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Al Lutz

ALT.DISNEY.DISNEYLAND SAYS GOODBYE TO CARNATION ICE CREAM PARLOR ON MAIN STREET

Carnation Placemat - signed by all that night!

A SPECIAL REPORT ON THE CLOSING OF A 1955 ORIGINAL PARK FAVORITE

On Friday January 3rd at 9:45 PM after a year of rumors, acres of newsgroup messages, articles in the L. A. Times and finally even a DL press release about it's future, the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland closed its doors to begin a four month overhaul.

Thanks to the organization efforts of Bruce Bergman and his follow-up postings many of the regulars in the alt.disney.disneyland group were able to meet up for one last meal at a place we'd all come to appreciate as one of the last remaining bastions of good inexpensive food in DL, with of course that trademarked quality Disney service.

After meeting up in the hub at 7 PM the 25-some-odd of us walked over the restaurant and got in line. Bruce and a couple of others had been alerting Carnation staff throughout the day that we would be a large group - but upon arrival it was only then that they realized that we were serious, and then they tried to accommodate us along with their normal dinner rush. We had agreed that we were going to try for inside tables since that was what was going to be lost during the upcoming rehab.

Once we were in line we noticed there were also many other visitors there for the same reasons we were - word had gotten out that the location would be closing that night for good. Everywhere friends, family and other CM's also began to fill up the line and restaurant and the staff was in a jovial mood.

After we got seated we began to ask questions of the staff as to what was going on. Many of them were disappointed at how DL was going to handle the staff during the time the restaurant was down - some folks were offered to transfer to other food service locations such as outdoor vending, but others were going to be laid off (they would be eligible to collect unemployment) and a few were going to use up their accumulated leave / sick / vacation time to make up for lost wages.

Food arrived, we ate and let the staff know that we would finish our meals and then wait in the foyer area until the place had emptied out enough so that we could get some photos of the group with the bar in the background and I could post the photos on this website. [A sad note was seeing a CM walk in with a roll of blue prints - obviously with the plans for the upcoming changes, and heading back to the rear of the place. We were going to all boo him, but figured we didn't want to ruin anyone else's special memories that night and kept quiet.]

As the evening went on - the crowd got more funny, cheers were heard all around for example when a plate or glass was dropped and broken, and there were mad dashes from CM's running to tables with family or friends to take photos of the staff. Finally as we waited we watched the entire staff assemble for a batch of pictures and then we asked if we could go up to the bar and take our photos.

"You guys are Passholders?" one quipped - "Let em though, the AP's want to take pictures!" another yelled and we assembled for the group shot below and then afterwards all signed the placemat featured above as a keepsake. I think the CM's were a little baffled we cared enough to want to take photos - when a security guard asked the manager of the location what was going on she rolled her eyes a little and said "AP's!"

I know it may have seemed a little silly to them, but when I think of all the e-mails I got from people detailing wonderful things they did at this little Carnation restaurant on Main St., (proposing marriage, celebrating birthdays, family reunions, even one very special a.d.d. regular who just celebrated his anniversary and had his wife tell him he was going to be a first time father) they would probably understand just how special this place was for people and why they cared so much about it.

As always when you're having fun, the time zoomed by and we finally all left at about 10:30 and took some final shots outside as we left the CM's inside to continue taking photos and they spent time with their friends and family

-
DID YOU KNOW...

That Carnation Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street was one of the last original 1955 opening day attractions that has remained (with the original sponsor no less), in DL?

It was also one of only two table service restaurants left available to the general public in the entire Park (the other being the Blue Bayou). Club 33 doesn't count because of its private membership status.

 


-
HELPING WALT OUT
:

Not too long ago a former Carnation executive was kind enough to tell me about how the Carnation Co. helped guarantee the opening of Disneyland.

"Many folks thought Walt was crazy about building this park" he told me. "But he came in to talk to us at Carnation and with his enthusiasm sold us on his idea.

Since our company structure at that time would not allow us to directly invest in the park - Carnation Co. worked to 'help bend the rules' a little and very quietly arranged Walt's DL loans to be guaranteed with the banks.

