January 6, 2015

Sneak Peak: DCA's Condor Flats Becomes Grizzly Peak Airfield

It seems as if one of the "gifts" to celebrate the 60th birthday of Disneyland includes even more cosmetic work on its much younger sister, California Adventure

The addition of Cars Land, the revamping of Paradise Pier and the full on cosmetic surgery of the Sun Plaza into Buena Vista Street has made Anaheim's second park finally worthy of the Disney name. She certainly was an unattractive child, but as she's entering her teen years, she's shaping up quite nicely! And there's more to come.

Coming your way soon. Photo from MiceAge.

MiceAge is reporting that DCA's Condor Flats will be melted into the Grizzly Peak area. Newly renamed Grizzly Peak Airfield. This will involve a transformation from the dry desert landscape into the lush greenery of the California forests. The news is nothing new if you've kept your eyes open- and if you have a copy of Jason Surrell's The Disney Mountains: Imagineering at It's Peak. Inside is this piece of concept art that shows it all.  

The newest park map shows Condor Flats closed.
Click on this for a larger image.
From the always excellent Magic Eye website.

Instead of cactus greeting guests coming off Carthay Circle, the pine trees will welcome guests to a mountain top airstrip. Soarin' Over California now sports a fresh mountain look, and everything around it will fit seamlessly into the atmosphere as Grizzly Peak looms in the near distance. Given the work is mostly new landscaping and much paint, the finished product should be done by the Summer season, hopefully at the beginning of it. 

Another slice of DCA 1.0 disappears.

In the old days, as much as I loved the look of the desert airstrip, it was truly an abrupt change to round the bend and find the Grand Californian Resort, then the geysers of the rapids adventure. But that was DCA 1.0, when transitions mattered little, hip and edgy was the order of the day, and the suits felt as if the guests were too dumb to notice the company had delivered an inferior product but charged full fees for it. It certainly was cheap. (Take a look at my multi-part series Bargain Basement Imagineering. This approach created some of the shallowest, themeless attractions ever to be seen at a Disney park.)

With the success of DCA 2.0, a new day has dawned. Here's hoping that Phase Two of the renovation begins as Condor Flats goes away. And what else was in that book, anyway?

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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