Guest Blogger: Former Disney Employee Explains Why Key 10th Anniversary Went Unnoticed


You can be forgiven if you weren’t aware that Disney’s California Adventure celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. There wasn’t any fan fare.

Lifelong Disney fan and former Disney Cast Member Erik Taylor, who happens to be my nephew, explains why in this week’s Guest Blog. 

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Last February, Disney’s California Adventure celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Unlike other Disney theme parks throughout the world, there was no celebration or even an acknowledgment of this momentous event. 

The entire park has been suffering from low attendance numbers from the first day it opened – mostly due to the fact the few attractions that were in the park were off-the-shelf amusement park rides with a slightly fancy paint job to give the “illusion” that the now ousted CEO Michael Eisner actually cared about the people the company internally refers to as “guests”.

Parking Lot 

In fact, the nicest thing long time Disneyland imagineer John Hench (who designed many Disneyland’s icons like the Monorail) had to say about California Adventure was, “I liked it much better as the parking lot.”

That was then.  Last summer, current CEO Bob Iger unveiled the new multi million-dollar nighttime spectacular, the World of Color. 

Paradise Lagoon

Each night the Paradise Pier lagoon comes alive with a magical blending of music, water fountains, lasers, flames, and the largest projection screens in the world. 

The show opens with the iconic Television Show sound track of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color and quickly evolves into a vibrant color display of unique show elements, all showcasing Disney’s vast library of dramatic, heart wrenching, and endearing animation. 

Disney pulled out all stops for this improvement, and the attendance numbers have reflected it.  Last summer the long-suffering California Adventure saw a 20% increase in visitors to the usually empty theme park.

US$100 Million Expansion

The World of Color was only the first act to this three-act expansion and commitment to embellishing the lack luster parking lot carnival of California Adventure. On 3 June 2011, Disney will open its newest US$100 million dollar attraction, “The Little Mermaid – Ariels Undersea Adventure.” 

The attraction will use the same omni mover system utilized at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, but the speed has been slowed down allowing guests sufficient time to take in all the details, and what they promise to be some stellar audio-animatronic figures. 

Drag Queen Divine

Guests will literally feel as if they have gone “under the sea” as they encounter all of their favorite characters from the animated classic, The Little Mermaid

Personally, I look forward to seeing the larger than life Ursula, whose original character design was based on the Drag Queen Divine, made famous in John Water’s Hairspray.

Not to be left out, across the way Disneyland will be premiering an update to its classic Star Tours.  Set to take place between Star Wars movies III and IV, guests will be given a choice as to which destination they wish to visit: Coruscant, Tatooine, and other destinations in the Star Wars galaxy.  

This new adventure promises the return of favourite characters andsome new ones, and it will be in 3D.  Disneyland is spending a considerable amount of money increasing the capacity to this attraction in hopes of keeping the lines to a minimum. 

Mum’s the Word

There has been much excitement and speculation as to the details of this much awaited update and – as usual – both Disney and George Lucas are being very tight lipped. 

I guess we will all have to wait until 3 June to open this present!



One Reply to “Guest Blogger: Former Disney Employee Explains Why Key 10th Anniversary Went Unnoticed”

  1. Hey Michael, I was a former cast member myself so this is a very interesting post for me. I haven’t seen the world of color yet but heard it’s spectacular. It’s true they do want to revive attendance to California Adventure. I think they are making it more attractive to tweens and young adults.

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