Monday, June 15, 2020

"Where Did We Park?"

Disney's California Adventure was built where the old Disneyland parking lot used to be (as all of you know); I still remember the excitement at the prospect of a second gate in Anaheim - a whole new park of quality Disney rides. But when it debuted in 2001, fans were disappointed and felt betrayed - to the degree that many people said  they wished that they had the parking lot back. Sick burn!

The Dream Team of Irene, Bruce, and James have some photos of the old parking lot to share with us.  You can almost feel the heat rising off the asphalt and smell the car exhaust. 

There's the Pinocchio lot, which actually survived until 2018 as a second massive multi-story parking structure was being built. Farewell, little wooden head. The building to the right is the former "Emerald of Anaheim" hotel, which became the Pan Pacific Hotel, Anaheim; Disney bought the hotel in 1995 and it because the Disney Pacific Hotel, and in 2000 it because Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. 

I know you care. 

Oh Eeyore, your crushing depression and low self-esteem was always the source of much laughter. I believe you can see this sign (or one like it) hidden in the dark recesses of the Indiana Jones ride, which was partially built on Eeyore's domain.

Donald doesn't want anybody to loiter or trespass! Donald's lot was especially primo, if you parked there you only had a short walk to the ticket booths/entry gates.

See what I mean? (Map image from the Werner Weiss' excellent Yesterland website, which you need to check out if you haven't already).

Yay, Jiminy Cricket, perhaps my all-time favorite Disney character. I know that he will watch over my automobile, protecting it from errant shopping carts (it could happen!), hippies, and bird poop. 

Occasionally these parking lot signs have been available for purchase; a "Kanga" sign sold for over $3,000 in Van Eaton Galleries' "That's From Disneyland" auction. FYI, each side of the sign is 30", so these suckers are big. And heavy.

Bambi used to like the meadow, but now he likes a big convenient lot for his cars, with easy access to local freeways, and plenty of motels and chain restaurants nearby.

Thank you to Irene, Bruce, and James!


Extra! Extra! DrGoat generously shared a photo of a "Pinocchio" lot sign that he owns. I think it's nicer than the big blue blocks, and maybe easier to display - though if somebody offered me one of the blocky ones I wouldn't say no. Thank you, DrGoat!


Nanook said...

Yes, 'My little wooden head' - sounds a likely candidate for a punk rock band's name. (Perhaps, it's already been taken - or made an appearance on the Tomorrowland Terrace stage-?)

If the Jiminy Cricket sign could ward-off any 'errant shopping carts' from striking my vehicle, I'd place one atop my car in a heartbeat.

Thanks to The Dream Team for memorializing what might've seemed a mundane thing, until it's become the stuff of dreams - appropriately enough.


Nice group of sign documentation. Those character signs were created for Disneyland’s 25th Silver anniversary. The improvement project also included new parking lot signage and new hotel signage using the same blue background and lettering font. The Disneyland main entrance was also completely redone for 1980 with all new entry and exit signs and welcome disclaimers.

TokyoMagic! said...

The Pinocchio sign in the first pic was for the Pinocchio section of the original parking lot. The separate Pinocchio lot which survived until 2018 and was recently replaced by a second parking structure, was located just south of the Mickey and Friends parking structure.

Jiminy Cricket might be able to protect your car from shopping carts and hippies, but I somehow doubt he could protect your car from bird poop, when it appears that he wasn't even able to protect himself from it. Unless maybe his sign acts as sort of a "bird poop magnet."

Budblade said...

I saw hippies and bird poop in concert before they were cool.....

Wait, that may be for another blog

stu29573 said...

Few people realized that the further you got from the gate the less popular the characters got. I'd hate to be the family that got stuck in the "Background Bird in Bambi From Cell #2583" section! Now THAT was a hike!

Andrew said...

There's no reason why every parking lot or structure of a certain size can't be like this! It makes them loads more fun. The garage next to the Andy Warhol Museum here in Pittsburgh is themed to his different works, for instance.

Yesterland is great. That's where I first took a "crash course" on Disney theme park history. ;-) I literally just sat and clicked through every. single. article. It was totally worth it, though!

zach said...

Most of us reading this blog lost our Disneyland virginity in that lot. Something the new generation will not be able to experience. As I said before the tram ride in was always the first attraction in my mind.


DrGoat said...

Nice! I was lucky enough, back in 2002 to aquire a Pinocchio 11E lot sign through the Disney auction on Ebay. Taller and older I think, grey and yellow. Did some quick browsing, came up with nothing. Got lazy. I'll send the Major a pic, maybe he can tell me more about it. It came in the huge wooden crate. Like that scene in A Christmas Story when Dad opened up his major award. And about that exciting.
Thanks Major and the Dream Team.
PS Parked in the Chip'n Dale lot once and ended up with a car full of acorns and an apple core.

Irene said...

