Thursday, November 08, 2018

Disneyland Parking Lot

Today I am continuing to share scans of snapshots that were given to me by long-time GDB friend Irene. The photos were in albums that belonged to her brother Bruce, and they were taken by Bruce's friend James, who always gave Bruce his duplicates (remember when photo processors automatically gave doubles?). I'm going to give all three of them credit, what do you think of that?

I'll start with this unusual shot of the Harbor Gate entrance to the parking lot. This was the main entry to the park for guests (as opposed to the Katella Gate), though I am wondering if the photo might show an entrance for employees? 

As usual, none of these photo prints were dated, so I can only assume that all of them are from the mid to late-1990's, not long before the parking lot was transformed into DCA, with a large plaza area in between the parks.

In this first view, we're so close to the entrance that we don't even need to take a tram. But I want to take the tram! Don't they understand? Don't they understand anything?! Oh well. The Monorail track is practically right over our head, let's climb up there. What's the worst that could happen? Just look at all of those ugly cars, no bueno. It's easy to recall arriving at the park and being this close to the ticket booths (which you can just see), as the Monorail makes a surprise appearance. Hurry up, let's go! 

I'm not sure where James was standing in this image, but where-oh-where are all of the automobiles? We appear to be facing toward Katella, sort of where it intersects Harbor Blvd.; In fact, it looks like cars were let in from the Katella Gate. Note the dome to the right, part of the Anaheim Convention Center.

The clouds look similar to photo #2, so perhaps this was taken within moments of that image. Facing to the east... well, now we know where all the cars went. That blue Honda Civic looks much like the one I owned years ago. 

Thanks to Irene, Bruce, and James!


Nanook said...


I know Mike will correct me if I'm wrong, but the Harbor Gate Entrance was the employee parking entrance as you surmised.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I second that being the employee parking entrance....or third it, since you had pretty much figured it out already.

In the pic showing the Convention Center, the hotel immediately to the left of it is the Anaheim Hilton. The tall building to the left of the Hilton is the Inn at the Park, which is now a Sheraton. And the long beige wall at the edge of the parking lot is the backside of the Candy Cane Inn.

In that last pic, the hotel on the far left is what is now the Paradise Pier Hotel......or have they now changed the name to the Pixar Pier Hotel? It was formerly the Disneyland Pacific Hotel, formerly the Pan Pacific Hotel, formerly the Emerald Hotel.

TokyoMagic! said...

I forgot to thank you, Major...and Irene, Bruce and James, for sharing these great pics with us. Gee, I miss the old parking lot! Maybe they should have waited 15 more years to develop it. Then they could have stuck "Wookie World" out there, instead of plopping it down on top of Walt's Frontierland.


Yes the Harbor Gate was the employee entrance - going left would take you to the cast parking lot . Continuing straight - and if you had proper clearance - a security guard would let you pass and you would drive BELLOW a Covered trestle of the Disneyland Railroad - segue portion between The Grand Canyon Diorama and Primevsl World ... once on the other side Space Mountain and Mission To Mars would be in view from the backside to your left the lockers and old entertainment costuming storage building....
I seriously miss the old lot. One of the things I dread about going to Disneyland these days is the massive hassle just GETTING into the park... the traffic around and leading to the parking structure is always congested - the parking ticket booths are slow and there’s never enough booths open / then there’s the journey to find parking or following the parade of confused guests as cast members direct you to park ( usually the farthest spots from the escalators! Then the security checks - the LONG wait of the highly INEFFICIENT parking lot trams — there’s never enough operating and the waiting for them to arrive is excruciating. And why do guests at security always have to have so many bsgs?? Giant backpacks , camping equipment , baby strollers that are the size of the MOON ROVER!! I think Disneyland should charge 50 bucks PER stroller seat / .... has ebay one else seen the four seater strollers at Disneyland!?? They look like tobagons!!!

I can only imagine what the congestion will be like once Star Wars BARFS all over Walt’s Maigic Kingdom!!


