Monday, June 11, 2012

Disney's California Adventure: A look back

     Well, as the biggest theme park expansion in Disney history comes to a close, I think it is only fitting that we look back on what has gone on these past five years. So in this post we will go through the areas in order of changes.

Paradise Pier

The first area of DCA to get work done was Paradise Pier. In 2001, Paradise Pier was supposed to resemble the Santa Monica Pier. However, they took it too literal and putt in the bad characteristics as well as the good. So, as a result, what we got was a cheesy, tacky, stucco filled pier that had no real personality. It was bland and almost all the rides were taken "off the shelf." A few good things came out of it, such as California Screamin', which is a steel coaster dressed up as a wooden coaster. In 2008, the first product of this expansion was completed. Toy Story Midway Mania. This replaced Malibu-Ritos as the second ride based off the Toy Story movies. This attraction harps back to the classic carnival games such as darts, ring toss, pie throw, and others. You put on your 3-d glasses and went inside where you played games on screens based on Toy Story Characters. This attraction brought crowds to DCA that it had never seen before. This expantion was clearly off to a good start. 

                  The second addition came in 2010, as Word of Color opened. World of Color is a nighttime water show where Disney films are brought to life in vibrant color and light. It requires a base twice the size of a football field that is filled with fountains hooked to LED lights that light up different colors to bring the full spectrum into the water. This show is extremely popular since the day it opened. Another smaller addition was Silly Symphony Swings. This replaced another swing ride, the Orange Stinger, where guests swung in a giant orange peal for some reason. This was based on the Band Concert cartoon staring Mickey Mouse. Guest were lifted into the air as the tornado hits at the band concert and you are swirled in the tornado was the William Tell Overture plays.

                    In 2011 the final additions to Paradise Pier opened. The first was The Little Mermaid: Arial's Undersea Adventure. This is a dark ride where guest ride in clam shells and go through The Little Mermaid. The second was Goofy's Sky School. This replaced Maholland Madness, an off the shelf wild mouse coaster. This is themed to the Goofy "how-to" cartoons where Goofy plays the "every-man." In this ride you are taught how to fly, in a very goofy way. The last thing to happen is the transformation of Paradise Piers restaurant district from a  tacky place to eat, to an elegant Victorian hang out area.

Paradise Pier was the land that got the most work done without completely getting rid of it. So the rest of the sections will have alot less to talk about.

Sunshine Plaza/ Bunea Vista Street

When DCA opened, most of the complaints were aimed at Sunshine Plaza, DCA's entrance plaza. It lacked the charm of Main Street just across the way, and it lacked a "Wienie" or a large object meant to attract people in. With all the complaints, I agree. My local mall has more theming than Sunshine Plaza. Fortunately, Disney saw this problem and decided instead of trying to refit it, they will bulldoze it and start from scratch.They decided to recreate LA as Walt Disney would have seen getting off the train in the '20's. What came out of this is Bunea Vista street. I wont go into details in this post, because I plan on doing posts for both this and Cars Land when they open. 

Cars Land

Another goal of this expansion was to create an E-ticket experience. This came with Cars Land. They didn't want to just create a ride. They went ahead and totally recreated the iconic town of Radiator Springs from the movie Cars. I will create a new post on this as well when DCA reopens.