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  1. #16

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

    And here is this great line from the "Unofficial Guide to Disneyland" by Bob Sehlinger...



    From a competitive perspective, Disney's California Adventure is an underwhelming shot at Disney's three Southern California competitors. The Hollywood section of DCA take a hopeful poke at Universal Studios Hollywood, while Paradise Pier offers midway rides a la Six Flags Magic Mountain. Finally, the whole California theme has for years been the eminent domain of Knott's Berry Farm. In short, there's not much originality in DCA, only Disney's now-redundant mantra that "whatever they can do, we can do better".

    Even if the park was called Disney's Slag Heap, the faithful would turn out en masse.
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  2. #17

    • Rock Star Minion
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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    LP: Iím sure itís going to be a big success. How important is that success of DCA and Downtown Disney and all the rest to the future of this park here?

    CH: First of all we think this is going to be a gargantuan success because - itís not just that weíre excited about it, anybody who has had an opportunity to read, see or hear anything about it when weíve done our press releases and youíve been to several of those, just the responses come back, itís like wow thatís even better or more or more extensive than I thought. Weíre anticipating that. I think it speaks to anything else that the bigger the success it is that's really going to inspire us to do more and more things within Disneyland and within the Resort at large. Weíre in the business to serve our guests. When they respond positively it reinforces to us - "letís do more of that."
    First off: great probing question, LP.
    Second: great non-answer Cyndi.
    Third: specifically ignoring anything Al had to say for the few years before opening (maybe Darkbeer can find some of Al's first remarks on MP) will really rose up those glasses.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  3. #18

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

    And from my second thread started here at MiceChat back on January 18th, 2005...

    Well, I have decided to go back thru some 2004 posts at another board and look back at what happened at DCA...



    First event, the Rose Bowl Float coming to DCA, and the fiasco it created by not finishing the parade, and remaining in Pasadena for the 2 extra days of Float Viewing...


    First a quote from Robert Niles



    But, c'mon Disney, this is the Rose Parade. Not a preshow float for the Main Street Electrical Parade. Other corporations recognize that this a time to put aside overtly commercial messages and build a little goodwill with the audience -- their market. But Disney instead decided to flog California Adventure at us, and pimp a new ride.



    Bad show, Disney. But wait, it gets worse. On the back page of the Calendar Weekend section of this morning's L.A. Times, Disney has an ad promoting its float's appearance at DCA from Jan. 2 - 19. Say what? That means the float won't be joining all the others from the parade in the traditional post-parade display. Instead, Disney's hauling it back to Anaheim and putting it on display for paying customers to DCA.



    Tacky, tacky, tacky.


    A quote from Fab, aka Michelle Smith


    What's even tackier is that the second and third are usually the days reserved for disabled people and underpriveliged youth groups to view the floats. Why couldn't Disney have waited til the fourth?
    Looks like Disney has learned its lesson and left the float in Pasadena for viewing.... and didn't bother to ship it south...

    And how much did the showing cost at DCA, they had a team of float folks replacing flowers for a couple of weeks, plus the entertainment team that "rode" the elevator, well, they really didn't ride it at DCA, but they still worked the crowd.....



    Then in the first week of January, Disney Marketing started up with a new Campaign to help sell the special SoCal tickets... The tag line...


    "Pay for Disneyland, get DCA for Free"


    Now this came as a big shock to many, who in the past complained when folks on the boards said the same thing in regards to prior promotions of the SoCal ticket....



    Also around the same time, good news from the park, as it got rid of its SAP (Special Assistance) program, and went to a much more regulated system of matching assistance to need, and cut back on a lot of abuse of the old system



    Also in January 2004, the Resort got rid of the "original" logo that featured GRR, and went back to a traditional Script logo that gave more emphasis to Disneyland, and shortly thereafter, DCA's logo was also changed, this time emphasing DISNEY and placing California Adventure in much smaller letters.



    Then we had Roy Disney making a statement about DCA in a SEC filing from February 2004.




