The Disneyland Resort Esplanade

Upon entering the Disneyland Resort Esplanade, familiar music plays as children with Mickey balloons come bouncing by. Join this image with a few ticket booths and two of America’s best theme parks on either side of you, and suddenly, you feel like you’ve arrived at the Disneyland Resort.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing how we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney.

The Disneyland Resort Esplanade

Disneyland Esplanade

photo credit: Julie of Saving Up for Disney

Some people may consider stepping on a plane, or entering their hotel lobby as the beginning of their fun, but the Esplanade of the Disneyland Resort feels like the beginning of a Disney adventure to me.

Growing up near Disneyland, I would just hop in my mom’s Jeep, drive down the 5, park in the parking lot (what is Disney California Adventure today,) skip to the tram and ride it straight up to the ticket booths! The Esplanade didn’t exist until just before Disney California Adventure opened in 2001. Until then, the ticket booths were lined up parallel to the Disneyland Park turnstyles. Leaping off of the tram and making a run for the turnstyles always made me feel like my Disneyland day was about to start. With the addition of a second Anaheim park, things are quite different from the days of my youth. Entering the Esplanade has since taken over as the thing that makes me feel like I’ve arrived at the Disneyland Resort!

Disneyland Security Checkpoint

photo credit: Julie of Saving Up for Disney

Maybe you have just entered the parks from Harbor Boulevard. Or maybe you strolled through Downtown Disney. However you got there, you are now making your way through the security check point. Directly in front of you is a row of ticket booths, perpendicular to the entrances of either park. You pick the shortest line, or the longest if you’re a glutton for punishment, grab your park tickets and walk towards the center of the Esplanade. Here is where your adventure begins.

You enter the Esplanade and you’re immediately faced with a decision. Do you head North to Disneyland Park: the 1955 original, Walt’s park? Or do you turn South and explore Disney California Adventure: home to Cars Land and Soarin’. North or South? DL or DCA? Dumbo or Lightening McQueen? Maybe this decision is just too much to take and you need a minute to collect your thoughts. While you’re thinking, just look down. You’ll see the names of the Disney fans who came before you…and purchased a stone with their name on it. The “Walk of Magical Memories” is a series of personalized stones that cover the ground of the Esplanade. Even though I know right where the stones with my friends’ names are, I always spend some time perusing them to see if I can find someone new!

Disneyland Esplanade stones

Photo credit: Julie from Saving Up for Disney

Maybe this is your first trip to the Disneyland Resort and you need more information before you make your decision. To start, just take a look at the gorgeous entries to both parks. From the Esplanade, you can see the Main Street Train Station perched above the floral Mickey that welcomes you home to Disneyland park. On the other side, you see the towering, blue turnstyles of Disney California Adventure, inspired by the iconic Pan Pacific Auditorium. If you need to find out more about what is inside each of these parks, you can find the maps for each park along with a list of show and parade times at the turnstyles for both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland Esplanade


No matter which Disneyland Resort park you choose, you are certain to have a magical time. While my trips to the Disneyland Resort always start in the Esplanade, you might feel differently. When do you feel like “you’ve arrived” at Disney? Comment below!

Disneyland Resort Esplanade

photo credit: Julie from Saving Up for Disney


Special thanks to Julie from Saving Up for Disney for helping with the photos!

For more ways we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | How We Know We’ve “Arrived” at Disney Loop:

About The Author

My name is Michaelyn Pouncey and I am a mom to three beautiful girls. I grew up in Southern California and was lucky enough to have a Disneyland annual pass up until recently. Disneyland was a huge part of my childhood and I love that it is a part of my children's as well. I started this blog first and foremost out of my love for everything Disney. I also wanted to help other people who may want more information on the parks or who just want to look at some pretty pictures of all things Disney has to offer!

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  • She had fun and got to do everything that she wanted to do. She said she won’t be in a hurry to go back though. She thought the Cast Members were much less nice and happy than they are in FL. She said many of them don’t talk and just point.

    When I get out there, you can definitely be my personal tour guide! That would be fabulous.

  • Yes, Heidi! One of these days you will make it out here and I’m going to play tour guide! Or we could just hire a plaid and let them be tour guide! 😉 I hope your daughter had the most magical time, but I’ve gotta admit, I’m jealous too! Thanks for commenting, Heidi!

  • I agree! It sounds like a great reason to plan another trip! Thanks for stopping by, Lori!

  • I hope you do! The esplanade is one of those places that people tend to rush through, but just take a minute when you’re there to be excited about all the magic that you’re about to encounter! Thanks for commenting, Patricia!

  • That is also the fun thing about the Esplanade! You can run right through it, skipping off from one adventure to the next! Thanks for reading, Lee!

  • I was so young last time I went to Disneyland, I don’t even remember the esplanade. 🙂 Guess it’s time to plan another trip.

  • Patricia Mickus

    Hoping to get back out there in 2017.

  • Lee Beatens

    It is a unique set up to be sure. Only found at DL! I turned North but had park hopper tickets so I walked through the escalade many times!

  • One of these days, I’ll make it out to Disneyland! My daughter is heading out there one week from TODAY! I’m jealous.