California Adventure - Contents  Click to go back to MousePlanet main page
 Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map
Disney's California Adventure
Google-
Look in: MousePlanet WWW

News and Information
"Half Park, Full Price" - Readers respond to the series

Wow - we knew MousePlanet had a tremendous readership but the response to the series was amazing even by the numbers we have grown to expect as the site has grown over the past few months.

Almost without exception, the opinions expressed in all the notes were very thoughtful, and for me it was of particular interest to get notes from people who also got a chance to attend a preview day. I have to say it looks, from the sheer number of comments we got, like the Walt Disney Company may have to seriously reconsider some of the choices they made in California Adventure.

I've gone ahead and selected a representative sample of your comments for this page which was difficult to do since we had so many great responses. I've focused on notes that came after the series was completed, and do note some comments may have been edited a bit only for space or clarity. In the boxes below, "R" indicates "Reader" - "A" indicates Al's comment.


R.

Christopher writes: Hey Al... One thing you didn't mention that struck me on my visit to Downtown Disney this past weekend is how poorly the plaza area between the two parks is designed. I thought the DCA entrance juxtaposed with the Disneyland entrance was horrible... ugly... seemed to take away some magic from Disneyland. The whole area didn't seem to gel together. What are your thoughts?:)
--

A.

One of the things planned for this area, and seen in all the early concept art, was a large fountain. My hopes were that it should have been something as exciting as the Epcot one - which has the huge dancing fountains. Sadly, budgets took their toll here, as with many other areas in the new park. It could have helped I think.

-

R.

Rhonda writes Hello Al , I just wanted to tell you I have really been looking forward to your views on DCA. I appreciated the way you ' told it like it is ' on DIG updates.

It is really disappointing to plan your trip with the Disney advertised version and then get there and face the reality! I still come with the excitement but I also know what to really expect and look out for.

It is a different experience when you live out of state and you just get a few days once, or if you're lucky, twice a year to visit. If the trip is not so enjoyable you can't go back the next week and try again. Planning is so important to get the most for your time and money and you provide a lot of help in that area.
 

A.

Thank you for the kind note, Rhonda. You sort of hit it on the head there as to our goals here at the site - we really work hard to find out for you what works and what doesn't, so you can get the most out of your limited time at the parks. Sometimes we take a lot of heat for it from the die-hards - but the numbers (and e-mails such as yours) tell us we are on the right track.

-

R.

CSM writes: Thanks for the detailed and balanced review. It makes no sense to me that the Muppets are at DCA, given the show has already been around for a while. Why not do something original and launch another franchise. In theory, Superstar Limo sounds good, but it seems as though the ride has become a muted bore. I have no first hand experience here, but why can't they have the limo going at a higher speed for stretches (without press chasing it).
-

A.

I can't imagine, given the response the ride has been getting, that they will do anything at this point to it. Let's hope they think of something new for this space in the future.

-

R.

Jeff writes: I am always amazed at how critical you are about Disney. A vast majority of the general public could care less about the things that you and Mouseplanet Al both criticize. Remember the problems that Disneyland had when it first opened. I could only imagine what you would have to say if you were at Disneyland on July 17, 1955. I'm sure that you would be the first to have called Disneyland a "flop". I guess the more fault that you can find in Disney means the more money and fame you will personally gain writing cynical books. Attendance at the Disney Parks have never been higher... perhaps Disney IS giving people what they want despite your views. One example is your dislike of McDonalds in the parks. I have noticed that most people like the idea -- would you have been upset with Disney when Sunkist or Hallmark or some of the many other sponsors first showed up at Disneyland? Remember by far Disney guest are not Disney fanatics !! Sure things aren't perfect with the Disney Theme parks.... they never have been and never will. And, I never will figure out why you think that you are the expert and know all about the Disney Parks. Just relax and enjoy the Parks.
 
-

A.

Um, Jeff, you ARE young aren't you?

-

R.

Allen writes: It sounds like DCA has a hellovalot more to do than Disney's Animal Kingdom, even after that park has been open two years. If you were around the Florida empire as much as the California one, you'd realize this is nothing new -- Disney has been building parks this way for over a decade. The difference is, rather than just have 2 Disney "style" rides and nothing else, they built a few Disney style rides and stuffed the rest of DCA with "non-Disney" rides, which is bound to be a plus.

"Disney's Animal Kingdom" and "Disney's California Adventure"... They've even used the naming system before.

Try not to be too harsh on the new park -- nothing will ever compare to Walt's original Magic Kingdom. Even Walt's own people, in 1971, couldn't create a good copy in Florida, and it's been all downhill for the past 25 years.

With expectations set properly, it sounds like a wonderful experience.
-

A.

The problem Allen is that the name "Disney" adds one set of expectations, then the identical pricing and next door location only adds to that. The sad thing is they know all that, and still went ahead.

-

R.

Michael writes: Just wanted to say good job on the DCA coverage. It's good for us eastcoasters to be able to see such detailed, un-whitewashed coverage of what's going on. You guys know what's important in a Disney theme park and cover from that perspective. I also wanted to say that the reactions to Superstar Limo sound a lot like those to Journey into YOUR Imagination. That it's so bad you HAVE to see it. Sad that's how far the one sacrosanct Disney dark ride has fallen...
-

A.

Thanks Michael for the kind note. I still get the heebee-jeebees remembering what one webmaster and his wife once told me about how they were going to cover the parks, they only wanted to be "nice." What good does that do the readers?

-

R.

James writes: This is my first time sending a response to any of your "articles", so let me introduce myself. My name is James and I have been visiting this website for almost three years, I read most of the articles that are posted by the staff, and needless to say I enjoy visiting and reading about Disney parks.

What I enjoy most about this site are the all too rare moments of unbiased criticism by you and various other members of the staff given on any particular subject, but there are a few issues I would like to address.

Now, I won't launch into an attack on your writing style or your opinions, it would be counterproductive and, lets face it, we don't know each other, but I hope you would be able to integrate some of the advice that myself and others may give to you about what we like or dislike about your presentation. Of course I would not ask you to sacrifice your (many, many, many) negative opinions about this or that subject, but the sometimes hostile criticisms you present leave a very disagreeable taste in ones mouth. It would only reflect that much better on you (if it matters) by peppering the vicious criticisms with MORE of the positive reinforcement of what you view as being done right, a little more yin and yang would go a long, LONG way.

Again, please do not take this as a personal attack, that's not what's intended, I do enjoy reading your articles, but I really would like to read through a few of them without having to scroll past all the angry commentary. I feel that you truly care about the parks and the company, so I hope that it can manifest itself in a less roundabout and harsh manner.
-

A.

James, your note arrived before the series was finished - and I think I addressed most of your concerns by the end of it. As you probably know from being a long time reader, I do make a very concerted effort in all my critiques to always try to suggest something that could have been done or improved.

-

R.

Don and Stephanie were kind enough to write at various points during the series: Thank you very much for the first part of your DCA review. I have been waiting to read your take on things. Your review confirms what my wife and I have been thinking all along. Save for the Animation exhibit, there's really no "Disney" in DCA. Being annual passholders, we have been hit with offers from various sources to tour the new park and have refused them all, even for half price. Given recent history, I hold no hope that any upcoming tweaks will improve the place. What's that old saying? Fool me once.....???

