While Disneyland celebrated its 59 year history on Main Street, U.S.A the other week, significant changes were unveiled in the park's historic New Orleans Square that have had park fans aghast. Often held as one of the most beautiful and favored areas in any Disney park, the last land overseen by Walt recently went under the knife to accommodate expansive alterations to its famously private restaurant, Club 33. The changes to the club itself have inspired their fair share of discussion, but it is the accompanying modifications to the old square itself that have roused the fan community's outrage.
Criticisms of expanded bridges, over-large windows, lacking details and an oddly out-of-place emphasis on Art Nouveau have dominated community blogs, forums and Twitter accounts of late. The new exteriors seem to disregard the common park guest's perspective, as well the area's original design decisions, in deference to the lucky few dining above. A growing consensus claims that the mystery and subtly of the exclusive club has become intrusive and, worst, blatantly detrimental to the history and aesthetics of the host land. Perhaps summarizing the general fan reaction, one of the hottest new threads on the WDWMagic.com forums leads with the title "Oh god, what have they done to New Orleans Square?"
Altering the expertly designed exteriors of this Walt-Era area of the park, home to the Pirates of the Caribbean as well as the Haunted Mansion, would have been a challenge in any circumstance. It was actually done successfully in the eighties, when Imagineers installed a footbridge over the Pirates queue to improve traffic and opened the Disney Gallery atop the main entrance. The results of this latest renovation, however, appear to have missed the mark by a wide margin, angering fans and exposing a disturbing lack of concern for the history they so recently celebrated.