February 7, 2011

Ten Years of DCA: An Overview from Mr. Eisner

The Insights blog week long look at DCA starts now!
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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 California Adventure Dedication Speech -- February 8, 2001 , Michael Eisner

After this inspiring dedication to a brand new Disney park, you would expect the best...

Let's begin our week long look at California Adventure with a couple of very telling graphics from the Spring 2001 issue of The Disney Magazine. This poorly scanned map from the magazine (bungled by yours truly), shows virtually every item that was available on opening day just a few weeks prior to the printing of this issue.

Looks like quite the fun place- that is, until you take a closer look, and compare it to any of the non-Magic Kingdom parks from Walt Disney World. The number of real Disneyesque attractions is outweighted by its many shopping and dining opportunities. Guess that really makes it more like Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom at opening.... hmmm.
In this letter, Disney CEO Michael Eisner sure promised us a great Disney park! Just click on the image above to get a full reading of his perception of the place. He did get one thing right. Disneyland is spectacular and inspiring!
The new park's publicity campaign certainly was interesting. Buzz Lightyear uses his blue binocular friend to get a glimpse of the place across the way. And what does he see? A mash up of the park's icons. It's not too compelling, and the early reviews of the park were not exactly complimentary, but it is a new Disney park after all, and it has to have more substance than what meets the eye.
Even farther back in time, Disney was promising a very Golden Dream for the park. An early publicity booklet (above) promised the moon and delivered the sun in various forms.

So much for the early publicity directly from the House of Mouse. Tomorrow, come back for a critical look at the park from the eyes of a fan. All through the week, come back for special features as week look at the park we loved to hate after ten years!

(Except the above image, all graphics are from The Disney Magazine copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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