|New Orleans Square|
|Attraction type||Themed Land|
|Theme||19th Century New Orleans|
|Opening date||July 24, 1966|
New Orleans Square is a themed land found exclusively at Disneyland, though a similarly themed area can be found within Tokyo Disneyland's Adventureland. Based on 19th-century New Orleans, it was the first new land to be added to Disneyland after the park's opening. The land was opened to the public on July 24, 1966. The name is a bit of a misnomer, since the area does not resemble a square so much as an intricate series of "streets" that weave around shops, restaurants, and the first Pirates of the Caribbean show building.
This area contains two very popular Disneyland attractions—Pirates of the Caribbean (between Late 1700s & Early 1820s New Orleans) and the Haunted Mansion (Mid or Late 1870s New Orleans)—as well as a station for the Disneyland Railroad. The Haunted Mansion is an innovative haunted house experience, while Pirates of the Caribbean takes park guests along watery channels through expansive swashbuckling tableaux. The exterior of the Haunted Mansion was actually constructed in 1962, but Imagineers took several years to develop the attraction. The completed ride opened on August 9, 1969.
Morse code can be heard from the telegraph at the train station in New Orleans Square. The transmission is the first two sentences from Walt Disney's opening day speech on July 17, 1955. "To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future." This is also an exact replica of the one seen in Disney's heartwarming, live action/ animated film, So Dear to My Heart (film).
New Orleans Square has so much detail to it. Here are the details. Look closely over the rooftops and you'll spot the masts of a ship. Try to see them once you get to the top of Tarzan's Treehouse. Balconies in the real French Quarter are renowned for their intricate and artistic iron railings. On the second floor, which uses the "forced perspective" method, are props that reveal the people's occupations, such as musical instruments, voodoo paraphernalia, and a typewriter. Also, wired into the famed "Dream Suite" above Pirates of the Caribbean are the entwined wrought-iron initials of Walt and Roy Disney. Little known by most people, New Orleans Square is divided into the four streets, Front Street, Royal Street, Orleans Street, and Esplanade Street.
Much of Disneyland features live musical entertainment, but New Orleans Square is particularly replete with such performers, including jazz musicians who play on the "streets." The Side Street Strutters have delivered weekly performances of traditional New Orleans jazz since 1985. Teddy Buckner and His Jazz All-Stars were regulars in the 1980s. Teddy was often mistaken for Louis Armstrong and even played him once on film.
His famous band was busy entertaining the generals and VIP's in World War II. In 2006, the French Market restaurant featured the Jambalaya Jazz Band, including a live singer "Queenie". Though not related to any Disney production, she also performs outside the Disneyland Dream Suite (formerly the Disney Gallery) several times a day. The Bootleggers pirate band also performs nearby. Elton John got married here.
A live parade and show called "Tiana's Showboat Jubilee!" premiered on October 26th, 2009. It is based on Walt Disney Pictures' The Princess and the Frog features actors parading to the Rivers of America and boarding the park's steamboat. From there, the cast, starring Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis the alligator, and Doctor Facilier, would sing songs from the movie, such as "Down in New Orleans," "Almost There," "When We're Human," "Friends on the Other Side," "Dig a Little Deeper," and "Gonna Take You There" following a short storyline taking place after the events of the film. "Tiana's Showboat Jubilee!" ran until January 3rd, 2010, while the Rivers of America were drained as the tracks were replaced and the Mark Twain riverboat's deck was being refurbished. The show was replaced by an alternative, land-based event, called "Princess Tiana's Mardi Gras Celebration," which features Princess Tiana along with five of the original presentation's "Mardi Gras dancers" and the park's "Jambalaya Jazz Band" as they sing/play/dance to "Down in New Orleans," "Almost There," "When We're Human," "My Belle Evangeline," "Dig a Little Deeper," and "Gonna Take You There".
New Orleans Square's most notable public dining location is the Blue Bayou Restaurant, a sit-down restaurant located adjacent to the Pirates of the Caribbean loading area. Though it is an indoor facility, the area is themed to resemble a terrace behind a New Orleans manor house located on the edge of a bayou. Southern-style food is served at tables overlooking the dark, manmade, indoor bayou, while quiet sound effects reinforce the idea of truly eating an evening meal in a remote bayou.
Other dining locations in New Orleans Square include:
Kimberly Williamson Butler, a minor candidate in the New Orleans mayoral election, 2006, garnered national attention with her election website's depiction of the candidate in New Orleans Square rather than the real New Orleans. At the top of her webpage was a slightly altered photograph of Butler standing on a street resembling the French Quarter. However, the curve of the street and the distinct trash cans of Disneyland reveal the true location of the photo. The Blue Bayou Restaurant's sign was removed from the photo.
The mistake was reported on many Disney fan sites, blogs, and cable news outlets. According to the Associated Press, the unauthorized use of the Disney image has been referred to Disney's legal department. On April 18, the obvious Disneyland trash can had been removed from the image; on April 19, the entire photo was gone, replaced by what appears to be an image of campaign literature.