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Maybe Disneyland fans really are getting their Westcot after all

December 13, 2016, 10:11 PM · The Disneyland Resort today announced the extension of its annual Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park. This year's celebration of what many people call "Chinese New Year" will run for 17 days, from Friday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

Disney will add a Lunar New Year preshow to DCA's World of Color show each night during the celebration. A six-minute feature called "Hurry Home" will tell the story of Little Lantern, returning home for the holiday, with appearances by Mulan and the dragon Mushu along the way. Featuring projected animation on World of Color's water screens, as well as the show's fountains and light effects, the preshow will play with music by Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun from the opening ceremony of Shanghai Disneyland.

Disney's also getting another couple weeks' worth of use out of their food booths, with the addition of three new Asian marketplaces for the event, offering Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese dishes. The Lunar New Year celebration joins California Adventure's Festival of the Holidays and Food & Wine Festival in featuring the food stands.

In this way, it seems that Disney California Adventure is beginning to follow the model that Disney has established on the east coast with Epcot — if it's not summer, haul out the food booths, and let's throw a festival!

With their common entrances modeled on Los Angeles' old Pan Pacific Auditorium, we've long considered Disney's Hollywood Studios the east coast sibling of Disney California Adventure. But with the Star Wars Land that someday will dominate DHS going in over at Disneyland in California, and more festivals taking over DCA while Epcot adopts more of the franchise-driven design that Disney embraced with its various DCA rebuilds, maybe Epcot and DCA are the two U.S. Disney parks growing most closely together now.

That'd be ironic, given that the original design for Disneyland's second gate on its old parking lot was for a west coast version of Epcot, to be called "Westcot." Many Disney fans have lamented the company's decision to create the lower-priced California Adventure park in its place. (While others... okay, I... really wish that Disney had followed through with its other plan for Disneyland's second gate — the DisneySea project for Long Beach that the Oriental Land Company eventually took for Tokyo DisneySea. Sigh.)

It took nearly two decades, but maybe we really will get that west coast version of Epcot after all. No, it won't be a shining model of an inspiring future... but it will be an ever-lasting food festival. Just like the 21st century Epcot seems its on its way to becoming.

Now, if only we Disneyland fans could get DCA to adopt the Epcot food festivals' prices....

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Replies (8)

December 14, 2016 at 7:23 AM · It's not Westcot UNTIL they get a Death Star of their own!
December 14, 2016 at 9:05 AM · It certainly seems like a poorman's Westcot. Bring out the Food Booths!!! Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day (Guinness and Irish Whiskey), May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) Tequila/Margarita days, Bastille Day (I hope), Hawaiian Summer Days (why not?) with Longboard lager.
December 14, 2016 at 10:12 AM · Your last statement hit the nail on the head. The DCA version is less about sampling multiple small plates and strolling between kiosks and more about picking which entree you want to dine on and then eating it standing up.
December 14, 2016 at 10:55 AM · Sarah wins the Internet today. Dead like Alderaan. (Too soon?)
December 14, 2016 at 5:12 PM · I'd actually argue that DCA 1.0 was more like Epcot (or at least Epcot's World Showcase) than the park we have today. Originally, half of DCA was an area called Golden State, with six different areas (Bay Area, Bountiful Valley Farm, Condor Flats, Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, Golden Vine Winery, and Pacific Wharf) showcasing parts of California. Each of these areas had one or two attractions (often movies or demonstrations) that were about the history and importance of that region, much like each of the country pavilions at Epcot. Tacked on to this was Hollywood Pictures Backlot (which was much like DHS) and Paradise Pier (which was more or less to give the park a respectable ride count).

Obviously, the park didn't work as planned, so Disney tried to attract visitors by filling the park with IP-based attractions. However, this wasn't enough either, so they completely redid the park and altered the original theme. The park now is more a collection of areas that are individually great, but lack any significant thematic unity. The theme seems to be simply "Adventure," which essentially allows Disney to do whatever they want with the park going forward. California has become a secondary theme for the park, and is more prominent in the seasonal events than among the permanent attractions. So here's the question: Is DCA becoming a West Coast version of Epcot, or is it showing what Epcot will resemble in a decade?

December 14, 2016 at 9:13 PM · Epcot has become a shell of what it was originally. Instead of the Future, its now the future circa 1982, and a World Showcase that's become a gloried mall. DCA has shifted from its original theme, but at least Disney spent the time and money to fix most of the mistakes that were made when it was originally constructed. If Disney wants to really fix Epcot, they should be incorporating elements from Disney Sea. In many ways Disney Sea is the second generation Epcot. Disney Sea in California would have been great, but Eisner and his management only wanted to do projects that weren't too expensive, which is why they came up with DCA.

Westcot would have been the worst choice if they just made the same 1980s Epcot, and shrunk it to fit where the parking lot was.Then Disney would have two outdated parks at both resorts. Maybe Disney could have updated Epcot's design for Westcot and apply them to Epcot as well, but Disney at that time did everything as cheaply as possible, so I doubt that would have happened.

December 15, 2016 at 6:30 AM · Transcript of a Disney business meeting:

Bob Iger ("Bestest showman of the year ever"): "We need to increase spending and attendance at DCA. I don't want to spend any money on a new ride or a shoddy overlay of an existing ride. Does anyone have any ideas?"

Yes man #1: "Cabanas! Cabanas! Cabanas! They will be the hottest thing southeast of Tarzana."

Yes man #2: "How about a Frozen themed sno-cone stand?"

Yes man #3: "How about another food festival? We can call it the Catalina Wine Mixer? We can make a souvenir cup themed to the Catalina Wine Mixer festival. We'll only make five of them. We can secretly buy them for ourselves and then resell them on ebay for a substantial profit."

Bob Iger: "That sounds perfect!"

Sadly, probably not far off from happening in real life...

December 15, 2016 at 11:28 AM · Given that Southern California has a huge Asian population it doesn't seem quite as cynical of a move as some are making out. Do we say the same things about the Halloween or Christmas celebrations? As far as Epcot vs DCA goes I think the former is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words the scale and unique concept of Epcot is far more appealing than its attractions. DCA is substantially smaller yet IMO it provides a more well-rounded entertainment value for its size. If the two parks were side-by-side and I could only choose one it would be Epcot- but only because it is so different than the Disneyland/Magic Kingdom not because the attractions are better. The problem is the Epcot seems to moving away from very thing that makes it of any value (to me.) In hindsight (and after DCA 2.0) I'm glad WestCOT was not built in Anaheim. DCA is currently a better theme park.

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