Photo Update: Flying above California’s empty theme parks
This is truly a strange time that we have never seen before; theme parks, convention centers, beaches, and other public places have fully shut down in an attempt to stop the ongoing health crisis. Micah Muzio on Youtube took to the skies to showcase what some of these theme parks look like now.
Muzio’s channel focuses on all kinds of vehicles, both in the air and on the ground. In the past week, he has taken flight all over southern California with looks at the Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, downtown Los Angeles, and more.
He was given an extremely rare opportunity to take a quick pass over Disneyland. His trip included incredible shots of the world-famous park that now sits empty.
First, we see into Tomorrowland, where a colorful splash of parked cars at Autopia waiting for guests to return. Above that are the empty walkways leading towards Main Street U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle, and Fantasyland. The large, domed building on the left is Star Wars: Launch Bay.
Further along, we can see the original Fantasyland. It is important to note the full covering over the King Arthur Carrousel. While the attraction was already under refurbishment, this cover will help keep the attraction in the best possible condition. The carrousel is over 95 years old.
In the back of Fantasyland, we can see that the flowers are still in immaculate condition. While Disneyland has furloughed a significant portion of its cast members, a few are still working to keep the park in good condition.
Toward the back of Disneyland, we can see Big Thunder Mountain, The Rivers of America, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This shot helps showcase how masterfully the Imagineers snuck Star Wars into Disneyland’s design. A huge land, almost entirely hidden from the rest of the park.
Next, we fly over The Haunted Mansion and Critter Country. Like all of the previous photos, we can notice the lack of people. But this shot also showcases the immense size of the Haunted Mansion show building.
The huge rectangular structure on the left is what it takes to put the entire attraction in “one building.” The train track in between the Haunted Mansion and its show building is one of the main reasons for the stretching room pre-show of the attraction. That stretching room is actually a discreet elevator that takes you below the tracks. Most guests are unaware of this hidden trick used to get them to the place where the ride begins.
Behind that is the organized backstage area of Disneyland. Unlike the luxury of size that Walt Disney World enjoys, Disneyland is in a constant struggle for room. The highway is incredibly close, but Disney finds a way to make room for vehicles and storage.
Not too far down the street, we have Knott’s Berry Farm. This classic California park features high-end coasters, the origin of the boysenberry, western recreations, and more. This first shot is much like the look over Disneyland, with the tightly packed park using all of its available space. It also highlights the vibrant colors of the new HangTime roller coaster.
From this shot, we can see a majority of the front of Knott’s Berry Farm. The main entrance is on the bottom right, with Camp Snoopy above that. The bottom center and left are part of the Old West Ghost Town.
Toward the front of the park, we have GhostRider, a 4,500-foot-long wooden roller coaster. Land size is such an issue that you can see a road for non-park guests actually goes through part of the ride.
Across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm is their Soak City Waterpark. While this waterpark normally operates from mid-May to September, it will be interesting to see if it opens late, or at all, this year.
Continuing on, we get to the multitude of empty parking garages at Universal Studios Hollywood.
This shot showcases a large portion of Universal Studios Hollywood. On the left, we have the main entrance, and bottom-center is the WaterWorld show. On the right, we have Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade.
Fans of the Studio Tour will notice a lack of wacky and colorful buildings near the Bates Motel. During recent renovations at Universal Studios Hollywood, the outdoor set piece from 2000’s live-action “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was demolished. This area has been converted into a simple pavement spot. It will be interesting to see what takes its place.
On the Lower Lot portion of the park, you can see the Jurassic World section filled with lush foliage. On the top right is the rumored construction site for the Super Nintendo World section of the park. In Japan, the first Super Nintendo World was expected to open this Summer for the 2020 Olympics.
This is a shot you may have never seen of the Upper Lot section of Universal Studios Hollywood with Los Angeles in the background. The parks being empty makes this a truly once-in-a-lifetime view.
Heading away from Universal, we fly over the highway. While there are certainly still cars on this road, this is a massive difference from the average traffic in Southern California.
Not too far away is Six Flags Magic Mountain. Currently, the park is expected to open mid-May or as soon as possible if that date cannot be met.
Other than the lack of people, this looks like a normal shot of the Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The huge cluster of cars, according to Micah, is most likely an excess of rental cars or unsold vehicles waiting to be moved.
Want to watch the complete flyovers of the theme parks with commentary by Muzio? Check out the videos below. You can also check out our video of empty theme parks in Orlando by clicking here.