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  • [Question] The announcement of California Adventure

    I'm not sure if MiceChat was around back then, but what was the buzz like when Disney announced that they were building an entirely new park, California Adventure!
    Was it always called California Adventure, or was it just announced as a new park?
    Were people excited or was there always a general negative attitude towards the park? Or did this happen after people went to the park?

    Would love to know!
    Can't wait for December 2012 when I FINALLY get back to Disneyland Resort! My first trip in over 7 years

  • #2
    Re: The announcement of California Adventure

    Mice Chat wasnt around back then, I think its only 5 or 6 years old. I wasnt on any Disney boards at the time (or even knew they existed). BUT I do remember reading about the announcement on the interenet in college. There were official press releases announcing it and there was a few news reports about it saying how the idea came about, that how the Westcot wasnt going to happen afterall, so they met in a weekend in Colorado and came up with the concept about a new park over that weekend...yeah!

    Anyway had no idea what the original buzz was since I wasnt on boards like this nor knew anyone personnally who cared, but MY initial reaction was 'eh'. I was just disaapointed the Westcot idea wasnt happening and even based on the press releases, it didnt sound very impressive even then. The whole California them didnt appeal to me as someone who was born and raised there.

    But when I finally DID find out about Disney boards about two years before the park opened, people were pretty blah about it from what I can remember. People questioned the small budget, lack of attractions, a weak theme, etc...and looks like people were right, years before it opened.

    And yes, the name of the park was the same from the beginning.

    Oh yeah, I started reading MousePlanet when Al Lutz was there (he was actually the first Disney 'blogger' I started reading back then) and he was giving a lot of updates about the place. I can tell you he definitely was not happy about it lol.

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    • #3
      Re: The announcement of California Adventure

      Awesome thanks! It's just interesting to hear how people felt about the park even before it opened; and it looks like a lot of people were right about the theming!
      Can't wait for December 2012 when I FINALLY get back to Disneyland Resort! My first trip in over 7 years

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      • #4
        Re: The announcement of California Adventure

        No, it wasn't always going to be California Adventure, In the early 90's there were variations of "Westcott". Then there was a proposal from Disney to turn the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose in Long Beach into a Port Disney. Then later, came the proposal for DCA. When that project was approved by Disney and Anaheim, Disney set up a large preview area in what is now the esplanade. It even had an upper deck area, so that you could get a glimpse of some of the construction going on.

        First of all, to make it known, there was a lot of excitement that DL was FINALLY going to get it's second park. I'm sure the conversations of a.d.d are still available for viewing, and yes DCA was discussed.

        And yes, there was always valid criticism coming from Disney fans. In fact, at least a couple of fairly well know Disney Imagineers looked at the models of Paradise Pier and said that Walt would have hated that. When DCA opened it became fairly well known, even by disney officials, that DCA was not reaching its goals. That's why there was such HUGE push to get things on the right track. The number of corrections they made in the first few months was unprecedented. And the excuses for the failed expected attendance levels were flying fast and furious.

        Quite frankly, i think that management just had unrealistic goals for attendance and unrealist growth estimates. It takes at least a couple years for guests and visitors to serioulsly plan to allow for extra time at DL. Why should families suddenly and immediately start planning for more days at, when there are so many other things to do and see in California. It takes a while for families to start planning like that. And it takes word of mouth from others to get word out and learn that DL does take more time to experience.

        Not only was there talk about DCA, and the 3 Districts of the new park, BUT there was also a lot of talk about whether or not it was wise to use some of the former parking lot for a huge new hotel. And then there was also the talk about the new Downtown District area, not to mention all the changes and modifications to various parking lots and the huge new parking structure. And there was talk about the bulldozing of several restaurants/buildings along West Street, which is now Disneyland Drive. And of course there was talk of many of parts of the DL hotel being bulldozed, including the Monorail Cafe, Neon Cactus, the multi-level buldings with stores and restaurants, older charming hotel facilities, and the elimination of an Olympic size swimming pool .
        Critter Country's a mess ev'r since the Country Bears were kicked out. Ya can't cover pooh with honey and 'spect people ta like it.
        An Adventurers It's Time to Put the Spotlight Back on Bring Back the REAL Disney Gallery
        Life for Me! ~ ~ ~ Melvin, Buff, and Max!!! ~~~~ Dump the Dream Suite!
        Meese-ka Moose-ka Mice-Chatter!

