Before Disney’s California Adventure, part 1.

Happy Anniversary to Disney’s/Disney California Adventure (February 8, 2001).

Yes, Virginia, there used to be a time when you could park in front of Disneyland and walk to the entrance. The construction of Disney’s California Adventure (today known as Disney California Adventure) changed all that. Let’s take a peek back to the pre-DCA days. We’ll begin in the year 1997.

The Disneyland parking lot was still in use in 1997.

Disneyland parking lot on May 17, 1997.

By my visit in May of 1998, it was not. They were using the Pinnochio lot near the Disneyland Hotel, and the Lion King lot (Simba and Timon) at the corner of the old parking lot.

Parking sign on May 23, 1998.

I am not sure which lot this is (Pinnochio, I think?), but the entrance area was far less dramatic than the old Disneyland entrance:

New parking entrance on May 24, 1998.

$7 to park? Are you kidding me? Geez, Disney.

This was also the time when the tram would have to wait for traffic and cross a public road!

Why did the tram cross the road on May 23, 1998?
To get to the other side on May 26, 1998.

Of course, this required Disney to staff the “open” tram entrance with a guard.

Disneyland guard guarding the tram entrance on May 23, 1998.

This was also when the new tram drop-off spot for the Lion King lot opened up. Disfans were calling it the “Christmas tree lot.” It had color-coded light posts (red, blue and yellow) and those odd oversized concrete traffic cones. If you look in the right of this photo, you can barely make out the old Disneyland sign, too:

The “Christmas tree lot” tram area on May 24, 1998.

There was quite a bit of a barren walk from the tram drop-off to the park entrance back then. (It’s just as far today, but you pass ticket booths and such now.)

Walking to the entrance on May 23, 1998.

Construction walls were up across from the entrance to Disneyland. In this photo, you can see the transition between the older, smaller yellow and blue trams, and the new mega trams (called “Tramzilla” by Disfans back then).

Construction walls on May 22, 1998.

But in the “public” area where guests could walk, much nicer construction walls were used, and they had concept art. The tree lined walkway in the left of this next photo is the one I showed in an earlier post.

And that’s what 1998 was like. The former Disneyland parking lot (which I believe was larger than all of Disneyland itself) was turned into a construction zone with only a corner left for parking. The rest of parking was across the way (the side where Downtown Disney extends to the Disneyland Hotel today).

The parking structure was under construction, but it was still two years away from completion.

To be continued.

Until next time…

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