From the Esplanade, where huge block letters spelling california originally stood, you now pass through a new Streamline Modern entrance facade, designed after Los Angeles's Pan Pacific Auditorium. If it looks familiar, that's because it can also be recognized as the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios park in Florida.

Once past the turnstiles, you'll find yourself on Buena Vista Street, a re-creation of 1920s Hollywood as Walt saw it when he first arrived. To your left and right you'll find Guest Services, as well as a variety of shops and eateries with back stories referring to Disney's early biography. To your right you'll find lockers, restrooms, an ATM, and phones. Among the shops is Elias and Company Department Store (named after Walt's father), offering the park's largest selection of Disney-trademark merchandise. Other retail outlets include Julius Katz & Sons Appliances, Los Feliz Five and Dime, and Kingswell Camera Shop. Stroller and wheelchair rentals are immediately to your left as you enter the park in Oswald's Filling Station. Winding past the new shops and facades, the Red Car Trolley transports guests from the park entrance to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and back again along freshly laid tracks.

The original hub area, called Sunshine Plaza, was dominated by a an arresting metal sculpture of the sun. In its place now stands the Storytellers statue, depicting a young Walt Disney with an early incarnation of Mickey Mouse, and a replica of the Carthay Circle Theater, which premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937; in this incarnation, it encloses a restaurant and bar. In addition to serving as a point of departure for the various themed areas, Carthay Circle is one of the best places in the park to encounter the Disney characters and is also a great photo op.

On Buena Vista Street you may bump into interactive improvisation actors portraying the "Citizens of Buena Vista," a troupe similar to the popular 'Streetmosphere' characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.


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