Thursday, November 29, 2007

Parking Lot, 1957

After looking at a few zillion Disneyland images, anything different is more than welcome. That applies to this photo, circa 1957. Our intrepid photographer is on board the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad (apparently in one of the old open-roofed freight cars - - see this image)

Below us we can see the backs of the many attraction posters that graced the entranceway. To the left, a kid with a Keppy Kap is with his family, heading towards the exit. To the extreme right you can just make out a sliver of a souvenir stand. On the other side of the fence there would be some bike racks, unfortunately not visible here. In the distance, beyond the sea of awesome autos, you can see the old sign welcoming guests to the park, as well as the Disneyland Hotel.


The Viewliner Limited said...

Driving through the Main Gate and being directed by parking lot staff to your parking space, all the while looking out the window of the car watching the entrance and train station coming closer and closer. The anticipation of getting inside was awesome. Impossible to replicate today. Great pic, Thanks.

Yendorb said...

You can see the Kalamazoo speeder car in the lower right also. This is a great pic!

Merlinsguy said...

Love this photo. Is that Japan in the distance?

Anonymous said...

Interesting image!

As someone new to California, I never saw Disneyland without there being a California Adventure across the way. I have to say, while I can see how this would bring back lots of memories, it's not a very "pretty" sight and I really enjoy the plaza that currently sits between the two parks.

I'm curious, though, had the entranceway changed much PRIOR to construction of DCA and Downtown Disney? Was there ever landscaping or "barrier" buildings put in between the park and the sea of Autos? Just curious.....


Anonymous said...

Howdy Brer'Dan

You're right about the parking lot in two ways: Yeah, the charm of the old photos is 50% nostalgia for those of us who remember the parking lot, and yeah, it's pretty bleak to look at.

*However* keep in mind that those of us who grew up in the 60's remember that stark, blacktop parking lots and minimal landscaping "were in style at the time", and so it actually looks *normal* to us--just 40 years out of date.

Personally, I would argue that the present parking structure is a catastrophe. Disney might have done something memorable and pleasant with the architecture, but Mr. Mike and his crew got bitten by the "blue cheapies" and we are stuck with a gray concrete tower with dysfunctional traffic flow, only two elevators to handle stroller traffic, and a very uninspired transportation system. (Really, why couldn't they have put in a people mover? Why did we get stuck with those crappy trams??)

As a bonus insult, I've never measured it out, but I'll bet the walking distance from the tram stop at the parking structure to a random automobile is a much longer walk that you ever had to hoof in the old asphalt parking lot..

As for the entrance before the DCA esplanade, you're right. In the 50s and 60, traffic went right up to the ticked booths with no permanent barrier. Here are two examples from this website:

Sometime in the late 70's the Handicapped parking laws were passed, and Disney started to prioritize parking assignments. Eventually what they did was install a "Mall" -- a strip of tinted concrete about 30 feet wide running down the middle of the parking lot and out as far as the monorail track. Handicapped parking was immediately adjacent and it formed a kind of foot traffic path leading up to the entrance. Landscaping was minimal, mostly small trees in planter boxes and benches. Somewhere on the internet is a picture. I don't have it but it had a very "temporary" look to it.

Here's a map from another website to give you an idea of the layout and size:

-Katella Gate

Anonymous said...

Well, My URLs got cut off. Here they are again: (They may need to be stitched back together since they can not appear on one line.

Yendorb said...

I think that the red esplanade was done as part of the 25th celebration or in conjunction with the gift giver extraordinaire things. it was supposed to be a red carpet leading to the gate.

There was segregated parking before the red carpet, but I don't know for how long. Just to the right of the entrance (facing disneyland) was used for employee parking for a while, then handicap later.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Katella, for taking time to write such a thorough explanation and to share those links (twice). It's amazing to see the exit barriers right up against the main entrance!

The bit of landscaping they did was a definite improvement!

I definitely agree that the current parking structure is a monstrosity (I definitely prefer parking in Pumbaa or Timon, if they are open when I arrive). It's a shame because it would have been possible to design even a parking structure with a lot more warmth. Still, I'd rather have a second gate than just a parking lot :)

Thanks all!!!

Brer Dan