Mardi GrasWith Fat Tuesday coming up tomorrow, and the conclusion of the Mardi Gras celebration at Disneyland last weekend, it seemed like an appropriate time to bring back the “Why I Love…” series, with a look at New Orleans Square.

I’ve never been to New Orleans, but being a fan of all things jazz, I’ve always wanted to go.  I love the rich history an vibrant culture of this jazzy, southern city, so it’s only fitting that New Orleans Square would be one of my favorite places to visit in Disneyland.


On lazy afternoons, I love to sit on a bench – usually the one next to La Mascarade d’Orleans – and soak in the atmosphere.  There isn’t anything at the parks that I love much more than Ernie, the jazz guitarist, who sets up his stool near the Courts des Anges and passionately plays to the passers-by.

One of my absolute favorite rides at any Disney park also makes its home in New Orleans Square in Disneyland, Pirates of the Carribbean  There is nothing quite like taking a ride through the bayou, followed by a pirate-inspired meal at the charming Blue Bayou restaurant that sits inside the ride.  Or, heading over to Café Orleans for a cheesy Monte Cristo on the patio, as the Bootstrappers play near by.

Jewel of OrleansThe not-so-well-known treasures are also bountiful in New Orleans Square.  Remember the One-of-a-Kind store nestled in the quaint little shop that now houses Le Bat en Rouge?  Even as a child, I could get lost meandering through the rare goods found only in this shop – definitely not the stock Disney merchandise you find in every store now.  Or the Jewel d’Orleans – recently redone – that was one of the last remaining outside companies leasing space inside Disneyland.

The back streets and courtyards of New Orleans Square are so beautiful, with the crown jewel being the Courts des Anges – always showcasing a stream of the season’s most beautiful flowers, flowing down the winding stairs.

NOS Balcony

When Princess and the Frog came out in 2009, I instantly fell in love, so one of my favorite memories of New Orleans Square was meeting Tiana and Naveen in that courtyard, which, in December, was replete with giant Poinsettias.

In fact, I have lots of great Princess and the Frog memories in Disneyland… the bayou-inspired store with movie merchandise, dripping with wisteria and delicate lanterns…

Tiana and Naveen

Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee on the Rivers of America… even the abbreviated version of the Jubilee that we stumbled on last September.

New Orleans Square has it’s own pace, it’s own “vibe” – somewhat removed from the rest of the park.  It offers food that you can’t find any where else in the Land, music that is unique to these streets, and an air of history that seems to radiate through the alleyways.  And, while

Showboat Jubilee

this was the last of Walt’s contributions to Disneyland, from the curtained windows of Club 33 above the streets, to the former Disney Gallery that was to be Walt’s personal appartment and is emblazoned with that famous “WD” and “RD”, there is a special sense that Walt was here.

© 2011, Rays of Disneyland. All rights reserved.

Post to Twitter