Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

DCA Then & Now, Part 3:

Paradise Pier

Games of the Boardwalk, Midway
Shops, and California Screamin’

Today, in the third of a series of Disney California Adventure “then and now” comparisons, Yesterland looks at some parts of Paradise Pier. More of Paradise Pier will follow in a future article.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, October 18, 2013.


Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Paradise Pier Portal (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Paradise Pier Portal (2013)

The Paradise Pier entrance portal—still promising “Fun in the Sun for Everyone”—hasn’t changed much over the years. On the left, the exterior color and awnings on Treasures in Paradise have changed. On the right, Avalon Cove became Ariel’s Grotto. From a distance, this part of Paradise Pier fits in well with the early-20th-century theme of the updated Paradise Pier. But at a closer look, it could use some attention to its surface materials and architectural details.

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

California Screamin’ and Games of the Boardwalk (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

California Screamin’ and Games of the Boardwalk (2013)

The two photos above show that the California Screamin’ structure hasn’t changed. It’s still decorated with golden suns, echoing the “Yester suns” of Sunshine Plaza and the Sun Wheel.

At the ground level, Games of the Boardwalk originally looked cheap and lacked a connection to any particular point in time. Now charming Victorian era façades provide a better sense of time and place.

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Midway Shops at Paradise Pier (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Midway Shops at Paradise Pier (2013)

The most notable difference between the two photos above is that the bizarre Man Hat ’n’ Beach jack-in-the-box clown is gone. He’s been replaced by the Boardwalk Bazaar façade. The second big change is the disappearance of the Maliboomer.

At first glance, Sideshow Shirts may look unchanged because the signs are the same. But notice the other improvements to the Midway Shops, such as clapboard siding and period architectural details instead of brightly colored stucco.

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Games of the Boardwalk at Paradise Pier (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Games of the Boardwalk at Paradise Pier (2013)

The pair of photos above provides another chance to compare the Games of the Boardwalk in their original and upgraded incarnations. Somehow, the Point Mugu Tattoo sign adjacent to the Games of the Boardwalk survived.

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

California Screamin’ launch, track, and loop (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

California Screamin’ launch, track, and loop (2013)

California Screamin’—billed as the “high-speed thrill ride that recalls the great wooden roller coasters of yesteryear,” although it’s not a wooden roller coaster—is essentially the same ride as when the park opened. The most obvious change is that the Mickey ears on the loop are gone. There’ now a handrail along the track section where the trains await their launch. Toy Story Midway Mania replaced miscellaneous food and photo facilities.

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

California Screamin’ launch and Sun Wheel (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

California Screamin’ launch and Mickey’s Fun Wheel (2013)

In the pair of photos above, the Maliboomer is mostly hidden behind the Sun Wheel in the 2002 photo and completely gone in the 2013 photo. The “orange peel” of the Orange Stinger was huge.

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

California Screamin’ loop (2002)

Disney California Adventure Then & Now, Part 3

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

California Screamin’ loop (2013)

This photo essay ends with a closer look at the California Screamin’ loop—at least to the extent that it wasn’t blocked by Toy Story Midway Mania.


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DCA Then & Now, Part 4
DCA Then & Now, Part 2
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Updated December 13, 2013.