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  1. #1

    • Former Epcot CM
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    The opening of DCA

    Why was the opening of DCA so disastrous? Why did only 3/4 of the projected guest numbers turn up? Surely the failure of DCA was not known by the public before the opening. Is this because the park was not promoted enough/correctly? Is it because the projections were too high?
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  2. #2

    • The Fantasyland guy
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    Re: The opening of DCA

    My guess is that the AP holders ruined the fun. We got to see the park a week before the public and we could have told many friends that it sucked.

    I can tell you it was very difffucult to get AP preview tickets to the park. That was the real first "test." Lots of people wanted the tickets and wanted to see the new park.

    I for one told a whole bunch of my friends that it sucked. On the AP day, I ran out of things to do by like noon. Didn't really care to go back, or visit the "Grand Opening."




  3. #3

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDude
    My guess is that the AP holders ruined the fun. We got to see the park a week before the public and we could have told many friends that it sucked.

    I can tell you it was very difffucult to get AP preview tickets to the park. That was the real first "test." Lots of people wanted the tickets and wanted to see the new park.

    I for one told a whole bunch of my friends that it sucked. On the AP day, I ran out of things to do by like noon. Didn't really care to go back, or visit the "Grand Opening."
    Aha! I didn't know there were AP previews. Thanks!
    BACKPACKING REALNESS

    DISNEY TRIPS
    October 2000 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2001 - Walt Disney World Resort
    April 2002 - Disneyland Resort Paris
    October 2003 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2004 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2005 - Walt Disney World Resort
    October 2007 - Walt Disney World Resort
    December 2008 - Walt Disney World Resort
    July 2009 - Disneyland Resort Paris
    July 2011 - Disneyland Resort California
    July 2012-13 - UK Cultural Representative Cast Member at Epcot
    February 2013 - Disneyland Resort California
    February 2013 -Tokyo Disney Resort

    (VERY OLD!)
    TRIP REPORTS


  4. #4

    • This is my car, Stitch :)
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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway
    Aha! I didn't know there were AP previews. Thanks!
    Yes and it was the most crowded I had ever seen it there. Just awful. It was like February and 90 degrees! No shade because the trees that were planted were all small. Huge lines everywhere for food. Insanity up the max. :

  5. #5

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    There were a lot of theories as to why that happened:

    Some people felt that the media had over-hyped opening day, there were projections of massive grid-lock on the surface streets due to the huge numbers of people in vehicles trying to get in.

    The media predicted massive crowds that day, with the potential of management closing the turnstiles.

    Management jerked AP's around with: first an offer to add the second gate at a nominal increase in the pass, then changing their minds & cancelling any chance of AP's upgrading to the 2 park pass (management thought that DCA would be mobbed & they didn't need AP's to fill the place up).

    Management opened DCA to previews: first for the contractors & their families that actually built the place, then cast members, then AP's. Why go on opening day, when you've already seen it? Besides, word of mouth & websites did not have a lot of kind things to say about DCA.

    People lined up (in the bottom level of the M&F parking structure) for days ahead of time to be the 'first' ones into the park, one family got there a week ahead of time to be the FIRST ones in (hoping to get a 'gold' pass), only to find that management had picked a handicapped family from Garden Grove to be the recipients of the 'gold' pass.

    I was there on opening day/morning - there were more media & cast members than public there....I would guess that it was more like maybe 10% of the projected crowd showed up.

    That's all I can think of now, I'll add more as it comes back to me.
    Robert
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    I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair, then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserved them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe........

  6. #6

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert951
    People lined up (in the bottom level of the M&F parking structure) for days ahead of time to be the 'first' ones into the park, one family got there a week ahead of time to be the FIRST ones in (hoping to get a 'gold' pass), only to find that management had picked a handicapped family from Garden Grove to be the recipients of the 'gold' pass.
    Damn I would have been pissed off if I were that family that were waiting for a week to get the "Gold" pass. They should have gotten it, they deserve it.

