Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mid-Adventure...

Nice start, good end please...



With WOC now playing in DCA for over a month it's time to reflect on where the Resort stands...

Because all the construction going on, California Adventure is now at the half-way mark. For the last couple of years people have been complaining about not seeing enough progress. With the opening of this new night time show there is finally tangible evidence that the Disneyland Resort's Second Gate is becoming a "Disney" park.

And as well as that new show, you can see the visible signs of next years E-Ticket, The Little Mermaid attraction. Or the desert mountains of Cars Land that now are blocking the outside world (something that should have been done a decade ago).

And then there are the Red Car tracks that are slowly working there way through what will soon be known as Hollywoodland. And the walls that are going up over near the restaurant near Mulholland Madness or Madness itself. Then after Christmas you'll see the Maliboomer disappear and the front entrance will be behind walls as well. Walls, walls and more walls. But more progress as well. As Paradise Pier/Paradise Park has become the center of the park, you'll start to notice the transformation of the pier from a cheap, unthemed seaside sideshow, to a detailed and lavishly themed, idealized representation of a Victorian/Edwardian turn-of-the-century seashore. This area will continue to be the gathering place for Disney California Adventure all through next year with Ariel's attraction opening up. Not till late summer when the recreated Radiator Springs will attention turn away from the pier.

As 2012 comes to a close, those that enter the new front entrance and take in a revitalized attempt at presenting a park worthy of the Disney name, will not recognize the park as they walk down Buena Vista Street. Or perhaps they just won't remember it? Kids/Families that stroll down the new areas for the first time, will not realize how much different this park is from the one that opened barely a decade before. Not that there won't be work to still be done. There will be.

It just won't be the extreme measures that had to be taken to save this park and finally create a real resort...

18 comments:

Not complaining but... said...

The changes are exciting, and it is amazing to see so much construction going on in the park as it experiences some of it's biggest crowds ever.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they managed a logical transition between Old Hollywood at the Tower of Terror, to the miniaturized backyard of a Bug's Land.

I'm also very curious to find out how the BACKside of the CarsLand mountain range will be finished, since it's clearly visible from all over the park.

Another thing that I would really like to see is an enclosed lobby with washrooms for the Hyperion, if only to block the views to backstage and Harbor Blvd beyond the berm.

And finally, I noticed in some of the latest computer generated videos of CarsLand, that, while some effort has been made to block sightlines to the hotel towers south of Katella, and the power lines, with the New Mexico buttes and mountains, when you look North--Tower of Terror is clearly visible!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGVYMdbO7Kc&feature=player_embedded#!

One thing that worries me about Radiator Springs is that it will look and feel a lot like actually being in New Mexico. Which means that they can't simply add trees everywhere for much needed shade in the Summer. It's going to be crowded and very hot.

The HollywoodLand and BV Street changes are probably going to be the most successful and immersive, design-wise. Those changes really feel like they could have been built there in the first place, even though the theme is no longer about California history and culture in most of the rest of the park.

Ryan said...

Not to complain also...

Where the Hell do they go from here? Okay, I know there's some expansion room left at the old Millionare/Muppets/Hollywood & Dine buildings, or inside the helixs (helixi?) of Screamin', and there's plenty of re-do work to be done on the Carousel, Fun Wheel, Screamin' itself, etc. But I guess I just don't see where the next big new E-Ticket's going after Carsland (not including the expansion rides).

Cramming anything else in there is going to be a daunting task, and are they really going to spend time/money re-designing rides like the Symphony Swings and Goofy's Flight School to tear them out five years later? Or even something like Muppets, which clearly aren't going anywhere (notice how the only attractions re-done are the cheap ones like Superstar/Orange Stinger/Golden Dreams).

Stuff like Glow Fest isn't going to fuel your park's growth in fifteen-twenty years when you need more capacity. I guess it all goes back to the lack of foresight by the old managers like Pressler, but it's really a big deal.

C33 said...

IMO, the way to go from here is, ironically, a bit back to where they started. DCA opened as a park with lots of great shopping and dining options but few good attractions and themed areas.

Soon we will have many great attractions and themed areas- but notsomuch on the shopping and especially dining. When DCA opened, we had Puck in Paradise Pier, Mondavi at the Winery, the wonderfully themed Soap Opera Bistro and Hollywood and Dine food court in HPB.

Now? There's the over-priced princess dining at Ariel's Grotto, and half the winery is being used for the pre-fixe WoC dining packages. H&D had a wall built in front of it and the Soap Opera Bistro was gutted for the Playhouse Disney show; Hollywood Pictures Backlot now has no dining at all except for Award Wieners and some ODV carts. Actually, nearly all of the park's restaurants are in one small stretch between the Bug's Land/Bountiful Valley Farm area and Pacific Wharf, and of those four only one of them even has an inside.

Basically, when I want to eat at DCA, I just go to the Grand Californian. Between Storytellers, Napa Rose, Whitewater Snacks and the Hearthstone Lounge it's got everything covered.

DCA opened with lots of dining catering to crowds that never materialized. Now the crowds are there and it's time to build some proper dining options to serve them. The new dining options coming to the former Burger Invasion/Pizza Oom Mow Mow area will be a help but the east side of the park is still lacking. Hopefully that proposed Drive In Theater restaurant for CarsLand gets built, and maybe Hollywood and Dine can be reopened (it was used for this year's Food and Wine Festival, which is a start).

