Monday, April 06, 2020

The Old Parking Lot

Here are three photo scans from Irene, Bruce, and James, featuring a look at the old Disneyland parking lot when it was being transformed into "Disney's California Adventure" (and the plaza in between that park and Disneyland). Presumably these were taken around the year 2000.

Look at that sea of dirt! Such a strange sight. We're looking in the general direction of the Anaheim Convention Center, with a bit of what I think is now the Paradise Pier Hotel (Emerald of Anaheim) to the extreme right. 

See that ramp that heads underground? What the heck is it? Is it still there?

I'm not even sure if this is the same underpass (or whatever it is), but just the other end, or is it yet another subterranean tunnel? It's nice to see the Disneyland Sign in the distance. 

And here's another shot (I think all three photos were taken from the Monorail); look at all those trams - they're so lonely.

Many thanks as always to the Dream Team!


Nanook said...


Where else but on GDB could one get excited over a parking lot, dirt, and a 'mystery' tunnel. Actually, that tunnel connects to the Utilidors @ WDW. (Just remember to pack a substantial lunch if you dare enter it).

Thanks to the Dream Team & The Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, ha, ha! "....pack a substantial lunch!"

Those first two pics are showing the section of the parking lot, which was for cast members only. That tunnel was built to provide a way for cast members to go back and forth from DL and DCA, without crossing the main esplanade between the parks. If you look at a satellite view today, you can see that the tunnel begins just north of the shuttle drop-off area along Harbor Blvd. and comes out just south of those drop-off lanes.

A great big thank you to the usual suspects! ;-)


That service tunnel is still there and allows delivery and supply access to the southern end of DCA. I’ve driven through it many times ( it’s not very long) when we would deliver and install models to the WDI BLUE SKY CELLAR. We would then drive the van through a gate between the WARF and where BOUNTIFUL VALLEY used to be, then park right in front of the “CELLAR”. A couple times we’d forget we had a van parked inside the park and get a visit from security and have to run out and get the vehicle off stage. The air conditioning to the building wouldn’t go on until about 20-30 minutes before the park’s opening so we would be in there setting models up into display cases several hours before and be totally sweating! Also, the show lighting inside is the last thing adjusted so all these spot lights would be aimed at our faces and at artwork that was no longer there.
Back to the service tunnel : part of it is for cast and service pedestrians with a devoted pathway with safety railing. The roadway part sometimes would have a very large vehicle like a crane or something so you wait for clearance to drive thru as the operate as a one way tunnel. The tunnel entrance is just about 20 feet from the old harbor gate cast entry.

TokyoMagic! said...

Maybe I should have said, "the former section of the parking lot, which was for cast members only." I also should have answered your question, Major. That is the same underpass in both pics and it is showing the same exact entrance/exit, just from different angles. The tunnel runs parallel to Harbor Blvd. and again, runs underneath the roads that various hotel and DL shuttles use to drop guests off on the east side of the park entrances.

Upon looking at a Google Maps satellite view, I see that they are telling me that Space Mountain, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and Pirates of the Caribbean are temporarily closed. I'm glad that they are letting me know that. I would have had no idea, otherwise. I'm also glad to hear that it's only "temporary," otherwise I might have thought it was more of a permanent situation and that they were all being ripped out and replaced by more Star Wars or Marvel attractions. Or better yet, attractions where the Star Wars characters, meet the characters from the Marvel Universe. OR, attractions where characters from BOTH of those franchises, meet Captain Jack Sparrow, the Frozen sisters, and The Simpsons.

stu29573 said...

Near where I live, there was a water park that had a parking lot across a road from the park itself. They built a tunnel under the road for customer access. Well, once the waterpark fad had cooled a bit, the land was sold and the park was torn down. (A car dealership was built there) Nothing was left...except for the tunnel, which is now boarded up and chained closed. It looks really creepy...

JC Shannon said...

Utilidors, that's what they want you to think. That tunnel actually goes all the way to the Denver Airport. There, lizard people and the grays, in cahoots with certain big box stores control our thoughts and run the country. I really need to swear off You Tube. Thanks to the Dream Team and Major.

K. Martinez said...

Nice pics today! Thanks, Major.

DrGoat said...

Something I've never seen before, with enlightening info. That's why I'm here every morning. Well, except Saturday. I like to take the one day away from online if possible.
Thanks Major and everyone here.

Irene said...

Hahaha - funny stuff TokyoMagic :) My brother Bruce LOVED all the construction stuff that would go on when new stuff was built at the parks. He told me once that when various Mice sites would post construction photos, he would just pour over them and study them in detail! Me, not so much though I do find the tunnel thing fascinating and appreciate the explanations above.

Chuck said...

Stu, is that the old Wet 'n' Wild in Garland?

stu29573 said...