    The filing then took issue with the company's skimping too much in building California Adventure and Disney Studios Paris in recent years. It said the company should have invested more in California Adventure, which opened in 2001, and charged that executives were too skittish over the Euro Disney debacle.



    "The continued suppression of innovation - fixing the off-the-shelf rides -- is likely as the schemers desperately try to avoid any financial write-offs at this time," the filing says. "[California Adventure] has failed and will never come close to generating the financial return the planners forecast."

    Also in early February, we had this statement from ESPN...




    Next year, Disney's California Adventure (DCA) is opening a new attraction, the Tower of Terror, which is the number one attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida. With its incredible popularity, the number one marketing message for DCA over the next year will be launching the new Tower of Terror. As a result of DCA's specific goals, the X Games Xperience will not continue next summer.
    Also around the same time we find out the Super Soap Weekends have also been cancelled at DCA for 2004.



    Febuary 8th, 2004 was DCA's 3rd Birthday, and in honor of the event, Disney did absolutely NOTHING!



    Then we had this statement from Michael Eisner himself...




    Eisner's strategy of late has been to expand the brand without spending much. He tried to transform its properties óin Anaheim and Paris into "destination resorts" by adding second theme parks. The $1 billion Disney's California Adventure, largely made up of rides copied from its Florida parks or purchased off the shelf, left tourists yawning. Attendance was weak and sponsors like Wolfgang Puck fled. "What people have to keep remembering is we are going for magic,'' Eisner told NEWSWEEK last year. "We are not going for perfection."


    May 5th brought the addition of Tower of Terror to DCA, which helps its attendance mix, but by no means was it a home run. Most people have said they prefer the WDW version... so 10 years after the original was built, DCA gets ToT lite.... and after an initial boost of AP holders, crowds have died down to very short waits.



    Later in May we find out the SSL had been officially put out of its misery (though in early 2004 there were rumors of it reopening)....



    Late June brought the first 1 day ParkHopper to the Main Ticket Windows, at about $20 more than a Single Park ticket, and even less with a SoCal discount.



    July had an interesting article from the Motley Fool...




    Across the way, the same couldn't be said for Disney California Adventure.

    A lot has been written about the shortcomings of Disney's second West Coast park. Sadly, it's all true. It remains an incomplete destination. It opens later and closes earlier than its sister park as a silent bow of admission that it is not a full-day park.



    The park's newest attraction, a scaled-down version of Disney World's Tower of Terror, is helping. It's the ride of choice after the rope drops at 10 a.m. A summer promotion with McDonald's got us Big Mac-consuming guests in an hour early, which proved to be plenty of time to knock off three quick rides on the new attraction before the rest of the park opened, but why did Disney give in to the cloning process? It's not a regional operator like Six Flags that can afford to dilute the magnetism of a new ride by copying it. Why would the masses that have already experienced the ride in Florida over the past 10 years head out to California? California Adventure has just one worthwhile original attraction, but that distinction will vanish once Soarin' Over California opens in Florida next year.

    In July, Management decided to eliminate the wait board at DCA.



    Also, at the end of July, the DLR Guide map was eliminated, and once again two different maps were issued for each park, this time with a new "Times Guide" on a seperate piece of paper, to allow the Glossy Maps to have a longer shelf life.



    In August, Who Wants to be a Millionaire - Play It! was closed, and showings of Aladdin were cut back to 5 days a week. Also Groove 66 and Chance to Shine got the ax in the summer of 2003.



    September brought the closure of the Paradise Pier Hotel special entrance, and the return of ABC Primetime Preview weekend, which really didn't boost attendance that much.. should be interesting to see if it returns in 2005.



    http://www.jimhillmedia.com/mb/artic...le.php?ID=1092



    September 14th brought Touch Screen Ordering and payment system to Taste Pilots Grill.



    October brought back White Napkins to DCA, but instead of a DCA logo, now the napkins feature the Disneyland Resort logo.