The entire deal was done on a handshake, and was maintained in that manner until he died. Then the Disney Company re-negotiated the contract again, of course. Things REALLY did change as sponsorship fees increased - I guess they didn't know what we had done as a company to help DL."

 


The folks of a.d.d..

The fine folks of alt.disney.disneyland on the last night after the doors closed. Over twenty-five people showed up - some from as far away as Chicago - to have a last meal. [Again a special thanks goes out to Bruce for following up on the postings in the group about the meet - I don't know how he managed to find the time to pull it off - but he did.]

Others who dropped by included Sue and her charming daughter, Andy and his lovely wife Jenny, Lydia and her delightful family (including Greg, Don, Ken & Miranda), Adrienne & Glenn, Jason, Chris, Glen, Doobie & John, Jamie, Sarah, Mary, Bill, Matt, Tim, "Jungle Cruise" Marty, and, oh yeah, of course, me! (Al). My apologies if I missed anyone - as you can see from the signed placemat at the top of this page, that's all I had to go by in securing the listed names. If I missed you PLEASE let me know so I can add you to the list.

And if you're dying to match the faces to the names - well... why not come to the next a.d.d. meet and find out who's who? It's so much nicer when you get to meet everyone in person! :)

-
SO WHAT'S NEXT?

When Nestle decided to phase out the Carnation name this year and end their sponsorship of the location, DL management was contemplating converting the location into a counter service coffee house set-up just like a Starbucks.

After word spread, first via the Internet Newsgroup alt.disney.disneyland and then via the media (including the L.A. Times) phone calls and letters began to arrive at DL from across the country asking them to reconsider.

In December 1996, after months of silence, a press release announced that table service would remain in the patio area of the restaurant.

As of March 1997 the interior of Carnation has been remodeled for counter service coffee and baked goods, and the former bakery next door is the home of the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour.

 


THE MENU: Carnation's original menus were gone by the time we got to order that evening - one of the CM's told us they had been disappearing for awhile. Our guess was that many of them made their way into Cast Member's and their friend's homes, if not into the knapsacks of fervent DL fans.

Because I know many of you couldn't be there, I've gone ahead and typed in the selections from a pink copied sheet that was handed out that night instead (and which listed the following choices which more than a few of us noticed was slightly limited from what they had offered in the past).

Yes people who look at this are probably going to think I'm insane - but heck isn't THIS what the World Wide Web is all about? And it's about the only way now you're going to be able to see what a Matterhorn Sundae consists of:

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM CARNATION MAIN STREET

LUNCH / DINNER

Steak Monticello - New York Steak, baked potato, roll and soup or salad $8.45

Conductor's Treat - Grilled chicken breast, baked potato, roll and soup or salad $8.45

Mickey's Chicken Pot Pie - Chicken chunks and vegetables in a flaky crust. Served with fruit $8.25

Opera House Premiere - Ham, Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard in a puff pastry. With soup or salad $7.00

The Parlor Platter - Hamburger and French fries. Choose from regular patty or veggie patty. It comes with lettuce, tomato, and red onion $5.95

Add cheese - Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Swiss $6.50

With cheese and bacon or avocado $6.95

With cheese, bacon and avocado $7.45

Oriental Chicken Salad - Lettuce mix, sliced chicken breast, won-ton strips, mandarin oranges, cherry tomatoes, and toasted almonds. With a roll $7.25

Carnation's Special Salad - Lettuce mix with chicken or beef, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, kidney and garbanzo beans, avocado and Mickey corn chips. With a roll $6.95

SANDWICHES SERVED WITH FRUIT, MICKEY CORN CHIPS OR FRENCH FRIES

Tuna Salad Sandwich - Tuna salad on rye with lettuce, tomato and mayo $5.70

Avocado & Alfalfa Sprouts - Toasted whole wheat with avocado, alfalfa sprouts, Jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mayo $5.95

Avocado and Turkey - Toasted whole wheat with turkey, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and mayo $6.50

Ham and Cheese Stack - Ham and Swiss on an onion roll, with lettuce, and tomato $6.75

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich - Grilled portobello mushroom on a honey wheat bun, with Jack cheese, grilled red peppers, and red onion $6.95

