This is a spinoff. I did a lot of research prior to posting it and felt it had outgrown the previous thread. I know the theme of Paradise Pier is supposed to be a turn of the century Victorian Boardwalk. It only takes a moment to realize how poorly conceived, designed, and themed it is. Several individuals have pointed out that Walt specifically designed and built Disneyland in response to dirty, unsafe carni's like the Pike. It's a bit of a toss up, the Pike was very old and arguably unsafe. At the same time it was also considered the West Coast Coney Island, and boasted the fasted double racing roller coaster... the Cyclone Racer! Disneyland has California Screamin'... somehow I feel cheated out of what could have been an extremely impressive woody.
When Disneyland opened the Pike was already sliding downhill, the majority of it would fall to ruin the coming decade. Places closed, collapsed, burned, the pier was washed away (Rainbow Pier) and some buildings were about to completely disintegrate due to lack of upkeep. It didn't last much longer. The sad thing is that even though it has been gone for a while, the Pike left lasting fun memory of what a Boardwalk really was. IF Disney insists on having some sort of a boardwalk theme... they have a long way to go!
As a kid I remember the Carousel at Shoreline Village. I loved that thing, and always wished I would have been alive for the old Pike. What I never realized until last night was that my beloved horses were carved by the same man who built part of the Pike, and out of 40 Carousels he built... only 11 remain. That Carousel now sits in San Francisco, and it puts Posiden's, and even King A's one to shame. As I said before Disney has a long way to go.
I haven't been there in years but I used to eat at the Ruby's on HB Pier. The one thing I always loved was the old bumper car that they had on display. I do not know if it was from the Pike or not... but while looking into everything I noticed... Paradise Pier doesn't even have bumper cars! What kind of a boardwalk doesn't have bumper cars? It's almost as bad as not having a hot dog stand.... oh forgot that's not their either!
On a more positive note I will say this. I like that someone built the Sun Wheel and the Swings! I don't like the way in which the Sun Wheel was themed and constructed but I like that it is there. THAT screams BOARDWALK!!! As to the swings... please ditch the stupid peel! I am not endorsing Carni rides, or poorly themed Disney rides based on Carni rides. I now join others in a call for well themed Disney rides, with the Boardwalk flavor that Paradise Pier lacks. It will be interesting to see if they can do it without Pixar'ing the place to ruins, and I'm not entirely sure they can make anything that wouldn't resemble the Carnie's... most of the modern rides are based on them anyways!
Pike History as well as Mr. Looff (guy who built the Carousels) and other cool things.
History of Pike as well as decent pictures
If you read the bottom you can see exactly why Disneyland was built!
Looff Carousel that was at Shoreline
My point is this, we were given a cheap imitation and a glimpse into what we once had. California was known for it's beaches and it's boardwalks... and sadly both are poorly represented. I don't exactly understand why they went with the Boardwalk theme, but if they are going to do it they could at least have done it right.