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  1. #1

    • Former Epcot CM
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    BDLR: Before Disneyland Resort - What would you have done?

    OK, early 90s, senior management at the Walt Disney Co. decide on a plan of action (as part of the Disney Decade) to expand Walt's Magic Kingdom into a fully fledged resort - complete with new hotels, a shopping complex, and of course, a new theme park.

    We all know the story.

    WestCOT came and went, and Disney's California Adventure took its place. The first DCA concept was released in 1996. But what would you have done with the Disneyland Resort concept? This is NOT what you would have developed as a second theme park - this is what your idea of the Disneyland Resort would be.

    Mine would simply be an expansion of Disneyland's magic. I would perhaps keep Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, but only to compliment it's sister Disney's Grand Floridian Resort down in, guess, Florida. The Disneyland Pacific Hotel would be demolished, as would the parking lot.

    Where Downtown Disney stands now would be a fully sized Pleasure Island, twice the size of it's Floridian counterpart, and complete with a surrounding moat. I am not going to go into too much detail, but the heavily themed bars and clubs which were the main part of WDW's PL when it first opened, and family friendly clubs as well. Plus, the usual shops and memoribila shops, as well as a range of casual and high class eateries.

    Disney's Hollywood Gardens Hotel would open on the former parking lot, a heavily themed, completely encapsulating experience of the Hollywood lifestyle of the 1940s. Lots of Art Deco, perhaps a lot like Disney's Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong. In the 'gardens' of the name, there is a 1/2 replica of the Hollywood Bowl, occasionally hosting Disney Channel singers, famous singers singing Disney hits, Magic Music weekends etc.

    I thought long and hard about even including a second park in my proposals. I know in reality would be completely against it, but I thought of building a water park opposite Disneyland on the old parking lot. Outside the park, it looks like a jungle. Inside the park, you are in a Caribbean village, then hurtling through water slides passing through ship wrecks, or floating on a lazy river surrounded by AA pirates. Yes you guessed it, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Water Park. It extends the magic of Disneyland, it compliments the park, yet doesn't try to rival it.

    Any other ideas?
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  2. #2

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    Re: BDLR: Before Disneyland Resort - What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway
    OK, early 90s, senior management at the Walt Disney Co. decide on a plan of action (as part of the Disney Decade) to expand Walt's Magic Kingdom into a fully fledged resort - complete with new hotels, a shopping complex, and of course, a new theme park.

    We all know the story.

    WestCOT came and went, and Disney's California Adventure took its place. The first DCA concept was released in 1996. But what would you have done with the Disneyland Resort concept? This is NOT what you would have developed as a second theme park - this is what your idea of the Disneyland Resort would be.

    Mine would simply be an expansion of Disneyland's magic. I would perhaps keep Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, but only to compliment it's sister Disney's Grand Floridian Resort down in, guess, Florida. The Disneyland Pacific Hotel would be demolished, as would the parking lot.

    Where Downtown Disney stands now would be a fully sized Pleasure Island, twice the size of it's Floridian counterpart, and complete with a surrounding moat. I am not going to go into too much detail, but the heavily themed bars and clubs which were the main part of WDW's PL when it first opened, and family friendly clubs as well. Plus, the usual shops and memoribila shops, as well as a range of casual and high class eateries.

    Disney's Hollywood Gardens Hotel would open on the former parking lot, a heavily themed, completely encapsulating experience of the Hollywood lifestyle of the 1940s. Lots of Art Deco, perhaps a lot like Disney's Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong. In the 'gardens' of the name, there is a 1/2 replica of the Hollywood Bowl, occasionally hosting Disney Channel singers, famous singers singing Disney hits, Magic Music weekends etc.

    I thought long and hard about even including a second park in my proposals. I know in reality would be completely against it, but I thought of building a water park opposite Disneyland on the old parking lot. Outside the park, it looks like a jungle. Inside the park, you are in a Caribbean village, then hurtling through water slides passing through ship wrecks, or floating on a lazy river surrounded by AA pirates. Yes you guessed it, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Water Park. It extends the magic of Disneyland, it compliments the park, yet doesn't try to rival it.

    Any other ideas?
    Your ideas sound good, but seem as though theyre all parts of a rather larger, incomplete plan.

    The whole point of the addition The Grand Californian and Paradise Peir was so Disney could capitalize on the fact that there were TWO parks now, and that Disneyland was now the Disneyland Resort - a multi-day resort.
    Of course, that didn't pan out since DCA is hardly a half-day park. Regardless, that was the original plan.

    With your plan, however, the two new Hotels (Grand Californian, Hollywood Gardens) would not be warranted because all you're adding is a waterpark. People don't add on extra days for a waterpark, they add the waterpark into their existing schedule. Not only that, but waterparks don't operate year 'round. Two grand new hotels would be a waste of money.

    If it were me, I'd go with Westcot, ditch the Grand Californian or put it elsewhere and make the park as big as it could with with space provided. No waterparks, if people want a water park in California they can go to the one Knott's has or the one Six Flags has. What is needed is another full-day immersive, interesting, exciting new park. Not Disney's Cheapskate Adventure.

    As for Pleasure Island... I'm not too sure it would work. Obviously the Florida version is struggling and is reportedly on the chopping block. I think our Downtown Disney is fine. I just wish we had some more shops like a big Virgin Megastore, or an Anaheim Amoeba Records store, or stores featuring really cool, unique items ... Right now I feel like the shops are limited in their appeal... But from what I understand the general public has recieved Disneyland's Downtown Disney very well and it's proving to be a better investment than the Florida counterpart.

    I like your idea for the Hollywood Hotel though. Sounds like a really nice place and I'm sure it would be much more impressive than the lackluster and cheap Paradise Peir hotel.

    I think all of your ideas would work, even the water park and maybe Pleasure Island if you had factored in a full-day themepark with the whole thing. Then it would be a perfect plan.

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  3. #3

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    Re: BDLR: Before Disneyland Resort - What would you have done?

    I would have simply expanded DL, so that it was a more-than-one-day park. South, north, and/or west.
    South: under the berm behind the east side of Main Street.
    West: close the street, and build where the M&F structure is now.
    North: move that backstage to east side of parking lot and expand through Big Thunder Ranch (and under the berm, of course).
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  4. #4

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    Re: BDLR: Before Disneyland Resort - What would you have done?

    I'm curious... if Disney felt that they needed to build a whole new park and a shopping district in order to create a "resort" where people would want to spend a couple of extra days, why did they begin by removing attractions from the original park? What a great marketing slogan:

    "Now that there's less to do in Disneyland, we've spent billions to add a whole new park and a shopping district to fill your extra 1/2 day!"
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
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  5. #5

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    Re: BDLR: Before Disneyland Resort - What would you have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    I'm curious... if Disney felt that they needed to build a whole new park and a shopping district in order to create a "resort" where people would want to spend a couple of extra days, why did they begin by removing attractions from the original park? What a great marketing slogan:


    "Now that there's less to do in Disneyland, we've spent billions to add a whole new park and a shopping district to fill your extra 1/2 day!"

    Well, I believe the famous quote in this case should be: "It all started with a rat."
    The park was run by people who didn't care about it the way they should have (long-term, not short-term). They saw attractions as expense centers that added nothing directly to the bottom line. (Problem is that all those indirect bottom-line additions cannot be seen by the short-term-minded).
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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