Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

Man Hat n’ Beach

at the Midway Shops
of Paradise Pier
Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

At Paradise Pier’s row of Midway Shops, one store stands out—Man Hat n’ Beach. On its exterior, an oversized clown has popped out of a proportionately undersized box. It’s a cartoony take on the classic jack-in-the-box toy.


The name “Man Hat n’ Beach” is a play on Manhattan Beach, a Los Angeles suburb several miles south of the city’s big airport. Manhattan Beach is known for its classic ocean pier, trendy restaurants, and affluent residents.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2001

Man Hat n’ Beach

Man Hat n’ Beach is known for selling hats and beach items. The connection between a jack-in-the-box and a hat and beach shop is a bit puzzling. Perhaps it’s because this jack-in-the-box clown is wearing a small cap. Most other jack-in-the-box clowns also wear some sort of clown hat or jester cap.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Shiny face

The smooth, shiny jack-in-the box looks as if the whole thing might be made of opaque plexiglass illuminated from behind.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

After dark

But at night, only the letters and the neon tubes light up.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Near Games of The Boardwalk

Compared to the other facades of the Midway Shops and Games of the Boardwalk—with their signs above striped awnings—the big jack-in-the-box front of Man Hat n’ Beach stands out as the odd man out.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

With its next-door neighbors

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Warning

Let’s wander around inside the store…

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Jumbo hat decor

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Colorful fixtures

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Mouse ears are hats too

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Gotta have plush

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Pink octopus “mirror holder”

Maybe you now associate a jack-in-the-box with hats.

Jack in the Box restaurant on Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim, 1974

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim, 1974

Or maybe you still just associate a jack-in-the-box with hamburgers.


Man Hat n’ Beach was part of Disney’s California Adventure when the park opened in February 2001. The official Disneyland Resort website described the store this way in 2001:

Man, Hat n’ Beach

Inside this giant, oversized jack-in-the-box you’ll find a huge selection of hats, from the absolutely nutty to the positively chic. And for fun, be sure to model your chapeaux in front of one of the shop’s wacky, warped mirrors.

In 2006, the official Disneyland Resort website had this:

Man Hat ’n’ Beach

Reflect on a carnival sideshow’s hypnotic hall of mirrors in this hip and cool headgear and surfwear shop.

  • Caps, hats and visors
  • Cool surf and swimwear
  • Plush, thirsty beach towels
  • Surfing fashion and sport accessories

The jumbo jack-in-the-box remained in front of the shop for almost 11 years—until early 2012—when a placemaking project gave the shop a new facade and new name.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2014

Boardwalk Bazaar at the Midway Shops of Paradise Pier

Its neighbors kept their old signs and names, but also benefitted from siding and other period details. Apparently, the signs for Point Magu Tattoo and Sideshow Shirts were good enough for DCA 2.0, but the Man Hat n’ Beach jack-in-the box violated the theme of an early 20th-century amusement pier too egregiously.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2014

The newer look

The architectural details of Boardwalk Bazaar echoed the style of Toy Story Midway Mania and the updated Games of the Boardwalk. But sitting between its immediate neighbors, the shop was again the odd man out.

You might have expected a new interior to match the new exterior. But you would have been wrong.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2014

Inside Boardwalk Bazaar

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2014

2001 or 2014?

Point Magu Tattoo, Sideshow Shirts, and Man Hat n’ Beach all connected inside. The merchandise was updated over the years, but the decor and fixtures were a blast from the past—Disney’s California Adventure, as it was in 2001. Placemaking never reached the inside of the retail space.

Man Hat n’ Beach

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2014

Neon in the back Boardwalk Bazaar

Although Man Hat n’ Beach became Boardwalk Bazaar, the interior continued to be Man Hat n’ Beach—a neon sign in the back of the store left no doubt.

Boardwalk Bazaar and its neighbors closed January 8, 2018, when Paradise Pier began its transformation into Pixar Pier.


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Updated May 4, 2018.