This morning, Disney California Adventure‘s major five-year expansion and remodeling efforts officially came to an end when Disney’s CEO Bob Iger rededicated the park at a grand reopening ceremony in front of the new Carthay Circle Theatre. Crowds of excited fans camped out overnight in the Disneyland Resort‘s Main Entrance Plaza, waiting to get their first glimpse at the newly re-imagined park and the moments following the splashy rededication ceremony were marked by thousands of excited guests rushing through Buena Vista Street toward the all-new 12-acre Cars Land. We’ve got a quick recap of today’s reopening here in this special edition of Dateline Disneyland.

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[center]Inside Dateline Disneyland[/center]

  • Thousands turn out for Disney California Adventure grand re-opening
    Disney CEO Bob Iger rededicates re-imagined park
    • Disney California Adventure re-dedication ceremony
    • Crowds race to see Cars Land
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Disney California Adventure held it’s grand reopening ceremony this morning, capping off an extensive five-year remodeling and expansion effort culminating with the massive Cars Land and Buena Vista Street projects. The ceremony was held on a special stage in front of the new Carthay Circle Theatre at the end of the beautiful new Buena Vista Street main entrance plaza.

The ceremony got underway with a performance by the Red Car News Boys

The News Boys welcomed Disney CEO Bob Iger on stage

Iger took the stage and discussed Walt Disney’s California story and how his dreams are reflected in the newly re-imagined park.

Iger welcomed Mickey Mouse on stage to help with the grand re-opening

Mickey led the Red Car News Boys in a rousing rendition of “California, Here I Come,” in which a huge group of California Adventure Cast Members joined the celebration in the streets

The streets around Carthay Circle were flooded with California Adventure Cast Members dancing and singing along, celebrating the grand reopening of their park

And with a burst of fireworks, Bob Iger announced “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the new Disney California Adventure!”

Disney Parks Chariman Tom Staggs shared his thoughts on today’s grand reopening on the Disney Parks Blog:

Celebrating the Culmination of a Five-Year Journey with the Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure Park

Today, we celebrate a defining moment in the history of the Disneyland Resort: the Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure park.

Cars Land and Buena Vista Street are the culmination of a five-year journey that has infused the park with more of our guests’ favorite characters and stories, more attractions and entertainment and more of the creative touches that make a Disney Parks experience truly unique.

These new areas are examples of what we do best — transporting guests to magical times and places where our characters and stories truly come to life. From the rockwork of the Ornament Valley Mountain Range to the hand-laid tile mosaics of the Carthay Circle Theatre, the level of artistry, craftsmanship and attention to detail is spectacular.

As you have seen here on the Disney Parks Blog over the last three days, the Disneyland Resort has hosted tons of media, celebrities and invited guests from around the world to give them an in-depth look at the transformation.

Today also marks the completion of an extraordinary period of expansion across the entire Disneyland Resort. Since 2007, we’ve completed major projects at both the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and have added more than 20 new attractions and shows.

At Disney California Adventure park alone, “World of Color,” Toy Story Mania!, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Silly Symphony Swings have already proven to be extremely popular, and now Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are exciting additions that give guests even more entertainment options.

I’d like to thank all of the Imagineers, cast members, artists, designers, builders and craftspeople who worked so tirelessly and collaboratively to make this remarkable transformation possible. I’d also like to thank all of you — our loyal guests — who have believed in our dream for Disney California Adventure park and supported us every step of the way. [ LINK ]

A line of Cast Members waited to pace thousands and anxious guests into Cars Land

The first guests enter Cars Land

Long lines formed immediately for Radiator Springs Racers, with queues stretching out of Cars Land and through Pacific Wharf throughout the day.

Disney executives including CEO Bob Iger and Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs toured Cars Land as the first guests poured into the new land

They stopped to greet guests along the way

The new Radiator Springs Racers FASTPASS distribution area near A Bug’s Land drew big lines, with FASTPASSes selling out before noon.

Back on Buena Vista Street, the new wait time board in Carthay Circle was handy new addition for guests looking for information

Cast Members were handing out the new Buena Vista Bugle newspaper and stacks were on racks on Buena Vista Street. A great opening day souvenir

Finally, the walls are down!

