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  1. #211

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    A Merlin Jones post from August of 2003....

    1) Lack of attractive and alluring entranceway. Unlike the beautiful, immersive Disneyland entry, DCA's is sparse and cheap and kitschy.

    2) Most DCA architecture is only halfway themed. It isn't intended to make you think you are really "there" or somewhere else other than Anaheim.

    3) No berm to separate the park from the real world. Visual intrusions, such as the Hilton and the power lines were allowed into the plan.

    4) No attractive and comfortable plaza in which to relax and view the alluring vistas and weenies of surrounding "lands".

    4) there is no central spoke layout and little to see or enjoy at the sunshine plaza. The bear mountain isn't staged to be attractive from the entry or plaza but only from the most expensive hotel rooms (unlike the Matterhorn or Castle).

    5) Due the above layout faux pas, the main road of
    DCA looks more like a back alley, nothing scenic to look at along the way

    6) There few "Weenies" at the end of the street, Walt's term for alluring visual icons that can be seen from a distance and lure you forward. Most roads and lands have ugly things at the end instead of cool things, like DL.

    5) There is no intuitive flow to the environments of DCA, unlike DL, they are scattershot layouts.

    6) The restaurants (except the two most expensive) have no visual beauty in their outdoor seating areas, unlike nearly every eatery at Dl. there are no good views from which to soak up color and relax (except at the expensive eateries and bar). Even the wine garden has no view. They wanted you to spend more for a view.

    7) At Dl, there is a photogenic, art directed scenic vista, worthy of a movie shot at nearly every point. At DCA it's hard to find any, save the carnival at night from across the bay. Even the souvenier book had to cut and paste shots together to make interest.

    8) There are no lavish immersive storytelling ride throughs for which Disney is famous, like Pirates or HM, and few Audio Animatronic figures

    9) The thrill rides are too soft for coaster enthusiasts, not themed enough for DL enthusiasts.

    10) There is little charm in DCA, compared to Dl, and little fantasy or quirk.

    11) Except for Soarin and Animation, there are few original experiences at DCA, everything seems warmed over and refried, unlike DL.

    12) Dl's Casey Jr. goes around a lovely track and storybook land for a three-five minute ride - - DCA's Chew-Chew goes around a loop that's shorter than the loading process.

    13) Ugly and obvious budget cutbacks everywhere you look, such as the stairs at the Hyperion and lack of restrooms.

    14) A reliance on sit down shoes which become tiresome and repetitive as opposed to highly repeatable ride throughs.

    15) A lack of creative excitement and inspiration throughout. Some nice work, but nothing that makes you go oooooh to look at.

    16) A few of the worst rides ever in a Disney park, like Superstar Limo.

    17) A reliance on off-the-rack carnival rides like everyone has, rather than Disney-level originals

    18) A design by committee feel to the whole endeavor. A middle level management, non-creatve, hack sensibility throughout.

    19) Games designed to separate you from your money rather than provide and entertaining experience (something Walt refused to have in a Disney park).

    20) High prices for food.

    21) Lack of California related theming in recent additions.

    22) A poor choice of theme for Californians.

    23) A lack of significant budget and management support to pull the theme off.

    24) DCA has such a classic companion across the way, it suffers even more by direct comparison.

    25) Not enough rides, shows and attractions for a whole day.

    26) No interesting unique characters relevant to the theme.

    27) Main Street Electrical Parade belongs in Disneyland, not DCA
    .

    28) Bird poop covered island in the bay.

    29) Few compelling lands.

    30) Compared to Dl, the park is lacking in detail.

    31) There is little shade.

    32) Real world politics intrude on the park's entertainment offerings (like Golden Dreams).

    33) No cool nightime spectacular show like Believe or Fantasmic

    34) Cloying, patronizing kiddie shows and sidewalk entertainment

    35) Doesn't seem like classic Disney quality or material.

