Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Happy 10th Birthday,
Disney California Adventure!

Thinking about how Disneyland's sister park has been open for a decade is enough to make my brain hurt. I was there on opening day on February 8, 2001, just a few months after my arrival in Los Angeles. It was an exciting time. And while I remain an avid supporter of this little park that could, I'm willing to acknowledge - like Disney themselves, now - that Anaheim's second gate was never quite up to snuff.

But all of that is changing! Thanks to regime changes (oh, and that $1 BILLION budget), Disney's California Adventure is on its way to becoming Disney California Adventure. The name change may be minor, but the improvements are anything but. Quickly disappearing is the asphalt jungle and all its charmless "design", making way for a near-total overhaul of theme all over the park.

Disney has never - repeat, NEVER - attempted such an undertaking before. Soon we'll have an all-new entrance harking back to Walt's own arrival in California, a Victorian-era Paradise Pier, Hollywood sans-backlot, a Little Mermaid ride, and expansion in the form of the massive Cars Land. So while the construction walls are pretty much everywhere, it's comforting to me that it's all for such a good cause.

Before World of Color, there was "LuminAria". Before Monsters Inc: Mike & Sulley To The Rescue, there was "Superstar Limo". And let's not forget about the crotch-grabbing stage show spectacular "Steps in Time", or the Whoopi Goldberg-enhanced journey through California history in "Golden Dreams".

Walt Disney was all about progress. He dreamed of a "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", and in the next couple of years Disney California Adventure will become just that. I'm with you 'til the end, DCA! Now just tell me what you did with that Cher audio-animatronic figure. TELL ME.

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