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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream- DCA Opening and Aftermath

The day was February 8, 2001. That's when Disney's California Adventure opened it gates to the public for the first time.

"To all who believe in the power of dreams... welcome. 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

DCA contained 4 distinct lands-:

Sunshine Plaza was the main enterance area.

Hollywood Pictures Backlot celebrated Hollywood and movies.

Golden State featured different California landscpaes, from deserts to forests to wine country.

Paradise Pier was based on seaside piers of yester year.

The park itself had some great rides. Grizzly River Run was a great raft ride, quite possibly the most thrilling ever built. It was in a great location, and the whole area around it was stunning.

California Screamin' was also pretty fun, anf the Sun Wheel was very unique.

3D shows, like Muppet*Vision 3D and It's Tough to be a Bug also proved poular.

The of DCA crown jewel was Soarin' over Calfiornia, which takes guests over stunning CA landscapes in a hang glider set to great music. It is hands down the best ride in DCA, could be the best ride in DLR, and one of the best rides in the world.

But that was it. And this is part of the reson why it was not doing well.

There was simply not much to do. Only a few rides, and not very many of them were for kids or family. Many also believed that it was built on the cheap, with not very many Disney quality attractions in the park. Many parts of the park, like Sunshine Plaza or Paradise Pier, were tacky and unthemed- again, lacking in Disney quality. Some guests went and didn't like it. Others thought it was ok. Some even went once and never returned. Bad word of mouth helped set the park up for failure.

Disney needed something to fix the park. In another column, we'll learn about the real Phase One of the DCA reimagineering and expansion, though it's not as massive as what s going on right now.

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