Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Disney to overhaul its California Misadventure
The Walt Disney Company wil have a press conference today to announce a $1.1 billion makeover of the disappointing California Adventure theme park across that was built six years ago in Disneyland's parking lot.
The announcement comes almost two years after our exclusive report that Disney was planning to turn the park into Pixarland. Word this morning indicates that Disney has decided to stop short of changing the name, but do plan to add more Pixar-themed attractions, based on Disney-Pixar flicks like Cars and Toy Story.
While the mainstream media did not follow up on our lead-- lazily waiting months for a press conference, planning has been going on since at least February 2006 (a month after Disney acquired Pixar), when we quoted sources:
"One Disney stockholder tells Tabloid Baby: 'DCA should stand for Dismal Commercial Accident.'The park has been a failure since Day One. It's too off-the-shelf and lacks in anything that makes it uniquely Disney. But turning it into Pixarland-- and I hope it works out-- will reinvent the theme park. It can be a Disneyland for the new millennium.'"
We followed that February report a week later with an investigative pleasure trip to the park (for free, thanks to a two-fer offer on a previous Disneyland jaunt):
"The place truly is a California Adventure. Like San Pedro. Without the magic. We don’t expect a theme park to be as magical and historic and culturally significant as Disneyland across the way. But California Adventure (DCA) is kind of a drag. It’s crowded. It’s noisy. It’s not special. And it’s too— California. Too many of the workers—the park’s ambassadors—are businesslike, annoyed, bullying-- maybe in training for the Big Show, maybe overworked..."
And then we went on about a sewage backup at Ariel's Grotto.
In the past year, thanks to a Disneyland premium pass, we've visited DCA often, but haven't gone far beyond the Soarin' Over California hang glider simulator, the too-simple Monsters Inc. attraction and the Grizzly River rapids run (an identical ride is offered at SeaWorld).
A bright spot in the park has been the High School Musical 2 parade, which at least attracts the kids.
The overhaul, which will cost more than it took to build the flop, will suposedly make the place more like Disneyland. Which can't be bad. We look forward to hearing more details from the ultimate Disney authority over at Hollywood Thoughts (read LA Dodger Jon's story of DCA's downfall here.)