There are only two ways (well, three, as the Monorail goes through it) they'll get us into DCA- for free, or if they were to revert back to the old ticket books and allow you to choose which attractions you wanted. Since the likelihood of either one happening is just about nil, we'll be quite content with our single park Disneyland pass
.
-

A.

Thanks for the kind words, let's hope they look at this park more closely in the future and turn it into something that will make you want to visit. :)

-

R.

"S" writes: Thanks for the dead-on review. I attended the WDI cast member preview and pretty much agree with all your observations.

FYI - I did eat at Hollywood & Dine and can fill you in a bit. First off, let me say that I viewed the park from one of the ECV's, which gives you a whole different perspective. Entry to the facility and movement within it were pretty good, though it was quite empty the day I went. The real downside is, if you are in one of these ECV's or a wheelchair and have no one with you as a helper, it is impossible to pick up your food and drink at this type of restaurant.

On the upside - one very observant Cast Members politely came up to me as I was looking around and trying to decide what to eat and said she would stay with me to help out with carrying food and drink. The food is pretty good - I had a basic cheeseburger and fries - but the prices are ridiculous. The charge for this little meal was $6.75! Thankfully, they were giving us a 50% discount. My advice to anyone going to the park is eat first!

I'm looking forward to your next installment and want to let you know that everyone I know at WDI views MousePlanet as the authority. We learn things at this site that we didn't know. You also get to say the things we can't say.

Keep up the good work!

 

A.

Thank you for the kind note. The one overwhelming complaint I kept hearing from all the previews was the food prices - even with the various discounts people were simply outraged. Even with that, I understand they do not feel they are charging enough. Sigh.

-

R.

"M" writes: As usual, your observations are unbiased and astute. I look forward to the remaining installments.

I have my doubts that the general public will respond well to DCA over the long haul, especially at full-price admission. I don't expect Eisner and company to get it right every time, but DCA may prove to be their biggest miscalculation of all.
 

A.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm looking forward to having the park open with the general public in it - then I can really listen to what they will be saying.

I'm hoping it won't be the same kind of stuff I heard during the "Light Magic" performances. ;)

-

R.

Paul writes: Al - I just finished reading Part 1 of your review of DCA and I have a quick question about one of the photos from the Animation Tour. In the shot that shows the "Drawn to Animation" show I noticed an animated Turkey in the shot with Mushu, Meeko, and Flit. Do you know if this was the Turkey that was originally supposed to be in Pocahontas, but was cut when the story was changed? I think Jim Hill wrote about it in one of his article's -- I think it was supposed to be voiced by John Candy.

By the way I'm really enjoying your article so far. I'm a huge Disney fan and try to keep up with all the latest Disney news, and I've found that MousePlanet is just one of the best sites around. And you all seem to share my views on Disney -- and the way the company is run today. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there who has a problem with what's going on within the company today.

I live in Florida and have been a Disney World fan since I was born. I've watched the quality of my favorite parks diminish over the past ten years and was very dismayed to hear that the same things have been happening at Disneyland. This year I took my first trip to Disneyland and just fell in love with the place. I can't wait to return. But I've been so dismayed at what's been happening there, and I've been afraid that it can only get worse. (And my fears seem to be coming to light with DCA.) But I'm so thankful that there are people like you and the MousePlanet staff that really get what Disney is supposed to be about - and are unafraid to say something. Maybe through your efforts we can one day be proud of the Disney Company again. And maybe even get a new park as amazing as Tokyo Disney Seas!!
--

A.

Thank you, Paul, you are very kind. Yes, that's the turkey from Pocahontas - it appears in a brief segment discussing how characters sometimes get dropped or changed during the development of an animated film. For more info on the turkey, you may want to see if any of your friends have the deluxe laser disc box set edition of Pocahontas - this and so much more is detailed in it. Too bad the disappointing DVD edition of the movie was so bare bones!

I've passed on your notes to the staff here - and I know they will appreciate your taking the time to send them.

-

R.

A Flower St. denizen writes Definition of a Pioneer: That guy that's way out front with all the arrows in his backside. Definition of a Critic: That guy in the back seat who knows the destination but doesn't know how to drive the car.

Lighten up, Al! We're all working hard here, trying to provide the best entertainment we can with the resources we have. We're not perfect, and but our hearts are in the right place. How about yours? !
 

A.

I think WDI did the best they could, and made a point to say so. The real problem lies with your bosses...  ;)

Let's see what the paying public says, that's where it really counts.

-

R.

"CM" writes: Al, Thanks for mentioning the great efforts of all of the Cast Members at DCA. While I know you have been a big critic of the park, it is nice to see that you acknowledged our efforts to continue Disneylands tradition of "Over-the-Top" Guest service at DCA.

While I think that many of DCA's Cast Members realize that our park is not a bona-fide homerun, we do feel a lot of pride opening up the 8th Disney Theme Park. I look forward to your review of Paradise Pier as it is my absolute favorite section of the park. Again, thanks for recognizing us and for what has been a whole lot of hours, hard work and dedication. As I said to a friend who is a Disneyland Cast Member, "While we'll never be better than you, hopefully given a little time, we'll complement you."

"Thanks for your time and for being fair, even though if you really don't like DCA!
-

A.

Thanks for the note CM - while I ended up liking some areas of the park, the one that just didn't make the cut (even after three visits) was Paradise Pier. As you probably read, it just broke my heart how they dropped the ball there.

One major plus though was the Cast Members such as yourself, never did I feel I was not getting Disney quality treatment.

-

R.

Chris writes: Al, Re: part one of your DCA review, especially interesting to me were your comments on the relatively small scale of the elephants in the "Intolerance"-like entry to the Hollywood Backlot section.

My family recently spent a few days at Universal Orlando, devoting much of our time to Islands of Adventure. It struck me there, of course, that the scale of everything is very large -- especially in the Lost Continent area.

At first, all in my family were duly impressed. And, in fact, the boys, ages 14 and 11, continued to appreciate IoA's grand- scale "wow" factor throughout the trip.

But on our second and thirds treks into the park, my wife, a DL devotee since childhood, confided to me that she wasn't all that crazy about IoA. She said it's just too big, noisy, and in- your- face for her taste. Even though the park wasn't at all crowded on our visit, she found herself feeling somewhat claustrophobic, and was often eager to "escape" (a key word at Universal Orlando) back to the Portofino Bay Hotel's wonderful and relaxing harbor and pool areas.

This actually got me thinking a bit about scale. In DL, just about everything is a MINIATURE version of something else -- the castle, the Matterhorn, Big Thunder's interpretation of Bryce Canyon, even the entrance to Indy's temple. But at IoA, the designers seemed to go the opposite way, taking a generally LARGER-than-life approach to the sets. It certainly works for IoA (a terrific park, even though my wife found it oppressive), but I don't think you'd want larger-than-life at DL.

This isn't to say necessarily that things should also be miniaturized at DCA; I haven't been to the new park yet, so I couldn't judge in any case. This is simply an observation, and I raise it as a possibility that smaller-than-life scale might be appropriate to the whole Disneyland Resort, DCA included. (Then again, it looks to me as if everything in Downtown Disney is pretty darn large.)

By the way, I seem to have noticed that the outside world (i.e., everyone not lurking around these insane DL Web sites and newsgroups) calls the new park "California Adventure," not "DCA." This still doesn't roll off the tongue, but I think it's at least a little better. Personally, I hate acronyms as the names for ANYTHING.

