When you enter into Disney California Adventure, everything has changed and yet feels so familiar. As you pass under the Hyperion Bridge, you enter California as Walt saw it when he first arrived from Missouri. The buildings have a very authentic 1930s and '40s feel, giving you a sense of what it was like to be surrounded by this new land as you embark on a whole new life experience. As you pass Atwater Ink and Paint (on the west side of Buena Vista Street), you hear voices coming from the balcony. One voice sounds very much like a young Walt Disney talking to someone about an "idea" he wants to try. There is a fun feeling of energy and optimism in this new entrance to DCA.
When I first walked onto Buena Vista Street, I just thought, "This makes sense. The story of Walt's California adventure began here..."
Buena Vista Street has some new characters from days gone by. This delivery girl makes the rounds delivering smiles to all the guests. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Oswald's has an old architectural feel outside; on the inside are some of the convenience items for modern-day park visitors. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Guests can pick up the Red Car Trolley at a stop near the entrance of Buena Vista Plaza. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The Red Car Trolley travels up and down Buena Vista Street. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The Red Car Trolley conductors set up for a busy day on Buena Vista Street. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The Red Car Trolley conductors run day and evening, shuttling guests between Buena Vista Plaza and the Tower of Terror. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
You can hear a young art student named Walter speaking from a classroom over the Atwater Ink and Paint shop. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Elias & Company (named for Walt's father) has an inviting storefront that pulls you in to discover its wonderful merchandise. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
One way to combine the vintage cafe feel with new dining delights is at the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe. You can also find Starbucks coffee here. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Cast members dress in 1920s period costumes as they serve coffee and other goodies (I wonder how long until you need a Fastpass for this attraction?). Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Trolley Treats offers items made fresh inside the new Disney California Adventure candy kitchen. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
There is a great deal of new "streetmosphere" on Buena Vista Street. As I was taking photographs, I met my counterpart from the '30s, Fifi. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Calvin the Cop walks the beat on Buena Vista Street. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
One of the new street musical entertainment groups, "Five and Dime," performs during the day on Buena Vista Street. This band of five musicians met "Dime" and decided to try to make it in Hollywood. They perform on Buena Vista Street to passing guests as they hope to get that big break. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Mickey Mouse appears on Buena Vista Street with a bounce in his step, ready to embark on his new adventure with Walt. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Even though Five and Dime is a six-piece band, every once in a while they pick up a seventh member to entertain the audience. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Two members of Five and Dime perform for the crowd. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The Red Car News Boys sell their newspapers as they sing. This very entertaining ensemble is full of energy. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
As they hope to make a better life and find those new opportunities, the Red Car News Boys subtly pay tribute to Walt Disney and his tenacity with their show and music. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The centerpiece of Buena Vista Street is the Carthay Circle Theatre. This building contains the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, as well as the exclusive club/restaurant "1901" (named for the year Walt was born). Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The theatre and fountain are bound to be a busy photographic stop as you wander further into the park. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
At 9:30 p.m., you can see the fireworks from Disneyland reflect in the fountain on Buena Vista Street. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
"Storytellers"—this statue was placed at street level and depicts Walt Disney as a humble, optimistic young man dreaming of achievements yet to come. Walt in dressed in a fedora and traveling attire, depicting how he and Mickey had just arrived off the train from Missouri with all of their belonging in one small trunk. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
The grand reopening dedication ceremony shows just how beautiful the buildings and landscaping were completed. Cast members in their themed attire accent each and every shop, restaurant, and attraction. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
Disney CEO, Bob Iger promises to keep legacy of Walt Disney alive with special attention to how "Walt came to be" on Buena Vista Street. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
(Send an email to Frank Anzalone)
Frank is a mild-mannered marketing/advertising photographer by day, but his true passion is his professional band, Sage. His web site, mckyfoto.com, sports an impressive collection of Disney photos from his period as an official photographer for Disney Magazine. Frank has also published a book, "Images and Art of Santana Row", a coffee table style picture book of the grand new lifestyle shopping and entertainment destination in San Jose, CA.
Frank shot all of the photos for this article with Nikon camera gear. (Nikon D2x and D80 digital cameras with 18-55 zoom, 24-200 zoom and 80-400 zoom lenses, and a Nikon SB 800 flash for fill light).
Frank lives in Northern California with his wife, Karen. Premier annual
passholders to both Disneyland Resort and WDW Resort, the Anzalones visit
Disneyland and WDW as time permits in their busy schedule.