Friday, January 04, 2008

Disney's California Adventure Gets Renovated!!!,0,1723646,full.story

Good! They should fire those Imagineers and the suits that greenlit Disney's California Adventure (DLA)!!!!

I was working at Disneyland while they first started building DLA. I laughed then, and I laugh now that I go there and visit every year. Although I have to give them props for trying to inject some character in there by adding character parades, exclusive character greetings, features/rides in the Hollywood area, and by adding the unique Bug Land theme in the agriculture area. They even did an incredibly lousy job of putting Brother Bear in the redwood area.

Hey, how come they don't have a Desert Land since CA is mostly desert???

Why not just demolish DCA and add on to Disney Land?

Agreed. It's just better business to have two streams of revenue. Disney World is a testament to how well that business model works. They just have to make DCA at least as desirable as DL. It sounds like they know what they were missing: a strong tie in to the characters and films. While Disney did a lot of "new" things with his parks when he was alive, he always knew to concentrate them on the characters and films. It wasn't until Lasseter was coming in that we started seeing Pixar rides and other more valuable character integrations. Now that Jobs and Lasseter have been given some power, everything is turning over for Disney, including their parks.

Their animated movies are really turning out for the better. More on that later.

The Cars land really has Jobs and Lasseter written all over it.

Here's the map:

As we can see, we've also got a new Mickey Fun Wheel ride and Toy Story ride (I haven't seen either in Disney World). I definitely think they are headed in the right direction, but I don't think they're moving fast enough. They should have started out with more than this. All those other orange buildings are just changes where they're adding more character themes to what already exists.

I think they should have a plan to expand more on the left and specifically in Grizzley River Run. Everybody pretty much avoids the upper left section of the park, especially if you've already done it.

It looks like the new Cars Land is going to tear up the Agriculture and Restaurant Lands that are currently barren wastelands that people just walk past (although there are still some large gray buildings north of Car Land, so they're keeping some of Restaurant Land).

I'm not sure if they tore all that useless area up, but it still looks like people still have to travel between too much boring nothingness to get from Car Land to California Screaming, Toy Story, and Mickey Fun Wheel. Also, it looks like they're keeping some of the boring Agriculture stuff up between Mater's Junkyard and the Bug's Life 3D show (which is grayed out and just below the new Walt Disney Story theater).

To be honest, I don't think they should do the Walt Disney Story Theater. Why? They already had a movie playing in Hollywood Backlot about Walt, and Disney Land has their Mainstreet theater dedicated to his Disneyland pursuits.

They replaced the Walt movie in the Hollywood Backlot in 2005:

Plus Disney World has a ride for him as well. What are we going to get out of this that will make us want to experience it more than once? It's probably a little more interesting than the golden stuff that is there right now, but why isn't this a production of Enchanted, or the coming Frog Princess or Rupunzel? Or some sort of Kingdom Heart cross-character production? Or some sort of stage-show or 3D tribute to the old black and white Mickey Mouse, Alice, and Ozwald Rabbit cartoons (the latter of which Disney just acquired)?

Why do we need another show for Walt's life? Why not have it focus on his creations, have Walt tell the story about them, and have those creations come to life? (Wait, they may actually do that.) It has to be fun enough to want to do each time you visit the park (especially since it's the primary attraction, right in front of you when you enter). That sounds like they'll need some animatronics and 3D interactions to get people to want to do it more than once.

I have to be honest; my favorite 3D live interactions were actually from the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor in DW’s MK in Tomorrowland. It opened in April this year. It was also much more fun than Turtle Talk with Crush due to the line being a normal line where you looked at funny things on the walls. Plus it was a large theater so the line moved faster, and you don’t feel like you’re getting squished in.

They're doing a lot to redefine the entrance plaza. That's nice, but that's not going to sell tickets. That's a huge investment with only asthetic value. The only way that improvement will help them financially is if they add some attractions in there and give it a Roger Rabbit theme where cartoon characters are peeking in from Toon Town or something interesting like that.

