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A Pictorial Of An Abandoned Anaheim Resort District - How Does It Recover?

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Because I spent the morning with contractors in my house ripping apart my guest bathroom, I went for a walk late this afternoon for some peace and quiet. Something told me to go check out Disneyland, and I'm glad I did. I knew the place was shut down, and I knew the neighboring businesses were mostly closed. But nothing prepared me for the apocalyptic ghost town that I found in the streets directly surrounding Disneyland. :eek:

I snapped some amateur photos with my iPhone and a shaky hand, so don't expect glamour shots, but I think pictures tell the story here perfectly.

As you'll see in the photos in the several posts below, the normally busy streets of Harbor Blvd., Disney Way, Katella Avenue, and various side streets were nearly abandoned of all cars and pedestrians. And the humans I encountered on my walk were easily divided up into only three categories:

1. Security guards, both Disneyland Security CM's and generic security guards at closed motels and restaurants.
2. Homeless People. Several bus stops had been entirely taken over by up to a dozen homeless folks, who seemed to be having a rather grand time talking and laughing and sharing bottles of mystery beverages.
3. TP2000. In my 45 minute walk, the only other humans I saw were bored security guards and the homeless folks. Seriously.

I started at an empty GardenWalk at about 4pm and noticed a few restaurants like PF Changs and Cheesecake Factory were trying bravely to offer "take out" to absolutely no one. All the hotels are closed, all the business is shuttered, so who is left in this neighborhood to order take out?

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GardenWalk was blocked off just past the big restaurants facing Katella. All stores and restaurants further inside the mall are closed and not offering take out.
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Across the street the old employee parking now turned into visitor parking was empty and blocked off.

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After 12 years of delays from developers and a healthy dose of bungling by Anaheim City Hall, GardenWalk finally got its first hotel, a swanky JW Marriott. It was supposed to open this month, but it didn't make it. That lone silver car in the porte cochere belonged to a bored security guard sitting in the car guarding the empty hotel, which was a concept that would repeat itself at other hotels and restaurants around the area.

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Walking north from the JW Marriott alongside GardenWalk, I forget the name of this side street, but as you can see it was empty. Very, very quiet! The only sound you could hear were birds chirping.

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At the intersection of Disney Way, an OC Bus (that you'll notice had no passengers) was waiting at the light and the smaller corporate hotels built there a few years ago were all closed and empty.

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More photos to come from this afternoon's bizarre walk through the Anaheim Resort District, because the closer you get to Disneyland the worse it gets! :oops:
 
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TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Walking west towards DCA on Disney Way, I passed the northern entrance of GardenWalk... um, I mean STC GardenWalk. It's barricaded off and everything is closed. Their tacky Christmas decorations are still up, because apparently this STC fellow who owns it has very bad taste.

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Remember, Bob Chapek had a golden opportunity to buy GardenWalk and turn it into a de facto "Cast Campus" and upscale Downtown Disney East back in 2017 when the Dubai investment firm backed out of their winning bid. But Mr. Chapek didn't want to invest in lowly Cast Members and that silly Disneyland thing down in Anaheim, so he passed on his second winning bid and let it go to the third winning bid. And this person or persons that call themselves STC have absolutely no idea what they are doing with the place.

Want proof?

I give you the neon llama's that are just some of the creepy and fake animals that have been placed in the dying landscaping along Disney Way. Apparently this was supposed to draw people in before the mall was shut down this month?

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Across the street from STC GardenWalk and their neon menagerie, there's another Disney Cast Member parking lot. It appeared to have some cars in it, but the gates were all wide open. I quickly learned it's where the Disneyland Security CM's are parking as they were the only pedestrians I saw on the streets walking to and from their cars in their uniforms. You can just make out the snow capped San Bernardino Mountains in the distance, and a new hotel under construction on the left.

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Looking back on Disney Way towards the Santa Ana Freeway and GardenWalk... there's no one.
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At Disney Way and Harbor Blvd. is the once very busy Pizza Press. It's open for take out, but didn't seem to have any customers. The attached and recently remodeled Anaheim Hotel was shut down and closed.
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At the intersection of Disney Way and Harbor, looking south down Harbor there's not a soul in sight.

