Mixed Plate
The California Adventure -- 3/31/00

Disney's California Adventure Park

Flying back from vacation, I could only chuckle at the new Disney's California Adventure park. Right up front I want to say that my intention is not to bash the great state of California, but some things about this park just had me in stitches.

If you haven't heard, Disneyland has just opened an altogether separate park adjacent to the original Anaheim wonder. Called Disney's California Adventure park, it pays homage to everything that makes California special.

My first complaint is the sound system. The volume across the park is set something like three detentes too loud. The music itself is of every single song that was ever made that mentions California or a city therein. Even the bees and the jellyfish buzz or pop to these tunes (you've got to trust me on this one). After a few hours there, you start cursing the repetitiveness--it's almost like getting stuck in "It's a Small World."

I guess that the attractions are fairly representative of all that is good in California. However, I could not help but think that Disneyland was trying to undercut the other California theme parks.

For instance, they had a Hollywood Backlot area that is strikingly similar to Universal Studios. The Paradise Pier carnival attraction had the feel of Magic Mountain. Even the Grizzly Peak (which actually looks like a wolf) and Redwood Creek had a sort of Knott's Berry Farm quality to it. Think the folks at Disney wanted to make Disneyland the one-stop theme park for SoCal tourists.

One of the best rides is Soarin' over California. People are seated vertically overlooking an IMAXish screen that takes you for an aerial view of various picturesque locations from around the state. My personal fave, of course, was the party wave shot (maybe Malibu?). Eight guys take off, and no one even makes the wave! Classic!

I loved the Disney Animation where they showed how they create this incredible movie craft. My wife works with large screen video systems and nearly had a cow when she saw the main viewing hall. Btw, the Disney character I'm most like is Flik from "A Bug's Life."

However, there were some things about California that they missed big time. For instance, they forgot to put in the rolling blackout scare--heard that Anaheim secures power from those San Onofre nuclear cheechees, so the park is safe.

Also, I thought they'd put a more Hispanic-oriented spin to it, given the strong culture there. All I could find in the tortilla factory was a photo spread of Hispanic people. Not enough, given the huge influence they have had on the state.

I thought they missed the earthquakes that rock the Cal, but they actually had a refreshment shack called Sam Andreas that featured some delicious shakes. Get it?

They should have done something about the Silicon Valley though, and high-tech industry there. Something like a Dot-Com Rollercoaster or Headhunter Employee Search in 3D would've been appropriate.

Silicon Valley is not the only valley that wasn't represented--the San Fernando Valley (aka Silicone Valley) should also have been represented. But then, I guess Disney wouldn't be a family park anymore. ;-)

Since California is promoted so much for its beach/surf lifestyle, just for fun I decided to take some digital photos of all the surfing-oriented imagery around the new park (and beyond). Here are a few for your viewing pleasure:

The Oom Mow Mow Pizza Joint had some sweet longboards gracing it's entrance.
This shark bite is kinda tasteless if you ask me.
Bodyboarding sacrilege!
Another prime case of board sacrilege.  This time, the longboards get abused.  Btw, I was 0 for 3.
Tip time in the water play park.  I had to wait patiently in line for several minutes behind some very stoked kids.  Even standing over a sprinkler is fun.
There was a small wave machine to provide some water movement right near the launch point of the California Screamin' rollercoaster.  Once in a while, you'd see a little tubelet form.  Only a surfer would notice.
The evening parade celebrated the California experience, and of course had a big surfing mural.
The parade also featured this "babe" riding a big one.  Argh!
ESPNZone in Downtown Disney had this ornate surfboard.  It looked more like a shrine than a surfriding tool.
Not enough Hispanic stuff.  But at least they had a photo of some local surfers posing before a session.
Disneyland wasn't the only place with the surf influence.  Here's Mr. Lego with a Lego surfboard.  Kook is on the left.
The ultimate wave riding device, bar none.  Who needs Da Hui when your board is at the top of the food chain.  Seaworld surf.

Aloha from Paradise (Paradise Pier, that is)