The other problem this doesn't address is the park layout. You walk through Mainstreet to get to the hub. You then pick a land and go. Critter Country and Toon Town were just tacked on because Walt never thought he'd need to add more lands.

But here you actually have three hubs. Your first is near the new Story Theater. The second is near Mater's Junkyard. Your third hub is near Little Mermaid. You have to travel around the lake to get to the good stuff. You have to do that at Disney Land as well, but you've got Pirates and Mansion along the way to distract you before you get to Splash Mountain. With this layout, you can draw a big square of nothingness on this map between Mermaid and Junkyard.

The one good thing is they added a path between Tower of Terror and Cars Land, but it's obvious that they didn't plan the park that way. That makes me curious about that square building on that path, on the right side of the map.

They need some sort of transportation since the park isn't laid out with a central hub. They should have a train go around the outside. There are trains in California. They should probably be more freight themed trains to be different from the Disneyland trolley train. I would have said subway, but that’s not California (and it would probably be too expensive). Tourist buses are also common, so they could put a few Disneyfied tourist buses on a train track that runs along the outside of the park.

I don't claim to be some sort of theme park designer, but these mistakes they're making are pretty blatant. Walt was great at taking peoples' pulses and giving them what they want: movie and animation characters with interesting history and culture thrown in. California history and culture is not interesting in any way! That's what Main Street was, and he left it as one street for a reason. Plus there are attractions on the sides, at the front, and going up and down Main Street, leading up to a castle (every girl's dream)! Come on! Learn from the man!!!

A lot of people say that they only go to DCA for California Screamin'.

What, you don't hang out in the kiddie Bug's Land? =^)
But even that was added more recently. Seriously, if you haven't been to Bug's Land, go on the caterpillar ride, even if you don't have kids. They spray mist in your face that smells like the food you're traveling through. It's great.
Also, the Aladdin show is great. That's been showing near the Tower of Terror. That's also a new addition.
Plus they've been forcing people who want to see the better parade to go to DCA. So they've been doing what they can (also adding Tower of Terror and Monster's Inc.), but it was time for them to step up the pace a little and change the park faster. However, I still don't think they understand that this change won't be enough. It's in the right direction, but it's not enough.

They're refurbishing the entrance for no good reason, and they are adding many buildings that aren't rides. They just don't get it.

Most people think they should demolish the whole wretched thing and install WestCot as it should have been.


I agree about demolishing it, but (#1) press would have a hayday with it, which would affect stock and other factors, (#2) It would be super expensive, and (#3) Do we really need another EpCOT, especially after Innoventions was added to Tomorrowland? I say no; they should stick with characters.

I think their best bet is to do what they're doing but to do it at 3 times the scale of what they're planning. This should be one third of their plan, and they should do this every five years until the whole park is better than Disneyland.

Also, scrapped right before WestCOT was Disney America (this may have been cool):

They should have bought Knott's! They still shoud! Or build in Virginia. Whatever. However, they'd have to do a better job of injecting all their characters into it than they did in DLA. They didn't even do a great job of that with Animal Kingdom (that succeeded because of some character integration, some great rides, good shows, the animals, and Disney World synergy).

Notice that spike near 2003? Bug's Land opened in 2003, with Tower of Terror in 2004 and Monster's Inc in 2006(?). They're headed in the right direction, but they need a major overhaul like Bug's Land. Car Land and these new rides will help, but they should use their money (currently being spent to refurbish the entrance and to build the non-ride buildings) on tearing up more useless space and building more character-driven features. That's what's going to give them their next upward spike.

I'm afraid that they'll get a small spike (similar to 2002-2003) with this new addition and then get satisfied, just adding a new ride every two years, but never getting up to the DLand numbers, feeling like it would be impossible. It's possible! Just make it as fun!!!

Okay. I'm done ranting. =^)


- The Emperor

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