"Not So" Hidden Treasures
This gallery is dedicated to the survey marks located in the two Disney California Theme Parks Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, as well as those found outside the main theme parks in the adjoining area known as "Downtown Disney." I have visited both parks many times over the years and am not surprised that I never noticed any of these unique survey markers. When my children were little, I was more concerned with keeping tabs on them and making sure we rode all the rides and saw all the attractions; scanning the ground for the occasional brass disc never entered my mind.
To be fair, all of those visits were before I was even aware of what survey markers were, what they looked like, and what their purpose was. Rewind to the beginning of 2020 when I started hiking again, I began noticing these cool brass discs at the summits of the peaks I climbed, I photographed them to document that I had reached the summit (providing social proof for various hiking challenges.) I became curious about the markers and how they came to be at the top of many remote peaks; that research led to what is now a full-fledged hobby "recovering" survey marks of all types and varieties.
Recovery simply means searching for and documenting the location and condition of the marker. There are hundreds of thousands of survey marks registered with the National Geodetic Survey, and perhaps ten times that (or more) that are part of local surveys and not included in any single master database. Without going into the full history and detail of the survey marks, they are used in mapping, determining legal property lines, and in the construction of major infrastructure projects. Every marker has a precise location that will include latitude, longitude, and elevation above sea level; some are permanent and serve as reference points for the GPS network, while others are temporary and only used to complete a particular construction project.
There are many varieties of survey markers, but stamped or engraved brass discs are perhaps the most popular and widely recognized. Disneyland has a variety of custom brass discs stamped with the brand's name and/or logo in addition to countless more commonplace types of markers. This gallery primarily spotlights the custom discs but will include some others based upon their location or original purpose. Note: Two survey markers were located in Monument Wells and are below the street surface; when I removed the covers, they were filled with water, so I was unable to see the actual disc.
All images below have been prepared and recorded in my database of survey marks. Since the Disneyland markers don't have a consistent, unique identifying number, I use a naming convention that identifies the Park (DL - Disneyland Main Theme Park, DCA - Disney California Adventure, and DD - Downtown Disney) followed by a nearby landmark or attraction. The "PID" or Permanent Identification is only used for survey marks registered with the NGS, it does not appear that any of the markers in the California theme parks are registered with the NGS.
I typically document the survey mark with a close-up photograph of the marker and an "eye-level" view showing the marker's placement with a broader view.
The Culver Group Control Points
There are a variety of small survey marks set throughout the park that are not branded with the Disney logo, I recovered a handful of them before I decided I would focus only on the custom discs. The majority of these survey markers were slightly larger than a quarter and served as control points during construction within the park. The Public Land Surveying company that Disney worked with was the Culver Group, based in Corona, California.
If you happen to spot any of these marks within the park, they might be stamped "Culver," "Culver Control," "TCG," or "TCG Control" (any one of these may include the Land Surveyor's license number). I documented the first five of these that I found in the main park, but I stopped there as I expected I would likely find a LOT of these.