James has started an online petition to save the carousel.
The Carousel Carnivale, as it’s known, has been at Fashion Island since 2003.
The Irvine Co. has announced plans to take down the ride later this year as part of ongoing renovations at the 42-year-old shopping center. The two-year project includes adding Italian-inspired fountains and 150,000 square feet of additional retail space, as well as old-world-style streetlights and paving stones.
The carousel is being dismantled to make way for 4,000 square feet of extra retail space, additional seating and a new fountain in Pacific Court at Fashion Island, said John Christensen, spokesman for the Irvine Co.
“We did hear about the petition, and while we obviously don’t like to hear about customer dissatisfaction, we are pleased the center is a place the community loves that has public spaces people connect with so passionately,” he said.
Renovation plans at Fashion Island already are moving ahead, and it’s probably too late to save the carousel, Christensen said, but customers can still get a refund for any unused carousel tickets or use them at the Irvine Spectrum Center carousel.
Ashley Rodi, a Costa Mesa mother of two, loves to take her daughters on the carousel. Her eldest daughter has a favorite horse to sit on. Her 2-year-old daughter has been riding the carousel since she was 6 months old.
Rodi enjoys meeting her friends at Fashion Island because of kid-friendly amenities, like the carousel. When the carousel leaves Fashion island, Rodi probably will spend more time at the Irvine Spectrum Center, she said.
“We do so much for our kids on a day-to-day basis. Fashion Island is the one place you can go meet your girlfriends and feel like an adult, and the kids still have fun too.”
When Rodi found out the carousel would be taken down, she filed a customer comment card at the center, but has yet to hear back from anyone.
“We kind of feel limited as to what we can do, but we want to make our voices heard. There’s just not too many avenues for it,” Rodi said. “It’s just kind of a grass-roots thing.”