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        • #5
          Re: The announcement of California Adventure

          Wow 2001, It felt like that park went up in three months! Sadly there was not a site as great as Micechat it would of been cool to have more detail of it being built and pictures like we get now. I Just have my fading memories of the opening, I already miss the California letters, that is the first thing that I connect with DCA oh WELL

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          • #6
            Re: The announcement of California Adventure

            I worked at disneyland the night it was openning. They were expecting huge crowds. They were letting people camp in the parking structure. They even had ticket booth set up there for everyone. Problem is by the time I left around midnight there was only 50 people in the parking structure. They moved then to main street and they were able to spend he night in disneyland. By morning when the park openned there was a couple hundred maybe 1,000 at the most. Did media scare them away do to hyping it to much or was it doomed since day one. That was the talk of the ticket both for the next couple days. As ticket seller they had us have a hour shifts riding the rides at california adventures so we could try and get people to go to the new park.

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            • #7
              Re: The announcement of California Adventure

              I was in that line, the night before DCA officially opened. And the count was well over 50 by 6pm the night before. The estimated count of people in line, at the max was 1,400 to 1,500. there were at least a couple hundred by midnight. However, not everyone that got in line, stayed the whole night, as it was very cold outside (for socal standards) down into the 30's. Many left due to the cold, and also because the anticipated crowds of 10 to 15 thousand or more never arrived.

              And as for the reason why the crowds didn't show up? Well, Disney did have several various preview days for well over a month in advance. And some of the biggest preview days were the weekend before, which was set up for Annual Passholders. So, most of the fans who wanted to see DCA asap, had already seen it by the time official opening day came around. And of course the celebrities had their evening in DCA, the night before DCA officially opened.
              Critter Country's a mess ev'r since the Country Bears were kicked out. Ya can't cover pooh with honey and 'spect people ta like it.
              An Adventurers It's Time to Put the Spotlight Back on Bring Back the REAL Disney Gallery
              Life for Me! ~ ~ ~ Melvin, Buff, and Max!!! ~~~~ Dump the Dream Suite!
              Meese-ka Moose-ka Mice-Chatter!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                I remember coming back to the states 3 days before DCA officially opened and, wow I guess I'm getting old lol, I can remember it like yesterday seeing the news reports of the night before and the VERY low turnout. And even at the opening ceremony, they were expecting like 20,000, it was more like 3,000...I guess everyone else was at DL.

                I didnt go opening day, waiting for the weekend to take my mother but I remember reading about it the day it opened and people was asking 'where is everybody?'. The place look soooo deserted, I almost felt bad for it. Everyone was saying it was due to the 'weather' and by that weekend it would pick up strong!

                And I believed them because when the weekend came and I was there, I EXPECTED the crowds to show up then. I even spent the night before figuring out how can I be able to get a FP for Soarin to avoid the 'long crushing lines' I predicted this ride would have since it was getting the most buzz.

                First day, got in around 11 a.m. to a DEAD park and Soarin, which was the only MUST DO for me, in a brand new park mind you, was a 10 min wait! It was a sign of how uninterested people had with this park. I still remember walking around areas of the park and I was completely alone! It felt like when DL is closing at the end of the night and everyone is going home and you are one of the stragglers before they kick you out, only it was early afternoon on a Saturday. I've never been in such an empty park before, it was surreal.

                I rode everything that day multiple times. There were no Aps or multipasses, so I couldnt go to DL. It was the one of only two times I ever paid full price for DCA and I was bored by 2 p.m. I litterally rode Screamin 7 times straight. It was a 5 min wait all day and the only thing I wanted to do again since I rode every major attraction in the park the first 2 hours. By 5 p.m. I wanted to go to DL SOOOO badly! When I saw the Steps in Time show around 6 p.m., it was official, the park was a stinker!