Goodness, I do not remember these photo's in Bruce's album at all!!! That parking lot was great and it was so exciting as a kid to finally arrive and be guided to a section and then catching the tram. Such good memories.
Just as an update to my friends here - I have finished my chemo and blood tests show that my cancer markers have moved in the right direction - down!!! Now we move on to the next phase of my treatment which is two different pills, Arimidex and Ibrance. I have some minor out patient surgery to get out of the way first which is tomorrow and unrelated to the cancer and then will speak with my doctor as to when I start the pills. Towards the end the after effects weren't easy but now it's onward and in this case, downward (for the markers) :)

Omnispace said...

Many thanks to the Dream Team for such wonderful pics!

It doesn't show on the map but there was a parking entrance off Katella Avenue as well. My dad had a seminar at the Convention Center and dropped us off there. It was a very long walk to the entry gates but seeing Disneyland off in the distance like that is something I'll never forget. You can't create that sense of anticipation with the current layout.

Anonymous said...

I love these, such a lot of memories, even though I don't recall these specific signs. Since we usually entered via the Katella gate (staying at the Magic Lamp), I suppose we parked in Pinocchio, Owl or Minnie.

Thufer would have loved this post.

@Omnispace, yes indeed, this layout was definitely conducive to anticipation, I'm not sure how it could have been made more so. One of my recent solo trips, I stayed at a hotel south of the convention center and walked all the way to the Harbor gate, and it was a horrible walk, too many people and too many cars. The next trip, I walked through the convention center and up what used to be West St. It was somewhat quieter and Downtown Disney was closer, so the walk got to be more interesting sooner. But nothing compared to the trek across the lot with the train station and the Matterhorn beckoning.

@Irene, thank you so much for sharing these photos, and the good news about your treatments. Continued prayers for your return to health.

Major, thanks so much, as always.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I could be wrong, but I think I have at least heard a punk version of “Little Wooden Head”. You know how those punks are! Jiminy will protect all cars - as long as you are worthy. He’s like Thor’s hammer.

Mike Cozart, ah, I did not know that these signs dated back to the 25th anniversary, I do remember that the color scheme was silver and blue for that. Now I am wondering what the signs looked like before 1980, I’ll have to go back and look at some older parking lot photos.

TokyoMagic! they should just name ALL the parking lots “the Pinocchio lot”, and sit back and laugh (with wads of tobakky in their cheeks) as people spend hours looking for their vehicles. Come back for more great ideas like that one. And you clearly don’t know that the poop on the Jiminy sign is from a weasel.

Budblade, remember when they opened for Jefferson Airplane?

Andrew, oh man, I would love to go to the Andy Warhol Museum, though I don’t know when I’ll ever be in Pittsburgh. I know a lot of people think he was a charlatan, but I think he was a genius! And yes, Yesterland IS great.

zach, “Disneyland virginity” is an interesting term! Maybe “kids these days” get just as excited going into those massive parking structures? I loved the trams, and will gladly give them “first attraction” status.

DrGoat, I think you sent me a photo of your sign years ago, it is awesome! I actually like the taller version. I remember when Disney sold stuff directly through eBay, the only thing I ever won was a Mickey Mouse Club Circus program, but it was absolutely mint, and had a rare flyer tucked inside that they didn’t even mention in the listing! Am I the only person who found Chip and Dale generally annoying? Usually I felt like Donald was the aggrieved party.

Irene, thank you as always for sharing these great pictures - it sounds like there were a lot more gems than you remembered! And I am SO glad that your cancer seems to be getting its butt kicked, I’m sure a lot of that is due to your positive attitude. You’ve brought a lot of happiness to people by sharing these photos, and just by being a wonderful person.

Omnispace, yes, you’ll sometimes hear (or read) a reference to the “Katella Gate”. I don’t know if it was always an option or only open on busier days. In fact there used to be somebody who would comment who’s nickname was Katella Gate! I’m sure many people wonder why there is so much nostalgia for a parking lot, but you had to be there.

JG, I only remember these signs because I’ve seen them in auctions, otherwise I’m sure I was my usual unobservant self. And I didn’t even do drugs, so I have no excuses! I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog, but one of the things that really got me revved up was the sounds that you could hear from the parking lot. The train’s bell and whistle, the Monorail’s air horn, and maybe (?) the Mark Twain’s distant whistle? Maybe I’m just thinking of the train, ha ha. Anyway, I just loved it when the train of the Monorail moved past the entrance. Gosh, that walk sounds terrible, and you’d have sore feet before you even set foot in the park!

DrGoat said...

I think Chip 'n Dale's whole shtick was driving poor Donald wacky.
They even basically blow him up at the end of 'Up a Tree'. Poor Donald.
Generally annoying might be putting it mildly.
Thanks for posting my sign. It doesn't get out much.

zach said...

Major, it was Disneyland Virginity, not Hippies and Bird Poop, who opened for Jefferson airplane.

zach said...

Irene, that is Dream news from the Dream Team. Thanks, as always, for your generosity.


Chuck said...

Ahh, the old Parking Lot. [sniffle, surreptitiously wipes away a tear]

That sign is way cool, DrGoat!

