Disney California Adventure

Sunshine Plaza

February 2001 - October 2011

Sunshine Plaza was completely unique amongst Disneyland Resort theme park lands in that it offered copious shopping opportunities without the intrusion of annoying rides, attractions, or overt theming. You could "shop 'till you drop" with no pressure at all to stand in long, boring lines (assuming that you'd "drop" fairly quickly, considering the small number of offerings).

Guests entering Disney California Adventure were greeted first by the expansive restrooms, then by a miniature Golden Gate Bridge (only half a park away from the Bay Area-themed district) over which the Monorail often passed, as if to taunt guests for visiting a park that has no Monorail station.

After passing beneath the bridge, guests had a choice of two large shopping venues -- Greetings From California and Engine-Ears Toys -- several small eateries, and a storefront bikini waxing shop. Engine-Ears Toys offered several unique purchasing experiences, including a "shoplift Mr. Potatohead" area in which kids could, for one small fee, fill their pockets to capacity with Mr. Potatohead parts (noses, mouths, scars, birthmarks, Mickey Mouse hats, shoes, ets.) while a clerk "looks the other way" for 60 seconds. A deluxe package, costing $10 more, includes an additional 30 seconds of shoplifting, and the opportunity to be chased across the park by security.

Once out of range of the shops, guests encountered the actual plaza part of Sunshine Plaza. Here they could purchase sodas and popcorn and, if they're still bursting with money, churros. While eating their snacks, guests could watch a large metal sun glitter blindingly over a fountain in which waves crash into a pool of Santa Monica Beach-themed water (not for human consumption, no wading, no fishing, may contain substances known by the state of California to cause cancer).

Guests, for the most part, did not notice when Sunshine Plaza was demolished in 2011 to make room for Buena Vista Street.

Trivia: The waves in the Sunshine Plaza fountain were actually imported from Hawaii.

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