(I must say, I also find "Islands of Adventure" to be a crappy name. It's clumsy and, even worse, generic. I sense that the poor name is really hurting IoA's performance. Some people I know who were there last spring now can't even recall the name. "It was this really cool area of Universal Studios," said one guy. Another said, "Oh, yeah, Marvel Comics Land -- that was great.").
 
-

A.

One of the things that may have helped your wife feel a little claustrophobic at IoA may have been the high volume settings on the background music.

One of my biggest complaints about Universal Studios Hollywood here is the almost oppressive levels they set for the area music - in particular in the entry way and up and down the escalators to the lower area. Visitors to both the Hollywood and Orlando parks seem to think it's a common problem.

At DCA they did manage to get that detail right - just as with Disneyland itself. As they used to say at Disney, it's all in the details.

-

R.

Jeffery writes: Dear Al, I had the opportunity to preview DCA last night at the Club 33 member preview, which meant we had approximately 2 hours to see the park after dinner (Rainforest Cafe, abysmal).

Nevertheless, I feel I saw the whole park with nothing left to do by going on California Soarin' (just a souped up 2000 version, as you say, of "America the Beautiful"), the roller coaster (i was disappointed at how "un" scary it was), "It's tough to be a bug" (I remember when attractions where placed in one park so it gave you a reason to travel across the country) and the show at the Hyperion (very impressed with the surround sound, completely unimpressed with the show).

I'll be very surprised to see the guest reactions when the crowds show up and they tell the customers at 2:00 in the afternoon, that "Now that you are out of things to do, No, you can't spend the rest of your day at Disneyland, you'll have to buy another ticket!"

But I do have a great idea for the expansion of DCA once the crowds do appear: A wonderful section of DCA called "CALIFORNIA MEMORIES" where they have all these great theme park rides from the past that people remember fondly of the days when Disneyland was an amusement park with rides and also some shops and restaurants and not an outdoor mall that happens to have a few rides:

A skyway attraction, a motor boat cruise, a submarine ride, a live big band, a country-western vaudeville show (you could call it the Golden Horseshoe Review), a luau themed dinner show (you could call it the Tahitian Terrace), a parade with an actual live band and glockenspiel girls for Christmas (call that one Fantasy on Parade), a night time parade that amazes the audience (call that the DCA Electrical Parade), a great stage show (Call them the Kids of the DCA), and a food facility called "Remember When" where they serve 50 cent popcorn, 60 cent churros and $1.50 cokes.

I bet it would be the most popular section of DCA!

Your articles are great!
!

Jeffery then followed up: As a former parking lot employee, I would pass the time of day by counting how many people came in every 100 cards through the toll gates. I would almost always end up with 368 people for every 100 cars, so that means 3.68 per car.

I always assumed there was going to be approximately 18,000 parking spaces available for the two parks. Obviously, that is not now true as the entire Simba and Pinocchio lots are now for Downtown Disney parking and the parking structure is also used for employee parking, which means there are less than 10,000 spaces available for the parks.

With my estimates, that means that once less than 40,000 people show up (not counting people walking from nearby hotels and bus passengers), (and only approximately 20,000 per park), the parking lots will be full. Since Disneyland alone would often hold 50,000+ on weekends, there is going to be a massive problem almost every day the parks are open come this summer, if not sooner.

Which leads me to a story from this past weekend. I was meeting friends at Disneyland at 3:00 on this past Sunday. I was parked in the structure, and as I was boarding the tram, noticed that there was a big line up of cars on the overramp. They had just closed the structure, and my friend called me from his car phone asking where to park. He said he wouldn't park in Pumba because he has two kids under 5 and wasn't going to walk because of the lack of tram service. I told him to park in the Downtown Disney parking lot.

Little did I know that they charge $6 an hour over 3 hours to a maximum of $30 at the Downtown Disney lot. Needless to say, he went right into City Hall to complain. They wouldn't do anything for him the three times he went back in to complain. I finally sent him back in saying "Why should I be deprived of a parking space when you have all those Disney employees in the new park for FREE when I am a paying customer?" That got them finally to give him free parking.

They have a BIG problem on their hands because I know the new park didn't have many people in it (they are not filling it with more than a few thousand people) and Disneyland was by no means very crowded (it didn't look like more than a 20-25K day.) They have BIG PROBLEMS! Where do they plan putting all the people who are going to arrive come February 8th?

One final thought: I think the whole problem with Disney's parking mistake is that they used Florida as a model for California. But remember, most people in Florida arrive by plane and plop down at Disney and use their bus transportation, which leads to fewer parking spaces needed.

But this also might be a huge plot to give Disney "good press". Remember when both Epcot and Disney/MGM studios opened, both their parking lots where notoriously undersized and would fill every day to capacity early in the morning. They would eventually at least double the size of both lots. I don't know if they had the same problem at Animal Kingdom, but I do remember the lot filling to capacity many times.

Could they be doing the same thing here to get the press that says how wonderfully they are doing? I wouldn't put it past them! How many times in a row can they make the SAME mistake?

-

A.

Now Jeffery, keep it up and you too will have Paul Pressler saying nasty things about you to reporters during long lunches. ;)

I think one thing that Disney will quickly find out is just how uninformed the public is when it comes to finding out DCA is a separate admission fee, and the same in cost to Disneyland.

Try as they may with the current ad campaign - I think the park's theme "California Adventure" comes across to people as something like "New Orleans Square." I keep hearing over and over from folks, "Look, Disneyland is bigger!" - and you should see their faces when I correct them and explain it's another park entirely admission-wise.

As far as the parking - that's probably going to be their Waterloo - if things continue on the same path they are on now. Let's hope they get the Pumbaa structure (which they have been talking about) underway soon.

-

R.

Tom writes: Al, I've been reading your site for as long as I've been on the internet. I remember back when your site was all text and no pictures. And, the addition of more writers has truly broadened your approach to all things Disney. At times I feel like I'm reading the op/ed page of a newspaper. I can read one column, and then turn right around and read another column with an entirely different viewpoint. Keep up the good work.

I must also say that your writing has definitely improved over the years. For awhile there, I stopped reading the site because it had become too negative. Now, your approach seems to be a little more sarcastic / tongue in cheek. And, if you have to be negative, or brutally honest, you back it up with more facts. I must say, you have become part of my morning ritual.

Now, on to the comments. While I have enjoyed watching DCA unfold before my eyes on the internet. I still need to get my fix on what's happening at the "The Original Disneyland". All the web-writers seem to be focused on the opening of DCA.

-what's the status on the Frontierland minor remodel?

-has the new restaurant in Frontierland opened? How's the food?

-is Star Tours ever going to change films?

-is Rocket Rods dead in the water? (and good riddance as far as I'm concerned)

-what's the fate of Innoventions?

-is FastPass coming to the Matterhorn? (and wouldn't that require a major remodel of the queue. I've always felt they should build a queue house al a Jungle Cruise near the site of the old Motor Boat cruise and tunnel the track underground to the Matterhorn.)

Keep those updates coming. (I was just at the Park during Xmas, and I'm dying to return).
-

A.

Tom, thanks for the kind words. Ok, you twisted my arm, so we'll jump off track here for a bit and answer your Disneyland questions, but only mind you... because you were so nice. :)

-what's the status on the Frontierland minor remodel?

