Disney California Adventure Entrance – Then and Now

By Ryan Pastorino on August 24th, 2012   |    Posted in:  News   |    4 Comments

Last week I was at the Disneyland Resort with some of my local photography friends.  We were hoping to get some night photography at one of the parks after closing.  All summer long, Disney California Adventure has closed at 11 p.m. with Disneyland staying open one hour later, closing at midnight.  We stayed at DCA until it closed at 11, getting one more ride on Radiator Springs Racers and decided instead of hanging out there past closing for photos we would head over to Disneyland for one hour to enjoy a few last-minute rides until closing when we would begin taking photos.  Well we exited DCA and walked over to Disneyland to find it closed at 11 p.m. as well.  This left us stuck in the esplanade out of luck for any photography.  We spent a long time chatting in the esplanade and after a good hour and a half we realized the area had cleared out and we could at least get some clean shots of the park entrances without people.  So I began with taking some photos of the new entrance at California Adventure.  As I processed the shots, I recalled that exactly two years earlier, to the day, I had photographed the old California Adventure entrance.  So, I thought it would be fun to do a post showcasing the different entrances with photos from nearly the same location.

So here is a photo taken last week on August 17th, 2012.  It looks almost identical to the entrance at Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida.  It’s quite impressive and a huge change from the original entrance to the park.

And here is the entrance on August 17th, 2010.  Call me crazy, but even though I think what they have done to California Adventure is a HUGE improvement with Buena Vista Street, I do miss this view of the entrance.  It reminds me of a postcard.

I hope you enjoyed this brief comparison.  I did not plan to take the new shot exactly two years from the time I took the old shot.  That was entirely coincidence, but I thought it would make for an interesting article!

So which park entrance do you prefer and why??


  1. Alan Rappa   |   Aug 24, 2012

    You’re not crazy Ryan, I’m with you with regards to the entrance. I would have liked it if Disney did something unique with the entrance to DCA as opposed to a nearly identical Hollywood Studios look. Obviously I understand the reasoning, but I liked the old postcard look.

    Really amazing to compare these two shots though.

  2. Tom Bricker   |   Aug 24, 2012

    The postcard look was cool, but the rest of Sunshine Plaza sucked. I think if one went, the other had to follow. BVS would look a bit odd with a post card entrance!

    While I like the new entrance, I wish it were different than DHS’ entrance.

  3. Courtney   |   Aug 27, 2012

    Wow ! Those pictures are amazing. I haven’t been to the DL since early 2009 but from the pictures alone, I like the old entrance better. However, like the comment above, I am sure it blends much better with the new BVS theme.

  4. Kat   |   Aug 27, 2012

    I did like the postcard aesthetic of the old entrance, particularly the Golden Gate Bridge and the flanking murals. The bold colours would really pop against a blue sky.

    On the other hand, I have always loved the streamline modern-styled Pan-Pacific Auditorium, and since Los Angeles has lost that lovely example of architecture to time, I get a little giddy when I walk past the ticket booths and the DCA entrance comes into view.

    Now that the entire entryway and square have such a unified theme (and I have such a weak spot for 1920s-1940s LA), the park seems to flow better. I really love it.



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