Disney California Adventure Park


Anaheim, California






55 acres

Official Website

Disney California Adventure Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, adjacent to Disneyland Park. It opened on February 8, 2001. Each area is meant to resemble various aspects of California, its culture, landmarks and history. In 2009, the park attracted approximately 6.05 million guests, making it the 11th-most visited theme park in the world, its highest ever attendance total for a calendar year.

Walt Disney made dreams come true. At the grand opening of Disneyland in 1955, the theme park delved into the realm of a family experience for the first time. As anticipated, it was an enormous success and would only grow as the years went on. The original park included many lands, each with its own theme and numerous attractions. The draw to guests was a sense of escapism from the real world where they could experience a place of magic. In that place, the park guest could take a ride with Peter Pan or fly with Dumbo through the skies.
In 1971, the park received a sister, the Magic Kingdom, at the new Walt Disney World complex just outside Orlando, Florida. The park, similar to Disneyland, drew a whole new side of the country to experience Walt Disney's vision, even after his death. About ninety percent of the attractions were copies of successful draws from Disneyland. As the sister resort began to grow, Disneyland, for the most part, remained the same as it had when it opened, plus or minus several rides. In Florida, meanwhile, EPCOT, MGM Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as three water parks had opened in a twenty-six-year time frame. There were also over fifteen hotels added to the Walt Disney World Resort. Even though the newer resort had the blessing of land, Disneyland still seemed unloved. It hadn’t gotten an official hotel until 1998, with the Disneyland Hotel, which had previously operated under the same name, but was not operated by the Disney company. The second hotel opened in late 1995: the Disneyland Pacific Hotel.

© Disney Moving Along: Disney moved on from the failed Virginia theme park Disney's America, recycling Imagineers' concepts in Disney California Adventure.While these smaller expansions were good, the resort was desperately in need of something new. Imagineers were given a daunting challenge: design a new park within Disneyland's existing acres. The first idea was to build WestCOT, Disneyland’s version of the Orlando-area theme park, EPCOT. Eventually this idea was discarded, and Disney California Adventure would rise up instead on former parking lot land.
Some years previous, Disney’s America was in planning. It was to be an entire new resort located in Virginia that would celebrate the American culture. It was in planning for about five years, but eventually the project was cast aside. In the wake of controversy over historic land, the project was not heading in the direction Disney wanted. After its cancellation, however, Disney California Adventure grew upon this failed project, as some of the concepts from the Virginia park were sent to California. Focusing on one state, perhaps, would be easier than an entire country.
The dream became a reality on February 8, 2001. Disney California Adventure was just a piece of a major expansion of the Disneyland Resort. Along with the park came the new Downtown Disney District, a new hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, and finally, a remodeling of the Disneyland Pacific Hotel to become Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, matching one of the lands in the new park.

© Disney Grand Californian Visions: The original overview artwork for California Adventure provides a look at the park's envisioned splendor.Disney California Adventure opened with three main lands, many of which had sub-divisions of lands. These areas were the Golden State, Paradise Pier, and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. In addition, of the lands except for the latter contained sub-lands within their borders.
The Golden State had the most divisions, three. These were Grizzly Peak Recreational Area, Pacific Wharf, and Condor Flats. The first of these lands was, and still is, home to a icon, Grizzly Peak, the mountain that provides theming for Grizzly River Run[/i], a white water rapids ride. This area had a special entrance to the park from the Grand Californian Hotel, accessible only by the hotel guests. A playground themed around Disney’s Brother Bear is also in this area. The second sub-division is Condor Flats, which has a single ride, Soarin’ Over California. The ride has recently been copied and added to EPCOT in the Walt Disney World Resort. The final sub-land is Pacific Wharf. This area has two smaller attractions, that are both done in a tour and walk-through style. There are three restaurants in this area.

© Disney Golden Dreams: The park's entry plaza is shown in the foreground of more aerial concept art seen prior to the 2001 debut.The Hollywood Pictures Backlot is one of the main lands in Disney California Adventure. At opening time for the park, it had one dark attraction, which was located in this area. That ride was Superstar Limo, in which guests were transported through Hollywood in style passing by many famous Hollywood movie memorabilia. The Hyperion Theater housed a show called Steps in Time on opening day, and for a few months following.
Perhaps the most noticeable area of Disney California Adventure is Paradise Pier. Its incredible skyline is quite a sight to behold, with California Screamin', Maliboomer, and the Sun Wheel all towering over the park. One of the park’s roller coasters was Mulholland Madness, a typical wild mouse ride. Some of the smaller attractions here include King Triton’s Carousel, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, and the Golden Zephyr.
Unfortunately, Disney California Adventure would arguably turn out to be Disney’s worst received park yet. The park was highly criticized for its lack of attractions, and focus on foods and shops. Next to Disneyland Theme Park, many visitors stated that it was not Disney standard and had little relation to the Disney company. Prices were high for the park, considering the few number of attractions. All in all, near everyone was dissatisfied with the park.

© Disney The Next Generation: Disney's visions are carried on through continued attention to the theme park complex, such as 2004's [/i]Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror.Of course, Disney knew things had to change, and they got right to work. One of the most complained about areas in the park was the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Many of the restaurants were remodeled to fit the Disney theme better. The park’s only dark ride, Superstar Limo, was quickly ripped out and replaced with a new attraction. It wasn’t until early 2006 when the new ride opened, Monsters Inc., Mike and Sully to the Rescue! The Hyperion Theater which previously hosted Steps in Time was replaced with Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, once again bringing the world of Disney to the new park. The year 2004 brought the biggest change to the area, with the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror opening. This attraction helped the attendance at Disney’s California Adventure rise.
Another major complaint was the lack of young children’s rides, and with families as Disney’s biggest audience, that needed to change. In 2003, A Bug’s Land opened. This was a whole new themed area of the park, with a focus on children’s rides. It was modeled after the Disney-Pixar movie, A Bug’s Life. There are currently five rides in this part of the park. Turtle Talk with Crush is the newest attraction at Disney California Adventure. The ride is a replica of the attraction at EPCOT in the Living Seas Pavilion, at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
From WestCOT to Disney California Adventure, this park had a long and tedious journey to get where it is today. Now featuring over thirty attractions, over twenty restaurants, five entertainment shows, and over fifteen different places to shop, Disney California Adventure is a growing destination on anyone’s list. From the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, to California Screamin’, it is also a destination for thrill seekers of all kinds. What does the future hold for Disney California Adventure? Does the Year of a Million Dreams have something in store as the year 2006 comes to a close? We’ll all just have to wait and find out.

Present Roller Coasters (3)Edit

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Status
California Screamin' Intamin AG Launched 2001 Open
Goofy's Sky School Mack Rides Wild Mouse 2011 Open
Radiator Springs Racers Intamin AG Slot Track 2012 Open