Almost done - they are currently finishing the walkways in front of the area between the Pioneer Mercantile and Golden Horseshoe (and may even be done by this weekend)

-has the new restaurant in Frontierland opened? How's the food?

Not yet, but it may be as soon as this weekend also. (Big Thunder BBQ is now history as of last Sunday I understand.) I hear good things about the food at the Rancho - let's keep our fingers crossed.

-is Star Tours ever going to change films?

Probably not as long as Michael Eisner continues to hold firm on his original licensing deal with George Lucas. Lucas wants more, Michael is holding his ground. It may take him leaving to change things.

-is Rocket Rods dead in the water? (and good riddance as far as I'm concerned)

The "Buzz" is good that it may finally be gone. Let's hope it won't be "Lightyears" before the replacement is put in. ;)

-what's the fate of Innoventions?

WDI wants it to become a free DisneyQuest sampler. Eisner and Pressler adore it as is. So far it is status quo.

-is FastPass coming to the Matterhorn? (and wouldn't that require a major remodel of the queue. I've always felt they should build a queue house al a Jungle Cruise near the site of the old Motor Boat cruise and tunnel the track underground to the Matterhorn.)

Yes, it's on the way, and they will do the deluxe version of it, which we detailed a while back in an update. It should be quite well done.

-

R.

Steve writes: Al, As usual Mouse Planet (DIG) is providing great park information. A couple of thoughts:

Could MousePlanet have a contest to predict the date or week that DCA discontinues the free tortillas. You know this kind of thing will disappear fairly quickly.

At Disneyland, my favorite restaurant is the Blue Bayou. Wouldn't it have been great to have a restaurant building inside of Bear Mountain where guests could watch the rafts go by...

Another candidate for Disneyland Blues, is the condition of Tarzan's Tree house. It's clear from my visit last week that no maintenance has gone into the attraction since it opened. The "trashing the camp" area keeps losing elements as they wear out from the beating, and the steel drums were full of water!
Basically in the present condition the attraction should be shut down!
-

A.

Steve, thank you for the kind note. I suspect the tortillas will be a done deal within the year. I do love the contest idea - we'll look into it. Maybe we can give away a first prize of dinner for two at a Mexican restaurant.

Your idea for a restaurant somewhere inside the Grizzly River Run is brilliant! This is the kind of wonderful Disneyland quality detail that is sorely missing in the new park.

As far as Tarzan's Treehouse - that's what I expected. Adventureland as a whole (including the really dismal state of the Tiki Room) has been blown off in the upkeep budgeting.

But the shops did get a remodel only a few years ago... ;)

-

R.

Norbert writes: I enjoy reading your reviews and I usually agree with them, but I totally have to disagree with your opinion of the Mondavi Deli! When I had my tour of the new park, this "attraction" was one of the things that got me the most upset! Of course I went into the park for free during it's preview, but considering that each individual will pay $43 just to see a place like Mondavi Deli, which is just like any typical deli down the street! On top of that I noticed that they were selling a peanut butter jelly sandwich for $4!! I could not believe my eyes. What was probably the cheapest product known to man, was now a delicatessen.

I liked certain aspects of this new park, but it still needs a lot of work! I'm sure that Disney will be facing many problems. If 60% of the attendance at Disneyland are from Southern California, (being from L.A.) there is no way in hell that I will pay $43, or any other local, to go back to DCA. Been there, done that. People will easily forget the good things about the park, but remember wasting over an hour, standing in line for some terrible attraction like "Superstar Limo". I already have a hard time convincing my friends to go with me to Disneyland just because they feel that it's not worth the admission price. I'm really outnumbered here. The funny thing is that my friends also like Disneyland very much. My point is that I don't see a chance that they would be willing to go to DCA, over and over again, if I can't even get them to go to a park that they really do like!

Alright, I think I have vented my frustrations enough. Hope you don't mind! Thanks for your hard work!
.
-

A.

Thank YOU for your note Norbert - all viewpoints are appreciated!

Any project this big will have things people like or dislike. What concerns me is how much of the new park's mix of things (from what I overheard as I visited) was not liked.

-

R.

Michael writes: While I'm basically in agreement with your assessment of the park, I can't help but notice some contradictions in what you truly want in the park. This is especially evident in your review of the tortilla and break making facilities. You imagine what could have been done with the place, picturing a rethemed teacups and bounce house, but wouldn't that disappoint you as well? Don't you want more creativity than rethemed attractions that could be found in Disneyland? I can just see the complaints you would have against such rides (no doubt about to be covered in the upcoming paradise pier section) that do not offer a true variety from Disneyland.

Or are you basically against the entire CA concept, and would love to see a massive and complete overhaul? You have consistently complained about the lack of innovation in this new park, and I definitely side with you on that. But critiquing the lack of ATMs and bathrooms really comes across as petty, and especially biased when you should in fact be objective. We all have our prejudices about DCA, but you constantly turn to Paul Pressler and Michael Eisner as devils incarnate. These attacks really end up hurting your more valid observations.

One thing I do find troubling are these apologists who claim that DCA isn't Disneyland, and therefore the two should never be compared, especially in regards to sight lines, seeing the outside world, no berm, etc. That lack of immersion is definitely something that shouldn't be excused, and I only hope vegetation can hide some of those eyesores. It's especially bad when you cringe looking at the park from the outside, when you should be salivating to get in. Me, I can wait til the write-ins commence (no need to spend my money on this one)...

 

A.

Michael, thank you for your note. Do note that wine-induced frenzy I was in had me hallucinating what those attractions might have been. Hopefully I explained it better in the follow up segment (that kind of stuff happens when you do a series on the fly - as you are still visiting the park). If they'd just call them exhibits... ;)

As far as my comments about Eisner and Pressler - they are pretty mild compared to what is really said about them on Flower St. :)

Your last comment about the immersion problems is dead on - it's one of the things I dislike most about this park. It never really takes you away from the real world like Disneyland does.

-

R.

Shaun writes: Thanks for your insight on DCA. Your detailed and enriching account of every detail of the park is so vivid I feel like I'm there walking through the park with you. Thank God I didn't (and won't) shell out $43.00 (or is it $45.00?) to "experience" this Disney debacle. This may sound terrible, but I hope the thing flops so that Eisner / Pressler will be forced to do it the way it should have been done from the start.

Nathan writes: Hello Al, Disney loyalists know that the new park is a pathetic, budgeteered mess. What impressions are you getting, however, from the general public (annual passholders in this weekends case) regarding the quality of California Adventure? Is the general public smart enough, in your opinion, to see that the new park is horrible and cheap? Negative reactions from this group is the only way things will change, don't you think? Do you think the park will operationally be a disaster once it opens up for everyone? Personally I'm hoping that it's so bad that it causes Light Magic to look like an oasis of calm. That's the best thing that could happen to the company, and a good way for Disney to get some much needed bad press on this matter.
 

A.

As disappointed as I am with some of this park Shaun and Nathan - I do hope they don't have that major a flop on their hands. Now why would I say that?

Because if DCA does tank, guess which park's future gets put on a back burner to fix it?

More than one person I know at Imagineering has said that DCA has the potential to be the "heroin baby grafted onto Disneyland's back." Ouch. If it fails, we don't get anything new or fixed at Disneyland at all.

That's what is really painful to contemplate.

I don't think the public will see DCA as cheap, they will most likely complain about long lines (due to reduced capacity) and a lack of things to do (due to fewer attractions). That will particularly be fueled by charging the same price as Disneyland for it.

