Thursday, July 27, 2017

DCA Is On Its Way

It's time for more snapshots, courtesy of Irene (you know her by her first name, just like "Cher"!), and her brother (who took the photos). All three of todays images show the earliest evidence of construction for Disneyland's upcoming "second gate", Disney('s) California Adventure. In fact, there's no real construction at all... just the razing of the old (and surprisingly beloved) parking lot.

Work began on DCA in 1998; presumably these photos are from that year. In this undated view (taken from the Disneyland Hotel?), we can see that the earth movers have arrived, but only a relatively small amount of demolition has been accomplished. I want to drive out there and "do some donuts"!!

Here's a second view from a later date -  I believe it was taken not far from the first photo - there's the Monorail beamway to our right. In the distance, even more blacktop has been scraped away. I remember the excitement at the prospect of a whole new Disney park in Anaheim. How could it be anything but great? At some point information began to leak out with specifics about the rides and attractions, leaving many people more than a bit concerned.

Say, those palm trees make a giant "W"!

This one might predate the other two - it's hard to tell. Some of the parking lot looks pretty intact in the distance, and maybe was even still in use. Earth movers and "steam rollers" (what are those called nowadays?) are working on a turnaround that I believe is some sort of dropoff. 

Notice the old Disneyland marquee in the distance - it was removed in 1999.

This Google satellite image shows what I think is the area shown above - notice the long u-turn to the right, perpendicular to Harbor Boulevard.


Nanook said...


Someone should have informed that crazy group of fortune-seekers from It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World that the infamous "W" was right there at the Happiest Place On Earth-! (It probably wouldn't have made for such an exciting conclusion when they went a-diggin' for the 'treasure', however).

Extra points for that fabulous flame paint job as seen on that dump truck in image #4.

Thanks, Irene & brother for more great images.

TokyoMagic! said...

I believe that first pic was taken from the roof of the parking garage in the far northwest corner of the Disneyland Hotel property. We would be looking north. The flat Toontown "hills" can be seen in the distance on the far right side of the pic. That dirt strip in the foreground should be what was remaining of Cerritos Ave., which was moved north a bit during the "resort" construction and renamed, Disney, Magic, Magical, Fantasy, Fantastical, Mickey, Minnie or Tinkerbell Way (one of those was just too confusing after they renamed existing streets like West St., Freeman Way and Cerritos Ave.). I think the parking lot we are seeing might have been a temporary lot used during the time the Mickey and Friends parking structure was being built. And I believe those trees off in the distance are where the Vacationland and KOA Campgrounds were located. Those properties would be the land upon which the parking structure would be built.

In that second shot, we are still facing north. Irene's brother was probably standing on the Monorail station platform at the hotel. Those trees off in the distance are again, the trees on the campground properties. The dirt isn't paved over yet, so this was probably take prior to the first shot. That dirt would have been the location (partly) of the DL Hotel miniature golf course (and for years after that, a strawberry field). Cerritos Avenue (if it was still open) would have been located just on the other side of that fence/hedge at the end of the DL Hotel parking lot.

Thanks again to Irene and her brother, for sharing with us!

TokyoMagic! said...

On second glance at that first pic, that lot probably wasn't a temporary lot. Since Cerritos Ave. was moved north, part of that lot is probably what would become the new parking lot for the DL Hotel and the rest of it was probably what would become parking for Downtown Disney.

K. Martinez said...

I can't believe this was nearly twenty years ago. Scary to think how fast time has passed. These are great documentation photos of when the Anaheim property was being transformed into a resort. Thank you, Irene and Brother for sharing these pics with us

DrGoat said...

Very unique shots. Thanks! Looks like the pic was taken before Sid Caesar and his mother-in-law got there, along with the rest of the treasure seekers.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think Ethel Merman knew, but she is so shy and quiet that she never said it out loud. Thanks for pointing out the flame job on that dump truck!

TokyoMagic!, thanks for all the good info. Clearly you know a LOT more about what was going on than I do. I did not know that the location of the Disneyland Hotel miniature golf course was later just a field - I would have assumed that a building occupied the space.

TokyoMagic! again, more good info, thanks.

K. Martinez, I know, I can still vividly remember watching the TV news as it showed the opening of DCA, and getting a strange feeling that this park was not quite what we wanted.

DrGoat, I haven’t seen “It’s a Mad Mad (etc)… World” for many years, I wonder if I would still enjoy it now?

Irene said...

Cher! Hahahahahaha. About the only thing I have in common with her is being close in age :) I remember being so excited about this new "land" that was being built. I was imagining something akin to Epcot. It was such a disappointment at the beginning. Things did improve though with the recent redo but now it sounds like we have more redo coming - ie: Marvel land and Pixar Pier. I agree with TM that the area we are looking at is probably home to the future Disneyland Hotel parking, the Mickey and Friends Parking structure and Downtown Disney. For sure the last one is the East side drop off near Harbor. The last few years of my Pass I would park over in Toy Story and take the bus in so I've seen that area many, many times. And apparently that will change also if they ever get the approval to build the bridge over Harbor from the new parking garage!

JG said...

Wow, thanks Major, Irene and Brother. I love construction pics.

Very much agree with Tokyo on the first two. These are definitely north of the Hotel. I remember hoping that the strawberry farmer would hold out for millions of Disney dollars for his land. I hope he or his heirs made bank of that land sale.

Photo 3 is also definitely the bus entrance area off of Harbor. I saw the finished design at an AIA convention presentation (1999 I think). The designer was a noted landscape architect.

Around this time, Disney had begun to procure design from noted big-name architects, rather than doing everything in-house. Some nice work resulted. Some not-so-nice. Anyway, it got the Architecture Cartel to notice Disney with some praise instead of the stony silence or contempt that was offered to the Imagineers. Even today, "Disneyland" is an insult in architectural criticism, a position I find ironic, since Disneyland is so popular and most modern architecture is not.

The operation in photo three appears to be placement of a reinforcing fabric (the folds are visible in the lower part of the photo) and compaction of an aggregate (rock) layer over the fabric, although that layer might be hot mix (asphaltic concrete, the finished paving material). Reinforcement fabrics are a relatively new product that add strength to the flexible asphalt paving for heavy loads like buses and big trucks. Those turnarounds will need all the help they can get.

The flaming truck appears to have hot mix in the dump, since it is so dark in color. The workers are raking the material out and the smooth roller compactor (aka "steam roller", but diesel powered, not steam) is pressing it into place. More info on equipment here >>

Down the drive aisle to the left, a boom rig is parked. This might have been engaged in installation of the pole lighting. Another boom rig is visible to the extreme right, beyond the green construction fence and parked tram. Maybe changing bulbs or some other maintenance activity.

The trailers in the background are the construction job offices.

Thanks for the fun, everyone.


DrGoat said...

Major, Watched It's a Mad, Mad (etc)...World about 6 or 7 months ago. Most of it holds up well (for me). Especially the gas station scene with Jonathan Winters and the flying scene with Rooney, Hackett, and Jim Backus.