The most common complaint about DCA was that it was not Disneyland. It didn't have that Disney Magic that you get when you see Sleeping Beauty Castle for the first time, or for the 100th time.
From the very beginning, California Adventure just didn't get the crowds that Disneyland obtained. Remember Superstar Limo? There were some disasters right from the start and that ride was no exception.
In the years since Disney has added Monster's Inc., Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania yet even this was not enough to Disneyfy California Adventure. Yes, the park had some true gems. Those E-ticket rides that always had a long queue. Soarin' Over California, Tower of Terror, Screamin', Toys Story, and a few D ticket rides in Grizzly and Mulholland Madness.
Unfortunately there were also a couple of real bombs. Bountiful Valley Farm, Golden Dreams, Orange Stinger and Maliboomer never quite drew the crowds that Disney Executives had hoped for the park.
Because of these problems Disney is pretty much starting over with the park. Maliboomer has been torn down. Orange Stinger was removed and the Silly Symphony Swings replaced that big Orange Ball. Golden Dreams has been completely torn down and the Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be opening in early June. The Sun Wheel is now Mickey's Fun Wheel. Does California Adventure feel more like a Disney Park now?
The whole entrance for California Adventure has been torn down and walls cover just about the whole entryway. There is no more Sun Plaza. No more 50 foot tall sun that nobody cared about.
The new entry way, depicting the 1900's and Walt Disney's arrival in California. There is Disney history behind this new entryway and the hope is that it will garner the same love people have for Sleeping Beauty Castle. The promises to be a very positive change for Disney's California Adventure. In 2012 we will get our first look at this new entryway.
The boring Bountiful Valley Farm was torn down to create a new land. Yes, I said Land. Cars Land to be exact. Change it to Carsland, and what does it remind you of? Oh yes, Disneyland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and so on.
With this whole new land being built, Cars Land promises to bring another huge E-ticket ride. The ride is just like Test Track at Epcot, with a different theme. Cars Land is also due to open in 2012.
Opening in June though will be the real test. Will people still flock to Mulholland Madness, which has been painted and changed to have a Goofy theme.
And The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a very extensive ride, with clam shells similar to those used for Epcot's Finding Nemo attraction. The map of the ride in Blue Sky Cellar shows it to be long and complete. But is there a problem with the ride? Little girls are going to flock to the Little Mermaid, but how many men and older boys do you think will be clamoring to ride this new attraction. It has the possibility of being an E-ticket ride, but it is also possible that it will no do well at all because it leaves out a whole demographic group. The male population. With it opening June 3, the crowds will be amazing. The question is this: will the crowds remain this way, or will they diminish because it is a Princess ride. Snow White's Scary Adventures is a constant walk-on at Disneyland.
Once all those walls come down in 2012 will be the absolute real test. Is the more than one billion dollar price tag going to make this park into what people want?
My prediction is that yes, Disney's California Adventure will finally be the second park it should have been from the beginning. I am looking forward to seeing the completed project. So far it has been four years of walls here and there. Only one more year before we see Carthay Circle, and a trolley running down the Hollywood Backlot.
Changing the park to add more Disney-type attractions should be the trick that will finally work to provide the magic people feel the minute they walk into Disneyland.
Just my opinion,