Yesterland
Pacific Ocean Photos
Smile!
 
Have your picture taken
on a 1900s boardwalk or
catching a wave in this
fantasy photo studio.
Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Welcome to Pacific Ocean Photos—the old-fashioned, high-tech novelty photo studio here on Paradise Pier.


Would you like a photo of yourself and a friend climbing Grizzly Peak? How about Minnie Mouse helping you with sunscreen on the beach in front of Paradise Pier? Maybe a group shot with Grizzly Peak looming behind you? Or perhaps riding Grizzly River Run with Donald Duck, while your friend and the rest of the Fab Five watch from the shore?

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Pacific Ocean Photos, behind the big sign for Paradise Pier

This novelty photo studio is located right between Strips, Dips ’n’ Chips and Malibu-Ritos, below the giant Mickey head loop of California Screamin’.

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

A mural of Paradise Pier… on Paradise Pier

Look for the mural of Paradise Pier between the two entrances to Pacific Ocean Photos. Paradise Pier is supposed to look like a charming early twentieth century amusement pier on the California coast—although the stucco building in front of you doesn’t quite exude such charm.

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Old-fashioned camera on the outside only

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WiseBearAZ” Moore, 2002

Fun-house mirrors for free

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

It’s a film store too!

Pacific Ocean Photos also sells Kodak film, Kodak disposable cameras, photo frames, photo albums, and camera batteries. Of course, if you have one of those new-fangled digital cameras (like the one Allen Huffman has), then you don’t need film.

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Sample photos on display

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

This could be you!

If you were expecting the inside of the studio to look like something from the days of George Eastman, you might be surprised by the simple, functional interior.

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Not quite the look of an old-fashioned photo studio

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

The magic green screen

Your backdrop is a chromakey green screen. Depending on which setting you chose, the photographer will position you properly against this backdrop before capturing your image. Using digital processing software, any part of the image that was green is transparent, allowing your image to be appear in the setting that you chose. Cool, eh?

Just don’t wear a bright green shirt. If you do, then your torso will also be replaced by the background and your head will be floating somewhere above your pants.

Don’t worry. Pacific Ocean Photos has costumes that you can put over your clothes. Actually, you may want to wear costumes in any case, just to make the photo more fun.

The reason that green is the preferred color for the chromakey process is that it’s so different from natural skin tones. No matter how queasy you feel after going on the roller coaster loop above the studio, your skin shouldn’t be so green that it causes a problem. But if somebody in your group is wearing bright green eye shadow, that might be another story.

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Sideshow poster to the left of the film rack

One 8"x10" print is $16.95; a second 8"x10" is $13.00. If you want something smaller (and a bit cheaper), one 5"x7" is $12.95; a second 5"x7" is $8.00. You can also have your photo put on postcards.

Perhaps you’d prefer to take your own pictures rather that spending that kind of money.

If you use your own camera, you don’t have to go without a clever California Adventure background. It’s a short walk from here to the “Picture Yourself in Paradise!” location.

“Picture Yourself in Paradise!” location at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

The money-saving alternative

You have a choice of two settings for your own California Adventure photo. The one on the right is particularly fun. Have one or two people in your party get behind the nose of the California Screamin’ train. Frame your shot carefully. When you get your print, turn it upside down (or rotate it 180 degrees in iPhoto). Voilà! The subjects of your photo are at the top of the loop.


Pacific Ocean Photos was an opening day part of Disney’s California Adventure (now Disney California Adventure Park) when the park officially opened February 8, 2001. The photography studio and film store had two unassuming entrances in a simple stucco building that also housed two fast food restaurants.

The name, Pacific Ocean Photos, was undoubtedly a play on Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica. Built by a partnership of broadcaster CBS and racetrack operator Santa Anita Park, the ambitious amusement pier—called P.O.P. for short—was supposed to compete with Disneyland. It only lasted from 1958 through 1967.

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WiseBearAZ” Moore, 2001

Stucco, green neon, and simple signs

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

No mural yet in February 2001

Pacific Ocean Photos at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WiseBearAZ” Moore, 2001

The “DCA 1.0” look

At first, there was not a mural between Pacific Ocean Photos’ two entrances. The signs above them lacked the old-fashioned cameras. By the end of 2001, the exterior had been embellished somewhat.

After more than five years or operation, Pacific Ocean Photos closed permanently to make way for the first major enhancement at Paradise Pier—Toy Story Midway Mania. In September 2006, workers erected a construction wall. By Thanksgiving 2006, the old building was gone.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2007

Wall at the construction site where Pacific Ocean Photos used to be

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2007

Toy Story Midway Mania, opening Summer 2008

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2008

Toy Story Midway Mania—a big improvement over Pacific Ocean Photos

Toy Story Midway Mania opened June 17, 2008. A charming Victorian building had replaced a mostly flat stucco box building. It seemed the rest of Paradise Pier would get a similar treatment in the coming years. But surprisingly little was done.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2018

Transformation of Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier

In December 2017, Disney announced that Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure Park would be slit into two lands—Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens Park—beginning Summer 2018. Pixar Pier would have four neighborhoods: Incredibles Park, Toy Story Boardwalk, Pixar Promenade, and Inside Out Headquarters.

But what about fantasy photos? Just ask any Disney PhotoPass photographer. You can pose for some clever photos with digitally-added Disney characters.


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Updated April 26, 2019.