- Disney California Adventure Park
Disney California Adventure
Location Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California, U.S.A Theme California Website Disneyland Resort Homepage Owner The Walt Disney Company Operated By Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Opened February 8, 2001 Disneyland Resort Resort Hotels Downtown Disney District
Disney California Adventure, or simply California Adventure, is a theme park in Anaheim, California, adjacent to Disneyland Park and part of the larger Disneyland Resort. It opened on February 8, 2001 as Disney's California Adventure Park. The park is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. On May 28, 2010, it was announced through the official Disney Parks Blog that Disney's California Adventure Park would be renamed to its current title.
This 55-acre (22 ha) theme park, built during former CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Michael Eisner's 'Disney Decade', was constructed as part of a major expansion that transformed the Disneyland area and its hotels into the Disneyland Resort and consists of five areas: Sunshine Plaza, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, The Golden State, A Bug's Land ,and Paradise Pier. Each area is meant to resemble various aspects of California, its culture and landmarks.
In 2010, the park attracted approximately 6.28 million guests, making it the 11th-most visited theme park in the world, its highest ever attendance total for a calendar year.
- 1 Dedication
- 2 Concept and construction
- 3 Park layout
- 4 Live entertainment
- 5 Former Entertainment
- 6 Initial lack of success
- 7 Re-engineering and expansion plan
- 8 Gallery
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
“ To all who believe in the power of dreams, welcome. Disney's California Adventure opens its golden gates to you. Here we pay tribute to the dreamers of the past: the native people, explorers, immigrants, aviators, entrepreneurs and entertainers who built the Golden State. And we salute a new generation of dreamers who are creating the wonders of tomorrow, from the silver screen to the computer screen, from the fertile farmlands to the far reaches of space. Disney's California Adventure celebrates the richness and the diversity of California... its land, its people, its spirit and, above all, the dreams that it continues to inspire. ”
—Michael Eisner, February 8, 2001
Concept and construction
In 1991, Disney announced the plan to build a second gate in Anaheim, WestCOT, a west coast iteration of Epcot, in place of the existing Disneyland main parking lot, but due to various reasons the project was canceled in 1995, which led to the idea of Disney's California Adventure (DCA), a park to celebrate and pay tribute to California, providing a similar experience to stepping inside a California postcard. DCA was part of the plan to expand the one park property and convert it into a greater, multi-day vacation resort destination which would be able to appeal to a greater audience - similar to Walt Disney World resort.
The construction of DCA began in 1998, as part of the Disneyland Resort expansion project which included the new theme park, the Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, Downtown Disney, and the renovation of the Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel, and was completed in 2001. DCA occupies the site of the former parking lot for 5,000 vehicles, and parking is now provided in the multi-level "Mickey and Friends" parking structure, giving space for more than 10,000 vehicles.
Sunshine Plaza is now closed for demolition, guests are being re-routed through a temporary entrance corridor located behind the Soarin' Over California attraction, and into Condor Flats due to Buena Vista Street construction. 
Sunshine Plaza served as the main entrance into the park. It was designed to evoke the sensation of stepping into a California postcard. After guests passed the giant California letters, and through the turnstiles,they walked under a mock-up of San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate Bridge, which disguised a portion of the resort's monorail track. Flanking both ends of the faux Golden Gate Bridge were two massive muralsthat depicted various landmarks of and the vast mountain ranges in California. After passing under the bridge, guests reached the main area of Sunshine Plaza that served as an access hub to the park's Hollywood Pictures Backlot and Golden State. Rising over Sunshine Plaza, a large metal sunburst and surrounding fountain reflect solar rays into the surrounding area. Sunshine Plaza was also home to a replica of the California Zephyr, which houses the plaza's two counter service restaurants: Baker's Field Bakery and Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream. The plaza is also home to two of the park's biggest souvenir shops, Greetings from California and Engine Ears Toys.
Paradise Pier is themed after a Victorian-era California boardwalk, based on popular coastal boardwalks such as the Santa Monica Pier and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The land's attractions, such as California Screamin’, resemble the classic amusement park rides found at many boardwalks. Toy Story Midway Mania! is an interactive 3D attraction inspired by classic midway games.
Mickey's Fun Wheel (formerly the Sun Wheel) is a 160-foot (49 m)-tall Ferris wheel overlooking Paradise Bay, a large body of water that dominates the Paradise Pier area. A hydrotechnic show, World of Color performs nightly out on Paradise Bay and showcases a vignette culminated from numerous Disney and Pixar films.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure takes riders under the sea, into the musical numbers from the 1989 animated motion picture The Little Mermaid.
