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The Greedy Theme Park Fan's Wish List for Improving Disney California Adventure

November 9, 2015, 12:43 PM · After last week's Greedy Theme Park Fan's Wish List for Improving Disneyland, I promised you a similar list for Disney California Adventure. Yesterday in the Orange County Register, I delivered with Improving Disney California Adventure.

Let's start by noting how much Disney has done already to improve this once-maligned park, spending a billion dollars to add new lands, rethemed old ones, and to build some world-class rides and attractions. Radiator Springs Racers and World of Color rank among the best Disney attractions in the world, according to our readers. (Or, at least, World of Color did before its recent Diamond Celebration version. It's still great — just not as great as it was before.)


But greedy theme park fans are, well, greedy. We are always wanting more, especially when companies keep doing great work in other parks. So in that spirit, I offered another half dozen suggestions for improvements at Disney California Adventure, ranging from the easy (the return of the flatbreads at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta) to the quite a bit more ambitious. (Let's trade A Bug's Land for Mystic Manor!)

It's all intended to spark a fun discussion, so I hope you'll take a look, then tell us what you would like to see happen next at Disney California Adventure.

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Replies (6)

November 9, 2015 at 8:40 PM · I agree with a few of them. Yes, they need the bears in the rapids ride. I don't quite know if it should be the Country Bears, but if this is possible, they need to add a sound track to the ride and add some show scenes. It'll be a Splash Mountain sequel.

Yes, the Hyperion Theater needs an enclosed lobby or an overhang at minimum. This should be part of a Hollywood Backlot retheming makeover. They remade Condor Flats. Why not Hollywood Blvd?

Yes, Tower of Terror needs to rid itself of Twilight Zone. Somehow, the Twilight Zone didn't quite translate from the superior Orlando version. Few people care about the ancient television show. I heard about Tower of Terror being made into a movie again. It seems like the failure of the first movie didn't quite get into their heads so they will try again. Could this new movie give us hope about a new version of Tower of Terror?

I like A Bug's Land, but I do think this land could be improved upon. The bumper car ride isn't bad. It's a nice diversion, yet maybe the update of the tire ride means this bumper car ride is redundant. The caterpillar ride should be lengthened. It's a nice ride, but way too short to be enjoyable. The lady bug ride seems like Mater tractor ride. The spinning ride is like another ride in Paradise Pier. Unfortunately, any attempt to fix it might doom the land.

November 9, 2015 at 4:48 PM · It's a good list, and I have a couple more...

1 - Bring the Ride and go Seek version of Monsters Inc. from Tokyo Disneyland to DCA...at least bring the figures. The minimal animation of our version is a real disappointment.

2 - With the upgrade to a new version of Soarin' why not go with a system like Star Tours so every ride will have a random sequence of locations. That would make going on repeat trips more fun.

3 - I am also all for adding to the show at Grizzly River. It's a fun ride, but it needs something to create a story. How about the cast from Brother Bear? I know those bears were not Californians, but honestly...how does Cars Land fit at DCA?

4 - Improve the WIFI in the park so the very cool new Disneyland Resort App works better.

5 - Quickly upgrade the systems so AP holders can use their electronic ticket stored on the Disneyland Resort App to get discounts. I'd love to take that card out of my wallet. There is enough junk in it already.

6 - Question for people who have bought the AP that now include PhotoPass. Is there a way for all those photos to automatically download to your computer (via email perhaps) or do you still have to log on every time to see what you have and download manually? Wouldn't it be great if as your photos are taken, they automatically appear in your photos on your phone/camera/etc? Yeah...cool huh?

November 9, 2015 at 5:09 PM · I'm halfway with you on this list. I definitely agree that the over-the-shoulder restraints on Screamin' take away from the experience. My wife and I love to visit the Santa Cruz boardwalk when we head up north. She's not quite as enthusiastic as I am about the jerky Giant Dipper, but it's certainly much, much more enjoyable because it's not constrained by bulky over-the-shoulder restraints.

I also loved the Country Bear Jamboree and would love to see a new home for the bears at Grizzly Peak. Finally, I fully agree that the Hyperion needs to get a fully enclosed lobby.

As for the other three recommendations, I'm indifferent about the pizza and a Tower re-theming. The Mystic Manor looks enjoyable enough but I'd prefer to see something that can further connect to the California namesake. (I suppose an Art Deco theme could do the trick.) Disney did it right when they re-themed the entrance and gave a nod to the California desert and car culture with Radiator Springs. I worry when I read about possible Marvel attractions that will have little to no connection to the park's namesake.

With the California theme in mind, my wish list would include a larger build out of the Grizzly Peak area. I know there's little room for significant expansion of this area, save for a possible rearranging of the Goofy's Sky School area. So, keeping this wish list grounded in reality, how about saving that sliver of land behind Tower of Terror for another forest-themed area. Just as California boasts several forest-filled regions rich in natural beauty–including Sequoia, Redwoods NP/SP, Yosemite, Muir Woods, etc.–it'd be fair to have two forest-themed areas in California Adventure. I understand that the park is not meant to recreate the 'best of California.' (I certainly hope no one is content gazing upon Grizzly Peak but instead inspired to take a trip to see the majestic beauty of a natural wonder such as Half Dome firsthand.) In my humble opinion though, Grizzly Peak is one of the more enjoyable lands and I would love to experience more attractions in a similarly themed area...and I think Disney has enough franchises that would fit well in a forest theme (just about any princess property, Endor, etc.).

November 9, 2015 at 8:40 PM · Rob...Cars land fits at DCA because its ROUTE 66.
November 9, 2015 at 9:54 PM · I agree with most of this, but with one exception...instead of bringing the Country Bears back, why not take inspiration from Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at Hong Kong Disneyland? An encounter with wild bears fits the high-speed adventure of Grizzly River Run much better than the friendly singing bears of Country Bear Jamboree (perhaps those bears could be put to use in a new show built inside the lower mountain). Other than that, I'd love to see everything on this list happen, and I also like Rob's idea of bringing Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek to DCA.
November 9, 2015 at 10:11 PM · 1 - Get the Tower of Terror to do the random drop sequence, just like Orlando´s version. I know this might not be possible due to the ride`s mechanism being diferent, but it would greatly improve the experience.

2 - Bug`s Land could be turned into a much better themed land. I like Robert´s idea about getting Mystic Manor there and even turning the land into a darker place. It would fit well with Tower of Terror being right next to it.

3 - The Hollywood area of the park is kind of ugly with that mural with the fake sky painted on it. It just doesn´t blend in with the rest of the area. It needs a desperate change.

4 - Lastly, I know many people love California Screaming, but to me, an outdoor rollercoaster of that size, with little to no theming, just doesn´t belong at a Disney Park. Don´t get me wrong, it is a fun ride, but when you´re in Paradise Pier you kind of lose the Disney Magic. It feels more like being at an Amusement Park. The constant sound of the rollercoaster going by and the huge white structure give it that feel. At least that´s how I felt like when I was there for the first time two months ago. Disney could do wonders with this area by keeping Toy Story Midway Mania and transform the whole Paradise Pier area into a Toy Story themed land.

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