    36) It's hard to tell who they thought would like this place. Too tacky for rich urban elites who hate Disney - - too benign and dull for teens, too ugly for adults, too unimaginative for kids, too expensive for poor people, too uninspiring for Disney fans. Who would go to this without Dl across the way?

    37) Trying too hard to be Magic Mountain, Universal and Knotts lite instead of Disney. Succeeds with none of the above.

    38) Less to experience for your money than Dl

    39) Generally bad taste in design, color and other aesthetics compared to Dl (see the entrance mural).

    40) No "pretty" lands like New Orleans Square.

    41) Nothing unique and compelling to buy.

    42) Shorter hours of operation.

    43) Unlike Dl, doesn't take out out of the real world for a day, but reminds you of the real world's shortcomings, budgets, limitations and consumerism.dependance on bottom line

    44) That anyone would even think to compare it to Disneyland in its formative years is the most absurd corporate spin of all time.

    45) The sort of stillborn vibe of the place since there's never anybody there, unlike DL.

    46) The visual planning is so bad they have to put up billboards with arrows to direct you to a major park icon (Condor Flats to Grizzly Peak)

    47) One of the longest shot views down the major DCA road is of a vegetable stand.

    48) That the Tower of Terror is directly above and visible from Bug Land

    49) The icky spit covered scream shilds on the drop tower

    50) The corn field of statues from Bug's Life accompanied by a caterpillar tractor to climb on

    51) Empty stores and closed attractions and curiously never-open restaurants

    52) Tortilla making as an attraction.

    53) Spooky, creepy psycho carnival synthesiser music in PP area and on roller coaster.

    54) Loud music everywhere with short repetitive loops.

    55) The people planning the park clearly had no respect for Walt Disney, his ideas, WED, the Imagineers, their learned wisdom, planning and design, Disney fans, Disney culture, Disney history, Disneyland, the brand, the customers, the show or anything that mattered over projected profits per square foot from foolish shopping center marketing and retailing theory.
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  2. #212

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    It is amazing they expected this huge succes. It is so funny though of what happened. I like how the slow attendance figures and big yawns slappped over-confident Disney executives in the face when they thought they could get away it.

  3. #213

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    This thread doesn't make any sense. Why is Darkbeer posting old posts on a thread that has been dead for months? Has Darkbeer gone insane? Is he drunk out of his mind? Or is he just really really board?
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  4. #214

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 17th, 2002....
    I can't believe I'm agreeing with something from the San Francisco Chronicle.

    This just in: Hell has officially frozen over.


  5. #215

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    I know some folks like to say that Disneyland wasn't a success when it opened in 1955, when DCA opening year is mentioned, but that is entirely UNTRUE.....

    The Grand Opening, MONDAY, July 18th, 1955, they had over 50,000 paying customers... After that, Walt and his staff decided to limit admission to about 20,000 persons a day to address some of the operational problems.... Heck, they were turning away guests those first few months, so if anything was keeping guests away, it was the crowds, NOT the lack of them!

    And after SEVEN weeks (September 8th, 1955), Disneyland had over 1 million guests!!!! What did DCA have after 7 weeks, maybe 250,000, if that many....

    And of course, it was a LOT harder to have folks to travel to Anaheim in 1955, and the population was a lot lower in the SoCal area back in the mid-50's.....

    The period from July 18th thru September 8th was 45 days, which makes Disneyland average over 22,000 folks a day to make the 1 millionth guest on September 8th.



    http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/la/disneyland/

    (FYI, this link has a lot of great photos)







    But DCA had AWFUL crowds, and while there was some rain in the Spring of 2001, and that was a favorite excuse early on, even with the Heat Wave in 1955, Disneyland "sold out" most days that first summer......

    Opening day had 14,000 attend DCA (38,000 was the expected count, aka sellout)

    DCA's first summer had good weather, but even with a Two tickets for $33 (one Adult, one Child) special for the summer of 2001, it was really dead.

