Or alternatively titled: A Whole New Wooorrrllldddd! (S0rry, I couldn’t resist).
Or the alternative alternative title: Ryan Visits Construction Wall Adventure
In all seriousness, though, walking into California Adventure after a number of years (that combined with the fact that I had only gone into the park 2 or 3 times and only for a few hours) made the entire experience feel new. The first thing that anyone would notice walking in would be the obscene amount of construction walls at the first area of the park. When I was there, the new entrance way based off of the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was uncovered, but it was not open yet. People were still forced to work their way around the new gates and enter from the side of them. That being said, these were easily the best construction walls in the entire park that I saw.
What I find to be the most perplexing about the California Adventure redux is that the new entrance land, Buena Vista Street, is going to be one of the last areas of the park to open. One would have thought that a brand new front would have brought more people into the front, and not having tons of construction walls before you get into the park would have made more people think the park wasn’t closed. The idea of the immensely tacky (and not in any sort of endearing way) Sunshine Plaza going away and making way for a well themed area based on the past is an exciting one, and from some of the artwork seen at the Blue Sky Cellar (which will be a topic for another day), it isn’t just a rehashing of Hollywood Boulevard at Hollywood Studios. It is going to be based more off of the real Los Angeles of the past and less of of the heightened and almost fantastical version of Hollywood presented in Hollywood Boulevard.
Like the area surrounding the new gates, this area was another Construction Wall Land (the most magical land ever found at a Disney park!), but unlike the walls surrounding the gate, these were themed more to advertisements that would have been found in the 1920′s, but with the usual Disney slant. The largest inconvenience that this area presented, though, was the fact that the construction of the Carthay Circle theatre (which is acutally slightly to the left side of the new land) was taking up the entire area and one of the main throughways through the park was completely cut off. While the fixing of California Adventure will be great when it’s done, going while it’s still in process can be very frustrating. (Especially when you’re trying to manuver around the area to get to the Grizzly River Rapids FastPass distribution as so that you can get a FastPass for World of Color because that is totally the reason that you wanted to go to Disneyland in the first place)
Paradise Pier is an area that used to infuriate me, and it still slightly does, but enourmously less than it used to. Paradise Pier still has one of the same problems that it had before, the fact that all of the rides and attractions were just off-the-wall carnival/amusement park faire. There’s the flying swings, the ferris wheel (though Mickey’s Fun Wheel was easily one of the most fun things I did in the park, but only if you ride the swinging gondolas), and various spinning/dropping rides. The area used to have a few more attractions, but thankfully they were destroyed when the area started it’s refurbishment. Some more of these very standard attractions still need to go, but the Silly Symphony Swings, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, and King Triton’s Carousel of the Sea can stay, and need to be replaced with some more “Disney” attractions. They need to make more attractions like Toy Story Midway Mania that take the idea of something from a carnival or amusement park and turn it into something new and interesting. Putting that rant aside, the area is definitely much more aesthetically pleasing to look at, the new look for the land was started when Toy Story Midway Mania opened and everything else just fell into place. The Victorian style buildings and structures are gorgeous to look at and there are numerous little touches around the area that made me smile from ear to ear.
Unfortunately, the new eateries and Goofy’s Sky School were not open by the time I was there (they opened shortly afterwards, which really annoyed me), but the Little Mermaid attraction was open (for part of the day, it broke down for a few hours and actually scared me a little bit with the thought that I wouldn’t be able to experience it). Once again, though, different topic for a different day.
Most of the other areas in the park were just about the same, except for the Hollywood Pictures Backlot which was set up for ElecTRONica (and is rumoured to be in the next wave of improvements to the park). I did get to look in at some of the construction of Cars Land, and I’m pretty excited for that to open.