This land allows guests to experience California's natural settings. It is further divided into five sub-lands:
This sub-land is themed after an airfield in tribute to California's pilots and engineers from the 1940s to the mid-60s. The place has retaining walls made up of old railroad ties, and World War II runway mats out and around. The featured attraction here is Soarin' Over California, a ride that simulates a hang glider tour of California. Also in this area are the Taste Pilot's Grill counter service restaurant, a shop, and a water play area outside of Soarin' Over California, with a giant rocket jet that sprays mist. The number 47 is hidden in various places as a reference to 1947, the year the sound barrier was broken. Also, the clock on the Fly 'N Buy Souvenir Shop is stopped at the exact time the sound barrier was broken on Oct 14, 1947 by Chuck Yeager.
Grizzly Peak Recreation Area
This sub-land is themed after California's wilderness, such as Yosemite and Redwood national parks. Attractions include Grizzly River Run, a fast-paced river rapids ride around Grizzly Peak, the park's icon. Nearby is the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail; an interactive playground area, which also includes a show featuring characters from Disney Pixar's Up. A special entrance to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel is also located in this area.
The Bay Area
This sub-land is themed after the San Francisco Bay area. It used to feature Golden Dreams, a film about the history of California, starring Whoopi Goldberg housed in a theatre. Its last showing was on September 7, 2008. Outside of the theatre is a mural and a replica of the Palace of Fine Arts. The Bay Area also includes an avenue of houses similar to the Victorian architecture of many townhouses found in San Francisco. The main area is now The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure (Voyage of The Little Mermaid). This area is now included into Paradise Pier.
Golden Vine Winery
This sub-land is themed after Northern California's Napa Valley and the winemaking industry. Included in this area is Wine Country Trattoria, a casual table service-dining restaurant which features wines and Italian foods. The former main attraction in this area, Seasons of the Vine, a film showcasing Napa Valley and the changes throughout the seasons, was housed in a wine cellar-like theatre. It closed on March 30, 2008 and was converted into the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar, which opened in October 2008. The new attraction displays the upcoming changes to the park. The exhibits will be rotated every few months until 2012, when the major park improvement project is scheduled to be finished. Guests also have the opportunity to taste several wines for an additional price.
This sub-land is based on Monterey's Cannery Row area, especially as depicted in John Steinbeck's novels, and also resembles San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. This area includes the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Pacific Wharf Cafe, and The Lucky Fortune Cookery Chinese restaurant, along with a Karl Strauss beer truck and a margarita stand. This sub-land formerly featured the Mission tortilla factory which is being replaced as the Ghirardelli chocolate factory. Another attraction is The Bakery Tour, hosted by Boudin Bakery, which is a tour of the sourdough bread making process with Rosie O'Donnell and Colin Mochrie as video tour guides.
Hollywood Pictures Backlot
Hollywood Pictures Backlot is an area styled to appear as Hollywood boulevards and movie backlots, with Hollywood, television, and movie-themed attractions. A version of the Tower of Terror attraction from Disney's Hollywood Studios opened in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot in 2004. The Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! attraction is based on the characters from Monsters, Inc.; it opened in the attraction building that had formerly housed Superstar Limo. The 2000-seat Hyperion Theater currently plays host to Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! used to be held in the Backlot until Playhouse Disney became Disney Junior. It opened in March 2011 and added "Jake and the Never Land Pirates."
Also featured since the park's opening is Muppet Vision 3-D, a show that also originated at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Both the Tower of Terror and Muppet Vision 3-D benefited from the many advances and new technology made available to the Imagineers since their original incarnations opened in Florida. This allowed the DCA versions to be technologically superior in certain aspects.
The Hollywood Pictures Backlot sign at the area's entrance, featuring two ceramic elephants sculptures atop columns, is a homage to a huge set constructed for the epic 1916 Hollywood film Intolerance, directed by D.W. Griffith. This homage is echoed at the Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex in Los Angeles, which currently houses the Academy Awards ceremonies at Kodak Theatre and also has elephant sculptures atop columns.
The area's bathrooms are in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright's Storer House, located in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles. The stamped concrete structure is typical of Wright's pioneering design.
"a bug's land"
"a bug's land" is seen from the point of view of a bug, and the character of "Flik" from a bug's life. Oversized human items and foodstuffs are scattered around the land. This land features flik's fun fair, it's tough to be a bug! and the Bountiful Valley Farm, based on the Disney-Pixar film a bug's life. The land opened in 2002 and offers various kid-friendly attractions. Such attractions include Fliks Flyers, Francis' Ladybug Boogie, Tuck & Roll's Drive 'em Buggies, Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, and Dot's Puddle Park.
