Disneyland East Esplanade, Anaheim, CA, USA

Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Client: Disneyland
Size: 6 acres
Status: Completed 1998

The Theme Park Entry Esplanade project is composed of three distinct areas: the Central Plaza Area, the East Tram Area or “Hyper-Highway”, and the West Tram Area. All three spaces are distinct in terms of character and function; however, they are conceived of as a series of spaces which, although different in expression, form a choreographed sequence of events. The three distinct spaces are organized in a linear fashion, inspired by gardens of the classical Baroque Period, where episodic events or spaces are joined through a linear progression of the pedestrian through the spaces. This journey, or pathway, links and brings coherence to the site. The use of geometry and its rhythm through the plantings and elements create a continuity which ties all parts of the design together.

The “Hyper-Highway” concept was conceived as a tool to create clear boundaries between vehicular and pedestrian areas. Exaggeration and repetition of highway motifs, such as pedestrian crosswalks, traffic cones, and highway lights are used not only to help create clear and defined spaces, but also to create fantastical places. As a visitor turns into the environment of the “Hyper–Highway”, he or she will experience the world as a bright and more vivid place, as the visual language of the highway becomes bigger, bolder, and more colorful.

Shuttle buses from area hotels drop off and pick up passengers along linear traffic islands. These glorified traffic islands are marked by an insistent and oversized pattern of “cross–walk” to indicate clear, strong pedestrian access to the entry. Each traffic island is flanked by formal rows of highway lighting standards. The light standards have a metallic color finish. They glow a different color in each island. The brightly colored light provides not only a dazzling field of glowing colors at night, but also aids in way–finding and orientation.

The bollards, shaped as oversized traffic cones, painted green, allude to clipped topiaries in the European Garden Tradition. A single line of bollards winds through the entire East Esplanade on a five foot wide strip of bright yellow “detectable warning” tile. The tile provides the ultimate visual and tactile separation between pedestrians and vehicles.