Friday, July 29, 2011

Disney's California Adventure Cast Member Preview Map

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.

5 comments:

  1. Hey, not everything at DCA when it opened was bad. there are some original things that I really miss.

    1. Eureka Parade - I liked this parade mostly for the fact that it wasn't very Disney. In fact, one of things I liked about the early DCA was how non-Disney it was. It was nice to see a parade that didn't have Disney characters in it and wasn't overly-cutesy. (Incedently, I never understood the argument that DCA wasn't "Disney" enough. I felt that if you wanted true "Disney" then Disneyland was right across the way. DCA was a place for more adult entertainment and ries.)The live drummers were cool for the time. Also, I liked the "Get a Grip" show which wasn't really a streetmosphere show. It took place on the backlot stage and featured a bunch of movie prouction "grips" doing "Stomp"-like percusion acts (banging on trash cans etc.). The original Steps in time was good as well.

    2. Soap Opera Bistro - I hate Soap Operas. But the cast of this restaurant was hilarious. This restaurant that was supposed to cater to soap fans, actually completely lampooned the genre. I always laughed my butt off in there, and the food was good (remember the bread baskets with an assortment of fresh-baked breads from Boudin?)

    3. Free Tortillas... Bags of them - There were so little people in the park and so many tortillas that they didn't know what to do with them! If you went towards the end of the day on a really slow day (and they were ALL really slow days those first few months) they workers would hand you bags of 50 free tortillas! I never ate as many quesadillas as I did the year DCA opened.

    Yes, the theming sucked and everything looked and felt cheap. But I had a lot of fun in DCA when it first opened. The park is a lot better now, but I'm glad it is there and am happy it was a part of my young-adult life.

    By the way, looking at that resort map, remember the double-decker busses that went from the Pinochio lot down to the Paradise Pier hotel? MAN I wish they still had those today. I really can't believe how often I find myself walking that route and saying "Boy, a bus ride would be real nice right now"

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    1. You'll never hear me complain about a park being not Disney enough. I love it when Disney does non-Disney things (Like Epcot World Showcase).

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    2. I mostly miss DCA 1.0 due to nostalgia, but yes the Eureka parade could've been kept for MUCH longer. It was a simple and fun parade about California's cultures and diversity, people liked it, so idk why they had to end it so suddenly.

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    3. Eureka was an underrated parade for sure.

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  2. I don't understand why there was a whole lot of hate for Disney's California Adventure? I mean I went there two times, but not when it opened, but in 2007 and 2009 (the last trip was when they had a portion of the park blocked off for the Little Mermaid ride as there was a sign.)

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