 

R.

Joey writes: I loved your DCA walk-through, it was great! Don't ever lose the sarcasm, it's one of the most entertaining parts of your unique writing style. If I want pure information, I'll read the paper (then again there is no paper that is as good as MousePlanet!).

Also your comments are genius! They are hilarious, and some are REALLY good, it's too bad there wasn't so much downsizing at WDI, cause you could do a lot of good there! You should really consider writing a book (I am sure you have), you have billions of bits of information stored in your brain about Disneyland, and plenty of contacts. It would do great.!!:)
--

A.

Oh stop it, please! ;) As far as a book, I think fellow MousePlaneteer David Koenig is the real author around here, I just play at being one on this site.

I did include your almost too kind note for one major reason - see below...

-

R.

"RF" writes You're an idiot.. Do you have a slanted view of life on everything? Don't compare DCA to Disneyland, they are two SEPARATE parks... Nothing the same. Your hard-on for screwing with Eisner and Pressler is old.. Give it up!
 

A.

Balance is nice isn't it?  ;)

RF - yes they are two separate parks, and that's what is probably the biggest headache here. By pricing them the same, well people are just going to go ahead and compare them.

And the funny thing is the suits all know it.

-

R.

Mike writes: I wanted to first of all thank you for being an invaluable resource on one of my favorite places in the world. A group of my family and friends make an annual trek to Disneyland each summer. The last couple of years (since we discovered you) you have been a regular part of our trip preparation.

This year we were looking forward to a trip of approximately 5 days to check out the new park (and the old one too). Due to some unusual circumstances we will probably be limited to going over one of the 3 day weekends (probably Labor Day weekend). I was wondering if you or your team might have some suggestions for those of us with limited time to maximize our enjoyment of both parks. Thanks again and keep up the good work

Cathy writes: How are the recent power shortages affecting Disneyland? Will rides be shut down ? shorter hours? My family and I will be there in 10 days.
-

A.

Mike - Get to the parks at opening - and ride the major attractions in the first hour (Disneyland) or half hour (DCA) that they are open. Any big ones you miss, then get Fastpasses for. Save the middle of your day, and beginning of your evening for the smaller stuff, and the movie type of attractions.

Cathy - Don't worry about the power too much, Anaheim has its own generating plant (the better to profit from Disney with). Only in the most severe emergency will they possibly have to be blacked out - and even then the governor has indicated Theme Parks may be immune due to the safety issues involved.

-

R.

Chip writes: First of all, MousePlanet.com is GREAT. You all give the true inside to the Disney empire and unlike other comments, I DO like all the PERSONAL comments made. How else can we get the full picture of what is going on.

As to DCA.... I was at the opening day of WDW Animal Kingdom and true some things did not work or did need a fix... that park overall is GREAT and WDI did a great job in it's concept and design, even though the public was not 100% ready to UNDERSTAND a park of it's type, but over the past two years it has become a favorite park with Great Shows (I'm a theatre person so shows add a lot for me!!).

Sounds like DCA is not only an unusual theme to follow DL, but has NO theme. Lets just put a carnival and a lot of shops in a parking lot and put a gate around it.... sounds like a touring carnival..."where are the bunk trailers and porta pottys".... OK that might be a bit much. It's sad to see all the BAD ideas / changes in the Disney company in the past few years, in all the parks. Some of the "improvements..??" in rides / attractions in Orlando have been MAJOR DUDS! (Bring back FIGMENT!!)

Disneyland is the staple park for all parks... I like that it is 'old school' with new things. Some of the 'old' rides will always be tops on my list, and I would still ride the Skyway cable cars or Carousel of Progress if some one with a "vision...?" had left them alone. Sure, make technology improvements to keep up with the times, bit keep the history there also.

Disneyland is the most quoted 'park' in then world, and for good reason. DCA is the total joke of the Disney parks and I feel from what I read on all the sites, that no matter how many new and fun things WDI adds to DCA... it's not going to change and will bring DL down to it's level. I hope I'm wrong... to bad DCA could not of been overseas so it would 'go away' like other bad ideas.

MOUSEPLANET...and AL... keep us informed!!!!! .
 
-

A.

Thanks for the kind note Chip. Loved you comment about Disneyland being the most "quoted" park in the world, that is a very astute observation.

Too bad they seem to have been loathe to quote it just across the way there...  ;)

-

R.

"M" writes: Hi Al, I've really enjoyed following the development of DCA on your site! It seems like just yesterday I was parking my car in the Donald Duck preferred section only a few feet from the turnstiles! As I cannot wait to get into the park myself, I've consumed every morsel of information y'all offer.

The piece by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix was particularly interesting to me. So far its the only review of the Rapids Ride that I've discovered. I've worked the "Shipwreck Rapids" ride at Sea World [and] I was pleased to see her appreciation of the disabled loading procedures at DCA's version.

I'd like to note that Shipwreck has been using the exact same procedure since opening day in May of '99. The people working the ride very proud of the procedure and how well it works. I'm sure they are happy to see other parks implementing similar methods. [They] get many appreciative comments from special needs guests thanking [them] for allowing them the time they need to comfortably, and most importantly, safely embark and disembark the vessels at a stationary dock built solely for that purpose.

Although non-disabled guests may claim an unfair advantage to the disabled guest, in reality this procedure cuts wait times since regular loading on the platform commences uninterrupted simultaneous to the disabled loading.

I'm sure the "other two local parks" being referred to are Knott's and Magic Mountain, and I'm sure most readers will make this assumption...as they are truly more local to the LA area than Sea World is way down here and they are not generally thought of as a rides park, but clarification might be nice. :-)
-

A.

"M" thank you for the note! I had to disguise you a little bit there, and hope you don't mind. :) Glad to hear about the compliments for the Sea World version.

Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix and Tony Phoenix have worked very had on our disabled information section, and are also quite active in assisting the parks where they can in helping them get up to code. When we started MousePlanet we all felt this kind of thing was important to follow up on.

-

R.

Gordon writes: Hi Al, It's been a while... Today (Sunday the 21st) was supposedly the 3rd of 4 special preview days at DCA for Disney employees. I know I'm naive, but I thought it really was only for Disney employees. Silly me! The place was jammed -- at least to capacity of 30,000 -- many of whom were clearly NOT employees. So I think I got a pretty good taste of what the place is going to be like on
"normal" days.

Interestingly enough, for most of the day it didn't feel too crowded in most of the park. What was astonishingly crowded however was just trying to park. It took the usual 30 to 40 minutes or so to drive from Pasadena to the park. And another 30 to 40 minutes to get across the new bridge to the point where you pay your money to the hapless person working in the garage.

I say hapless because with all these cars trying to get to the same place from every direction possible (and probably 5 to 10 thousand extra cars in the mix) they still only had one worker per kiosk (instead of 2). If you were there you know how incredibly slow the whole process was. So slow that one poor guy's car started spewing white smoke. As a friend said, "That is soooo Disney!"

I should say that the Soarin' ride is incredible and the Redwood Creek area is lots of fun as well -- and it doesn't close early like Tom Sawyer's Island. The food is good and contrary to your rather sarcastic notes about the tortilla display, that was enjoyable, too.

I will agree that it doesn't appear as if it'll get the repeat business of Disneyland. Certainly not from locals... But then, you never know. Disney is still Disney -- for now.
-

A.