    There was a BIG difference between Disneyland's first year, and DCA's.....
    You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Darkbeer again.

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  6. #216

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkbeer View Post
    From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 17th, 2002....

    What!??? YOU espousing San Fransisco "values and beliefs."

    Now I've seen it all.
    IMO - YMMV - FYIGM


  7. #217

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by phruby View Post
    This thread doesn't make any sense. Why is Darkbeer posting old posts on a thread that has been dead for months? Has Darkbeer gone insane? Is he drunk out of his mind? Or is he just really really board?
    To contain his DCA "opinions" in a single thread. Give DB points for that, at least he doesn't start a new thread everytime to express his, some might say extreme, distaste for a park he visits every week.

    IMO - YMMV - FYIGM


  8. #218

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Found some old SaveDisney.com stuff...



    In 1999, Paul Pressler became the President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and shortly afterwards would be named Chairman. He was given a more powerful role than any other Parks & Resorts chief in history. He wasn't only supervising Park Operations, he was put in charge of Imagineering as well.

    Paul Pressler was already well known to WDI by 1999. As President of Disneyland, he had been intimately involved with the design and development of Disney's California Adventure. Pressler helped shape the concept and determined the budget for the park. It was reported that the overall expansion of the Disneyland Resort was well over one billion dollars. Most of that money did not go into California Adventure; in fact, the park received less then half of the investment. Most of the money went into the new parking structure, Downtown Disney, and especially the Grand Californian Hotel. The park designers would have to work with crumbs. But Paul Pressler wasn't just the guy holding the purse strings anymore, as Chairman of Parks & Resorts he had creative approval as well. For the first time in Disney history, a moneyman was dictating "creative" changes to the artists at Walt Disney Imagineering.

    Paul Pressler had convinced everyone on the Parks & Resorts team that Disney's California Adventure would be an unparalleled success. In the days leading up to the opening of California Adventure, the Director of Attractions at Disneyland, Paul Yeargin, openly discussed his concerns that Disney's California Adventure would fill to capacity every day. He thought the resort's biggest problem would be disappointed guests, who, after traveling a great distance to see California Adventure would have to settle for Disneyland instead. Yeargin and other Disneyland executives made decisions based on this premise. Including a now infamous decision by Disneyland Resort President, Cynthia Harriss, to restrict Annual Passholders from using their passes at Disney's California Adventure for the first few months after opening. This decision only served to anger the already disgruntled 400,000 passholders who provide a significant amount of revenue for the resort. Harriss and Yeargin, like many of the Disneyland executives, had followed Pressler over from the Disney Stores and had no previous theme park experience.

    Then in February 2001, the world saw what had been festering behind closed doors at WDI for the past several years. Disney's California Adventure opening in the old Disneyland parking lot. It was a mix of off-the-shelf carnival rides and film-based attractions. When Walt's close friend and long-time Imagineer, John Hench, saw the park for the first time he said, "I liked it better as a parking lot." WDI would try to fix California Adventure any way they could. They threw attractions at it left and right...Who Wants to be A Millionaire, a bug's land, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, even the Main Street Electrical Parade would come out of moth balls. None of it worked, of course.

    All these projects were subject to the same approval process as Disney's California Adventure. Park Operations (Paul Pressler) would need to approve the concept and budget for the new attraction. The Strategic Planning department would then determine if the project were economically feasible. Then if the project were approved, it would be supervised by Project Management to make sure the creatives didn't try to improve the attraction after it was in production. Of course, all these new systems of control came with a price tag, which drove up the cost of the projects. The Walt Disney Company was spending more money on bureaucracy and less on the attraction itself. In the end, the paying guest got shortchanged.

    At WDI, it was taboo to suggest that there was something wrong with California Adventure or the any of the new attractions. At first, WDI management said that the weather was to blame. When the weather cleared up, they blamed the economy. Then they used the new standby...people were scared to travel after September 11th. None of these excuses were valid because Disneyland continued to have much more respectable attendance figures (it's hard to image the weather or economic conditions could be so drastically different ninety feet to the south).