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Walking north on Harbor Blvd. the hotels and motels all have their driveways blocked off and almost all seemed to have one or two cars parked in the driveway. Most of those cars had a bored security guard sitting in them as the sole on site employee.
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The small mom n' pop shops and restaurants along Harbor are all closed, and many have their windows papered over I guess to discourage burglars or the homeless from getting too interested in the remaining contents. The patio furniture at all the restaurants on Harbor has been removed.

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The various surface parking lots for all these businesses and motels are empty and closed off.

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Walking further north on Harbor Blvd. and this was just sad. The Denny's across from Disneyland is trying to look festive and offer take out. But there was absolutely no one in there except for a security guard sitting just inside the door. God bless 'em for trying though! My heart goes out to places like this trying to survive and keep some folks employed. 😣

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More to come! And it gets even bleaker and weirder.
 
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Figments Friend

Well-Known Member
OH my....
Those plastic neon llamas .....

😲

These photos are surreal, TP.
It is stunning to see this area so devoid of movement and other people bustling about.
Just wow.

I think it is a good thing that this is being documented.
Disneyland fans in the years to come will probably never believe that this area could be so quiet, yet we shall have your stunning photographs as undisputed proof!

-
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Here's @Curious Constance and her family's favorite place, literally right across from Disneyland on Harbor, the Park Vue Inn. It's been here and owned by the same multi-generational family since the 1960's. But it is now closed.

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The last time I saw this IHOP was when I was dropped off here by my Lyft driver to have Silver Dollar Pancakes before I rode Star Wars: Rise Before Dawn. That very cold early February weekday morning at sunrise it was very busy and there were tourists and cars everywhere. But on this warm spring afternoon it was empty.

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Next door, and the only good news I found on my walk, Captain Kidd's is closed up tight.

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The big corporate chains were also all closed and in mothballs. McDonald's, Panera Bread, etc. These places were not even offering take out, as really there is no point.

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The Fairfield Inn is just as closed and abandoned as Panera Bread.
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The new chain hotels that have been built on Harbor in recent years are all closed as well. Nothing but a few security guards sitting in their cars listening to the radio.

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And it was about at this point in my walk that the enormity of the situation landed on me with a thud. And that's when I walked out into the middle of Harbor Blvd. Don't worry, I'm not suicidal, I just realized there was absolutely no cars coming or going in any direction and I figured it would make a good photo.

Standing in the middle of Harbor Boulevard at approximately 4:30pm!

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Still more to come!
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As I mentioned, the only other humans I saw on my walk were of two types; security guards and homeless folks. The security guards at the non-Disney places were all working solo, but on the Disneyland side of the street they were working in groups of two or three, standing close to each other. Social Distancing is not a thing for Disneyland Security CM's apparently. I blurred this one a bit on purpose.

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The homeless folks in the bus stops are also not into Social Distancing. There were groups of homeless folks at a few of the major bus stops, and they had completely taken over with tarps and bikes. Music was playing and they really seemed to be enjoying themselves as bottled beverages were passed around. I purposely chose this photo as it's a bit blurry, but I just thought it was funny how the homeless folks were so comfy and having so much fun. That said, I didn't join them. Or get near them.

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The bus stop at the former Tiffy's was also being used as a homeless party zone. (Again, blurred a bit to protect the guilty)

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Otherwise, the Disneyland side of Harbor Bvld. was just as empty and abandoned as the rest of the Resort District was. As I mentioned, it was sooooo quiet! I only heard birds chirping in the trees, and a distant whoosh from the freeway. Silence!

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Further south near the intersection of Harbor and Katella, the cheesy strip malls there are all closed up with paper over their windows.

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And the very busy intersection of Katella and Harbor was just as empty as the rest of the area. Very weird to see this intersection so empty in late afternoon, when it's usually the Anaheim version of Times Square!

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The big corporate hotels near the Convention Center are also all closed up and empty.