That's the problem Gordon, will people have special memories of this park like they do of Disneyland. That is what brings people back.

I simply cannot imagine the tortilla making or bread baking to be all that special to people that they would return to see it.

But I did promise to stop complaining if they changed the designations for these from "attractions" to "exhibits" - then that would at least be truth in advertising.

-

R.

Christine writes: I LOVE your site! I stumbled upon it a couple of months ago and read it every day!!!! I wanted to ask you a couple of questions if you don't mind though, if you don't have time to answer me I totally understand and will love your site all the same!!

I have been saving for nearly 3 years for a trip to Disneyland for my family and my sisters family. There will be 7 of us and all told I have put $10,000 into the trip (including my meal budget) This has been a major project and I have really made an effort to scrape together the funds for this trip.

We will be staying at the new Grand Californian Hotel for 8 days and 7 nights ( Feb. 12-19) and have rented a mini van and bought 6 day flex hopper passes. We are coming from Oregon and Washington. I have made my reservations for character meals and even paid the extra for the rooms with the park view.

After faithfully reading your page daily I am slowly beginning to panic about the week we chose to be there. This was the only time with all our schedules and I did want to see the new park but I am afraid our dream vacation may be a disaster because of the crowds. Is there any advice you can give me to make our dream come true? We are all so excited, My husband and I have been to Disneyland about 4 times each in our lives but my sister and her family have never been and I want it to be the best.

Is Presidents weekend a nightmare? (I hadn't realized we would be there on that weekend until I read your new update today) It is also my husbands birthday while we are there.

Should we stay away on the weekend days and go at night only? I appreciate your site so much! I even bought the "Nickel Tour" book (which I am halfway through, it's great!!) and the new "Mouse Under Glass" book from your gift shop!

Thanks again for taking the time to read my email and have a great week!
-

A.

Christine, first of all don't panic. It will be crowded, BUT my guess is that most of the crowds will be at the new park, leaving Disneyland a little less hectic.

My suggestion would be the same as I said to another reader just above - get to DCA early and plan to do the major attractions at that time. You'll be lucky that since you are staying at the Grand Californian, you will get early access to the new park, it comes with your room there.

Your husband will have a wonderful birthday is my guess - just plan carefully (like you already have) and you'll be fine. Watch for further updates from the site here before your trip too, just in case things change.

And thank you for supporting the site with your purchases, it means a lot to us. :)

-

R.

Larry offers his own review: I have seen the promised land... and it's not as promised.

I've been to "Disney's California Adventure" four times. I keep going back looking for the adventure that is California, but I can't quite seem to find it. I'm afraid, as Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, "There's no there, there."

Most of the architecture is very good, the landscaping is wonderful, the background music, which is EVERYWHERE, is good. The restaurants and snack stands range from adequate to excellent, all are pricey, and most are exposed to the weather. The souvenir stands are clever but nothing to get too excited about. Here and there are attempts to be edgy and / or cutting edge, such as in the daily parade and the woody- type station wagon that pulls a small jazzy pop combo around (resonates with some people, but to me it looks like pandering).

The daily stage show that premiered the big "Hyperion Theater" and was to be presented many times daily, forever, came and went very quickly, I didn't get to see it. The problem with the whole park seems to be that ideas are half-done, not quite carried out, especially the non-revenue generating parts, that is to say, the rides.

There are a few highlights such as "Soaring Over California', which is a marvel, the two 3-D movies are fun, the movie about the cultural history of California " Golden Dreams" is very well done. The raft ride careens and spins along very swiftly through its rapids, the last big drop is fun and wet. There is one ride in the Hollywood area, 'Superstar Limo" that is stunning ... in how bad it is. It looks like it cost about $500.00 to build and is non-entertaining as possible, because, in the end, it is just hype for Disney-related celebrities. This limo ride, it's not an "attraction", summarizes the whole park: the parts that generate income are all in place, the parts that don't, aren't.

I haven't been on the roller-coaster, when I do build up the courage to ride, it breaks down. I'll admit that I'm a bit snobbish, but the carnival rides are just carnival rides, they are not what I hope to get from a Disney-related theme park.

I try to remember that Disneyland was the dream of a wonderful showman and story-teller who put every dollar he could scare-up into his dream, and that California Adventure is the investment strategy of a mega-conglomerate, but STILL the park is a disappointment.

So in the end there are 4 movies, including Soaring Over California, carnival rides ( you go up, you go down, or, you spin around and around , end of story), a raft ride, and a Limousine ride that the city of Anaheim should shut down as a public nuisance.

I'm sorry this a negative report. I admit my prejudices: I want more than carnival rides, I don't care much for pop music, I don't watch television enough to know whom Disney is hyping currently.

However, to me, it's a bright and cheery false start.

-

A.

If you only knew Larry just how many times I heard much of that very same sentiment from the people around me on my visits. Listen and learn.

-

R.

Angie writes: Al, I just wanted to thank-you for your updates. Being from Ohio we only get to Disneyland once a year. But we spend all year looking forward to those nine days we will spend in what is heaven to me.

I get on MousePlanet everyday because it makes me feel closer to the park. It's also so nice to hear from other people who want the parks run the way Mr. Walt Disney would and did run Disneyland!!

The greediness I've seen lately in this company makes me sick and I just hope eventually they don't lose that Disney Magic that has brought my family and I so much happiness.

Well I just wanted to give a little piece of my mind and tell you to keep the updates coming, they really do make my day and help me to feel closer to my favorite place in the whole world!!!!!

P.S. The DCA updates have been AWESOME, I won't be there till September but I'm already counting the days down!!!!!!
 

A.

Thanks Angie - everyone at MousePlanet appreciates your kind remarks - makes our days.

Let us know after your visit in September what you think of the new park, we'd be very interested. 

-

 

R.

"B" writes: I just got back from my employee preview day at DCA. I think I liked it more than you. Once my silver pass allows me to get for free I may be spending some of my Disneyland time over in the Paradise Pier area. Hey, it looks good at night!

A couple of notes. While in the farm area, I noticed lots of orange trees, many with ripe oranges almost within reach. Heck, I was almost tempted to take a sample, but resisted. I saw others make tentative reaches, then decide not to risk it. On hot days, you can be sure the trees will be stripped. But the other thing I noticed here was the distinct smell of diazinon - a dangerous insecticide (It's Tough To Be A Bug, you know!). You know darn well some kids will eventually be sampling the plants and could get sick if they take in too much poison. I may be wrong about the diazinon. Maybe it's just part of the theming, like the smells in Soarin'. But it's something to look into.

My one big disappointment was with the Sun Wheel Ferris Wheel. Usually a Ferris Wheel will load all gondola cars then send you on several uninterrupted spins around. This would be a real blast in the moving gondolas. Unfortunately, once loaded, the Wheel barely creeped around about half a revolution before unloading us. Many years ago I was on the similar Ferris Wheel at Coney Island and remember it was thrilling, even a little scary. What's up with the wimpy ride?
.
 

A.

Let's see if we hear anything back from readers of the site about the insecticide - that does concern me.

As far as the Sun Wheel, I found it so very smooth it was boring to me too. The whole Paradise Pier area suffered from that to me... as I joked before, it seems to be the first thrill park you can take your Mom to. I don't know how good that really is though!

 

R.