Anonymous said...

**Or even something like Muppets, which clearly aren't going anywhere**

Well, they should. That attraction should be torn down. Its attendance is abysmal, even after all the Bohemian Rhapsody fuss. It should be torn down or partially so, and Mickey's Philharmagic should go in its place. It would be worth the investment, as it's a VERY popular attraction at WDW's Fantasyland. And a very fitting addition to the new DCA.

Tinman said...

@Ryan You could say the same thing about lots of Disney parks right now, and they all seem to be doing just fine.

jedited said...

To Ryan:
Goofy's Sky School is only a retheme, I suspect that the ride will be completely redone later. I don't see the Jumping Jelly Fish lasting very long.
There is room in the Bugs Life/Boutiful Valley area (especially if they remove some of the lamer things in Bugs Life).
I suspect that the Redwood Creek Challenge trail is only a place holder as well. There is PLENTY of space there.
There is room behind Grizzly River Rapids.
There is room on the wharf if you remove the bakery and the tortilla factory.
Plus all the areas that you mentioned. That's a lot of space.
Just think how efficient Disneyland is on space and there is ALOT of hope for the future.

Anonymous said...

Muppets and Bugs 3D must go!!! They were installed in the cheap era. They were part of the Pressler's multiplex project with the long forgotten Whoopi Goldberg movie.

I won't be back until late 2012. It's not worth the hassle to visit DCA now.

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Joe said...

@anonymous (first one)

You cannot compare shows at WDW to Disneyland. Or are you buying into this "one park" crap Disney seems to like? What works for one park does not mean it works for another. At WDW, all of the shows are crowded. Yes, this includes MuppetVision in DHS. Why? Because of the heat and humidity which makes outside unbearable.

After going to both parks, it is clear to see that DLR has much less of a demand for 3D shows than WDW.

Anonymous said...

Philharmagic is not nearly as popular as stated above. Every other FL attraction gives out "surprise" fastpasses just to try and get people over there. It's a better show than Muppets IMO, but definitely not a huge draw.

Ryan said...

I don't get people who want Philharmagic in California. I always heard about the APers complain about the 3D shows...

As for E-Tickets, I guess part of the problem is, I don't know what they could put in that wouldn't be copying DL. A mine train through Grizzly River Run sounds great, but how's that going to be anything than a Thunder Mountain rehash (unless they throw in some Expedition Everest backwards section... I guess I could get behind that, though that sounds super-expensive and would probably require a lot of reworking).

After that, some of the ideas that I've read online are just lame, like Philharmagic... more clones? Are people who want this serious? Enclosing Hyperion's lobby sounds more functional than fun... I can't imagine trying to market something like an enclosed lobby to the masses.

I'm sorry, I like the restaurant idea, I do... but as for everything else, where's the imagination?

Cory Gross said...

I don't care... gimmie the Carolwood-Pacific Railway and the Country Bear Jamboree!

Honor Hunter said...

There is no planned railway trough Grizzly River Run...

Not only would it be too incredibly expensive, and it's physically impossible to create through the mountain.

Sorry to burst any bubbles...

Anonymous said...

I worked at Philharmagic, and it's often packed, and audience enthusiam is through the roof. The trouble is the show's exterior, rather unimpressive, and its queue...there isn't one. It's just a bland lobby. No theming. Does not prepare you for the experience in any way. You'd think Disney would at least consider intalling a few screens that show clips from Disney films, since classic Disney is what Philharmagic is all about. But then a lot of Disney's queues kind of suck, at least in the modern rides. Just cordons and chains to move the cattle along. Not like the Mansion and Tower of Terror or Pirates - those at least have atmospheric surroundings for guests to enjoy. See, that's why the Potter ride at Universal makes Disney look realllyyy bad. Hogwarts is just amazing, and is an attraction in itself. But I digress - anyway, Philharmagic, because it does evoke the wonderful memories and magic of true Disney, SHOULD be in DCA, if the Imagineers are seriously about evoking a true Disney feel to what was once a mishmash of irrelevant rides and settings. Muppets have little to do with Disney's glory days. They really should go, and Philharmagic should move in.

Not complaining but... said...

But the Country Bears could fit in there somewhere, I wouldn't want to see anything removed from Golden State, but a new version of the Bear show would be fun.

The park does need at least one more proper E ticket, that is original and timeless, and ideally not based on a franchise or just a copy of something from another park. There is space in HPB. It could be something based on Movie illusions and visual tricks. A Hollywood Adventure.

Anonymous said...

Carsland is a terrible name! It is too franchise specific. I can't believe the are going forward with it. Is fantasyland called "Cinderellaland?" No, it's a general theme into which franchises can come and go. Cars is already old, now they're gonna place a permanent structure in its honor? Cars it not Harry Potter, it is not a classic in the making. They are already dating themselves. Look at Jurassic park at Universal...

Ryan said...

I agree with Not Complaining, there needs to be a unique E-Ticket in this park... something to give it an identity other than "that movie" or "that franchise."

And the mine train idea is mine. Just a pipe dream, natch.

Spokker said...

"Not only would it be too incredibly expensive, and it's physically impossible to create through the mountain.

Sorry to burst any bubbles..."

The bubble was burst in 2001.

As much money as they throw at DCA, nothing will fix the original design and theme of the park. DCA 2.0 will be a vast improvement, but the sins of the past continue to haunt those who are tasked with correcting it.