Mickey and Friends Parking Structure

(Pixar Pals Parking Structure)

There is a long-standing debate in architectural circles whether form or function is more important in the design of a building.  The Mickey and Friends Parking Structure, and its more recent twin, the Pixar Pals Parking Structure, emphasize the latter, more than the former.  

The beauty of this parking garage of epic proportions is in its function. At its peak performance, the Mickey and Friends structure can reportedly park 60 cars a minute.  An unfathomable 10,000+ vehicles can safely be parked inside. The conjoined Pixar Pals structure increases this capacity even further. Even further, the structure includes facilities for security screenings, shuttle and tram unloading/loading, restrooms, and all of the behind-the-scenes facilities that are required to keep such a machine humming along smoothly. It is a utilitarian structure, more than it is an artful one. 

Yet, with its metal louvres, frosted glass, stepped back design, landscape planters, and bright colored lights and tiles identifying each level, the building has a visual identity of its own.  It could be easy to count out the structure as just another parking garage, but it serves a much more important function.  Mickey and Friends is quite often the first and last thing that visitors to the Disneyland Resort encounter.  Therefore, the structure intends to continue the well-renowned Disney hospitality.  Without tipping its hand, the parking garage is the appetizer to the Technicolor world that awaits with the park gates, proper.  Like any good soldier, it knows its place in the pecking order, and plays its role well.

It is appropriate that Southern California would be home to the most impressive facility dedicated to cars.  Car culture is still heavily associated with Southern California, after all.  To only see the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure only for parking is missing the point.  There is so much more to appreciate than just steel and concrete in the literal sense. (2022)


At first glance just a parking garage of epic proportions, the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure is actually a marvel in its own right. Louvred openings, a stepped-back design on the eastern side, and a flourish of bright color on each floor help distinguish the structure from its counterparts. Most remarkable, however, is the ease with which the structure handles masses of cars. Holding well over 10,000 parking spaces, and with the ability to park up to 60 cars a minute, it is the function that wins over the form. A second structure, connected to the original by a series of bridges added additional capacity of approximately 6,000 parking spaces. (2019)

Architect: Harry Wolf & Walt Disney Imagineering

Built: 2000, 2019

Style: Post-Modern

Type: Commercial

Address: 1313 Harbor Blvd

City: Anaheim


Irsay, S. (2008, February 26). Orange County Hasn't Been Known for its Architecture. Orange County Register. www.ocregister.com/2008/02/26/orange-county-hasnt-been-known-for-its-architecture-but-a-new-book-by-the-american-institute-of-architects-orange-county-just-might-change-that/