Disney's California Adventure Park opened on February 8, 2001, part of a $1.4 billion expansion of the new Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. In addition to DCA, the new resort included the creation of the Grand Californian Hotel and Downtown Disney, the re-theming of the Paradise Pier Hotel and remodeling of the existing Disneyland Hotel.
Initially the Walt Disney Company planned to create WestCOT, the West Coast version of EPCOT. In 1995, WestCOT was scrapped and the plans for a second Anaheim gate were re-imagined. Construction for the new, 55-acre Disney theme park began in 1998, building on what was Disneyland's original parking lot. In three years, Disney's California Adventure Park was finished.
Michael Eisner, The Walt Disney Company's CEO in 2001, christened Disney's California Adventure Park with this dedication.
"To all who believe in the power of dreams, welcome. Here we pay tribute to the dreamers of the past; the native people, explorers, immigrants, aviators, entrepreneurs and entertainers who built the Golden State, and we salute a new generation of dreamers who are creating the wonders of tomorrow. From the silver screen to the computer screen. From the fertile farmlands to the far reaches of space. Disney's California Adventure celebrates the richness and the diversity of California, its land, its people, its spirit and, above all, the dreams that it continues to inspire."
Celebrating California's history and spirit, Disneyland Resort's second gate opened with fanfare and optimism. However, after poor reviews and sluggish attendance, the optimism surrounding Disney's California Adventure faded and the Golden State theme quickly lost its luster.
True to its roots, this California Girl underwent several makeovers and facelifts to re-imagine itself. Unpopular California-themed attractions like Superstar Limo, Seasons of the Vine, Golden Dreams and the ABC Soup Opera Bistro were all nipped and tucked. Kid-friendly attractions like A Bug's Land, Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! and Monster's Inc. - Mike & Sulley to the Rescue were implanted, injecting DCA with desperately needed Disney synergy.
On October 17, 2007, the Walt Disney Company unveiled plans for $1.1 billion dollars worth of reconstructive surgery. Disney's Imagineers unveiled plans for World of Color, The Little Mermaid's Undersea Adventure, the 1920-30's themed Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, making DCA hot enough to melt those popsicles.
A late bloomer, DCA started getting noticed, as more than 6 million guests visited Disney's California Adventure in 2009. The World of Color's debut spurred a 20% increase in DCA's summer attendance for 2010. An estimated 2 million guests have already crowded around Paradise Bay to watch the nighttime shows. With more changes scheduled through 2012, Disney's ugly duckling should be ready for its transformation.