Irene, that's great news! We will continue praying for your continued recovery. Thanks again (as always) for sharing Bruce's photos; the Major is right - you truly have brought happiness to so many others here in virtual reality, and I think it's pretty strong evidence that you do the same for those around you in actual reality. Glad we all have crossed your digital path.

Melissa said...

Irene, what a relief!

From the look of that sign, Pinocchio might be not telling the truth about where your car is.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I love today's pictures and commentary! Thank you, Irene (Dream Team), Major and all! And thanks, DrGoat, for sharing your Pinocchio lot sign - how cool!


TokyoMagic! said...

Irene, that is good news! Congratulations on your triumph! And I forgot to thank you again, for sharing these pics with the Major and us.

Dr. Goat, here is a pic of a sign, just like yours. I took the pic in the Pinocchio Lot, back in 2011.

And for anyone who might be interested, here is a pic of the Katella Gate. I'm not sure about the early years of DL, but in the later years, it was only open on the busiest of days, or on days when they were letting people who were going to the Anaheim Convention Center, park in the southern most part of the DL parking lot.

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, that is the gate I remember that we usually went through. That is a great photo! Better than any others in my collection. I never knew it was limited opening?

I know at some point we began to go in the Harbor gate, but I thought maybe that was because in the later years, we stayed at the Jolly Roger Inn and the Harbor gate was easier to get to without a u-turn.


Nanook said...

@ Irene-
That is GREAT news. Continued good thoughts.

@ Melissa-
Yes, it appears Disney had already picked-up on the Major's idea of 'vehicle identification deception'.

DrGoat said...

Glad to hear the good news. Good news a bit hard to come by lately, so a big congratulations. Keep the good news coming deary. In our thoughts for sure.
Thanks everyone.

Sunday Night said...

Not many people would get a kick out of pictures of a parking lot. But the Disneyland lot holds many good memories. We miss you parking lot!

Irene, thank you for sharing your good news. I am so glad for you.

Omnispace said...

JG - I think that direct approach to the park is why I enjoy taking the boat from the parking lot across the lagoon to the Magic Kingdom at WDW. But it's a difficult decision since the alternative is taking the monorail.

Major - Perhaps there needs to be a nostalgia society for the old parking lot? It can be called Katella Gate.

TokyoMagic! - Thanks for sharing that pic of the Katella Gate! I don't remember it looking so 1950's but that makes total sense. I'm trying to think of the last time we entered through it - late 80's or early 90's? It was a left turn off of eastbound Katella.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, I think you’re right, and Chip and Dale are cute, but I guess I never cared for characters that annoyed other characters. Woody Woodpecker, for instance!

zach, ahhh, who can remember? So many substances!

Chuck, just let it all out… a good cry can make you feel so much better.

Melissa, I was thinking the same thing: “Pinocchio just told a lie!”.

TokyoMagic!, cool that you have that photo of a similar Pinocchio sign; so much for my theory that it might have predated the blue versions. Thanks also for the photo of the Katella Gate!

JG, I can only assume that my family used the Harbor Gate; since I wasn’t driving, I paid no attention! I’ve heard that the Jolly Roger was a nice place to stay back in those days.

Nanook, DrGoat, and Sunday Night, all our good wishes have got to add up to something extra powerful!

Omnispace, oh man, I literally scanned a photo of the WDW ferries (circa 1979) about an hour ago! You’ll just have to wait though, it’s going to be a while before you’ll see it on GDB. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody has already come up with a nostalgia society for the old parking lot, especially in the days before they fixed up DCA.

stu29573 said...


"Lou and Sue" said...

Hello, Stu! Don't worry, we all love you. Yours was one of the comments that I said I loved, today!
(Ahem, Major) ;)

Major Pepperidge said...

stu29573, I’m sorry, I don’t know how I do it, but I know this is not the first time I have accidentally skipped you. I swear it’s not on purpose. As for the character names in the parking lot, my whole young adulthood I could have sworn there was a “Baloo” lot (“Remember, you’re in ‘B’ - that’s ‘B’ for ‘Baloo’”). And speaking of “background bird from “Bambi”, there is a scene during the great fire (in “Bambi” of course) in which a small animal literally vanishes for a frame or two only to reappear. I’m sure Walt noticed it at the time and didn’t have the time or money to fix it, but it’s even on the DVD release. It’s also fascinating to see the evolution of background birds in Snow White to the ones in Bambi, and how much better they look. AND… I would love it if they picked some truly obscure Disney characters. I’ve mentioned “Tillie the Tiger” before. Or even “Dippy Dawg”, Goofy’s original name. Give the Disney geeks something to lord over their pitiful family members!

Lou and Sue, I was rescuing orphans from a burning building. You wouldn't want me to let orphans get hurt, would you?

stu29573 said...

Lol, all good. I really don't take it personally. I know there are a ton of comments to address. I was just making a funny! Baloo sounds like a perfectly good section to me! I'd buy it! Maybe the vanishing animal teleported into the future, but it wasn't far enough into the future? Weird......

stu29573 said...

Thanks Sue! We rhymers gotta stick together, lol!