Thursday, June 4, 2009
I know I've joked about California Adventure(that's what they want to call it now, not DCA) being known as "Wall Land" but it's becoming painfully obvious that's what it is...
Not that I'm complaining. It's a good thing. It shows progress. It shows that the Walt Disney Company is trying to fix the mistakes of the past even if it doesn't come outright and say so. Oddly, Bob Iger is far more candid dealing with these questions than Jay Rasulo is. Matt Ouimett would be such a better fit for Iger and the resort... you hear that Bob? Pleeeeaaase?
Enough pleading. With all those walls up you can see that the Paradise Pier area is in for a dramatic change over the next two years. Slowly we are seeing the metaphoric bulldozer come in and demolish DCA 1.0. Or perhaps it's better to think of it as evolving. This Darwinian version of the theme park will be going the way of the dinosaur.
DCA 2.0 will slowly emerge from the Imagineering primordial mud. Not as fast as some Disney Fans/Geeks would like, but it'll progress. And three years from now we'll finally have a park worthy of bearing Walt's name. Ten years later than it should, but finally here none the less. It won't be perfect and there's probably another four or five years worth of projects that could go into the Second Gate so as to make it what it should be. That won't happen until DCA's gate numbers start to tick up. After next year we should start to see that with the WOC water show premiering. People will slowly begin to understand that there are actually reasons to go to California Adventure over Disneyland for a day. Slowly at first... but it'll happen.
The DCA, I'm sorry, California Adventure that will emerge will not be the one that pays homage to the Golden State with cheap rides and limited theming. Instead, it'll be one that pays respect to the state by having areas themed to periods of California's history with attractions based on Disney properties that were created here. The Golden State area will remain relatively the same now, but should a second expansion happen after 2012, it'll turn into that Yosemite style turn of the century national park. It won't require much since the area already reflects most of this now and only requires minimal theming and the removal of modern elements. Not to mention those wonderful AA's that would populate it (especially the skunk!). The Paradise Pier will also reflect the Victorian age midways that populated the coast in the first quarter of the century. This is the area showing the most progress right now as guest walking around Wall-Land can attest. The Hollywoodland section will emerge as a reflection of Tinseltown in the 30's and 40's. Carsland, which I hope they call Route 66, will reflect the desert of the mid century (think 50's and 60's) that cuts through this state and reflects much of it's car culture. And the front entrance which will be styled in Spanish Revival architecture reflective of the time when Walt first moved here. In essence we enter through the time that Walt saw and move forward and back through the times of this states culture.
With the new theming and TSMM being a solid D-Ticket, we can now look forward to the Mermaid attraction which will be DCA's first truly "Tokyo Disneyland" quality attraction, but not the last as those who've seen what Carsland will culminate in. This will not be the last of these rides, but it will be the last time we see attractions like Superstar Limo. As long as Lasseter has a say, projects like that will go the way of the Do Do Bird.
The problems of Pressler and Eisner aren't dead yet, but they are approaching the end of their lifespan. Once 2012 arrives and attendance increases the guests that enter the park will finally see what they should have a decade earlier. A Disney park. One that will go through the next decade (read:2012-2020) with additions and expansions that bury the past so that new generations of Disney fans will not have any memory of Michael Eisner's folly. A new generation will know the meaning of the name Disney and expect the quality we all know the Mouse is capable of and we demand.
And that is a very good thing...