One thing about the old lot I always found hilarious was when guests would just hop on the first Parking Lot Trams they would see when leaving the park for the day - and ignoring the signs and the Jack Wagoner recorded spiels and then the live reminder spiels - and the moment they realized they were on their way to The Disneyland Hotel or the OTHER section of the lot!!

Anonymous said...

Because I lived a mere half-mile west of the park, I would ride my bike to work each day, parking my bike across the way from the Harbor Gate. At the end of my shift, I'd just hop on my bike and ride home. Fellow employees (oops, sorry - cast members)thought I was quite the athlete when they saw me riding by. What they didn't know was because of the short distance, I'd often be home before they got to their cars.

JC Shannon said...

These photos are LOTS of fun. Lots, get it? Anyhow, the anticipation, the excitement of a day at Disneyland, all started as we arrived at the parking lot. We were finally here! The cars are the stars here, as we observe them and try to narrow down an exact year. Love the woody minivan. Thanks for the scans Major and Irene, Bruce and James.

K. Martinez said...

The third pic is what evokes my memories most of when as a young adult I would head for the park at 6:30 a.m. and walk the empty parking lot towards the Disneyland Maingate. Security never bothered me about it. Back then people didn't show up that early so I was by myself and witnessed the people trickling in with their cars. This was back in the late 70's/early 80's. I miss that Disneyland.

Mike Cozart, You are so right about getting into Disneyland these days. It is a hassle and I too wonder WTH people are thinking of bringing all their bags and monster strollers with them to Disneyland. You'd think they were going to live inside the park for a few days.

Thanks to Irene, Bruce and James! And thanks for hosting, Major!

Nanook said...

@JC Shannon-

Although not exactly the same ‘experience’ as what S. Charles Lee felt movie-goers should feel when arriving at a movie theatre, his sentiment of: “The show starts on the sidewalk”, (or [formerly] in the case of Disneyland), ‘in the parking lot’, is no less important. In spite of the utilitarian nature of a parking lot, that particular one held a lot of great memories for millions of people over many decades.

Anonymous said...

Thufer would have loved this post. I love this post too.

Thanks to Major, Bruce, Irene, James, their mysterious benefactor, and everyone involved in bringing these photos to my desktop.

@Tokyo, who was INN before my comment about the Inn at the Park. And Jonathan, who is definitely having LOTS of fun.

Thanks Mike Cozart, your descriptions make me feel I have lived the CM experience, instead of just wishing it. Lets meet later for a mai-tai at Chao's.

@Ken, I think we can partly blame Disney for the baggage trains entering the Park. For a family, the costs of a day could easily reach over $1000, I don't blame them for wanting to pack lunch. But for those of us who travel light, it does degrade the experience.

Major, I have never before today wanted to walk on the monorail beam, and now I can't stop thinking about doing it.

Although I did not visit the Park much in this era, it appears the Katella Gate still operated much like it did in earlier years. We used to stay at either the Magic Lamp (became the Anabella, now demolished) or the Jolly Roger (replaced by the Residence Inn) and nearly always entered the Katella Gate. The driveway was defined by rows of cones just like in the picture, running up to the point where you were directed to branch off into a parking aisle. We would park in the lot and then leave for home after a long day.

Disney has a stake in making the transition experience from the garage to the Park miserable, since then you will want to stay in a Disney hotel to reduce the wretchedness. We parked in Mickey and Friends just once (2011?). We arrived too early to check in the hotel and spent the afternoon in the Park. A real mistake IMHO. Also, never arrive from the south, go around or up the freeway and come in from the north. Everything seems geared to make a right turn into either the garage or the hotels.


Chuck said...

Katella Gate was our preferred entrance, taking the 57 from the 91 on our way in from SBD rather than that awkward intersection onto the 5 from the 91 westbound. The only time we had any issues coming in that way was Christmas Eve 1994.

