See also: part 1 and part 2.
As the year 2000 rolled around, and we all survived the “Y2K Bug,” things were really happening. Disney’s California Adventure was less than a year away from opening.
Grizzly Peak had appeared…
California Screamin’ had appeared…
A beautiful new tram area for the Pinnochio lot was in use, with the Grand Californian Hotel across from it…
The old ticket booths in front of Disneyland were gone, and new ones had been built on each side…
It was $41 per day to get in, or $199 for a Premium Annual Pass? Geez, Disney. Who has that kind of money for an amusement park? At least the Southern California pass was “only” $79. Man, ridiculous pricing.
The construction wall had been moved up closer, and now had large windows in it so you could see the new park’s entrance.
Let’s take a peek through those windows.
Oh. In May it wasn’t very interesting. I’ll keep jumping around 2000 until I find something that is.
By August, we had a much better look at the new post card entrance, the Golden Gate bridge, and the huge letters that would spell “CALIFORNIA.” The park is supposed to open just five months after this photo was taken. Can they possibly make it? Let’s see how they were doing a few months later…
By November, the mural painting was going up and things were looking much more like a theme park entrance. Disney might just pull this off after all (take that, highly inaccurate and wildly speculating Disfan rumor sites of the day).
I also remember how excited folks where to see the Hollywood backdrop lit up for the first time:
And, of course, Disney had already began selling merchandise earlier in the year. They had a little cart set up outside of Disneyland in the esplanade area.
Look at all the stuff! Shirts, buttons, pens, mouse pads, and more! I wonder how much these things would go for on eBay these days?
This is also when the fancy new outdoor picnic area first appeared, with its special lockers.
And, of course, Downtown Disney construction was in full swing.
Also, this was the year the parking structure would open. In May, it was still blocked off:
But in August, it was open for business!
Though there was still work going on. The escalators had opened without any roof, so temporary coverings were added.
I could probably do a few more pages about what was going on with the parking structure. The original traffic routing and layout was quite different than what it is today. Instead, I’ll put in one more photo showing the new parking structure tram loading area, along with construction on one of the other escalators.
There was so much going on. One of the hardest things to remember is that the area surrounding Disneyland used to be quite … rough. Liquor stores, run down convenience stores, crappy motels… These things were what drove Walt Disney to buy so much land in Florida so he could control what was built next to his projects.
But during the Disneyland Resort project, the entire surrounding area got a facelift. I wish I had photos of “before” to share, but I never thought to take pictures of run down motels and scary looking liquor stores.
There’s still more previewing yet to be had.
Until next time…