New Turnstiles Open at Disney California Adventure Park Today

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

New Turnstiles Open at Disney California Adventure Park Today

As we’ve been sharing here on the Disney Parks Blog, there are even more changes coming for Disney California Adventure park over the next year – especially toward the front of the park. Today guests can see the first bit of this exciting makeover as we’ve just unveiled the brand-new turnstiles that will welcome them each day.

New Turnstiles Open at Disney California Adventure Park Today

Inspired by the iconic Pan Pacific Auditorium, the turnstiles will set the stage for the new Disney California Adventure park entrance. Buena Vista Street will transport guests to Los Angeles as Walt Disney found it when he first arrived in California, with buildings inspired by structures that existed during the 1920s and ‘30s – including the Pan Pacific Auditorium. A landmark structure in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, the auditorium was the premiere location for indoor public events until it closed after almost 40 years in 1972.

Designed by the Los Angeles architectural firm Wurdeman and Becket, the auditorium itself was a modest wooden structure with seating for only 6,000 people; however, the building’s façade was hailed as one of the finest examples of Streamline Moderne architecture in the United States. The four stylized towers and flagpoles were meant to evoke upswept aircraft fins.

One of the principal architects on the Pan Pacific Auditorium, Welton Becket, was a neighbor of Walt Disney’s and went on to become very influential in future Disney projects. It was Becket who suggested to Walt that he use his own artists – not an architectural firm – to design, plan and build Disneyland, and it was this advice that led to the creation of WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering). Later, Welton Becket Associates (formed in 1949 after Walter Wurdeman’s death) designed Disney’s Contemporary Hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort, though Becket himself did not live to see it completed.

On May 1, 1989, a nearly full-size replica of the Pan Pacific Auditorium façade opened as the main entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Sadly, little more than three weeks later on May 24, the original building was destroyed in a fire.

As Buena Vista Street continues to take shape at Disney California Adventure park, there are more exciting transformations that will be taking place. On Sunday, the Golden Gate Bridge, which guests now pass underneath when entering the park, will begin to make way for a re-creation of the historic Glendale-Hyperion Bridge. We’ll have more details on this project next week on the Disney Parks Blog, so be sure to check back!


  • @Julie – just what I was thinking, Hollywood Studios entrance!

  • It Looks great!!! sad to see the california letters go…however Disney always does things with style..Can’t wait to see it for my family and I will be there in about 3 weeks…

  • I loved the California letters… but I think I like this better! I love it in WDW @ Disney Studios…and I think they look great here! I’m excited to see the new face of California Adventure 🙂

  • They could have been a bit more creative then just copying the entrance to Disney’s Holloywood Studios.

  • I think it looks nice but I miss the big letters. I sure wish you could have incorporated them somehow, by changing the color or something.

  • It looks so much like MGM studios entrance! lol I love it! and yes I still call it that =P

  • Also I heard that if you want to get a picture of the train where the store and the ice cream shop is, you need to do it real soon. Because the CM I was talking to said it would be taken out sometime in Augest.

  • Yes, the design is the same as the turnstiles at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but that really doesn’t matter. The park itself is NOT the same, and that’s really all that matters. It fits for the California theme, plus, these new turnstiles command more attention than the old ones.
    So, I really don’t think its a big deal.

    I personally don’t mind about the letters and the Golden Gate bridge being removed. Yes, they looked cool and made for good photos, but in the long-run, the entrance plaza was way too contemporary. Buena Vista Street will be much more “Disney”. It will transport guests to a different time and place, and that is what Disney does best. 🙂

  • JoLyn, Yes the Letters are gone.. Have been for months..

  • Yes the big letters are gone. The entrance looks good though.

  • Beautiful!

    I’m so glad California Adventure is finally becoming its own park…not just a Disneyland add-on 🙂

  • I totally dig the retro look!! Yes, the big California letters are gone. 😛

  • Love the new entrance. Hmmmmm, reminds me of the MGM, now Disney Studios entrance.

