This week, I was very lucky to be invited to the Disney California Adventure: Cars Land Passholder’s Preview event after my friend and co-worker Amy Katscher won tickets for it.
This article is a bit of a prelude to my review of the new land.
Before I go into my more detailed review of the new land a bit of history for those of you not really familiar with the second Disney park in California.
Most of the people I know who have been to Disney California Adventure often refer to it as “California lite for Californians,” instead of what it was really supposed to be which was essentially the west coast version of Disney’s Hollywood Backlot from the Florida resorts. There are a lot of elements brought over including some of the attractions.
I, for one, was thrilled when they brought over Muppet Vision 3D. I have never been to the Florida parks but had heard about Muppet Vision. Being a major fan of the Muppets I was delighted. But the rest of the park was largely ho-hum.
The “Back Lot” area wasn’t that great. Sure it had Muppet Vision and an Animation pavilion but not much else. Adding Tower of Terror helped but overall it was still very meh. (I know its not a real word but it is how it felt.) It was pretty-ish. It had some good parts but the magic just wasn’t there.
They had a Bugs Life area that was essentially nothing but kiddy rides but it did have a giant Hopper character and the Bugs Life “It’s Tough To Be a Bug”. 3D movie show with several immersive elements. A lot like “Honey I Shrunk The Audience” but with a Bugs Life Theme.
The Midway/Boardwalk area where the California Screamin’ coaster and giant Ferris Wheel is were pretty cool as was the water rapids ride. There were a lot of Boardwalk style rides and games.
Unfortunately, there weren’t any real major outstanding “THIS IS IT” moments or attractions and several of the attractions went away after only a couple of years. I am specifically thinking of the Maliboomer which was one of the few rides I REALLY enjoyed.
But, for California natives there wasn’t really anything that screamed “Hey Cali Disney still cares about you as much as Florida.” For a park who gets most of its business from locals, that’s not a good thing.
Then a couple of years ago it seemed like Disney was finally taking the hint and started putting some serious attention into the park and started revamping large parts of it. World of Color was launched a little over a year ago. And they started construction of an entirely new land. They also completely redesigned the main entrance area with new gates and entry zone they are calling “Buena Vista Street. The “Grand Reopening” is June 15th 2012 and coincides with the official opening of Cars Land. Let’s hope they keep with the inertia they have built and turn DCA into what it really has the potential to be.
Before anyone tells me about the historical details I missed or that I am crazy for feeling the way I do. Keep in mind, this article is to give a little back story to my review of Cars land. I know I am not giving ALL the details. It is to give the idea and to help explain my mindset and perceptions. I have never hated DCA. I was just never really into it.
Now, on to the review. (next post).