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But I found one (1) motel still open, and with a blazing neon OPEN sign even on! Can you guess which motel is still in business?...
 
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TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As I was walking back towards TSC GardenWalk to say goodbye to the llamas, I noticed a blinking OPEN sign across Katella. The only place open was... wait for it... The Little Boy Blue Motel. (Paging @Dr. Hans Reinhardt) And with three cars in the lot, it would seem that they have at least one guest and a couple of employees working there. The Anaheim Resort District is alive! Barely.

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The rest of Katella, from the newer chain hotels to the few remaining mom n' pop motels, were all closed.

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And after that creepy and surreal walk into Apocalyptic Land, I went home. What's interesting is that once you get beyond the Resort District, the traffic picks up again. Traffic and business is noticeably light in Orange County, but nothing like the dead zone that is the Anaheim Resort District.

Once I was home, I went to the little shopping center in my town to pick up some bread at the supermarket. It was comforting to see a place that still had customers and some life, even with all the disinfected shopping carts and little blue signs on the ground telling you where to stand six feet from each other.

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But I thought it was important to show that Orange County in general is not shut down, but the Anaheim Resort District is most definitely shut down. Not just shut down, but locked down and put into a deep freeze. It's absolutely incredible to see first hand. 😵

Which was the point of this thread really. How the heck do all the Non Disney businesses recover from this? How do they reopen? Who survives and who doesn't? Do the chain restaurants close permanently, or do the mom n' pop places go under and never reopen this summer? Do the corporate hotels run by Marriott and Hilton reopen in phases, or just stay shuttered until demand picks up? And what about Captain Kidd's?
 
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Darkbeer1

Well-Known Member
Which was the point of this thread really. How the heck do all the Non Disney businesses recover from this? How do they reopen? Who survives and who doesn't? Do the chain restaurants close permanently, or do the mom n' pop places go under and never reopen this summer? Do the corporate hotels run by Marriott and Hilton reopen in phases, or just stay shuttered until demand picks up? And what about Captain Kidd's?

There are plans, depending on how long it takes to reopen.

SBA loans for the small guys, other Stimulus money for the larger guys. But there won't be as many jobs, at least at first when it is safe to get back to being allowed to operate.

Visit Anaheim is working hard on keeping conventions booked, especially with the LA Convention Center closed for use by the Federal Government.

Well a few mom & pops close, it really depends on how long this situation lasts.

There is hopeful news, but only time will tell.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Apocalypse be darned, I for one am hoping to make it back out to Anaheim this coming Autumn.
So here is one 'tourist' that is poised and fully willing to come into town and support the local merchants in the Resort area!

Especially Mimi's!

Here's the best shot I got of Mimi's Cafe. It's still there, just in hibernation...

And when you get there I'm sure they'll still have that wonderful banana bread in the bread basket!

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TP2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
TP, aren't you elderly? You sure go out a lot for someone under a stay-at-home order during a pandemic projected to off 100,000 or more people, especially for someone more at risk for death. Maybe you should leave that pack of Parliaments to me in your will.

I'm not elderly, I'm just old. But thank you for trying to use the more gracious term, and thank you for your concern. According to my doctor, I need to stop using raw egg whites in Whiskey Sours more than I need to limit my social exposure. Salmonella kills 450 Americans per year, even if the Whiskey Sour is top shelf.

And don't worry, I didn't just keep six feet from anyone today, I kept at least 60 feet away because there was absolutely no one in Anaheim. Often I was at least 600 feet away from the nearest person. I only touched my iPhone, the UV light was strong at 8 out of 10 today (UV kills viruses quickly). I'm just following the instructions on that little post card that President Trump sent us last week, and today's outing was well within his instructions.

Do I need to repost this photo I took standing in the middle of an empty Harbor Boulevard at 4:30 in the afternoon to remind you how desolate and abandoned this place was? :D

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Also, during my next Senior Shopping Hour I will buy a whole carton of Parliaments and have my attorney amend the will. Get ready for me to kick the bucket!
 
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