California Adventure gets ‘Walted’
The Walt Disney Company has unveiled a significant multi-year expansion for the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, including plans for a brand new land at Disney’s California Adventure. Disney Imagineers intend to increase the appeal of the resort’s second gate by exploiting the Walt Disney connection more strongly than ever before.
“Disneyland guests have a deep emotional connection with Walt Disney, whose life story really captures the pioneering spirit of California in the 1920s,” remarked Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, at a press conference on October 17. “The creative evolution of Disney’s California Adventure will reflect the place that he found when he arrived with a cardboard suitcase in his hand and a head full of dreams.”
Setting the scene will be a new, interactive Walt Disney Story attraction in the entrance plaza (concept pictured). New experiences inside the park will include a Little Mermaid attraction, a signature night-time spectacular and a whole new area for guests – the 12-acre Cars Land, featuring the world of Radiator Springs, as featured in the hit Disney/Pixar Cars movies.
Cars Land, due to open in 2012, will feature a major “E-ticket” attraction in the shape of Radiator Springs Racers. Riders will accompany star cars from the film including Mater, Lightning McQueen, Doc and Sally as they race around hairpin turns and steep banks. Two additional family rides will be included, featuring the characters Luigi and Mater. The new land will substantially extend the total area of Disney’s California Adventure.
Ahead of all this, Toy Story Mania! will open next summer at the park’s Paradise Pier, taking guests on an interactive high energy adventure hosted by Toy Story characters Woody, Jessie, Buzz and Hamm. Also at the pier, a major ride based on The Little Mermaid will feature leading-edge animation and special effects. Meanwhile Disney’s World of Color, the new night-time spectacular, will bring a nightly panorama of water effects, colourful lighting and music to Paradise Pier.
Other new additions for 2008 at Disney’s California Adventure include:
-Hollywood Pictures Backlot, a new home for special ticketed events and a chance to hear first-hand from directors, writers and animators.
-Golden State, featuring numerous new dining opportunities inspired by California’s rich and ethnically diverse food heritage.
-Preview Center, using models and Imagineering concepts to give guests a sneak peek at the excitement that lies ahead.
The California Adventure expansion is the latest Disney addition in Anaheim since the company decided to turn its 500-acre site into a multi-day destination resort. In 2001 the original Disneyland park, which opened in 1955, was joined by Disney’s California Adventure, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Downtown Disney entertainment district.
According to the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Anaheim is now one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in America, enjoying some of the highest hotel occupancy rates in the nation. Just recently, Disney added 250 new rooms to the Grand Californian. More information – and pictures – on the plans for Disney’s California Adventure will appear in the December 2007/January 2008 ‘Winter Issue’ of Park World.