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Why does the California Adventure Park get so much slack?

Disneyland: Disneyland/California Adventure from the eye of a Floridian…

From Anne Duncan
Posted December 30, 2011 at 3:45 PM
Last time I was at Disneyland was in ’86, so much has changed between then and my visit this second week of December (yes, during the freak cold, rain, and 40 mph wind gusts…and great “wet” time at the parks with nobody there!!). We went into this trip knowing not to compare to our home parks because each park has its own benefits and charms. Yes, DL Pirates is ahhmazing, and WDW Tower still wows me more, but both resorts are must-sees. A huge plus to DL…I loving seeing characters wander through the parks and the main street vehicles were always on the move.

My one beef in planning was that I was prepared to be a little disappointed in the California Adventure Park from reviews on this site as well as an unofficial guide book. Wrong! Why does this park get so much criticism? And I was there during the entryway and Cars Land construction so I missed a good bit of what is to come. I didn’t give the Fun Wheel or the Silly Symphony Swings much thought during planning and they were hilarious! I was expecting a lot from World of Color and Screamin’ and those happily met my expectations. Walking into Soarin’ through an airplane hangar gave it such a great feel. So my note to anyone (especially adults) planning a trip…don’t miss the California Adventure Park!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Tim Hillman
Posted December 30, 2011 at 10:25 AM
Anne, I think DCA gets a lot of criticism because IOA and DisneySea were built around the same time, and the disparities are apparent. Disney went cheap (relatively speaking) on this park and people noticed.

From Tony Duda
Posted December 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Anne, you confused me a little. I was expecting you to complain about CA. I think you meant to say "Flack" instead of "Slack" which are opposites in meaning. Unfortunate spell-check error.

Anyway, I agree with you even though I've never been there. Different parks have different allures and charms.

From Frankie F
Posted December 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM
When the park first opened it had about three good rides because toystory mania and ToT were both added later along with World of Color. Though besides from the beggining having the same amount of attractions as disneys hollywood studios and animal kingdom have always had there wasn't much theming to be seen luckily you went at a good time, half way through there major expansion and already the park is competative with other disney parks. Also once buena vista street(the parks new entrance) and Carsland open this is gonna be a must see park...even more than it is already!

From Javi Badillo
Posted December 30, 2011 at 11:38 AM
if you visited the park ten years ago then you would have noticed why everyone was complaining. There was minimal theming and off the shelf rides. Plus the park was only 44 acres.

From Manny Barron
Posted December 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM
DCA is awesome! I really enjoy visiting that park. It continues to improve every year.

It has the best theme park theater show ever in Aladdin.
Two of the top rides in the Disney repertoire in Tower of Terror and Soarin.
One of the best water rides anywhere in Grizzly River Run.
Three fantastic family rides in Toy Story Mania, Monsters Inc. and the Little Mermaid.
Simple yet fun rides in Paradise Pier(California Screamin, Goofy, Symphony Swings,Mickey wheel).
A ride area for the really young, A Bugs Land(home to one of the best 3-D shows Its Tough to be a Bug).
An impressive night show in World of Color and more.
.....and Carsland coming soon.

Compare that with anything else and DCA stacks up very well. Its become my second favorite Disney park behind Disneyland and its only getting better.

From steve lee
Posted December 30, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Two words:

Superstar Limo.

THAT is why DCA was looked upon as an enormous joke with a really bad punchline.

Seriously, go find video on Youtube. It's one of the most embarrassing attractions ever found in a Disney park.

From Frankie F
Posted December 31, 2011 at 1:19 AM
Though Steve,
Superstar Limo has been gone for awhile and was replaced by an excellent dark ride... yes it had an embarrassing past but best to focus on its great present and future

From steve lee
Posted December 31, 2011 at 9:45 AM
I completely agree, Frankie, but the original question was why DCA historically got some much grief. Since the original poster only went this year, she clearly missed some of the older attractions that led to people hating on the park.

I think we can all agree that DCA is improving dramatically from what it once was, but you can't discuss the "bad years" without addressing past attractions that showed the park's creative impotence.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 31, 2011 at 5:16 PM
I agree with you.

I love TPI, but the one thing I always thought that they were a bit harsh on was DCA.

Then again, I went for the first time in 2005, which was four years after it opened. From what I heard, the park was very shaky and that Superstar Limo was so terrible, it ruined the park for some. I also enjoyed Golden Dreams which has been replaced by the Little Mermaid. I wish that would come back.

Though I will say, Paradise Pier, with Midway Mania, is a HUGE improvement over what was there in 2005. It wasn't so much bad, but rather lacking the "umph" it needed.

From Robert Niles
Posted December 31, 2011 at 5:25 PM
California Adventure is an object lesson in how a reputation can be damaged in an instant, but repair can take many, many years.

DCA was one of the top two runners-up for the Best Theme Park Award in our Theme Park Insider Awards last summer, so TPI fans do like this park - now. But its reputation for its poor opening continues to haunt it, much more with the general public than on theme park industry sites such as TPI.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Just a quick note: I have been on the site since 2003 so the bad reviews I read were circa 2003. The park has made a big turnaround.

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