Tom writes: Hey Al! How are things going? I have just finished reading part three of your DCA editorial and for the first time I have to say I am not enjoying it. Please don't take this as a flame, I am just here to point out my thoughts on the park and your writings.

I feel that you are comparing DCA to Disneyland. That is like comparing Apples and Oranges (no not orange Stingers). Disneyland is a one of a kind, yes I know that some of it has suffered over the past years but it is still Disneyland! DCA is something totally different, an entity on its own. Give it a chance, So much was said about Animal Kingdom prior to its opening, and I may be wrong, but I thought there was some things said about Paris too, but look at them, DCA will get there, just a little slower.

I arrived at the park at about 3, on Saturday without a parking problem. Yes, I parked in 7F of Daisy but hey, I got a spot! I then proceeded to tour the park and take many pictures (95 total for my visit) The Hollywood Studio was nicely done in theming and I loved the theming in Muppets, yes the preshow was better then the actually show but they all can't be winners, aye? Super Star Limo Big Dud!!! 'nough said. Other then that it was great :-) I can see Armageddon and Twilight Zone going in there, I think once built up in phase two, it will be the best part of DCA.

I loved the parade. It was very UN-Disneyland. Yes, I thought of Marde Gras and Lion King parades but it was LA. The floats were so Rose parade that it worked. The music was so different that I want a copy. It was fast moving and catchy! The dancers and jumpers (those guys on springs) I thought were a great addition. Not all parades need to have a story or theme, The Rose Parade doesn't, so this was just like it. AS for being trapped, I watched the parade from Hollywood Area and still was able to cross the park and watch it again before it was done. I feel that enough detours and crossings were built, the streets wide enough to sit in the street to have a walk way behind the viewing area that one can move to other areas of the Park, DCA was built for a parade. I would like to see MSEP run there, but it would have to be the renamed though.

As for Paradise Pier, I still think that Space Mountain is the best DL coaster, but Screamin is a close second. It was fast and enjoyable. So what if you can see out of the park, that gives you an extra feeling of being at a Pier, being able to see the outside. The theming is only a little sparse. A carnival atmosphere always is compact and lacks theming, which this area is. I felt like I was down the midway.

The thought of the winery is just wrong! Alcohol in a Disney park is stupid and bad. But I will say is was nicely done. Grizzly Peak is the best water rapids ride I have been on. The theming is fine for its area and the idea of being on a camping trip. My complaint and that of the people in my raft was that the rock did look like a wolf. So fix that.

I know that there are many shops and restaurants that it is ridiculous but I believe after phase 2 the amount of attractions will be bigger. It easier to put those in first and build around. A show building can be placed at a distance and queued out like Indy and Pirates. Which is what will happen with Armageddon and Twilight Zone. After Phase 2 I think a berm will have grown. The park is not even open yet, the suits and CM's will see the little things as time goes by and fix them (like the fence at the beginning of Screamin') Let the park open and get through its first year then we can complain.

Right now I feel that admission should be at 30 dollars and that it will eventually be up to the same standards that we are used to at a Disney resort. DCA is definitely not AP material right now.

Thanks Al for listening. I am looking forward to the rest of your work. I think that all of you and Mouseplanet are doing a great job.)
--

A.

Thank YOU Tom for your review. MousePlanet is a home for all viewpoints - and I found many of your observations quite interesting!

We will have to disagree on one thing, you think the park is worth about $30 as it now stands, I feel $20 is closer to it. But we do agree it isn't worth the full $43 yet, which is also interesting.

-

R.

Todd and Leslie writeHello Al! We have been enjoying your reviews of DCA, and rereading your comments after we just got back from previewing the park. Your comments have been dead on!

The thing we noticed was the lack of Disney "theming." There were only a few characters: Flik, near "It's Tough To be a Bug;" (very fitting) and Cruella DeVil and two characters from "The Emperor's New Groove" in the Hollywood area. Are there going to be more?

They sell plush Pooh and Friends dressed as Forest Rangers in the gift shops, but we didn't see any evidence they had characters to match. What about Farmer Mickey? Or Minnie in her bathing costume for Paradise Pier? (There is a lot of space in front of the wall that has the the travel posters. Great for photo ops).

People who go to Disney parks expect quality, and frankly, you have to "spend money to make money."

P.S. We wanted to run screaming from "Celebrity Limo!"
 

A.

You may want to check out the recent Jim Hill article to get the latest on the character situation at DCA.

-

R.

Craig writes: To Al: To begin, I enjoy your site, and have followed your comments on the new park with interest and pleasure. You do have some valid points concerning the new park. However, having now visited the park, I have come to the conclusion that it basically works, although only if they really limit attendance, a big if when it comes to Disney.

I even found Paradise Pier much more visually interesting and entertaining than you did, especially at night. It is lacking in more original 1920's and 1930's rides and great sea-side themed dark rides (How about a musical, 1920's themed dark ride themed to Southern California and its disasters--Busby Berkely meets Earthquake? I would ride that!), but I found the Sun Wheel and the rollercoaster to be much better rides than I think you give them credit for being. The cars on the Ferris Wheel that move really do disorient you, although the ride should really go through more than one revolution.

I think you totally underestimate the roller coaster, which is way more frightening than the Knott's coaster. It is a very nice ride, especially given its soundtrack. I do think though that the Disney designers lacked the funds to create the architectural eye-candy of a Dreamland or Luna Park, my two favorite sea-side parks that I have never visited except in my dreams. But the foundation is there, if they can only keep plussing the area.

As to the food exhibits, I agree that they should be called exhibits, but I liked them, and would have liked more. Where is the Ghiradelli Chocolate Tour? I especially liked the humor of the bread-baking tour. I thought the tortilla tour needed some better pre-show or show at all, but hey, who doesn't like a free tortilla, especially in a Disney park where nothing is free. I also really enjoyed the Whoopi film, Bugs Life, and the Muppets, and went on the Muppets twice. Then again, I haven't been to Florida, and I love the Muppets dearly.

The only horrible weaknesses in the park, in my opinion, are the Superstar Limo ride, the lack of things for small kids to do, the so-called San Francisco area (they should tear it down and begin again--the ride and theming possibilities are great, and they need something with hills in the back of the park to hide the views of the Convention Center, plus when people think of California, they think as much of San Francisco as of Hollywood or the Beach--this should really be the first major new land in the park!), and the lack of a major dark ride ala Pirates.

If they were to put another couple of hundred million into the park, I really think it would be a great success. As it stands now, I enjoyed it as much as Universal, if not nearly as much as Disneyland. I might be tempted to go once a year though! Anyway, thanks again for your comments, even those I disagree with. You should rethink your comments about the tameness of the coaster though!.
-

A.

Craig, thank you for the kind comments and the great review. I did ride the coaster a second time, and still think it was awfully tame.

It's too bad though they couldn't have put in that couple of hundred million in now though - after all, it's not like the park won't be around in the future. Let's hope they do fix it.

-

R.

Steve writes: Al, amazing job. Of course, it all makes me sad, because I badly want to take my daughter to Disneyland this year (I was even considering buying an Annual Pass again), but it looks like both parks are going to be too crowded, too expensive, and frankly, too dangerous to visit this year. Thank you so much for your efforts. They are very much appreciated by many people that never get the chance to write.
 
-

A.

You may want to try a visit after the end of the summer Steve, then you won't have to deal with the crowds then. Right now I'm advising most people that if they can wait, they will be better off.

-

R.