    It would seem that WDI could sink no further, but in March of 2002, Pressler (along with former strategic planner Jay Rasulo) opened the only Disney theme park less impressive then California Adventure...Walt Disney Studios Paris. The park failed so miserably, it forced Disneyland Paris into a debt re-structuring plan that currently threatens the future existence of the resort. The pendulum had swung to the other extreme.
    Walt Disney Studios Paris is the total opposite of Disneyland Paris. It is a theme park by the numbers-designed with a spreadsheet instead of paint and brush.
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  9. #219

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    The park basically only needs to have Paradise Pier, and Hollywood Pictures Backlot Changed. They are both in need of new paint. Have you seen the mural? The rest of the themes are fine. The Wine Country Sector is wonderful. Golden Dreams was simply placed in the wrong location, but we all agree it is a beautiful moving movie. The problem is lack of rides. And instead of paying tons of cash to retheme areas that don't need retheming and building rides based on movies (isn't that part of why DCA crashed in the first time?). Instead of creating more original attractions which both Disneyland and DCA haven't seen for a long time (did you see how nice something as original as Soarin was), it would be a much better park. You see, the scenery is perfect in most places. There aren't enough original and E-Ticket style rides in the park.
    Friend walks into line of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh-
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  10. #220

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    In response to the SaveDisney.com article...

    http://mb.laughingplace.com/default....1216181736&C=1

    Quote Originally Posted by Westsider

    Hey! I went to a "Cast Member Forum" hosted by Paul Yeargin in late 2000 where we talked about DCA and the "future of the Resort"!

    It was held in the big, fancy conference room on the 4th floor of TDA. There was about 40 of us in the room, mostly CM's who had worked there at least a few years. They showed us video and pictures of DCA on the wall-sized video screen, and then Paul Yeargin opened it up to an informal information session and a Q&A.

    We talked all about DCA, and Yeargin repeatedly told us that as Attractions Hosts/Hostesses working in Disneyland that our role would be just as vital in 2001 as the Hosts/Hostesses working in DCA. Why, you ask? Because DCA was going to be so popular that it would fill up to capacity, estimated by Yeargin at the time to be about 30,000 people per day, and they would have to close the turnstiles of DCA regularly.

    Yeargin elaborated that the TDA executive team estimated the turnstile closures would happen for the first 7 to 10 days after DCA opened in February, 2001. And then by mid February the closures would only be happening on weekends for the first 6 or 8 weeks. But by the Easter Vacation period of April, 2001 the turnstile closures would happen again 7 days a week during that traditionally busy time. Then we'd see weekend closures again in May, but by late June we would be back to daily turnstile closures for DCA as its first summer would certainly be extremely busy.

    Paul Yeargin assured us that our management was preparing for this Guest Service nightmare, and that all of us working in Disneyland would have easy access to "Service Recovery Tools" like coupons for churros or backdoor passes for rides. We would have these at our disposal, and our managers would have access to more expensive options, because there would be so many people inside Disneyland who were upset that DCA had closed their turnstiles before they could get in and they had to "settle for Disneyland".

    Paul Yeargin wanted to assure us that those of us CM's "who chose to stay behind" at Disneyland wouldn't be forgotten and that our role during DCA's extremely busy first year of operation would be very important since there would be many disapointed guests at Disneyland who couldn't get in to DCA. It was a big pep rally with the message "Don't worry, we won't forget about the struggles you'll be facing in Disneyland in 2001".

    And at the time, we all totally bought it. Our Cast Member sign-in priveleges were blocked out for DCA for 2001. The Christmas Comp Tickets we got from Michael Eisner in 2000 weren't valid for DCA. Current Annual Passholders had been blocked out from DCA, and it was impossible to even buy a DCA Annual Pass at any price in 2000. DCA was going to be super popular and extremely busy for at least the first few years. Paul Yeargin even shared that there was a plan to add a new spinner ride inside the east end of California Screamin' for 2004, but until then the 2001 roster of attractions, rides, shows, restaurants and entertainment would see the park through its first three years of operation.