Many Disney characters can be found throughout the park, greeting visitors, interacting with children, and posing for photos. Some characters have specific areas where they are scheduled to appear, but can be found wandering as well.
World of Color
World of Color is a new nighttime show at Disney California Adventure that was designed by Walt Disney Creative Entertainment. This show has more than 1200 fountains and includes lasers, lights, and fire with high-definition projections on mist screens similar to the ones used in Fantasmic! at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The show is expected to change regularly and feature seasonal overlays for Halloween and Christmas, says show creator Steve Davison.
ElecTRONica is an interactive nighttime dance party based on Disney's Tron film and videogame series and is located in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. It is considered a similar experience to Glow Fest, which was staged in the same area in summer 2010, but this party is themed to Disney's new film, Tron: Legacy. ElecTRONica features lights, music, projections, merchandise kiosk stands, and a replica of 'Flynn's Arcade' as seen in the original film. Past performances from live DJs include: Giang Star (Fridays), Michael Paul (Saturdays), Adam Auburn (Sundays) and Josh Billings.
Initial lack of success
Disney’s California Adventure was expected to draw large crowds when opened in 2001. On January 14, 2001, Los Angeles Times article titled "The most Jam-Packed Theme Park on Earth?" stated, "Senior Disney officials acknowledge that there will be days when California Adventure will have to turn patrons away, particularly in the first weeks after the park opens, during spring break and again in the summer." The actual 2001 attendance was substantially less than Disney expected.
Various reasons for this have been suggested:
- Bad word-of-mouth from early visitors discouraged future visitors, stating the park was lacking in Disney-quality attractions.
- Hollywood Pictures Backlot had lack of focus on the restaurants, shops and attractions.
- Lack of rides for young children.
- The park's Californian theme was criticized as being redundant, seeing as the park itself was located in the same state it represented. Various tourist attractions and landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign and the beaches were located less than an hour away from the park.
- Fans criticized the Paradise Pier area of the park because many of the attractions in this area were generic rides that guests do not expect to find at a Disney park. This was ironic because Walt Disney had created the neighboring Disneyland to provide a theme park experience unlike boardwalk piers and amusement parks of the era, wanting to create a park where the entire family could enjoy themselves.
- With an estimated price tag of $600 million, the park was criticized for being built "on the cheap", with a small number of attractions and minimal theming.
- Many guests complained that a single-day admission ticket to Disney's California Adventure cost the same as a single day admission ticket to Disneyland Park, yet contained fewer attractions, shows and entertainment.
- According to a December 13, 2010, article in the Los Angeles Times, "DCA's extreme makeover was necessitated by the on-the-cheap, off-the-shelf nature of the nearly decade-old theme park that even Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger now calls 'mediocre'."
Disney's chief executive officer Robert Iger went on record during the company's annual stockholder meeting on March 10, 2006 when someone asked about a potential third park being built in Anaheim. "We're still working to assure the second gate is successful", Iger said, referring to California Adventure. "In the spirit of candor, we have been challenged."
Re-engineering and expansion plan
On October 17, 2007, The Walt Disney Company announced a multi-year, $1.1 billion expansion plan for Disney's California Adventure Park. Current plans for the renovation and expansion are on display for park visitors inside the Blue Sky Cellar at the Golden Vine Winery. Disney listened to the public and several of the attractions which drew criticism from the public will be removed in the multi-year, multi-billion dollar redesign and expansion of Disney's California Adventure. Other rides will be redesigned or replaced with a larger focus on Disney characters and stories. On May 28, 2010, it was announced through the Disney Parks Blog that the park would also be receiving a slight name change, to Disney California Adventure, as well as a new logo. The new name took effect on June 11, 2010, appearing on park maps and banners, but was first used in a commercial promoting World of Color a few days prior. World of Color premiered on June 11, 2010, as part of Disney's Summer Nightastic.
Buena Vista Street
The park's entrance sequence will undergo major reconstruction and retheming replacing the postcard themed entry with its CALIFORNIA letters, moasaic tile murals, Golden Gate Bridge, and Sunshine Plaza.
