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A Bug's Land - Grand Opening

Article and photos by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

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When the construction crew began work on the upcoming Tower of Terror attraction in the parking lot of Disney's California Adventure, they discovered that the local bugs had created a tiny amusement park of their own.

Disney was so enchanted by this turn of events that they invited the bugs to become part of the DCA theme park, creating an all-new area, Flik's Fun Fair...

...or so goes the official Disney explanation for how a group of attractions based on cartoon bugs fits into the California-themed amusement park. After nearly a month of employee previews, media tours, and "soft openings," "It's a Bug's Land" is now open to the public.

Mickey and Minnie welcome visitors to Flik's Fun Fair
Mickey and Minnie welcome visitors to Flik's Fun Fair.

The weekend-long opening festivities began with an afternoon annual passholder preview on Friday, October 4. Billed as a "special sneak preview" offering annual passholders and their guests "the first opportunity" to see the new land. Those who attended the $10 event received a snack, beverage, and collectible pin.

A Bugologist conducts a little show and tell
A Bugologist conducts a little show and tell.

Once DCA closed Saturday night, guests at an after-hours merchandise special event rubbed elbows with Pixar chief John Lasseter, and were entertained by It's a Bug's Life voice talents Joe Ranft (Heimlich) and Michael McShane (Tuck & Roll). Eight hundred tickets were offered for the $125 event, (a $25 child's ticket was also available), but a Disneyland merchandise manager put the actual attendance at 150 to 200 people. One guest who attended said that it was the nicest event she had experienced, and that she really enjoyed the "intimate atmosphere."

Actor Dean Cain greets the press on the green carpet
Actor Dean Cain greets the press on the green carpet.

The green carpet was rolled out again Sunday afternoon, as celebrities and their families enjoyed a private VIP party. Stars included Patrick Warburton, Dean Cain, Jenny Garth, Melanie Griffith, and David Hasselhoff. After running the gauntlet of fans and media, the stars were greeted with glasses of "bug juice," and were able to escape the crowds and enjoy the rides.

New parks head Jay Rasulo watches the buggies crawl by
New parks head Jay Rasulo (right) watches the buggies crawl by.

Flik's Fun Fair takes on a whole new look at night
Flik's Fun Fair takes on a whole new look at night.

Later that evening, Disneyland Resort President Cynthia Harriss and Jay Rasulo, the newly-named President of Disney Parks and Resorts, greeted invited guests and the media at a preview party. For most, it was their first time in the area after dark, with green clovers glowing with internal and projected lighting, and the daytime insects sounds replaced with chirping crickets.

Kids from the Walt Disney Elementary School wait for the grand opening
Students from the Walt Disney Elementary School wait for the grand opening.

Children from Anaheim's Walt Disney Elementary School and the Orange Children and Parents Together Head Start program were invited to attend the opening ceremonies, and to be the first official guests to the new land. The spectators were presented with their own bug antenna headbands, and settled in to watch the ceremony.

Cynthia Harriss, Michael Eisner, and Jay Rasulo welcome the guests
Cynthia Harriss, Michael Eisner, and Jay Rasulo welcome the guests.

John Lasseter and Cynthia Harriss explain the "discovery" of the new It's a Bug's Land
John Lasseter and Cynthia Harriss explain the "discovery" of the new It's a Bug's Land.

After opening comments by Cynthia Harriss, Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and Jay Rasulo, Harriss related the story of how Flik's Fun Fair was unearthed during the construction of the upcoming Tower of Terror attraction. She then introduced Pixar head John Lasseter, who described the land and its rides.

Actor Dave Foley reads the bug oath.
Actor Dave Foley reads the bug oath.

Lasseter was joined on stage by Flik, and the pair asked for a volunteer to help administer the "Bug Oath" to the guests about to enter the new land. Shouting "Pick me, Pick me" was Dave Foley (the voice of Flik), who stood up in the audience and made his way to the stage.

It was a Disney event - of course there was confetti
It was a Disney event - of course there was confetti.

Amid a shower of butterfly-shaped confetti and a burst of fireworks, the new land was opened to the waiting crowd.

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Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix can be reached at this link

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