  7. #7

    • Minion
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    Re: The opening of DCA

    The AP preview party was a disaster and Disney knew it. They hadn't tested the attractions properly and stuff was breaking down everywhere. It was an unusually hot day and it was packed to capacity. There were long lines for everything. Soaring over California had the longest line I had ever seen. One side had broken down so they were only running at half capacity and the wait time was six hours. Fastpasses were gone for all major attractions within the first 20 minutes that the park was open. I was very excited to see the park because we had seen it being built since day one. I was so disappointed in how terrible my experience was. As you were exiting the park Disney had people from guest services standing out by the front gates handing out tickets to come back on another day.

    The whole experience kinda reminded me about Disneylands first day. So many newspapers called it a "disaster" and of course they were wrong. What suprised me about how bad things went with DCA was that Disney already had theme park experience and there should be no reason why that day ended up being so bad. It seemed to me that the AP holders were part of an experiment to see how bad things can get at DCA.

  8. #8

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    I remember that weekend also - it was insane! Hot as blazes, crowded beyond anything I'd ever seen before. It was nuts.
    Robert


    Quote Originally Posted by Experiment626
    Yes and it was the most crowded I had ever seen it there. Just awful. It was like February and 90 degrees! No shade because the trees that were planted were all small. Huge lines everywhere for food. Insanity up the max. :
    B5, Marcus Cole:
    I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair, then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserved them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe........

  9. #9

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Well, let me think. Before DCA opened, the universally despised Tomorrowland makeover occured. No one had much faith that Disney could pull off an entire theme park. Combine this with accounts from people working on it "I can't believe they are making me do this", "It's everything Walt hated", "It looks like someone puked over the old parking lot". Combine this with it being obviously small and costing just as much as Disneyland and you're starting to get the picture.

    Still, a few people I knew did show up and peered in that "hip" and heartless entrance. They ended up spending the day at Disneyland.

  10. #10

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    We were there for both days of the AP preview w/e. What a mess!

    We waited almost an hour just for corn dogs! And 20 bucks worth just for the two of us! (kids stayed at home for that trip)

    We had the privilege (if you can call it that) to be the VERY last ones in line for Soarin for the day. They told us that the wait would be 45 minutes...It turned out to be an hour and a half.

    Needless to say, we were beat after those two days, and were very happy to get off of the plane that evening and get back home.

    Long lines, excesive heat (for Feb), breakdowns, new CM's not knowing what to do (can't blame them, just new...), and the usual rudeness and pushy-ness of the crowds.

    At least we got to "experience" a hundred dollar lunch (for 2 people) at Wolfgang Pucks short-lived eatery...

  11. #11

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Two words... "tourist trap".

    The concept was weak, and it was not being presented very well to guests. Anyone who knew anything about the park knew that many of the attractions seemed cheap and ill-conceived. And, the first reports later confirmed this initial impression.

    The first time I heard about "Light Magic" and its four stage sets that park themselves in front of the audience, I knew that that "streetacular" was going to suck. The first time I heard about Rocket Rods (replacing my beloved PeopleMover, no less) and its "more thrilling" use of the PeopleMover track, I knew that attraction, too, was going to suck. And, the first time I heard the uninspired and hackneyed name, "Disney's California Adventure", I knew the new park was going to suck, as well.

  12. #12

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Disneyland went from Captain EO, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Fantasmic!, and Indiana Jones Adventure to a decade of massive and embarassing failures that culminated with an entire new theme park full of failures.

    How did executives like Pressler and Harriss survive one debacle after another?

  13. #13

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDude
    My guess is that the AP holders ruined the fun.






    Damn AP'ers!!!


  14. #14

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    From what I understand and what people here had said, everything that could go wrong did (except the whole place burning down) and that piled up ontop of a crappy park. Remember, no ToT, not Bugs Land, etc.
    ...a vaguely celtic music fills the air...

  15. #15

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    Re: The opening of DCA

    Disney made a lot of mistakes in those early days of the park. I remember going on a Media preview day and how crowded everything was that weekend. It was difficult to justify the long waits for relatively ho hum rides, even if we all got in for free.

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