Disney California Adventure (DCA) turns 11 today with big changes currently being made to re-imagine the theme park that was under performing before construction beginning in 2007. The theme park originally opened on February 8, 2001. Built during the growth era under former CEO Michael Eisner known as the â€œDisney Decadeâ€. DCA opened with lack luster attendance on its grand opening. That day in the park you were able to count the amount of people who where enjoying the park on that day on one hand, in comparison to the special events they had for their annual passholder a couple weeks prior that showed strong attendance. The theme park was constructed on the old Disneyland parking lot.
As we look back on the 11-years of the theme park the idea of a California themed park constructed with the lack of revenue necessary to make it succeed was a bad one. Especially in comparison to the DisneySeas project that would open later in September of 2001. DCA had lack luster themes when it opened and displeasure showed with guest paying admission similar to Disneyland without the amount of shows and attraction as the original park. Attendance through itâ€™s first summer was so poor and the lack of family rides and made the first summer very discouraging. It looked more like a Knottâ€™s Berry Farm copy than the quality entertainment we came to expect from a Disney theme park. Six years later Disney realized the mistakes with the departure of Eisner. Bob Iger the current head of Disney approved the infusion of money to reconstruct the failing theme park. Disney committed $1 billion to the theme park and did something that has never been done in theme park history by making major changes to a theme park while still on a daily operating schedule.
The first area they worked on was the Paradise Pier section of the park. Originally themed to be a beachside board walk they rebuilt the section into a Victorian-style board walk similar to what was found in Santa Monica and Santa Cruz boardwalks. They first opened Toy Story Mania in 2008 in the first of the new rides in the area. The 4D interactive attraction has been a hit since it opened. During this time they re-themed the giant Ferris Wheel to Mickeyâ€™s Ferris Wheel. The Orange Stinger was re-themed to a famous Mickey Mouse Cartoon, â€œThe Band Concertâ€ and called Silly Symphony Swings. They took down the Maliboomer space shot attraction
because it did not fit in to the newly themed area. The boardwalk area games were themed to Disney cartoons and reopened last year the re-themed Mulholland Madness was opened as Goofyâ€™s Sky School. The biggest attractions to complete the area were first the popular World of Color water show and The Little Mermaid – Arielâ€™s Undersea Adventure.
The biggest part of the construction which you will be able to see this June is first the re-themed entrance into the park. The parks original entrance concept was of a postcard that opened into the wonders of California. The new entrance will be know as Buena Vista Street that will send guest back to 1920s Los Angeles when Walt Disney first arrived. The building that line the area depict the design of the era and lead up to the center piece fixture of the park, a replica of the famous Carthay Circle Theater. The Carthay Circle was the theater that Disney debut his first full length feature film, â€œSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs.â€ The other addition to the area is a replica of the Red Car Trolleys that originally carried passenger around Los Angeles. The Red Car Trolley will carry people from the entrance of the park and make stops at the Carthay Circle Theater and venture thru the Hollywood Backlot section of the park and makes its final stop in front of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction close to the entrance to Bugâ€™s Land. Currently the area also feature a TRON themed dance area in the evening that has been a huge success with guest and featuring big name DJâ€™s and dance crews. The will soon close the dance party and relaunch it with a new dance party themed to the movie, â€œAlice in Wonderlandâ€. The dance party is expected to open when the construction is completed this June.
Smaller additions have been made also at the Golden State and Condor Flats sections but the biggest expansion will be Cars Land.
Cars Land will be the biggest land of any at the Disneyland Resort. Inspired by the Pixar film Cars Land will transport guest into Radiator Springs form the movie. Some of the attractions to be in this area when it opens in June are Materâ€™s Junkyard Jamboree. The attraction will whip guest riding on the mini tractors around Materâ€™s junkyard. The second attraction in the area will be Luigiâ€™s Flying Tires. The flying tires attraction is similar to an attraction that use to be at Disneyland at Tomorrowland section of the park, The Flying Saucers. On this attraction guest will be floating on huge packets of air as the move and bump other guest around you in their tires. The final attraction is Radiator Springs Racers. The technology that was used to create the popular Test Track attraction at Epcot Center in Florida. The ride will begin with a journey thru Radiator Springs and get types before you race out into the canyon setting against another vehicle of guest to see who will win the race.
All these attraction and the new entrance to the park will be open this June and will complete the $1 Billion dollar re-theming of the park that will give it the feel and second gate offering that Disney always wanted at the Disneyland Resort. Expect this summer to be a very exciting one at the Orange County theme park.