On February 8, 2001, Disney was proud to open their second Anaheim park,Disney’s California Adventure Park. California Adventures is the centerpiece of a $1.4-billion expansion of what will now be called the Disneyland Resort. The new park spans over 67-acres, has its own distinct identity separate from the 45-year-old Disneyland Park.
The original dedication of the park was done by Michael Eisner and said:
To all who believe in the power of dreams, welcome. Disney’s California Adventure opens its golden gates to you. Here we pay tribute to the dreamers of the past: the native people, explorers, immigrants, aviators, entrepreneurs and entertainers who built the Golden State. And we salute a new generation of dreamers who are creating the wonders of tomorrow, from the silver screen to the computer screen, from the fertile farmlands to the far reaches of space. Disney’s California Adventure celebrates the richness and the diversity of California… its land, its people, its spirit and, above all, the dreams that it continues to inspire.
Disney’s California Adventure Park would be built in the area that was previously the parking log for Disneyland. The park would be divided into 3 main theme areas:
- Paradise Pier – a nostalgic California beachfront amusement section
- Hollywood Pictures Backlot – a district inspired by Hollywood Boulevard and the movies
- Golden State – a more sprawling area devoted to the people, natural beauty and industries of California.
The original lineup of attractions for opening day were:
- Animation Academy – housing a total of ten shows, galleries, and interactive exhibits
- California Screamin’ – the second longest steel coaster in the U.S.
- Character Close-Up – walkthrough exhibit featuring animation sketches & models
- Golden Zephyr – cycle ride reminiscent of blimps
- Grizzly River Run – white-water raft ride
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug! – 3-D film featuring some of the characters from the Disney/Pixar film A Bug’s Life
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish – parachute drop
- King Triton’s Carousel – elaborate and stunningly crafted carousel
- Muppet*Vision 3D – 3-D film augmented by auditory, visual, and tactile special effects
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – elaborate maze of rope bridges, rock climbing, log towers, a zip line & a cave
- Soarin’ Over California – hang-glider tour of California with IMAX-quality images projected below
- Sorcerer’s Workshop – series of walkthrough exhibits inside the Disney Animation Building
- The Bakery Tour – walkthrough attraction featuring hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Colin Mochrie via video
Here is a commercial from 2001 announcing the new park
The park received a lot of criticism over the years and the attendance was much lower than expected. In 2007, Disney announced a major expansion of the park as well as a major overhaul of a significant portion of the park. Construction lasted for five years and was completed in stages, culminating with the opening of Cars Land in June 2012.
The park now contains 8 different themed lands, which are:
- Buena Vista Street
- Paradise Pier
- Grizzly Peak
- Condor Flats
- Pacific Wharf
- Hollywood Land
- A Bug’s Land
- Car’s Land
According to the Themed Entertainment Association, the park hosted approximately 7.78 million guests in 2012, making it the 11th-most visited theme park in the world that year.
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