Disneyland's Second Gate looks a lot like a walled fortress right now...
And as I've mentioned before, it's only going to get more so when the new year comes. This park will finally have the detail and theming that it has been lacking in for the majority of the last decade. I know many people have mentioned the lack of a cohesive them to the park, but it will have one when all this is done. I'm not saying it's as good as Tokyo DisneySEA's theming, which it's not (but really, almost nothing is as good as that park's theme). But it will have a theme and not everyone will like or approve it, but the theme will work to expand the offering that can be built there. With the addition of Cars Land, the park will have four major themed areas:
The Front Entrance/Hollywoodland - Themed to the bygone era of Los Angeles of the late 20's/early 30's and Tinsel Town in the 40's.
The Golden State - Themed to a Californian National Park like the way Yosemite might have appeared as in the 50's.
Paradise Pier - Themed to a Victorian turn-of-the-century seaside pier along a mythical coast of a California that never was.
Cars Land - Themed to the sites one would have seen along historic Route 66 during its heyday in the 60's as California's gateway to/from the West.
See the narrative they're working with? Each of the four sections will be themed to a different time period of California. The adventures you will experience there will be Disney attractions that are tailored to go along with what would be happening during a specific period. Now, certain people are going to complain about some of this, but it doesn't bother me. Woody, Buzz and the gang are toys that populate an area of a midway where toys would be prizes that you could/would win. It's like they're staring in a period attraction instead of staring in a period film. That's the justification for seeing Mickey or Goofy walking around Paradise Pier. A lot of people seem to get upset when they talk about Mickey in Victorian times because he wasn't created yet, but it's a set piece and he's the star. No one complained that he wasn't around when he made "The Nifty Nineties," so how could he be in that time? It was him fitting the period. But Mickey will fit any period they put him in at the park and come 2012 he's going to look really nice walking around in an early version of Hollywood. And don't get me started about what it'll be like having him there in a new Californian themed Christmas/Holidays setting. And the Golden State will capture the spirit of what it was like to have been in this fictional national park, with some left over memories of the mining company that occupied the land before it became a historic place. Cars Land will take you to a part of the state's past that many people have never experienced. These are Disney adventures via time capsules.
So each new attraction is planned to have a need to be presented in a period themed era and it'll be told from a distinctively Disney standpoint. And they'll play out on one of these four areas or eras if you like. This will allow Imagineers to dream up some interesting concepts and not be bound by the restrictions that the ill conceived opening day version of this park was. It's not the tightly constructed theming of Tokyo DisneySEA, but it is a much better master plan of a way to take this park in the direction of being or becoming a Disney Park.
And that is where it's needed to go...