Bound for the Magic Kingdom? The OC’s compact John Wayne Airport is a far more convenient gateway to Disneyland than sprawling Los Angeles International. Consider: LAX is 35 miles distance from Disney, SNA is a mere 14 miles.
To better handle demand, the airport named for the iconic Hollywood good guy (a statue of The Duke welcomes arriving passengers) is in the midst of a $195.9 million expansion, one that will see Terminal C come on when the dust settles.
Work on the new facility should continue through year’s end. It’s a 282,000 square-foot affair connected to the existing Terminal B. The multi-level building will sport six new gates, security screening checkpoints, more places to eat and drink, and a trio of baggage carousels – the better to get you on your way faster to Disneyland.
Architecturally, terminal C draws heavily on features that render Orange County’s existing Riley Terminal pure California: vaulted ceilings, natural stone, and soft, neutral colors. The ambience is anything but claustrophobic.
The move makes for much-needed room at the airport. The Riley Terminal was designed to accommodate eight-point-four million passengers per year. It already handles nine million. In a prepared statement John Wayne Airport says, “facilities are being stretched to, and in some cases beyond, their design capacity.” The aim of the new project is to ease that congestion, creating “a single, seamless environment for passengers.”
Orange County fancies itself the heart and soul of SoCal. To that end, Terminal C will sport Beachfront News, a place replete with surf cams to show you what’s going on at local beaches. From the moment you step off the airplane there’s no mistaking where you are. It’s all very California.
Story by Jerry Chandler