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  • What is holding DCA back?

    Now I think we would all agree that the current state of DCA is that it needs help, and a lot of it! I read two conflicting opinions of what is the problem. First, some say that it was built on the cheap. With this theory, all that has to be done is a major infusion of cash and better rides. Others say it is the theme, they say that unless a new theme is chosen, it will limp along always as a second class park with low attendance even with new rides.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    I wouldnt necessarily say either of those are the major problem. To me it just needs more to do. I mean you can go through the park in half a day when its quiet while at disneyland you can still spend the whole day there and end up missing a ride. it just needs more rides.

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    • #3
      Yup, it needs more E and D tickets. And they need to be rides that last for more than a minute or two.

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      • #4
        DCA needs E-ticket attractions. I know many of my fellow chatters do not like duplicating rides to enter DL or DCA. Rock n Roll Roller Coaster definitely should be added - it already has a California freeway theme. I would like a California Gold Rush themed expedition thrill ride that would be like the Everest attarction that is being built in Florida's Animal Kingdom. Adding these 2 attractions would definitely improve DCA.

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        • #5
          My pet peeve about DCA? Landscaping. There's not enough trees, and not enough flowers. For an example of what I'd like to see, take a peek across the esplanade.

          I think it needs about another two or three attractions, and something else needs to move into the Millionaire building. I don't care if they're C- D- or E-tickets (although I'm not big on coasters).

          I think of what D-MGM was like right after it opened--it was roughly the same size as DCA then, and had about as many attractions (maybe even less)--but it was at least interesting. It's hard to say that about DCA at the moment.

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          • #6
            I agree...DCA definitely needs landscaping and trees and flowers by the truckload. Sometimes it feels like a huge parking lot!

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            • #7
              DCA was made on the cheap. It's not a theory in my eyes, it's a fact (I know a consultant who worked on the park back in the late 90's).

              I think the problem is they went with their first few ideas and ran with it. When they put rides in (SSL) and got certain restaurants running, they flopped because IMO they were nto carefully thought out. The fortune cookie place was open for what? 2 days? SSL was open and closed within months!!!!

              I think the problem is they had all these wonderful plans for Westcot, and then they realized there was no money for it so they went with a cheaper California theme. The problem is a California themed park IN Ca is kind of odd, don;t you think?? I mean, we have museums for CA history. MGM has a ride w/ a CA freeway theme??? hmmmmmmmmmmm that makes sense to bring CA to another state. I dunno. I'm not making much sense today
              Katie :yea:
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              • #8
                Part of the "California" theme is that it is one giant concrete slab. Of course, that would depend on what part of California you're in.
                1. Not enough all-family rides. That is what is expected in Disney theme parks. There are teen-and-up rides, and third-graders-and-below rides.
                2. Too small and not a lot of room to grow, as the Timon/Pumbaa lot is mostly owned by others. Big pond in middle does not provide the atmosphere (pier) that it should.
                3. Too many film-based attractions. I wouldn't mind this if they were updated every two years or so, since that's the one plus that film-based attractions allow. But this never happens. Even a TV-based attraction like Millionaire shouldn't have been merely a quiz show.
                4. Theme is lame. It can be improved by making the whole park a joke about California. Make fun of it, as the names of the shops do. I.e., make it a big joke about what foreigners (out-of-staters included) think about California. Exploit the stereotypes to the point of silliness. None of this serious Golden Dreams non-nonsense. Even locals will enjoy this, I think. (Well, those with a sense of humor will.)

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                • #9
                  It's lacking imagination

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                  • #10
                    One could go on for hours about what is wrong and how to fix it, but I boil it down to these two points.

                    The problem with the DCA is that it is a very unbalanced park. First it has a high disproportion movie attractions and carnival attraction. Second it has lacks small entertainment around the park, which Disneyland is famous for.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sediment
                      the Timon/Pumbaa lot is mostly owned by others.
                      Actually Disney ownes all of that parking lot. I am not sure about the corner with that hotel on it. But the actual parking lot is all Disney owned.

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                      • #12
                        We were regulars at DL way before DCA came around. As they were announcing the new Park to the Hotel guests on the now missing hotel tram, they were telling us from the beginning that DCA was going to be designed for the older kids and parents without kids to enjoy. Disney felt that they were losing the teens to other parks with thrill rides and that they weren't getting the adults without kids because they were not interested in DL because of the kiddie rides. And the third, but much smaller group would be the parents that wanted to get away from the kids and enjoy an older-themed park (hence the beer/wine).. Also, the Disney theme wouldn't be as pronounced, so Mickey wouldn't be shoved down the throat of the adults at every corner. The Disney Resort was to be a destination for more demographics to enjoy for longer periods rather than just parents with small kids once a year.

                        When our family saw DCA for the first time at the AP preview weekend, we had mixed feelings. I had the feeling that it was too sterile. The kids didn't have hardly anything to ride on and Mickey was nowhere in sight (except of course, the large icon on Screamin). Even the CM's were different. A female CM in one of the shops near the pier actually wore a top that revealed her (pierced) belly button and many of the male ride operators had moustaches. Definately not "Disney-like". Any other corporation could have owned the Park at that point. Not much Disney atmosphere at DCA.

                        I think that in the aftermath that followed, too many folks (imagineers) lost the purpose and direction for the Park and the result is what we have today. There just aren't enough quality rides and attractions to keep people interested.

