“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, February 8, 2001
BACKSTORY (Feb. 8, 2001—Present): 55-acre theme park built to make the Disney property into a greater multi-day vacation resort destination, keeping guests on-site for longer periods of time (like WDW). Construction began in 1998 and included the new theme park, the Grand Californian Hotel, Downtown Disney (an outdoor shopping, dining, & entertainment area) and the renovation of the Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel. The 55-acre DCA occupies the site of the former 5000 space parking lot; parking is now provided in the multi-level “Mickey & Friends” parking structure, with space for 10,000+ vehicles. It was often joked that the parking lot was more profitable than DCA when it first opened.
The original park contained thse three themed areas:
Golden State: Celebrating California's natural beauty and the cultural diversity of its people. Thrill seekers can white-knuckle it down the ahiriest white-water rafting attraction, Grizzly River Run. Gourmands can sink their teeth into the famous sourdough bread of San Francisco, as well as sample hundreds of fruits and vegetables at Bountiful Valley Farm (no longer operating).
Paradise Pier: Inspired by classic seaside amusement parks, this is the hot spot for high-speed roller coasters and midway games. Be catapulted skyward 180' in only 2 minutes, then bounc back bungee-like on the Maliboomer (since removed). The California Screamin' roller coaster sends guests through several scream tunnels before looping around Mickey's head. The 150' ride within a ride Sun Wheel takes center stage along the pier. Passengers can view the entire park across the 4 acre bay.
Hollywood Pictures Backlot: Stargazers can go "on location" and enjoy the world of celebrity madness on this motion picture studio "lot." ABC Soap Operat Bistro has the real dish for soap lovers. Dine in Port Charles, at General Hospital, or with All My Children and get served by playboys, amnesia victims, or good and evil twins (since closed down). Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and take in the scene pop into Disney Animation for exhibits and demonstrations.
The park was challenged from day one, when the state was experiencing horrible brown-outs. The majority of the failure of DCA during the opening years was due to last-minute cost cutting, too-few attractions, and in comparison to Disneyland, poor design/layout of the park. The city of Anaheim was more than annoyed with the bait and switch that resulted in an extremely watered-down experience from what was initially promised.
According to Bob Iger, the company is committed to turning DCA around, which was proven with the billion dollar expansion resulting in Buena Vista Street and Cars Land. These two new areas opened officially on June 15, 2012.
Buena Vista Street (formerly Sunshine Plaza), Hollywood Land (formerly Hollywood Pictures Backlot), Cars Land, The Golden State, A Bug’s Land, Grizzly Peak, Condor Flats, and Paradise Pier are the 8 areas that currently recreate various aspects about California, its culture, landmarks and history. Often referred to by its initials, DCA has a different line-up of attractions from Disneyland, including some family-friendly rides as well as an emphasis on adult oriented thrill rides. Alcohol is served in various DCA locations.
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