    The funniest thing I remember about that Cast Member Forum was one other CM, a 50 year old lady who had worked at Disneyland since the mid 1970's, and she flatly told Paul Yeargin "That park doesn't look very good. I don't think you guys will need to worry about crowds!". Yeargin laughed at her, and tried to get the rest of us to rally with him and shut her up. Paul Yeargin had a very snotty side to him, and as soon as this highly tenured CM took him off script with her catty remark, he let his snottiness show very quickly. I remember that part the most because it was interesting to see Yeargin's demeanor and tone change so quickly from Cynthia Harriss Rah-Rah-Rah to something more like a snotty Gap Girl after a customer told her she looked fat in the jeans she was wearing.

    But this story brought back that long ago "Cast Member Forum" that I had pushed to the back of my mind for many years. Thanks Darkbeer for the blast from the past and the trip down memory lane!

    And it's funny how things actually worked out, isn't it?
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  11. #221

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Happy 6th Anniversary DCA, here is hoping you get approved for a major makeover!
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  12. #222

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by Uzmati View Post
    at least he doesn't start a new thread everytime to express his, some might say extreme, distaste for a park he visits every week.

    DCA is great when they are giving it away for free.

  13. #223

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Paul Yeargin was one of the biggest jerks in Theme Park Operations. He was quite sadistic in that he enjoyed threatening people and humiliating them.

    Is he still there? Or, was he expelled when Pressler, Harriss, and T. Irby left?

    That was a management team from Hell, if there ever was one.

  14. #224

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by phruby View Post
    This thread doesn't make any sense. Why is Darkbeer posting old posts on a thread that has been dead for months? Has Darkbeer gone insane? Is he drunk out of his mind? Or is he just really really board?
    Thanks now I spit coffee on my keyboard.

  15. #225

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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    Paul Yeargin was one of the biggest jerks in Theme Park Operations. He was quite sadistic in that he enjoyed threatening people and humiliating them.

    Is he still there? Or, was he expelled when Pressler, Harriss, and T. Irby left?

    That was a management team from Hell, if there ever was one.
    He is long gone, but here is an interesting article from the old SaveDisney.com website...

    http://www.boingboing.net/2004/08/22...gs_declin.html


    Paul Pressler had convinced everyone on the Parks & Resorts team that Disney's California Adventure would be an unparalleled success. In the days leading up to the opening of California Adventure, the Director of Attractions at Disneyland, Paul Yeargin, openly discussed his concerns that Disney's California Adventure would fill to capacity every day. He thought the resort's biggest problem would be disappointed guests, who, after traveling a great distance to see California Adventure would have to settle for Disneyland instead. Yeargin and other Disneyland executives made decisions based on this premise. Including a now infamous decision by Disneyland Resort President, Cynthia Harriss, to restrict Annual Passholders from using their passes at Disney's California Adventure for the first few months after opening. This decision only served to anger the already disgruntled 400,000 passholders who provide a significant amount of revenue for the resort. Harriss and Yeargin, like many of the Disneyland executives, had followed Pressler over from the Disney Stores and had no previous theme park experience.
    Then in February 2001, the world saw what had been festering behind closed doors at WDI for the past several years. Disney's California Adventure opening in the old Disneyland parking lot. It was a mix of off-the-shelf carnival rides and film-based attractions. When Walt's close friend and long-time Imagineer, John Hench, saw the park for the first time he said, "I liked it better as a parking lot." WDI would try to fix California Adventure any way they could. They threw attractions at it left and right...Who Wants to be A Millionaire, a bug's land, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, even the Main Street Electrical Parade would come out of moth balls. None of it worked, of course.
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

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