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  • What happened to the themeing in DCA?

    Hi all,

    I just got back from Tokyo, and, while there, spent a day at Disney Sea. As a (much too) frequent visitor to the Anaheim parks, I was abolutely floored by the Placemaking in TDS. I've always considered Disney to be the pinnacle of themeing, but this was unbelievable.

    I definintely understand how DL can't live up to the same standard, as it was built decades ago, and the areas have slowly continued to evolve over time. However, the same excuse cannot be given for Anaheim's second gate. TDS and DCA were both built roughly around the same time, and both built from the ground up, presumably their design phases overlapped for some time. So why the gross difference in levels of themeing? Why is it that DCA fails so miserably at creating 'lands' where TDS so masterfully pulls it off?

    Were they created by two so vastly different teams? If so, I'm stunned that there would be no communication between the two. I can't see Disney learning from the mistakes of DCA and applying them to TDS that quickly.

    Oh, well, just wondering if anyone had any insight on this.

    -AM

  • #2
    Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

    Originally posted by AMUSIX View Post
    I've always considered Disney to be the pinnacle of themeing, but this was unbelievable.
    Seems even creativity is being outsourced overseas...

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    • #3
      Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

      Originally posted by AMUSIX View Post
      Were they created by two so vastly different teams?
      Very much so. I believe the Oriental Land Company pours money into, and constructs everything on their own with Disney making sure the integrity of their properties are maintained.

      When DCA was built, the suits that were in power were very ratail-centric. There were more stores and places to eat than things to do.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

        Not to say that DCA is a great park, but it does have themeing in every area of that park. Some of the attractions may seem like cheap themeing (Screamin' and those) but over all it did have a great theme. It is just people had to look more at the detail then have it shoved in there face. Next time you are at the Pacific Warf area just take a look around and see how well themed out that area is.

        J
        Kungaloosh!

        *END OF LINE*

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        • #5
          Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

          Thank you Paul "If it's good enough for Six Flags" Pressler. They both had the relatively same creative resource. The Oriental Land Company was paying Disney Seas and practically had a limitless budget. The Disney Company itself paid for the DLR expansion and the execs at the time were ruthless in their budget cuts at the expense of show quality.
          "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals.
          Homer Jay Simpson


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          • #6
            Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

            Oh, I know DCA has themeing, and I agree, Pacific Wharf really does stand out. Unfortunately, most of the other areas fall truly flat or simly don't present themselves as cohesive areas. Ask a random guest after a day int eh park what they thought of the area themed like a desert airstrip, and you'll get a blank stare. Likewise, the Hollywood area is underwhelming (from what I gather, it's themed like a street...although it does have the most obscene sign/reference I've seen in any park, disney or otherwise).

            The Grizzly Peak area is done well, but hugely underused (a lengthy path that goes nowhere, for instance). And San Francisco...well, that's really nothing more than a walkway between Grizzly Peak and Paradise Pier. Who decides to make a California-themed park and not give San Francisco any space? "Lets not have an SF themed attraction..." Yes, because earthquakes, chinatowns, gold rushes, steep hills and twisty streets just wouldn't make good attractions.

            OK, got off on a tangent there, but yes, there are little bits of detail here and there, but overall the placemaking simply fails. Though I suppose when one of your ideas for your new amusement park is to have a (huge) area themed like an amusement park...

            -AM

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            • #7
              Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

              The should DEFINATELY have a SF themed ride... A trolly car that loses control and runs crazy through the streets, through various parts of SF, pauses at the top of a hill...and then gets hit by an earthquake... could be really fun stuff.. sigh.

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              • #8
                Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                A whole bunch of things "helped" to make DCA what it is:

                * financial debacle of DLP. After this, Eisner became really gun-shy of spending $$.

                * next, non-optimal concept of "showing off California today." There were several concepts
                before WDI/WDC devolved the 2nd gate into DCA: WestCot, TDS, Disney Studios.
                IMHO, any of these (or others) would have been better than what we got.

                * HUGE emphasis on retail and places to eat. Major de-emphasis on attractions. (see what
                happened in DL during this time).