Yes, indeed!
Another "Garland factoid"- Garland was changed to Arlen by Mike Judge when he created King of the Hill.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all this information on the backstage workings. I've inferred that this type of thing exists, but so well hidden that it takes construction photos to find them.

Off-topic, but everyone posting here should go out and get the Disney+ streaming service, if you don't have it already.

They are currently streaming (until April 30) a special episode of Disney's World of Color (the old TV Show, complete with beginning and ending credits) which has Walt doing introductions of all the new attractions opened in 1965; IASW, Mr. Lincoln, New Orleans Square, and a sequence of the Christmas parade down Main Street. I watched it last night, it was like a 50 minute movie version of GDB greatest hit posts.

So. Much. Fun. Go watch it.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the GDB bunch can get excited over a little sign, or cement slurry, or even telephone poles! We are enthusiastic. That would be cool if the tunnel went all the way to Orlando! I’ll bring 3 PB&J sammiches.

TokyoMagic!, I wonder if there was a reason why Bruce (or James?) took these photos of this particular part of the lot. Maybe it was just where you got the better views from the Monorail. I think it’s nice that they built the tunnel for CMs, it probably cost a ton of money.

Mike Cozart, funny that you got busted for leaving a van in plain view in DCA, though somehow it doesn’t seem like as big a crime there if you know what I mean. Just out of curiosity, do you recall which models you installed? Were any of them for things that turned out to not be built? It was “blue sky” after all. Anyway, the expense of building that tunnel obviously was worth it for other reasons, kind of like Fowler’s Harbor (“Joe’s Ditch”).

stu29573, Knott’s Berry Farm even has a tunnel that goes under Beach Boulevard so that you could access the reproduction of Independence Hall and other things - including their water park, which I’ve never been to. “Splash City” I think it’s called. The tunnel you mentioned sounds like a good home for Pennywise.

Jonathan, I wish I was a lizard person, they are living the life. Plus they can move their eyes in different directions at the same time, and what more could anybody want?

K. Martinez, all credit goes to Irene and the Dream Team!

DrGoat, you should take Sundays off from GDB, that’s when the pictures are usually so bad! I admit that it would be hard for me to go a whole day without internet access.

Irene, I remember in the 90’s, there were lots of websites that regularly posted construction photos, and like Bruce, I would look at them over and over. I saved a ton of them, but at some point a few years ago I decided I needed the room on my hard drive for other things. Plus some of those construction projects turned out to be for disappointing things, like the 1998 Tomorrowland. Thank you for sharing these!

Chuck, you can’t say “Wet ’n Wild” on this blog, it’s for families. Now if it was called “Hugs and Kisses Fully Clothed”, that would be OK.

stu29573, I’m going to say it… “King of the Hill” is one of my favorite shows of all time. At first the crude animation and artwork turned me off, but the writing and characters were SO good!

JG, I don’t know why I have been procrastinating about signing up for Disney+. I guess for now I feel like I have plenty to watch on Netflix or even YouTube (I don’t watch that much as it is). But if I get desperate enough, it’s nice to know that I have options! I’d love it if they could air those old “Wonderful World of Color” shows with vintage commercials too! Local car dealers, cigarette ads, beer ads… it would be great. It occurred to me because I was watching a long video of CBS's coverage of the splashdown of Apollo 12, and they had the original ads, and little local news updates. It was amazing.

Major Pepperidge said...

Oops, TokyoMagic!, I missed you!Oops, TokyoMagic!, I missed you by accident! Scrolled to far. You should have answered my question, and now I’ll never forgive you. Thank you for explaining where the tunnel is, when I am done with this reply, I’m going to go on Google Maps and see if I can find the tunnel. I suppose I appreciate that Google is telling folks that those things are temporarily closed. No one will ever go broke underestimating the public, or words to that affect! Maybe the ARE going to tear Space Mountain down!!! All I want at Disneyland is meet ’n greets anyway, rides are for chumps. I’ll wait four hours in line for Roger Rabbit’s autograph, never mind that it’s an underpaid CM in that costume. “The Frozen Sisters” sounds like Anna and Elsa have formed a band and are now performing at small venues around the country.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hey TokyoMagic!, Oops, I missed you! (Copying and pasting responses has its down sides, especially when you are not very smart like me).

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

The fact that Disneyland had enough space in its parking lot to build a second theme park really makes you think. That must have been one big parking lot.

Good thing Disney World has the blessing of space and can build a new park anywhere. Though I'm certain that if they wanted to convert the Magic Kingdom Parking lot into another park, they could easily do that. Now THAT parking lot is huge!

zach said...

Not one comment about the lonely port-a-potty. Well, here it is! And I wonder where that boxed tree ended up?

I loved that parking lot. So sad. But I do like DCA so what are you gonna do?

There's a tunnel? I learned something today, thanks!So much information is shared.

