Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Disney California Adventure Changes

Disney California Adventure Changes

In the last couple of years major changes have taken place at Disney's newest United States theme park. DCA opened with much fanfare and high hopes in 2001 but people had expected something different than what Disney gave them. People were looking for a Disney themed park and were surprised to find little Disney there.

There were two rides in the park that were themed on movies, It's Tough to be a Bug and Muppet 3D. All the other attractions celebrated the Golden State of California. The other things that were directly "Disney" was the animation building with the Sorcerers Work Shop, Drawn to Animation and back than a theater that had shorts about upcoming Disney movies (now Turtle Talk with Crush). Even the Hyperion Theater did not stay to Disney themed plays (Now Aladdin the Musical calls Hyperion home.). Blast is a great example of a wonderful show that was not Disney. Also they had the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It" show/game.

The characters were out and about but with a California feel. For example Minnie Mouse would come out dressed up as Minnie EARhart and pose for pictures next to a smaller than life size version of the plane Amelia Earhart went missing in. The area was called Condor Flats and celebrated the golden era of aerospace in California. Goofy and the gang would "film" a beach themed movie in the Hollywood Backlot area on a stage while guests watched on.

People complained that DCA did not have the Disney Magic. I saw it differently. I saw California, the state I have lived in all my life and love the way it could be. I was a Disney version of my Golden State. Paradise Pier was a mini version of Santa Monica Pier but was cleaner. The style of rides available in that area and the look of them is close and captures the feel of the great pier parks of California's heyday. The beautiful Sun Wheel has now become Mickey's Fun Wheel. Where you once went flying around Mickey's head when you road the Screamer you now go around the golden sun. The "beach front boardwalk games" have been replaced with Disney themed boardwalk games.

Mulohalland Madness, now Goofy's fly School was a fun reminder of that bendy road in the hills above Hollywood. The road signs were funny. Golden Dreams, now Arial's Undersea Adventure was a fantastic show that showed when, how, and why different ethnic groups of people came to the Golden State and what "gold" they were looking for. At times it was fun and showed the excitement of the growth of California. Sometimes it showed the gritty reality of bigotry. It showed in 22 minutes how far we have come in accepting people and reminding us we all have our Golden Dreams.

I loved bountiful valley with its farm feel. There were farm/bug themed shows at a little stage and information about agriculture in California. It reminded me that California was once called the fruit basket of the world. At one time, not so many years ago the majority of the world's fruits and vegetables came from California. You could play in the "farms" watering system on hot summer days. Most of this is now gone giving way to Flick's Fun Fair and now Cars Land.

Am I saying all the changes are bad? No! I'm just saying some things they removed or changes should have been left. The Orange Stinger with its buzzing bees and smell of fresh oranges was a fun reminder that California still grows some of the best oranges. I can see how the Sun Wheel needed to become the Mickey's Fun Wheel with the addition of the nighttime show World of Color. They project video onto the wheel and the big sun would have made it hard.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new additions of Cars Land with its nod to the grand old Route 66. I'm going to enjoy riding the new version of the Flying Saucer. The Flying Tires ride will be a lot like the old Flying Saucer ride from the 1960s. The new Cars Land should be open early this summer. So if you want some California fun, come on out and check it out! I'm sure you will see me there some time.

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