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.