Yester California Adventure at Yesterland
Los Angeles Landmarks on the Exterior of
Superstar Limo
Photo of Dumbo (wide)



 

Before you ride Superstar Limo, take a look at the façade. It’s a cartoonish collection of Los Angeles landmarks.

Superstar Limo exterior, 2002
There’s nothing subtle about the sign.

The ride sign is in front of a painted version of a more famous sign—the Hollywood sign.

Superstar Limo exterior, 2002
The Beverly Hills Hotel is known as “The Pink Palace.”

Yes, there’s a real Beverly Hills Hotel, and it really is pink with a sign on a green section. The luxury hotel, located within tropical gardens on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, opened in 1912. It’s only been pink since 1948. The part of the hotel on the Superstar Limo façade is based on the 1949 addition by architect Paul Revere Williams.

The Beverly Hills Hotel caters to celebrities and others—perhaps hoping to see famous faces in the hotel’s legendary Polo Lounge—who are willing to pay rates that start at around $500 per night for the cheapest rooms and go much higher for bungalow suites.

Superstar Limo exterior, 2002
The towers of Union Station, City Hall, and the Westin Bonaventure

Three downtown Los Angeles landmarks rise in the center of the façade.

Combining the Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne styles, Los Angeles Union Station and its clock tower opened in 1939. It was the last of America’s great railroad stations. As passenger rail travel declined in the latter half of the 20th century, activity at the massive station dwindled to only a handful of Amtrak trains each day. Today, with the addition of Metrolink commuter rail service, Red Line and Purple Line subways, and Gold Line light rail, Union Station is once again a bustling travel hub.

The distinctive 32-story Los Angeles City Hall opened in 1928 as the tallest building in Los Angeles, a distinction it would keep until 1964. Baby boomers might remember City Hall from the Dragnet television series as the building on Sgt. Joe Friday’s “714” police badge under the credits. Or they might remember it referred to as “the pointy building” on Lohman and Barkley’s radio show. Having undergone a seismic retrofit in 2001, Los Angeles City Hall continues to hold the mayor’s office, council chambers, and many government offices of the city of Los Angeles.

Consisting of five reflective glass cylinders, the 35-story Westin Bonaventure Hotel opened in 1976. Architect John Portman’s design features a disorienting six-level atrium at the base, pie-slice-shaped rooms in cylinders, and a revolving restaurant at the top.

Superstar Limo exterior, 2002
Angels Flight, “The World’s Shortest Railway”

Angels Flight, a short funicular railroad, opened in 1901 to connect the Los Angeles downtown commercial district along Third Street with the Victorian mansions and the “Angel’s View” observation tower atop Bunker Hill. Two funicular cars were connected by a cable that went around a wheel at the top of the hill; the cars counterbalanced each other, and maintained proper spacing on the track.

By the 1960s, the once fashionable Bunker Hill neighborhood had deteriorated into slums. As was then the custom, the solution was not to restore the grandeur but to flatten the entire neighborhood for urban renewal. Plans called for Angels Flight to be demolished. Protests ensued. Revised plans called for Angels Flight to be removed temporarily, and to return to the redeveloped Bunker Hill. In 1969, after 68 years of safe operation, Angels Flight was dismantled and put into storage.

Superstar Limo exterior, 2002
Care for a swim in the planter?

It took 27 years. On February 24, 1996, the two original funicular cars returned to service on a new track a half block away from the original Angels Flight. High-rise office and residential buildings now stood atop Bunker Hill.

Lacking necessary safety features and suffering from inadequate maintenance, the new Angels Flight had a deadly accident on February 1, 2001—after less than five years of operations. As it approached the top of the hill, one of the cars broke loose and sped to the bottom, slamming into the other car. An 83-year-old man died. Seven other passengers were injured.

It took until March 10, 2010—more than nine years after the accident—before passenger service finally restarted on Angels Flight, with new, redundant safety features. The fare is 25 cents each direction.

Superstar Limo exterior, 2002
The Pasadena Freeway tunnel, under the Los Angeles Coliseum

In Los Angeles, the city known for its freeways, the Pasadena Freeway (originally called the Arroyo Seco Parkway) was the first one. Just north of downtown Los Angles, the freeway’s northbound lanes pass below Elysian Park through a series of four tunnels with stylish entrances. The tunnels, built between 1931 and 1935, originally carried two-way traffic for Figueroa Street. A few years later, they were connected to the new freeway. Although the Pasadena Freeway is primitive, narrow, and not straight enough by today’s freeway standards, it’s an iconic part of the Los Angeles road system.

Yes, the Pasadena Freeway has an exit at Stadium Way, just like on the façade. The real exit leads to Dodger Stadium. The stadium pictured on the ride façade is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (That’s not a complaint; it’s actually rather clever how the mural brings together Los Angeles’ most historic freeway and most historic stadium.) The Coliseum was the site of the Summer Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984.

Superstar Limo at night, 2001
Don’t miss the Superstar Limo façade at night.

Come back at night when the whole park looks better than by day.


Superstar Limo opened as part of the original roster of rides at Disney’s California Adventure on February 8, 2001. The ride had such a short life—less than a year—that many guests never had a chance to ride it. Far more guests had a chance to see the exterior façade which lasted until a construction wall appeared in front of it in March 2005.

Monsters Inc. exterior
It’s now Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue.

By the end of 2005, the former Superstar Limo had become Monsters, Inc.: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

Monsters Inc. exterior
Another look at Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue

Neither the Superstar Limo façade nor the Monsters, Inc. façade fits into the theme of the Hollywood Backlot. A real studio backlot has exterior sets for movies. What kind of movies would be filmed in front of the Superstar Limo or Monsters, Inc. exteriors?

Now, please continue on to the interior of Superstar Limo.


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© 2009-2010 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated June 14, 2010.

Photo of Superstar Limo (wide): 2002 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Superstar Limo sign: 2002 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Beverly Hills Hotel on Superstar Limo exterior: 2002 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of downtown towers on Superstar Limo exterior: 2002 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Angels Flight on Superstar Limo exterior: 2002 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of planter that looks like a pool on Superstar Limo exterior: 2002 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of tunnel and freeways Superstar Limo exterior: 2002 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Superstar Limo exterior at night: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue exterior: 2008 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue detail: 2007 by Allen Huffman.