                        As I have indicated in another post, we feel like we "use" DCA to our advantage and then abandon it when were finished. At most, we are there for half a day, rarely eat there and certainly wouldn't go there if it was a stand alone Park located somewhere else. We pick and choose what we like and then go back to DL.

                        I am not claiming to have the answer to fix DCA. I'll leave that to the powers that be. I do think though that the answer is with the people that pay to go to the parks everyday. Disney should swallow their pride and start taking suggestions from the folks that enjoy theme parks for family recreation throughout the year. I have seen many ideas from the folks on this board (and others) that could greatly benefit DCA and ultimately Disneyland.

                        Just my 2 cents worth...

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                        • #13
                          It's boring. DCA is boring to me. After the initial anticipation of seeing it for the first time, there isn't anything to keep me coming back. I've been there twice, and when I try to picture it in my mind, I picture the big grizzly at Grizzly River Run and ..... blank space. Everything is too wide, too open.

                          I especially agree with what Sediment says :"Not enough all-family rides. That is what is expected in Disney theme parks. There are teen-and-up rides, and third-graders-and-below rides."

                          There are no "classic" attractions: nothing that lives up to POTC or HM.

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                          • #14
                            Whether you think it needs more rides, more E-tickets, more landscaping, better theming, better food, better entertainment, etc., it all takes cash to plan, design, build, operate, and maintain. The only thing that shouldn't have to cost more (but maybe it could get someone like "CM Matt" a bigger bonus if attendance goes up) would be for management to make better decisions regarding how much to spend and what to spend it on.

                            Personally, I think it needs no more than two e-tickets, maybe 10 more at the other levels, big trees (for shade), original rides, and animatronic sea life in the lake.
                            "She's taking everything. She's taking the house, she's taking the kid, she's taking the dog. IT'S NOT EVEN HER DOG. IT'S MY DOG! SHE'S TAKING . . . MY DOG!"
                            - Ron Livingston, "Band of Brothers"

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                            • #15
                              Lack of atmosphere, imagination, and the all too overused Disney "magic". But I see plenty of potential with so much open space!!

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                              • #16
                                I kinda think DCA just needs more of a theme (California is not really a theme at all) and more E Tickets to do better.

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                                • #17
                                  On a warm day, it feels like 1000 degrees in the concrete jungle.
                                  There are things I really like there, but it is so uncomfortable feeling, so sparce.
                                  You don't want to hang out and spend time there, it doesn't feel intimate at all.
                                  Just blinding sun and concrete. They should have spent more on landscaping. CA certainly has plenty to inspire it. See, that is why you stay in DL, and keep buying snacks and trinkets, because you can find so many places there to just sit and feel great. All you want to do in DCA is see everything, ride, then leave.
                                  Goin around the world...and back to Disneyland!

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                                  • #18
                                    DCA is missing something that DL will always have more of and that is history.Even Disneyland probably felt under landscaped when it first opened.
                                    DCA got the concrete jungle theme down great. I hate how I can enter the park and feel like it takes forver to get from one side to the other. There is nothing to catch my eye or capture my imagination, just lots and lots of concrete.
                                    DCA needs more than just rides it needs better theming. CA is a fine theme but they could try so much more to capture a feeling, time period or scenery. Not just a few trees plopped down to represent forests, how about a story to go along with it? I know Frontier land is a mining town but I wouldn't mind seeing something like that in DCA representing the gold rush. If DCA can't have real history how about imagineering some, isn't that what Disneyland was all about?


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                                    • #19
                                      I'd like to see DCA get vine covered tunnel/trellises for some of the walkways, like they used to have at Great America and Six Flags over St. Louis. They do a great job of providing shade and if maintained well, look nice too.
                                      See more of my horrible photos (and a few good ones) at my Flickr photostream

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                                      • #20
                                        DCA's Primary Flaws

                                        1) It's not a very attractive park. The casual views are not good in most locales, especially the lower-cost restaurants, which lack scenic vistas. The entry and plaza areas are not beautiful, lush, welcoming nor lovely rest spots (the entry Plaza/mural looks cheap, the cheese factor is set by this first act and never recovers). The Hotels and powerlines are in view throughout the park. There are few visually compelling 'weenies" at the end of the streets, especially the dull main throughfare, which for some reason was positioned along the backside of Bear Mountain, with no ride in view. The image of a burned-out Tower, post 9-11, dominates the park on one side, cheap carnival rides (primarily a disco-art-covered steel drop tower) the other. Why hang here when the scenery and art-direction at Disneyland is so lovely almost everywhere you look?

                                        2) The majority of the rides are not especially imaginative or compelling or escapist or comforting or exciting (exceptions: Soarin', Tower, Animation). some that look nice at first glance (Bug Land) are cheap upon investigation. There are few fresh breakthroughs in ride design - - or reasons to go to DCA instead of someplace else more interesting to see older "themed" ride concepts.

                                        3) A romance and history and mythology of California (old and new) seem largely absent, at least in any dramatic form. - - Some of the most interesting things in the park seem to have little to do with the overall theme of California at all.

                                        4) The entire park lacks cohesion or unity thematically and visually and certainly in terms of energy/aura/vibe.

                                        5) Spooky (and loud) carnival moog music like a live-action Scooby Doo movie.

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