Ty writes: Just wanted to let you know that when I was at DCA the lockers in the grizzly area were free for the first 2 hours and anytime after had certain prices. I'm not sure if this will continue for too long because it might start to get abused.
-

A.

Thanks for that Ty, and I did confirm what you found out. I think that's an excellent way to let riders keep their cameras and such nice an dry. Kudos to Disney for it.

-

R.

Dan writes: I am a bit puzzled here... a theme running throughout your review of the new park talks about how you never really "escape" the outside world in the new park like at Disneyland (and I almost certainly agree - there's no magic in this new park), and you make the comment that cel phones don't work well in Disneyland, Downtown Disney, or the Californian and perhaps they will fix that....

Come on now - I think that's great. There's nothing that pisses me off more than to see someone in line at Disneyland using their cel phone. That total blows the whole "escape" thing for me and it certainly doesn't help them "escape" either ... can't people unattach themselves for just a day? I think besides the brains that guests seems to check in at the main gate, they should check the cel phones in as well and concentrate on spending the quality time with those they have come into the place with.

Just my thoughts.

-

A.

Depends on how the cell phone is used Dan. If someone is talking business loudly while in line with you, or over at the next table in the Blue Bayou, I couldn't agree with you more.

But for me, my cell phone use at Disneyland is mostly a quick "where are you" so as to find out where the fellow MousePlaneteers are so I can meet up with them. We couldn't have done all the work we've done up to now without the cells, they were especially invaluable in the new park.

-

R.

Mike writes: Al, I have enjoyed your DIG updates and articles for the past few years, but you really seem hell-bent on bad mouthing DCA. I was not crazy about the concept or the planned "attractions" but after spending all day yesterday in the park, I can happily admit that my concerns were unfounded. The park is amazing for what it is, and the promise of more things to come only makes me happier that it's one of my home parks.

You seem to leave out a whole lot of details in your rants against DCA. For example, most of Disneyland incorporates "off the shelf" ride systems. WED did not design the Matterhorn, Arrow did, but California Screamin' is a loser because it wasn't designed/built by Imagineering? That's BS! Cal Screamin' was designed by Werner Stengel who is probably the most revered of coaster designers today. It was built by Intamin who definitely is the most respected and desired builder of steel coasters. Dumbo is one of DL's most popular rides, but that is a carnival ride. Most of Disneyland is carnival-like. Because that's what Walt loved -- he only wanted a place of his own to live up to his higher standards of service and cleanliness.

You like to show pictures of things not meeting your standards but you neglect to mention the wonderful attention to detail in DCA like the beach shower / water fountains and the wide and themed walkways throughout the park. And, not everyone has to be themed with animatronics, you know. The lack of animatronics on GRR or the lack of themeing on CS does not detract from the ride or the enjoyment. Even without a berm, I never one noticed a thing outside the horizon of DCA. That's a testament to the work that Imagineering did.

I think that DCA is the best first effort in a new park that Disney has ever produced stateside. You can change your mindset and think about it that way, you know. If you do, you'll realize that a few other attractions will make it one of Disney's best parks. If they add a TZ:TOT and a R&RC then it immediately becomes my 2nd favorite Disney park.

Admitting that DCA is a good park and that it has a bright future is not tantamount to admitting Pressler & Eisner are good at what they do. I place on the success of what I experienced solely on the shoulders of Imagineering. I still think Eisner is not whole without Mr. Wells and I think Pressler is the wrong guy for his job. But, I like DCA.
!
-

A.

I wish I could agree with you, but we see different things in that place. My biggest criticism remains that they did first class work on the shops and restaurants, and seemingly have forgotten the attractions.

And the coaster, well even with that pedigree it didn't make it all that much more exciting for me. Space Mountain still beats it hands down. The good thing is we can agree to disagree, and I'm glad you wrote in so I can also present your viewpoint here for folks to read also.

-

R.

Ken writes: I really enjoyed your series about DCA. I was very surprised about your description of the Golden Dreams movie. It sounds like a real downer with Rodney King, Harvey Milk, someone getting killed, etc. I don't go to Disneyland to relive unpleasant real world experiences. I go to escape the real world. I expected an uplifting movie about the California Dream even if that dream is not truly reality.

We took our kids to Disneyland about a year ago (when they were 3) and we will probably go again next year when they are 5, but after that I think that with the current management, WDW offers much more than Anaheim ever can for a family vacation. With limited space, they need to try and pack in more high quality rides and experiences if they want people to go for multi-day vacations. Wasting space on carnival games that cost $2 is ridiculous.
-

A.

The moments you refer to do go by quickly in the movie, but as you felt, I kind of thought they were out of place here too.

Let's hope they listen to what the customers are saying.

-

R.

Angie writes: Al, This is some of the best writing you have ever done. I can't thank-you enough for this series. Please keep it coming, I look forward everyday to reading your columns. I can't express how much your insight into Disneyland (I guess now The Disneyland Resort) is appreciated!! Thanks Again!!!
 

A.

Thanks Angie - that was very kind of you. 

-

R.

Steve writes: Thanks for your great series, which was right on target about everything (down to the detail of pot smoking being the only reason to ride the Sun Wheel) By the way, when we rode it, the glorified Ferris wheel never just went around a few times after loading in order to take advantage of the movement of inside track cars. It simply remained in lode mode the entire time, and I suspect may remain this way due to low capacity and long lines (kids really wanting to get high, I guess).

It's actually quite bizarre how nicely themed the Grizzly Peak and environs are detailed when compared to the rest of the park (which is strictly on a Sea World- Universal- Six Flags level). Your theory that it's because of the adjacent hotel is interesting and justifiably cynical.

All in all, I think the title of your series, "Half Park, Full Price" was actually a little too generous. The place basically sucks (only one attraction, "Soarin' Over California," being the exception in my opinion), and I hope the public soon realizes this and votes with its collective feet. If they don't reduce the price (doubtful since it would be an admission of poor quality), I can hardly see how visitors confronted with Disneyland on one side and Cal Adventures on the other would ever choose a return visit to the new park.

 

A.

A quick note about my Sun Wheel "toke" comments - a few readers sent in notes concerned I may have been too lighthearted in my comments, or was advocating any kind of drug use.

After having worked a good deal of my life in the music business (where I saw a lot of careers lost due to it), and just last year having lost someone in my life to drug and alcohol abuse, I seriously would be the last person to endorse it.

The reason I did mention it is because it will heighten awareness of what is going on. Lots of times folks shoot the messenger, when all he wanted to do is tell you what to look out for. ;)

Thanks for the note Steve, I like the raft ride too along with Soarin', but even with that, the park is still very short on the attractions offered.


The above was just a sampling of the reader response I got - if you would like to read more, let me know and if enough folks respond we'll do a part two on this section.

Readers Respond

THE SERIES:

Part One - Entering the park and the Hollywood Backlot area

Part Two - Middling, i.e. Condor flats, the farm, and wharf areas

Part Three - Paradise Pier carnival area

Part Four - The Whoopi movie, Raft ride and other details such as parking, the hotel and mall

More Readers Respond!

ALSO ON THIS SITE:

Take a photo tour of the park

Take a photo tour of the Grand Californian hotel

Go to: Top | Section Contents | MousePlanet Main Page

Copyright © MousePlanet® Inc. | Legal Information & Privacy Policy | About/Contact MousePlanet | Link to us

MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.