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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dinousaurs and tourists roam Disney’s version of Echo Park

Echo Park Lake (left) vs. Echo Lake/Photos courtesy Callum Lukey

For those who can’t wait two years for a cleaned up Echo Park Lake to reopen, there is an alternative but it means traveling to Orlando, Florida. In the middle of  Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park sits a lake with an island filled with swaying palm trees. Sound familiar? Welcome to Echo Lake, Echo Park Lake’s younger, smaller, cleaner East Coast cousin.  Disney Imagineering, which designs the company’s theme parks, credits Echo Park Lake as the inspiration for its idealized version at Hollywood Studios – “A Hollywood that never was—and always will be” – that opened in 1989.

Of course, there are some distinct differences between Echo Park Lake and Echo Lake:

  • Echo Park Lake was home to Maria the Goose; Echo Lake is home to Gertie the dinosaur, which doubles as an ice cream parlor.
  • Echo Park Lake has a boathouse where food and snacks were once served; Echo Lake has Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, a restaurant housed in a replica of a steam shipped named the S.S. Down the Hatch.
  • Echo Park Lake is next to Angelus Temple, the silver-domed church where the faithful sought inspiration from legendary evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson; Echo Lake sits next to the 1,000-seat American Idol Experience, where park visitors compete for audience votes in the singing contest.
  • Admission to Echo Park Lake  (when it was open) was free; One-day adult admission to Hollywood Studios costs $85.

There are other Echo Park references in the theme park, including the  Echo Lake Apartments and the words “Echo Pk,” which appear on replicas of Red Car trains that serve as retail kiosks.  But Echo Lake is by far the chief Echo Park-related attraction.  The Imagineerng Field Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios sums up the connection:

The park – and our Disney reincarnation – represent an idyllic setting in the midst of a bustling boom town. Both parks feature an island and banks populated with palm trees, giving them a quintessential Southern California look.

Related Post:

  • Echo Lake: From Hollywood to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. WDW Fan Zone
  • A Mickey Mouse version of the Glendale-Hyperion bridge now under construction. The Eastsider


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  1. They should hire 15 year olds who pretend to break into your car for the authentic Echo Park Lake experience.

  2. I hear Flipper is making a killing buying up houses on the cheap and turning them around for profit.

  3. Ben — very funny.

    re: the Disney aesthetic: gross. (just look at it.)

  4. Wow, I would take that as a compliment from Disney, at least it was inspired something from this neighborhood.

  5. They need to position a Latino guy in a Dodgers shirt and a White guy in a fedora to argue about who is the real Echo Park.

  6. I must have been asleep for years after a spell was cast over me. Can anyone help me?

    I thought that less than 15 years ago Echo Park Lake was drained and cleaned and major renovations were made to the boathouse facility. Was that just a dream i was having?

    Can anyone help me to understand what they need to do now to the lake that will take 2 years and cost 16 0r 28 million dollars?

    Are they constructing an underground city?
    Because then I could understand the amount of time and money.

    Did I wake up or am I still dreaming??

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