                * Even then, the original concepts for DCA were much better than what we got.Then
                we have the fact that WDC started cutting back on its budget. The whole expansion was
                > $1b, but Grand Californian got nearly half of that!! Put in DtD and DCA (per developed square
                acre) gotta be one of the cheapest parks that WDC has built.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                  SF street does have an attraction, that repo of the palace of fine arts has a nice movie show in it and comfy seats that are great for a nap on a hot day. But the Golden Gate Bridge, the pinnacle of San Fran is a bit out of place. Mullholand Madness might have been a good ride for SF, kinda like driving in SF. There is themeing but I dont think the transitions from "land" to "land" are very good, I hope they go through with the improvements that are rumored. I think CA has great potential but its still not an all day park like MK is. A wooden roller coaster would fit nice, take out SF street all together, a few more attractions throughout would be good and a great night show. I also would like to see muppet vision get replaced, I have never seen much of a crowd for this show in Cali, funny at WDW they line up out the door for it and its stuck in the back of the park.
                  Steve

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                    Originally posted by AMUSIX View Post
                    Hi all,

                    I just got back from Tokyo, and, while there, spent a day at Disney Sea. As a (much too) frequent visitor to the Anaheim parks, I was abolutely floored by the Placemaking in TDS. I've always considered Disney to be the pinnacle of themeing, but this was unbelievable.

                    I definintely understand how DL can't live up to the same standard, as it was built decades ago, and the areas have slowly continued to evolve over time. However, the same excuse cannot be given for Anaheim's second gate. TDS and DCA were both built roughly around the same time, and both built from the ground up, presumably their design phases overlapped for some time. So why the gross difference in levels of themeing? Why is it that DCA fails so miserably at creating 'lands' where TDS so masterfully pulls it off?

                    Were they created by two so vastly different teams? If so, I'm stunned that there would be no communication between the two. I can't see Disney learning from the mistakes of DCA and applying them to TDS that quickly.

                    Oh, well, just wondering if anyone had any insight on this.

                    -AM

                    Yup, this isn't old news. Californians have been rather disappointed in DCA from the getgo. And Disney Seas opened the SAME year! It's amazing what an imagineer can do when they have the money to run.

                    Even DCA's standouts are rather 'meh' because it's not complete. Tower of Terror is great by itself, but everything around it just doesn't help.


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                    • #11
                      Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                      As far as lush theming goes DCA excells in the Grizzly River Run area. Everywhere else, not so much.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                        I'm sorry - did I hear that DCA has a THEME...?

                        Let's see:
                        - there's an "Aviation Area" with one attraction
                        - there is a "Big Grizzly Bear Rock" with one attraction (an unthemed, out-sourced, "white water" ride that was seen at Six Flags Magic Mountain 20+ years ago...)
                        - there's a "Hollywood Backlot Area" (which is so vastly different than other Hollywood Backlot areas found in actual Hollywood Backlots at Universal, etc.) with a Disney Animation building, a 3-D Theatre attraction imported from Disney / MGM Studios in Florida, and the Hyperion Theatre - which presents a first rate, Broadway style 45-minute show... oh, and a recently revamped-from-the-original-lame dark ride unique to DCA - "Monsters, Inc".
                        - there's a "Farm Area" with another imported attraction from DAK starring Bugs, and a tacked on "Bug's Land" area with rides geared to the under-5 crowd
                        - the "San Francisco Area" presents one movie attraction - on the history of California (which, I actually like / worked on)
                        - there's a "Coney Island" Area meant to remind us of the old Pike in Long Beach / every Amusement Park that Walt hated / fought against, with hackneyed 'attractions' culled from carnivals and fairs, (or 'borrowed' from other Disney theme parks - can anyone explain what the Disney Seas' "Jumping Jellyfish" ride is doing here? Can y'all say "FILLER"?) 90% of them outsourced to non-Disney, non-Imagineering firms to create an atmosphere identical to every other amusement park in the country.

                        So, we have a LOT of "lands", a lack of cohesive theme, and 2 or 3 attractions unique to DCA - not much of a reason to make this a "Tourist Destination" - in my opinion...
                        Last edited by EvilQueen; 04-25-2007, 11:16 AM.
                        "I've got the heart of a child..." - I keep it in a box, next to my bed...

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                        • #13
                          Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                          The problem with DCA is the California theme, a park based solely on the state that it is in is kind off a lame concept. Many ideas they had, gave up on or attempted just didnt pan out.

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                          • #14
                            Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                            Originally posted by nish221 View Post
                            A* next, non-optimal concept of "showing off California today."
                            I've always had a hard time with this one. Yes, there are many themes Disney could have used. But the California concept is completely viable, as California is one of the most diverse areas of the country. It's the poor execution of the theme that has caused the majority of the problems.

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                            • #15
                              Re: What happened to the themeing in DCA?

                              Ah, so the detail is there but its so subtle that even the most hard core Disney fans can't see it. I'd say that's a pretty spectacular failure of themeing.

                              Pacific Warf and Grizzly Peak are nice though.
                              Please visit my Big Thunder/Disney Inspired Model Railroad


                              Dream big. Do what you love.

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