Also, the fantastic new “Storytellers” statue of a young Walt Disney arriving in California with Mickey Mouse is now unveiled and was a popular location for photos with guests

Finally, the new dedication plaque at the base of the Buena Vista Street flag pole at the entrance of Disney California Adventure

Below, Disney has released a video of highlights from the opening day events

And a look at the five-year journey that brought us this incredible revamped, expaned and greatly improved theme park

That’s all for our special edition recap of California Adventure’s grand re-opening. We will be back on Monday with our regular edition of Dateline Disneyland with an in-depth look at this week’s special events, premieres and grand openings! Be sure to check back then!Thank you for reading and please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below! Don’t forget to visit our great sponsors over at Touring Plans when planning your next visit to Disneyland!

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For even more Disneyland news, photos and information check out the In the Parks column on Fridays. And [b]MiceChat’s[/b] Weekend Update tours the world of Disney theme parks and other worldly sights and landmarks! See you at Disneyland!

[B]- Andy[/B]

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Promotional consideration for the June 15, 2012 edition of [I]Dateline Disneyland[/I] was provided by:
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  • DonaldMissingPants

    isn’t the song performed at the rededication called “California Here I Come”?

    • Thank you for the correction! It’s been fixed!


  • mratigan

    It was a blast Yesterday 🙂

  • SamBuddy

    Thank you Andy and friends for all the work and time spent keeping us informed about DCA!

  • Susan Hughes

    I don’t there has ever been a time when I went to The Disneyland Resort and never set foot inside Disneyland. That’s how amazing Buena Vista Street and Cars Land is. Most of the day I didn’t even think about Disneyland.
    I’ve always had a soft spot for DCA, despite feeling the same way everyone else did…it just wasn’t “there”. But after experiencing the new areas, it will no longer be the red headed step child to the Magic Kingdom. This place can stand on it’s own.

  • Bongo

    Opening Day was crowded, loud, bumpy, full of delays, yet extremely fun. Definitively a day I will never forget.

  • WDWizard

    great update. Did you get any pictures of the actual flag(s) atop the flagpole in BVS? that is, if they’re up there yet.

  • DisW

    Sighs of relief, and a long time coming and very much overdue. It should have been this way from the beginning. That’s why I’m not sure the new dedication plague should have mentioned who presided over the park’s premier in 2001. That era is best forgotten and swept — far, far away — into the dustbin of history.

  • pendragon_myst

    I just wish they had one the Storytellers statue differently. The plaque references 1923, but Walt wasn’t married to Lillian in 1923 (they married in 1925), so the statue really shouldn’t have a wedding ring.

    Other then that one little nit-picky thing, I cannot wait to come out to the New DCA!

    • WorldLover71

      Wow, you’ve got some eye. I bet you’re one in a million who would notice that.

    • emman2405

      He didn’t create Mickey ’till 1928 either, so maybe the Imagineers are sending mixed messages

  • Pingback: Live Reports from Cars Land and Disney’s California Adventure — Disney Vacation Blog()

  • Susan Hughes

    You know, I just thought of something. For the past five years, all the new and exciting additions to a Disney theme park have been coming from California. World of Color, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Carsland, Buena Vista Street. And sadly, I think that’s the end of it for a while.
    I was used to something new showing up on a regular basis. The only project in the works is the new Fantasy Faire. But that’s down the road a bit. Can I survive The Disneyland Resort in it’s completed state?

  • whamo

    Opening day was lots of fun. Driving to Anaheim at 4:30AM, walking from the Mickey parking structure to the parks in the dark; standing in line for 3 hours, and watching the real earlybirds get in a half-hour early. But the big screen video of the CEO, Mickey Mouse, and the Newsboys, the Goodyear blimp, the fireworks in the morning, and gauntlet of Disney people greeting guests as we walked in more than made up for it. The park itself is the same old thing, only different, and amazing. I love it. I can’t wait for the glow in the show nights.

  • sixalex

    Love the pix of the Story Tellers Statue. Thanks Uncle Walt!

  • Awe_inspired

    Andy, thank you. thank you. thank you! I really appreciate your hard work. Walt would be proud of you for plussing our lives.