We are coming up on a week since the grand reopening of Disney California Adventure and I finally finished my first pass through all the pictures and video I took last week and have a minute to catch my breath and reflect on the events that unfolded and try and gather my thoughts. It has been a crazy two weeks for me starting with a regular Disneyland Resort update on the 8th then an Annual Passholder preview on the 11th followed by three jam packed days for the media event and opening day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I took thousands of pictures and several hours of video that I waded through to create hundreds of pages to share with here on disneygeek.com.
As frequent visitors to this site know I have been following the construction over the years with thousands of pictures and watching the park grow and evolve has been great and I look forward to see where the Imagineers take us next.
I want to start off by saying how much I enjoyed the week and seeing what the Imagineers and the Disneyland Resort cast members put together. The scale and richness of Cars Land coupled with the detail of Buena Vista Street really change the face of Disney California Adventure. Couple this with the additions of Toy Story, Little Mermaid, World of Color, and the Mad T Party not to mention Ghirardeli, the new overlays on the Paradise Pier attractions, and the myriad of of other additions and pluses around the park and DCA really does feel like a new place. If you have not been in years you will be amazed by the difference.
One question I have gotten quite a bit is if DCA is now on par with Disneyland. I think that is a tough bar to achieve. Disneyland is Walt’s park which will always hold a special place. Add in that it has had over 55 years to mature and grow and houses more attractions and sentimental traditions/memories than any other Disney park for most of us and its really unfair to compare a park that is only 11 years old and really just finding its identity.
I think the changes at DCA can be compared to either the Disneyland expansion of 1959 which brought us the Matterhorn, Subs, and Monorail. Or maybe to the 60s when Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln(65), Small World(66), Pirates(67) or Haunted Mansion(69) opened. How is that for an incredible line up? I think the excitement all of us Disneygeeks are feeling now may be closest to those two time periods. I was not able to experience either so I do not know (both of those pre-date me).
Based on the early feedback I have heard from guests and from my experiences I think the relaunch of Disney California Adventure has hit its stride and set the park on a new course. Hopefully these great additions start to change the dialog and are successful so we can see more investments like this from the Disney Co in future years at both DCA and Disneyland. In the end what is going to matter is if the changes sit well with the average guest and bring them, and more importantly their tourism dollars and vacation time to the Disneyland Resort. Only time will tell us this.
I am going to be assembling at least one more column from last week looking at some of my favorite memories and pictures from the week. If anyone has questions, comments, or thoughts feel free to fire away, always interested in hearing and sharing your thoughts and experiences.