OK, show of hands: How many of you out there have a piece of the old parking lot? Above is my own sample, obtained personally in early summer 1997. At that time, most of the original parking lot remained open, but they had closed off Alice and Bambi (and perhaps a couple others?) to begin construction of the East Esplanade. I was with a sister and a friend; when we arrived I had us go over and take a look. There wasn't much to see through the green screen on the fence, but I did note several pieces of the parking lot. Of course, it would be silly to walk around Disneyland with a rock all day! But on our way out, I did pick up the biggest piece I could find.
But we had a problem: we hadn't the faintest idea where we parked. Well, we had a vague idea... maybe somewhere near the center, on the western side. We wandered around for at least fifteen minutes. I don't know that we had any particular strategy--just moseying 'round and 'round. When it felt like our search was futile, we finally spotted it in the next row over! Our journey its direction coincided with the arrival of Security. If you can believe this, they wanted to know what we teenagers were doing wandering around the parking lot with a giant rock! Well! I'm not sure the Security Officer entirely "bought" that I just wanted a piece of the parking lot. I think our saving grace was actually locating our car. He might have been satisfied with us driving off, whereas if we continued wandering, I might have had to forsake my souvenir.
But the post wouldn't be complete without a few shots of the destruction that made my traumatic experience possible. I'm unsure of the exact date of this photo, but it was taken around the time of my story:
I got my license on January 20, 1998. Two days later, they closed the parking lot!