Lord help me, today I'm taking a look at the Disney's California Adventure cast member preview map. The CM preview occurred a little less than a month before the official opening. Let me start out by saying that every negative thing you have ever heard about the original DCA was absolutely true. Just by looking at this map you can see how much of a joke this park was in it's early years.
The original entrance (which was supposed to resemble walking in to a postcard) is seen here in nice looking concept art. Unfortunately the postcard idea ONLY looked good in hand drawn artwork. Hardly any guests understood that that's what they were supposed to be walking in to. Fast forward to 2012 and this entrance will look completely different with the completion of the beautiful Buena Vista Street.
The top right has a letter from the most hated (by both fans and cast members) Disneyland president in the history of the company thanking them for all their hard work to make the park possible. Fittingly above the bland thank you note is the terribly corporate Disneyland Resort logo that was thankfully only used for a couple of years before they came to their senses and switched back to the classic logo. Also seen is all of the long gone entertainment options Steps in Time (now Aladdin musical), Eureka parade, and Get a Grip which was a Disney Hollywood Studios style "streetmosphere" performance. Also notice the resort map on the bottom right with the Timon parking lot where Cars Land is now being built.
Making the most of your day at DCA.
(click to enlarge)
Looking at the opening year map, it's almost unbelievable that the park opened with this roster of attractions. Think about this, DCA opened in 2001 with the same amount of attractions as Disneyland had when it opened in 1955!
Seen in the middle of the park is the worst Disney theme park land ever. Bountiful Vally Farm where there is only two attraction. One of them was an attraction so minor that they didn't even bother to put it on the map. I'm talking about the chance to climb in to the cab of a real tractor! The interesting thing about Bountiful Vally Farm is that this was one of Michael Eisner's personal favorite things about the park. It's no coincidence that this area was completely eradicated for the parks billion dollar makeover.
The cockiness of Disney during this period is now legendary. Before the parked opened LA Times ran an article titled The Most Jam-Packed Theme Park on Earth? The company estimated 7 million people would attend in the first year, the real attendance was far from that. This is an actual quote from company "That there will be days when California Adventure will have to turn patrons away, particularly in the first weeks after the park opens, during spring break and again in the summer."
These days, even though the park is only half way through it's billion dollar makeover, it's almost a completely different park than it was a decade ago. Disney deserves major respect for fixing it.
The back page of this guide map really bugs me. Take a look at the picture of the Orange Stinger. It may look normal at first but take a closer look and you can see it is heavily photo-shopped. There where never palm trees in front of it, and it didn't have the textured orange skin like in the picture. The Orange Stinger looked so crappy in real life that they had to photo-shop the image more than Playboy to even use it in the guide map. That sums DCA 1.0 right there.
The amazing thing is is that DCA is not Disney's worse theme park ever. That honor belongs to the Walt Disney Studios park in Paris.
This article is mostly negative and I don't want to seem like a cranky bitter fanboy so I'll leave with a positive note. The blueberry pie shakes from Sam Andreas Shakes were delicious and I will miss it.