  • The new gates look fantastic but, it will be a very sad day if the giant California letters are gone. We take pictures by them every time we go to Disneyland!

  • Am I the only one who doesn’t like it?

  • @JoLyn, yes the giant CALIFORNIA letters are gone — along with the renaming of the park.

  • Wow! Welcome to MGM @ WDW… I mean DCA.

  • I love new nostalgia 🙂

  • Okay, so Walt gets to LA in 1922, and the Pan Pacific opens in 1935. Hmmmm, I guess this is just the way “Walt Disney found it when he first arrived in California…” Oh well, I guess it’s close enough. And it is beautiful and evocative.

  • @JoLyn,

    They have been gone for a long time…

  • Look at Imagineering’s “Blue Sky Cellar” at Disney’s California Adventure.The changes being made are all displayed.

  • Since it looks like the entrance to Hollywood Studios at WDW. Except for the actual words, it even looks like the same font. Did they just lift the plans and make a new copy?

  • I don’t like it. I loved the old CALIFORNIA letters in tile from before. This reminds me a lot of Hollywood Studios in Florida.

  • And it may not be a Disney reference, but to those too young to have ever seen them as a piece of LA architecture, the 30’s art-deco spires of the Pan-Pacific Auditorium mean only one other thing…”Xanadu”!
    Who else is bringing their roller skates? 🙂

  • So Fun! I’ll be there to see them in person in 3.5 weeks! YAY

  • Yes,they are gone. We were there last weekend.

  • Yes the big california sigh is now gone

  • Where are the old letters going to end up!

    The new entrance reminds me of Tomorrowland!

  • Wow, I cant wait to see the all new California Adventure gate. Really swell looking

  • Also get your pictures now because the Bridge is next on the demo-list

  • It’s OK. Could have been a little more original instead of duplicating Hollywood Studios Florida?

  • I think they spelt “Disney” wrong!! 😛 Just kidding.

  • are the CALIFORNIA letters still there?

  • Those have been gone for quite some time now JoLyn.

  • I’m so glad the Chicago font wasn’t used. The current typeface is more true to the design. Great job 🙂

  • Sadly, I was too young to remember the Pan Pacific Auditorium, however, the new CDA entrance totally reminds me of “Xanadu”, a movie I adored as a child. This makes me want to put on rollerskates to cruise around the park (but I won’t do it). I like.

  • While the turnstiles look better than before it still reminds me too much of Hollywood Studios in Florida. I hope you still plan on using the ‘CALIFORNIA’ sign someplace in the park as they were a big hit and there was always people taking pictures in front of them.

  • I really hope the big California letters are not gone!!! That was our favorite picture spot!!

  • Outstanding! Kudos to Wurdeman and Beckett.
    Gary B. AIA

  • Thanks for the update.

    These turnstiles look great and are a lot grander that the old ones.

    I am really looking forward to Buena Vista Street!

    Yes, the giant California letters were removed to make way for these new turnstiles. Although as I remember reading on this blog, the individual letters were saved for “possible future use”.

  • It looks good.
    I can’t say that I am jumping for joy though. It looks so much like Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Feels like a copy. I’d much rather be greeted by the big “CALIFORNIA” and that beautiful mosaic of California sights.

  • Nice tribute to the Pan Pacific Auditorium 🙂

  • @JoLyn yea sadly the CALIFORNIA letters are gone. They’ve been gone for a while now, since last year around fall i think

  • @JoLyn: Yes the giant letters spelling CALIFORNIA are gone from the front of the park.


  • We were there on Wednesday and going back on Sunday for the 56th Anniversary Celebration. I can’t wait to see the new front of California Adventure. I will say I do miss the big CALIFORNIA sign out front and will miss the Golden Gate Bridge when it’s gone to 🙁

  • Looks like the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Are the great big CALIFORNIA letters gone???

  • I love it. It looks so good can’t wait to see it!

  • Love it, can’t wait to go through the new gate!

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