Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen has gradually been transforming into a reimagined Jazz Kitchen Coastal Grill & Patio over the past several months at the Downtown Disney District of Disneyland Resort, and the exterior work is almost concluded.
Approaching from the direction of the Monorail station and LEGO Store, the restaurant’s new artistic direction is on full display, aiming for a more subdued look and feel, with its new color palette of magenta, orange, and fuchsia glowing in the dusk. The stated intent of this altered approach to the restaurant’s design is a cleaner look and overall atmosphere of “vibrant California energy” — the Jazz Kitchen’s menu will also be receiving updates in accordance with this vision.
Compared to the same angle photographed in January, when the venue was fully in the midst of construction and much of the original façade was still observable, modifications have been noticeably significant. The original saxophone sign is gone, and the New Orleans French Quarter architectural style has been dramatically toned down, in favor of a more simplistic garden aesthetic.
From the front, entrances for Jazz Kitchen and Beignets Expressed are lit, and construction walls are gone. Please note: while Beignets Expressed may appear finished on the outside, it is still not open. Only the restaurant itself is currently operating.
This 1920s and 30s Art Deco marquee installed at the beginning of the month welcomes entering guests and alludes to the Jazz Age of the early 20th century, when jazz interpretations of music and dance became globally popular and culturally revolutionary.
According to the Disneyland website, Jazz Kitchen’s name has not officially been changed yet, and the Ralph Brennan namesake is still included in its title. Eventually, this will fade, and new menu items will reflect the changes. Popular favorites are expected to remain, while coastal-inspired fare like the new open-faced Grilled Lobster BLT Po’ Boy (pictured above) will add some of that aforementioned California influence to the selections.
Formerly known as Jazz Kitchen Express, Beignets Expressed will be the new occupant of this space to the side of the main entrance, and the title accurately reflects the most popular and commonly ordered item offered here.
Aiming for stylistically sleek, streamlined signage, neon has taken over.
The before and after comparison on this portion of the venue is perhaps the most extreme. The tropical plants are gone, doors and windows completely replaced, and an overall colorful space somewhat resembling the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance over in New Orleans Square has been erased.
The sign on the door doesn’t indicate any official opening date, though it does prompt guests to stay tuned:
We are evolving in real time. Enjoy a first peek at our exciting new decor and look for updates soon!
Jazz Kitchen Transformation Part of Grander Downtown Disney District Overhaul
The Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort is currently undergoing a transformation including several new shops and restaurants. The areas set to be constructed and refined are inspired by the mid-century space age look that enjoyed remarkable popularity in California throughout the 1950s and 60s.
This process has slowly progressed over the last few years, though Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock has now revealed an 18-month completion time-frame, which roughly sees the District fully embracing its fresh face around the end of 2024.
All of this work on the resort’s entertainment, shopping, and dining hub is merely one miniscule portion of larger plans connected to the DisneylandForward initiative — a multi-year public planning effort that seeks to map out the next thirty years of vision with the City of Anaheim and Orange County.
DisneylandForward primarily aims to obtain more flexibility for land the resort received approval to develop in the 1990s, ideally adding a mix of theme park, hotel, retail, dining, and entertainment on the eastern and western edges of the resort. Currently, Disneyland has used less than half of the millions of square feet already approved for development, according to the Orange County Register. All plans stay within the existing 500-acre property in Anaheim with no physical expansion or additional acreage.
What are your thoughts on this transformed space? Do you miss the original design, or are you excited for a change? Let us know in the comments.