After more than four years of construction and $1.1 billion, Disney has finally unveiled their entirely revamped Disney California Adventure park next door to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
The park opened in 2001 and was built as part of the Disney Decade, where Disney expanded their business exponentially through the 1990's. The ambitious project began in early December 2007 and was meant to correct the parks major criticisms that it lacked the "Disney appeal." Originally the park was a spoof of modern California, but has since been transformed into a idealized version of California from the 1920's when Walt Disney arrived.
The park will feature an expansive new land themed to the Disney-Pixar movie Cars called Cars Land. Inside of the new land you can tour a life sized version of Radiator Springs, eat at Flo's V8 Cafe, ride along with Mater in his junkyard and race other guests on the state of the art attraction, Radiator Springs Racers.
Also opening is the re-imagined Buena Vista Street, which is the park's version of Main Street USA. Gone is the cheap concrete entrance, replaced with a recreation of the facade of the Pan Pacific Auditorium. On Buena Vista Street you can hop on the Red Car Trolley or shop and eat at the many renovated stores.
At the very end of the street is the parks new icon; the Carthay Circle Theater. The Carthay was chosen because it was the location of Disney's first full length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Accompanying the new releases yesterday is a handful of other releases over the past 4 years. Most significantly is the renovated Paradise Pier. It features a new green park area where the park's S&S launch tower, Mailboomer, used to be located. The Toy Story Midway Mania! ride opened less than a year after construction began. The park's Orange Stinger swing ride has been renovated into the Silly Symphony Swings with a new walk way under the swings.
Across the way from the swings is the new Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta and Paradise Garden Grill eateries and dining areas covered in lots of greenery. Next to the dining area is the re-imagined Mullholland Madness crazy mouse coaster. It was transformed and re-themed into Goofy's Sky School.
Finally The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure was added to the park, and opened last year. It is a dark ride through the story of the Little Mermaid. Topping off the renovated park is a state of the art water show called World of Color that is shown from the Paradise Bay.
Other changes throughout the park include replacing the sun on the park's ferris wheel with a 1940's "pie-eyed" Mickey which also received LED lighting, new paint and a new name - Mickey's Fun Wheel. The park also extensively cleaned up and improved the facades of the buildings located in Hollywoodland and opened a new exhibit where you can see concept art and get a behind the scenes look at the parks called Blue Sky Cellar.
Expect long ride wait times if you try to visit the park, as there have been reports of 4-hour waits all day long for the park's new rides.