The park's main entrance gate, which opened on July 15, 2011, moved outward to where the postcard letters previously stood and is similar to the entrance at Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida, with a design to resemble the landmark Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Buena Vista Street, which takes its name from the Burbank street on which the Walt Disney Studios are located, will lead guests into the park in an immersive recreation of early 1920s Los Angeles when Walt Disney first arrived with Mission and Art Deco facades housing shops and restaurants, and period specific theming. The Golden Gate Bridge replica will be removed and replaced by a simple arched bridge. A recreation of Carthay Circle Theater, which showcased the world premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 will sit at the end of Buena Vista Street serving as the visual anchor. Red Car Trolleys will travel from the entry, up Buena Vista Street to Carthay Circle, then down Hollywood Boulevard towards the Tower of Terror. Construction of Buena Vista Street began in the fall of 2010 and is planned to open in the spring of 2012.
Hollywood Pictures Backlot will be renamed to Hollywoodland representing the Golden Age of Hollywood of the early 1930s. The popular kids and family stage show Playhouse Disney Live on Stage, which received a minor retheme of its exterior, was updated with new shows and renamed to "Disney Junior: Live on Stage" (also the building that it occupies was renamed to The Walt Disney Theater). Red Car Trolleys from Buena Vista Street will go through the land.
The new Cars Land will contain three attractions and will span 12 acres (49,000 m2). The first, Radiator Springs Racers, will be an E ticket ride using the technology of Epcot's Test Track. It will be among the most expensive rides ever built at an estimated US$200 million. It will be a detailed dark ride that ends with an outdoor side-by-side dueling racing finale. The ride will begin with a race briefing from Lightning McQueen and end at the Wheel Well Motel from the movie. Some elements said to be featured as road details in the attraction are switchbacks, tunnels, bridges, waterfalls and banked turns.
The other two attractions are going to be smaller family attractions with smaller height requirements featuring Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, a tea-cup like attraction, and Luigi's Roamin' Tires, which looks like the 1960s Tomorrowland "Flying Saucers" ride. Cars Land will also feature a life-size model of Radiator Springs and several dining and shopping venues.
It will take the place of the existing Timon parking lot behind the Tower of Terror and is supposed to open in 2012, after the park celebrates its 10th anniversary. Cars Land will also serve as a connection between the Golden State and Hollywood Pictures Backlot lands, to eliminate the awkward dead end at the foot of the Tower of Terror attraction. Construction began in July 2009. The structural steel has been being laid out for months as they are building Radiator Springs Racers.
The Sun Wheel was closed to be rethemed into Mickey's Fun Wheel, as the wheel was repainted and the sun face was removed. The new face of the 1930s era "pie-eyed" Mickey Mouse was placed on the wheel on April 14, 2009. The ride reopened on May 8, 2009. The Mickey Mouse face on California Screamin' was replaced with a sunburst and Paradise Pier logo. Another E-ticket attraction, a launch tower by the name of Maliboomer, closed on September 7, 2010, as part of the overhaul.
The Orange Stinger closed on July 14, 2009, and was rethemed as Silly Symphony Swings, based on Walt Disney's classic cartoon, "The Band Concert". Conductor Mickey Mouse stands on top of the tower moving around with the music. Silly Symphony Swings opened on May 28, 2010. Mulholland Madness closed on October 12, 2010 for its transformation into Goofy’s Sky School, based on Walt Disney's short film "Goofy's Glider"; the ride reopened on July 1, 2011. Paradise Bay is now the home to the new nighttime spectacular World of Color, now playing on select nights during the week. A new, bayfront, 6,000-person standing-room-only viewing area has been added to accommodate viewers.
Also included in this re-theming was the re-imagined midway games, which opened on April 7, 2009, and on July 1, 2011, Pizza Oom Mow Mow and Burger Invasion were re-themed into Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill. A themed beer and pretzel hut also opened across from Paradise Gardens on July 1, 2011. Golden Dreams was closed and replaced with an attraction named The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Paradise Pier's re-imagining was completed in July of 2011, coinciding with the 10th Anniversary of Disney California Adventure.
By early April 2010, Paradise Park viewing area had opened, and was accompanied by an all new music loop, featuring early 1920s-style music, to reflect the theme of the Pier.
The Golden State area will see the addition of several new restaurants based on California's farmland and heritage. California-themed food and wine festivals will take place in this area of the park. The Seasons of the Vine attraction was replaced (closed in March 2008) by Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar. The new attraction opened in late October 2008 and showcases future additions to the park. There have also been a "placemaking" re-theme for the Grizzly River Run attraction replacing the contemporary extreme sports elements with older equipment aiming for a 1950s-era National Park feeling.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction
- List of current Disney California Adventure attractions
- List of past Disney California Adventure attractions
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- Disney California Adventure web page
- Official Blue Sky Cellar web page (California Adventure Expansion)
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