Thanks to the Dream Team and Major for these scans,


Major Pepperidge said...

The Magic Ears Dudebro, if you looked at an aerial photo of the Disneyland property, a good half of it was the parking lot, so I guess it wasn’t too much of a surprise that they eventually decided that multi-story parking structures were the way to go, and the parking lot could be put to better use. Now that they’ve improved DCA, I don’t hear so many wisecracks about how it was “better as a parking lot”.

dzacher, I was writing a song about the porta-potty, but now the surprise has been ruined, so thanks a lot. ;-) In fact it was going to be an operetta, in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan. We all learned something today, I guess…. not a bad thing!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I have some similar shots of the parking lot being dug up, during this time period. But they were taken from the other side, on West St. I was driving home from work one day and I just stopped my car (there was nobody behind me) and shot a couple pics. Something about Disneyland construction is fascinating, even if it's mostly dirt! Anyway, I will eventually post my pics as a part of a "Parking Lot" post. I guess I can no longer title it, "DCA....It Was Better As A Parking Lot!" ;-)

dzacher, that lone structure in the last pic, is Injun Joe's Porta-Potty.

Anonymous said...

Major, I live in hope that Disney+ will eventually include World of Color as a choice.

For now, I am satisfied with the vintage content, all the old movies and cartoons, 20K Leagues, Swiss Family, all the animated films and many or maybe all the Kurt Russell type films, Flubber, Computer Tennis Shoes etc.

And of course, the Star Wars Channel.... ;-)



MAJOR: the BLUE SKY CELLAR exhibit building was originally the Robert Mondavi “Seasons of the Vine” theater. I would say 80% of the models as well as artwork showcased the DCA redo. There was a 1/16 overview model of 1915 - 1925 styled Paradise Pier showing the southern end of “the bay” ( this model was actually not built by WDI but a display & exhibit company in Irvine - I think has since gone out of business).there was a 1/100 ( close to 1/8th scale )model of Paradise Park - this was when it was being given a Edwardian promenade / park theme. An interesting note is that we added working lampposts to that model for the exhibit. There were several 1/2 inch models showing some of the new arcade and boardwalk facades as well as some1/2 scale details like pier footings and rock work Around the bay that were actually hidden lighting poles for the nite time water show. One we added two scale seagulls - one sat in a pier pyling the other was in a “flying” position - we drilled a hole in the bottom at attached it to a clear acrylic rod to look like the gull was in flight . During the course of the day the exhibit lights would slightly soften the support rod and it would bend slightly making guests think the bird featured a flying motion .
There was one of the models of the RED CAR LINE streetcar , and even some of the paper sculptures originally made to be filmed for the projections in the nite time water show - I cannot think of the Show’s name right now.
Later exhibits included Fantasy Faire, The Little Mermaid show interior , Radiator Springs and at one time a selection of concepts of the new Matterhorn Bobsleds.

All artwork and models that are put on display have to be reviewed by a person in the legal department - many times elements are digitally removed or hidden in concept art or blurred out. One time legal felt there were not enough black scale figures( scale guests) on the Paradise
Park model and we added additional black guests the next day - I had to paint some existing figures we hadn’t used but there was enough time to order and purchase any - so I had to use some figures left over - including of all things a Barvarian Band!!


Correction: there was NOT enough time to order new scale figures so we had to paint existing unused scale figures.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I love these pictures and all the comments (the informative comments AND the funny ones, too)!
3 PB&J sammiches :)

Would some kind soul help me find the tunnel openings on 'google map'? I can't find them . . . I guess I need more location information - I'n not that bright. (Thank you!)

Thank you, Irene (Dream Team) and Major, for today's great post!


"Lou and Sue" said...

I'm not that bright (I guess I can't proofread, either)

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I did a screen grab for you. Go here and scroll to the very bottom of the post for the screen grab of the aerial view of DL:

The red bracket represents the length of from where the ramp/road down into the tunnel begins and where it ends. The yellow bracket is showing the length of just the tunnel itself. I went ahead and drew an orange line over the road. The break in the orange line is where the actual tunnel under the shuttle drop off lanes are.

I hope that helps you! :-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic!: Without your marked-up aerial view, I never would've found it. Thank you for taking the time to help me out - I appreciate it!

But it's not heading in the right direction for Orlando. ;)

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, it makes a 90 degree turn, underneath Knott's Berry Farm!

I'm glad that I could help! (And yes, I realize that Knott's is completely in the opposite direction. The tunnel actually makes multiple right turns and even a couple of U-turns.)

Jason Schultz said...

Major, as someone with almost identical photos to these, I can speculate that these photos were taken because this was the very start of DCA construction. I have a photo almost identical to the first one. Mine is from September 28, 1997, and is only missing the rebar above the tunnel and the stakes in the ground.