It was a Saturday, and I guess every third person in the L.A. Basin thought it was a good idea to go to the Park that morning. We sat at the intersection of Katella and Harbor from 9:15 to at least 10:30, watching an Anaheim police officer manually operate the streetlights and allowing drivers to make a continual string of right turns off of the southbound Harbor turn lane onto Katella while we sat there, watching our fingernails grow. I think that was they day we ended up parking against the fence in Winnie the Pooh 10, which was in the extreme SW corner of the lot.

I remember that we left early, fed up with the elbow-to-elbow crowds. In retrospect, that was probably good preparation for dealing with the Wookiee World crowds. Thankfully, those pesky planters and annoying, non-revenue benches have finally been removed to ease the crowding.

Thanks Irene, Bruce, James, and Major for bringing us these pictures. There's a lot to love here.

Irene said...

I am loving the fact that people are referring to the new land as Wookie World!!! I so agree - I hate they are plopping it on top of Walt's Frontierland which was my favorite part of the park. When I used to go all the time I never parked in Mickey and Friends if I could help it. Always Toy Story and took the bus. I do have a handicap placard which did help some but there were challenges there too. Thanks for posting some of "our" photos today Major as it's my Birthday :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, hooray, I’m not always wrong (even though it feels that way sometimes).

TokyoMagic!, do you happen to know if the Harbor Gate was also used by guests at certain times? I thought that it was. Thanks for the IDs on the motels. I did recognize the hotel that is now Paradise Pier… was it a Crown Plaza? I forget.

TokyoMagic!, in a way I get that they saw the parking lot as wasted space, and I was sure excited at the prospect of “another Disneyland” right next to the old park. But once we saw what Eisner and crew had delivered… ugh.

Mike Cozart, I wish I could remember which post it was, but my friend Mr. X talks about the road that took you beneath the RR trestle, and I had an aerial photo in which you could see it. I think the “Mickey and Friends” parking structure is well done, for what it is, but you’re right, the tram situation is ridiculous. And the long lines for security checks is dumb. I get that, in today’s world, they need to check bags. But for gosh sakes, hire enough people to make it move along. There’s nothing like being excited to get to the park, only to wait in a long line for a tram, and then a very long line for security. I have not seen a four-seater stroller, but I’ve seen a three-seater (it sounds like I am talking about outhouses, ha ha).

Mike Cozart, I guess the average person wouldn’t expect a tram to go anywhere BUT the front gates of the park. Like you said, they needed to read the signs and listen to the spiels.

Anon, ah, I would have been so jealous of you, being able to ride your bike a mere half-mile back and forth!

Jonathan, “lots of fun”… hmmm, I don’t think I get it. But then again, I’m more of a “Hee-Haw” kind of guy! ;-) Aren’t those cars ugly? I miss the 50’s and 60’s, when they were cool.

K. Martinez, where did you walk from? Were you staying at a nearby motel? At the earliest, the park opened at 8:00 - or did they let people in a little early to shop on Main Street? I would love to see the park in the quiet early hours. I see people on the internet say, “I’m home!” when they show up at the park, so maybe they DO feel like they live there.

Nanook, that S. Charles “Scooter” Lee knew what he was talking about. The fact that so many people miss a parking lot really says something.

JG, oh, I would be thrilled to walk the Monorail beam - as long as I knew a train wouldn’t come and squish me. With my luck I would trip and fall 20 feet to the ground. It seems like nearly every trip I took to the park was with somebody else who was driving, so I have no vivid memories of the gates, sadly. Disneyland’s parking lot was funded by “Big Cone”. The funny thing about the Mickey and Friends lot is that they have made it surprisingly easy to transition on to the freeway when leaving. My last trip, they routed AWAY from the M&F lot, because they were expecting big crowds. I thought, “Well, we’re here early, let US park in the covered shady parking, and let the latecomers park in the distant lot”. No such luck. That’s the one time we took the Monorail into the park, and it was very odd to not do the standard entrance through the tunnels, up Main Street, etcetera.

Chuck, it’s funny to think that there was a time when the management tried to dream of all sorts of special events and musical acts to tempt people to go in the off season. Now the big holidays are completely nuts. I’ve seen photos of Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, and know that I would be miserable on a day like that. Maybe if I had an annual pass I could just take in the madness, but it’s not for me.