                Again all the years of fans complaining it was going to be a dud couldnt predict how much of one it was when you actually went in person. Crappy rides, more movies than an AMC theater, stuff I did in WDW years ago, dull areas, no magic or fantasy, no night time entertainment and a lot of expensive restaurants that no one wanted to eat in. The only saving grace was there were no lines for anything and the hotel was nice!

                Seriously, it sucked that badly.

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                • #9
                  Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                  The first I heard of it was actually from a bus driver, in 1996, en route from LAX to the Disneyland area.

                  I was definitely excited at the prospect of a new Disney theme park. Of course, at the time I was equally excited for the Tomorrowland redo. Yeah, clearly not the best of times for the DLR.

                  I don't recall the buzz specifically, but I do know I started reading Al Lutz prior to DCA opening, and the general reaction to DCA is why my next Disney trip, in 2001, was to Tokyo.
                  My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

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                  • #10
                    Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                    Originally posted by Joshnyah View Post
                    Wow 2001, It felt like that park went up in three months! Sadly there was not a site as great as Micechat it would of been cool to have more detail of it being built and pictures like we get now. I Just have my fading memories of the opening, I already miss the California letters, that is the first thing that I connect with DCA oh WELL

                    Well, it LOOKED that way at least.

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                    • #11

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                      • #12
                        Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                        So many people talked trash about the 'California' theme to the park. I personally thought in theory it was a good idea. Lots of potential. But they just didn't really work the theme very well when the park opened. The whole entrance to the park, the Sunshine Plaza, did not say California to me. It said Six Flags or generic amusement park. The new Buena Vista street idea seems like a no brainer and would have done so much for the park's image at opening (I am really looking forward to this new area of the park). Other parts of California were not even touched when the park opened : The California gold rush, the Spanish and Mexican history, a "real" San Francisco themed area instead of a couple empty buildings and a bathroom. Great theme idea, poor execution in the beginning. The re-do they are in the middle of is doing wonders for the park I think.

                        Moi
                        Moi

                        I used to have trouble choking down the pills I have to take for controlling my cholesterol, but itís a lot easier now that I wrap them in bacon.

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                        • #13
                          Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                          My wife's somewhat actual quote when we went to Disneyland shortly after construction of DCA began:
                          "Hey, what happened to the parking lot?"
                          I am old. But still love Disneyland.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                            Originally posted by Bacon Czar View Post
                            So many people talked trash about the 'California' theme to the park. I personally thought in theory it was a good idea. Lots of potential. But they just didn't really work the theme very well when the park opened. The whole entrance to the park, the Sunshine Plaza, did not say California to me. It said Six Flags or generic amusement park. The new Buena Vista street idea seems like a no brainer and would have done so much for the park's image at opening (I am really looking forward to this new area of the park). Other parts of California were not even touched when the park opened : The California gold rush, the Spanish and Mexican history, a "real" San Francisco themed area instead of a couple empty buildings and a bathroom. Great theme idea, poor execution in the beginning. The re-do they are in the middle of is doing wonders for the park I think.

                            Moi

                            Yeah, overall it's not a bad theme... it was just badly executed. California is such a diverse state, with a rich history. It's a shame they made use of so little of it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The announcement of California Adventure

                              Originally posted by Joshnyah View Post
                              I already miss the California letters, that is the first thing that I connect with DCA oh WELL
                              I'm with you on that, definitely miss the letters, as cheesy and out of place they might have seemed. But yeah, Eisner really messed things up for that park cutting nearly a billion from the budget for the park, right? And now they are spending what, 2 billion to fix it? Smart move.

                              It's hard enough to create a ride to live up to the standards of Disneyland, but a whole park is an even more daunting task. I think people were expecting more of the same with Disneyland, (if it ain't broke don't fix it) but got a lot of unfamiliar themes and a lack of Disney characters really didn't make it worthwhile for people. Now with the new additions/alterations it's making a huge difference and it shows.

                              World of Color itself is an amazing feat, and I think Carsland is going to be a major success for the park as well.
                              "Up" is a relative concept. It has no intrinsic value.







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