This weekend Disney California Adventure took another big step toward its brand new look with the unveiling of its new entrance. Inspired by Los Angeles’ historic Pan-Pacific Auditorium, the new turnstiles are a big leap for the renovation of the park; at least it’s an emotional one for those of us following the progress closely.
“The changes we’re making (at Disney California Adventure) are a direct result of what our guests wanted,” Mary Niven, Vice President of Disney California Adventure, told a table or reporters back in June. She said Disney fans wanted more Disney characters and storytelling inside the 10-year-old park. “We needed to figure out how to have our own personality for the park, yet still connect with our (Disney) roots and history.”
I’ve been a fan of Disney California Adventure since day one. I liked the park from the start, but the new direction and themes have me more excited than I’ve ever been about a Disney project. The idea that Main Street in Disneyland is Walt Disney’s hometown at the turn of the century and Disney California Adventure is Los Angeles just as Walt Disney experienced it when he arrived in the 1920’s brought the whole expansion together for me (along with this connection with Pixar). I can better see how the parks fit together and I can’t wait until Disney California Adventure is competed.
Here are some quick hits of info I got from the roundtable interview with Mary Niven and Bob Weis,Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering and Portfolio Creative Leader for the expansion of Disney California Adventure. (*whew* Now that’s a title!)
I asked about the music in the park, will it be changing?: “We’re redesigning the music tracks for the entire park. It will be music from that era, fitting time period–1920s and 30s.~ Weis
What about the costumes of the older attractions and restaurants?: “All the costumes will be changed throughout the entire park to make sure they reflect the story and the timeframe .” ~ Niven
When I asked if they will continue with Glow-Fest and ElecTRONica-type outdoor street parties? : “Yes, they are a critical component of how we extend the guest experience into the evening and also how we divide the park at night.” ~ Niven
On the Carthay Circle Theatre (that will sit where Sunshine Plaza once was) which will be the main centerpiece of the new Buena Vista Street: “You mean my castle?” ~Niven (Naturally joking) “We are going to have an amazing restaurant on the second floor with the menu being created by Andrew Sutton (of Napa Rose).” The food will be a “counterpoint” to the retro theme with a “contemporary, fresh, sophisticated family-friendly” feel. The bottom floor will consist of two lounges keeping with the nostalgic 1920’s theme by serving classic cocktails, seltzer water drinks and table-side preparations.
When I asked if the Disney Food and Wine Festival be returning to Disney California Adventure? : “I won’t say exactly it will return. What I will say is that it’s exactly the kind of experience we think fits our park perfectly.” ~Niven
After the roundtable, then reading Lisa’s posts on the new dining options at Paradise Pier and now that the new turnstiles are open, I’m bursting to see what comes next to Disney California Adventure.
Doing some research on another Disney project I’m writing (The Disneyland Hotel renovation) I noticed that the web site Yesterland already has DCA attractions of the past listed in its retired rides section. Yep, we’re already allowed to say, “Remember the Orange Stinger or the Sunglasses Shack, or the Maliboomer?” They can now rightly take their place with all the other beloved retired attractions and landmarks of Disneyland Resorts past.