SIDE ORDERS

Green Salad $1.95

French Fries $1.85

Baked Potato $1.95

Bowl of Soup (Manhattan Clam Chowder) $2.05

BEVERAGES

Soft drinks $1.50

Milk $1.25

Coffee or Decaf $1.20

Hot Tea or Hot Chocolate $1.20

Iced Tea or Lemonade $1.50

Shake or Malt $2.95

DESSERTS

Old Fashioned Shake, Malt or Ice Cream Soda - Choice of vanilla, chocolate, cherry, strawberry, or coffee flavors, topped with whipped cream and a cherry $2.95

Old Time Root Beer Float - A scoop of vanilla ice cream floating in frothy, cold root beer $2.85

Flavored Coca-Cola - Hand-made with your choice of cherry, chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry $1.60

Single Scoop of Ice Cream - Choice of vanilla, chocolate, rocky road, mint chip, coffee or fantasia ice cream, or orange sherbet $1.90

Double scoop of Ice Cream $3.55

Victorian Banana Split - A banana with large scoops of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams, and hot fudge, marshmallow and strawberry toppings; with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry $5.00

Matterhorn Sundae - A mountain of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, fantasia and chocolate chip ice creams covered with 5 different toppings, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry $6.30

Big Thunder Sundae - Large scoops of rocky road, coffee, and chocolate chip ice creams covered with hot fudge and hot caramel toppings, whipped cream, toasted almonds and a cherry $5.05

Star Tours Sundae - Chocolate ice cream with marshmallow topping, whipped cream, mini chocolate chips and a cherry $4.20

Snow White Sundae - Vanilla and strawberry ice cream with hot caramel and marshmallow, topped with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry $4.20

Splash Mountain Sundae - Two large scoops of mint chip ice cream covered in hot fudge, with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and mint candy $4.50

Hot Fudge Sundae - Two large scoops of vanilla ice cream with rich hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry $4.55

Single Scoop Hot Fudge Sundae - $3.90

Main Street Sundae - Two delicious scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with your choice of chocolate, caramel, strawberry or pineapple, with whipped cream and a cherry $4.05

Single Scoop Main Street Sundae - $3.45

Dalmatian Sundae - Two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate syrup, chocolate cookies, whipped cream and a cherry all cleverly disguised as a dog $4.55

Carrot Cake $2.95

Assorted pies $2.95 - a la mode, additional $1.50

Pumpkin Cheesecake - A slice of rich, delicious pumpkin flavored cheesecake $4.40

CHILD'S MENU

For our friends 11 and younger. All children's meals include a souvenir cup filled with apple juice or a soft drink.

Breakfast - $3.99 [Served until 11 AM]

Waffles - Two small waffles shaped like Mickey! We top them with butter and syrup, or strawberry topping and whipped cream. Mmmm!

Cereal Combo - You choose the cereal, plus a bowl of fruit and a slice of toast. The yummiest!

Mini Bagel Breakfast - A little bagel, a bit of fruit, and a bite of cheese. Just right!

Sunrise Starter - One egg, cooked how you like it, with breakfast potatoes, one sausage link, one strip of bacon and a slice of toast. A great way to start your day!

Lunch & Dinner - $4.99 [Served after 11 AM] Our lunch and dinner selections come with your choice of mixed fruit, French fries, or Mickey corn chips.

Mickey Chicken - Four pieces of chicken shaped like your pal Mickey!

Pizza - An all-time favorite... cheese pizza! And it's just the right size.

Mickey Grilled Cheese - Yummy cheddar cheese on white. You'll get two of them, and the best part is that they're shaped like Mickey.

Mickey PB & J - Mickey-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There are two of them, served on white bread.

Hamburger - Nothing fancy... but it sure is good! Our beef patty comes on a bun and we add some lettuce and tomato... just for fun!

"Disneyland has that thing -- the imagination, the feeling of happy excitement -- I knew when I was a kid." - Walt Disney


Closing Night Sign Well the place closed now and at 6 AM the next Saturday morning Jan. 4th crews began work on the rehab and overhaul of the location, and it re-opened as planned in April of 1997.

It's funny that the normal closing sign kind of said it all - but I'm sure glad we were all able to have made this last visit and enjoy another little part of the original DL that will be gone forever now.

- Al

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