Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Doom (and Hopeful Rebirth) of California Adventure

John Frost delivers an excellent assessment on The Disney Blog of why Disney's California Adventure was extremely problematic and essentially doomed from its inception. The desire to court the Asian market was something I had never been aware of:

"But, in order to understand why the second gate has been such a failure you have to understand what its purpose was in the first place. Disney Management wanted to expand Disneyland from a 1-2 day experience to a 3-4 day experience for out of town visitors. They also wanted to recapture a market they had been slowly losing to Las Vegas... the Asian market. These money laden customers used to stop at Disneyland as part of their trip to Las Vegas, but when Las Vegas launched their huge themed hotel expansion, Disneyland lost a little of its uniqueness and became an option instead of a destination."

DCA, and the subsequent missteps of Disney Studios Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland represent a very distinct low point in the history of Disney theme parks. DCA's billion dollar "relaunch" is certainly a hopeful sign, not just for that park, but for all the Walt Disney Company operated theme parks.


Anonymous said...

I read John Frost and Jim Hill in the same category as Al Lutz and re-imagineering: with a grain of salt. While often their foundational information may be true, they have a deep-seated need to spin it as anti-Disney as possible, far beyond what--if any--negative spin the information deserved. While each writes in a compelling style, it soon becomes evident how they weave their arguments full of fallacies to defend their anti-Disney stances. Tens of missions of guests each year must be having some fun, despite all the gloom and doom these gentlemen so enjoy piling on our plates. It's a shame, because their overt negativity generally outweighs any mature contributions they could be making to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Tens of Millions? You obviously have never taken a look at DCA's numbers. It currently pulls in close to 7 million. This is up from the 5 to 6 million that it achieved in its first couple of years. Now while I have seen JHM being negative sometimes I really haven't noticed John over at The Disney Blog being negative to a large degree.
Yes it is true that DCA does have people that enjoy it. It's right across the Esplanade so it's bound to get a good degree of guest popping over to see the little park next to the most popular attraction in California. Put it 20 miles down the street and take the Disney name off. It would be drawing half of it's current figure if it were lucky. I'm not the only person who believes this, my girlfriend who works at DCA believes it too... oh and let's not get started about all her friends that work there who feel the same. I love Disney, but I will not be a lap dog for Michael Eisner's really bad decision making.

The park as designed and implemented was a MISTAKE. The new management is now trying to rectify that. That's not being negative. That's being honest.

FoxxFur said...

Funny thing is that DCA has some genuinely nice touches and areas that I enjoy being in, much moreso than Disney-MGM Studios over in Florida, which just gives me a headache. Although DCA may be a park by nobody, for nobody, Disney Studios Paris is really the low point - what a depressing park(ing lot). At least DCA has some idea of what a themed space is.

It also has Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train, which makes me giggle uncontrollably.

Anonymous said...

Really good job. Some of the best commentary today is here on Hyperion, the Disney Blog and Blues Sky Disney.

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Back before DCA opened, I was invited to a soft opening by a friend who was involved in the park opening. After spending all day at the park, I was very disappointed by what I saw. Over dinner, my friend asked what I thought. I didn't want to insult her or the park, so I pointed out a few things that I did like. After my weak response, she looked me in the eye and said "it's not worth $40 a day," and I had to agree with her.

After having visited again last December, I don't see much improvement. I'm hoping that some of the changes will improve things greatly.