JG said...

@Chuck "Wookiee World" You Win the Internet Today.

@Irene, Happy Birthday!

@Major, I agree, as a student of parking garages, M&F is a sound effort. It's just the concatenation of waiting and trams etc. that make it awful. Ken is right, walking in is the only way now.

We did see a foursome stroller in 2015, it was dual level, like the Omnibus, but without the spiral staircase. Toddlers below, infants above. Impressive and terrifying simultaneously. I can't imagine pushing something like that around.


Chuck said...

JG, I wish I could accept the award for "Wookiee World," but I have to give full credit to TokyoMagic. You can still buy me a root beer the next time you see me, though, if you like.

Dean Finder said...

This clip from The Simpsons captures the experience of getting into the park these days:

TokyoMagic! said...

Dean Finder, you said it captured the experience of getting INTO the park, but you didn't mention that it also perfectly captures the ruination of the park. I loved those jabs at Disney. I haven't watched "The Simpsons" for a while now, but that episode must be a fairly recent one since it parodies the politically correct version of Pirates of the Caribbean...."They revamped this ride because of massive complaints from two people!" I think my favorite parodies were the "Country Storm Troopers Jamboree" and "Jabba The Tiki Hut." Ha, ha!!! Thanks for sharing that link!

Anonymous said...

A bit late here but that empty lot shot reminds me of what it looked like when the park was closed Mondays and Tuesdays. I loved working those days and having the place to myself. KS

Ed S said...

I worked out in the parking lot for about 8 years in custodial with Pepe Munoz walked around that inside and outside of that lot so many times picking up trash inside and outside of the power poles out harbor House to the freeway exit down around the Marquee the old one and the new one in the toll plaza. Cleaning the trams out next to the katella entrance the main gate area. I love seeing P1 and all the guys and girls putting out cones before the lot opened. The most fun I think was after rainy days driving the custodial scooters through the puddles to spread the water out before it needed to be parked in. And the potlucks out of the toll plaza! Oh yeah finding the $100 bill in the gutter on West Street that was sweet Good times.
Ed Steffen

Major Pepperidge said...

Ed, thank you for your comment, it's always great to hear from employees! I don't know the name Pepe Munoz, was he a legend? I love hearing about how you drove through puddles on a rainy day, of the potlucks. And finding a $100, wow!

Ed S said...

Joe "Pepe" Munoz was a Lead for the Parking Lot on the Service facilities crew or SFC as we called it. Included in our responsibilities of the PL we cleaned the Main Street Vehicles The Omni Busses Fire Truck, Red, Yellow and The Trolly cars Knowing the Walt Disney sat on the seat of the Fire Truck in the last picture with Mickey Mouse before his Death was 1966 was nice. It was great knowing the Main Gate CM'S also the ticket takers the Ticket sellers and all the PL CM's
was the Best part of my years working in the Lot some I'm still friends with all these years later. I truly enjoyed my 25 years at Disneyland 1977-2002. I met my Wife Diana in 1982 on the Stage of Country Bear Jamboree also.

Anonymous said...

Harbor gate was the security stop for vehicles entering in the berm, or backstage areas outside the berm. Guests did not use this gate unless you were the Disney family, WDP high ranking executives, or Michael Jackson, etc. “Very Special Guests” were sometimes cleared into the Administration Building parking lot (which was also a very hush hush lot for cast members on Sunday’s when it was open to all employees.). Harbor HOUSE was the employee entrance that also housed time cards, and the time clock where you punched in. Although guests did not use this entrance, they often pulled in from Harbor Blvd...realized it was wrong...then stopped in the driveway causing major traffic for employees and sometimes fender benders. Some guests would follow the pack of employees and have no idea they were in the employee lot, or that they had to pay for parking. Usually security would get on their scooters and re-direct. Harbor gate also cleared people going either had to stay in a backstage area or be cleared by security to exit into the real world.