines Storage.

For a before and after shot of the Bekins/Global façades, here are two "befores":

And one "after":

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Major Pepperidge said...

I've always wondered why the went to the trouble of changing the Bekins building from something interesting into a bland, unremarkable "nothing".

K. Martinez said...

I enjoy images of Disneyland from the 1990s because they do seem rare; however I thought that decade was the low point in Disneyland history. Too many classic attractions being removed and poor maintenance changed caused many to lose enchantment with the place. Thankfully it’s improved since the 50th Anniversary.

I never cared for the extension that was done between the Emporium and the Firehouse. It’s a poorly executed space ignoring the forced perspective principles used on the rest of Main Street. The Emporium, Bekins Storage building and attraction poster wall next to it used to gradually taper down to the corner gate creating the illusion of distance. Now it all runs together in a mess completely losing the forced perspective and diminishes the impact of the firehouse. The gate running into the middle of the end building is just bad architecture.


I agree--that Emporium extention to the left of the annex is hideous. And it's no wonder: WDI didn't do it! A LA Architectural firm bidded lower than WDI and they got the job and it shows! This was at a time when outside firms were able to do inside projects incluing the design. Around this time the Eisner Reqime also began to farm our a great deal of park graphic design work to outside firms like Hunt and Associates. This cut the work being done by WED-WDI designers and DL & WDW sign makers. I think it also watered down a great deal of Disney park signage and posters.

I recently came across some architetcural drawings for Disneyland's Main Street USA dated May 2nd 1955 and the Bekins locker building that opened with the park is not shown at all but in it's place are two completely different buildings to the left of the Emporium Annex (Bld. #303) The alternate structures are numbered #301 and #302 and still listed as BEKINS and the WED WAGON WORKS. I wonder why the design was so greatly changed two months before the park opened?

Anonymous said...

I agree about the '90's being the "nadir" of the Park. My first visit with my children was in this time, after entirely missing the '80's (for me). It was a real shock to see what the Park had become.

We must have visited in or around the time of these photos, since I remember the construction in the Bekins location. I wondered what was going on, but didn't see the finished effort until our trip in '99.

It appears they added floor space to the Emporium for more stuffed toys, keychains and coffee cups.

Comparing before and after, seeing the profile of the addition, it appears that there was some second floor space added too. The second floor windows in the B&W photo are almost certainly dummies, the sills would be about a foot above the floor, if that.

Offices perhaps? I don't recall the remodeled area being double-height interior, but, I confess, I stay out of the Emporium now as much as possible.

The streetfront elevation is really dreadful. It looks like a cheap stripmall or the front of an Indian casino.

The parade figures are straight from nightmares. Maybe I don't appreciate Mardi Gras enough, but those faces will haunt me for some time to come.

What a weird time in Disneyland.

Thanks, Dave, for sharing the pictures.