    Also, after over a year of having many strings of lights missing, the new fiscal year finally allowed for the replacement of the missing lampposts and lights.



    http://www.jimhillmedia.com/mb/artic...le.php?ID=1131



    November brings changes to Ariel's Grotto, with Ariel going away, and Capt. Mickey and Capt. Rustworthy taking over the place. Of course menu prices go up $2 a plate, but Disney still can't afford to change the signage to advertise the fact that Mickey Mouse is now the main character at the meals.... So we have "Ariel's Grotto" that doesn't have the lovely redhead as one of its characters....



    Also in late November and December, DCA was seriously lacking in the Christmas decoration and shows department. No Christmas tree, and the only real Christmas thing was Santa's Beach Bash.



    And also in late November, a new themed truck was parked in front of San Andreas Shakes... Of course, it is just one big Kellogg's advertisement!



    Looks like 2004 was the year DCA had a bunch of stuff closed or eliminated....



    Should be interesting to see what 2005 brings to DCA...

    So Far, The "Pay for Disneyland, get DCA for Free!" is back

    The lowest price EVER for a 3 day ParkHopper at $109 (Advance Purchase)

    DCA closes one hour earlier (8 PM) on Friday's
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  4. #19

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

    This shows how from the beginning they got the entire business plan wrong. They were using Six Flags as a model for building DCA, and expecting to get Disneyland like numbers instead what Six Flags gets. It's as if you opened up a carnival accross the street from Disneyland and expected to charge the Disneyland admission price to get in.

    It must have been horrible to sit through that meeting. DCA's failure may hopefully prevent future dissasters from being created.

  5. #20

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

    Here is a link to Al's archives at MousePlanet....

    http://www.mouseplanet.com/archive/
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  6. #21

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

    This really puts things into perspective. This park was doomed from the start. "If it's good enough for Six Flags..." is a terrible way to design a park IMO. It is disheartening to know that DCA had so much potential to open as a great park.

    Despite having a very shaky opening however, let's hope that DCA gets further enhancements (The Monsters. Inc ride being one) that allow it to develop into a respectable Disney park. Sure, that will require lots of work, but I have faith that this park can be developed into one where you can spend lots of time.

    Here's to DCA's next four years, where paying full price may actually be fathomable.

  7. #22

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

    Found these over at MP:
    http://www.mouseplanet.com/dca/
    Way at the bottom is Al's four-part preview along with two pages of reader feedback.

    This one's by Dan Steinberg, from, I think, July-Aug 2000.
    http://www.mouseplanet.com/dan/ten1.htm


    As for the PowerPoint debate, I trust DB. Looks to be an outside consultant's advice on how Disney (Pressler, really) should build a theme park. That's the truly sad thing about it: this guy needed outside help, and chose not to tap some of the then-living geniuses responsible for the currently still successful parks and then still working for Disney!
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  8. #23

    • insufferable know-it-all
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    Re: DCA: AN interesting look back at the last 4+ years

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenstate5
    I will stick to my opinon: I saw that Power Point presentation post years ago and STILL think it's phony. Sounds like somebody took all the nitpicks they had of DCA and decided to make a fake presentation that looks like the company actually was intending, I mean, COME ON, do you really think they actually would say "Off the Shelf"?!...
    Considering that an imagineer I used to hang out with called DCA "DOTS", short for Disney's Off-The-Shelf..... yes.

    Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...



  9. #24

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

    With all this talk of abandoning the California theme and redoing the park with a different concept, I have to wonder: will they change the name of the park if they change the concept?

    Cinderella IV: The Bloodening

    "It's okay, Beaker, we're scientists. We get paid to fail."

  10. #25

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

    Quote Originally Posted by aerinpegadrak
    With all this talk of abandoning the California theme and redoing the park with a different concept, I have to wonder: will they change the name of the park if they change the concept?
    Yes, they would have to change the name. It would be "Disney's ____________" something.

    the cheapest and easiest thing to chang it into would be into Dinsey's studio's West and backlot" or something like that.

    However, it might be too late to change the theme. No matter what they change it to it will still carry all the weight of the DCA like a black cloud over it's head.

    Thanks for all the great information Darkbeer.

  11. #26

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

    Disney's America.

    Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...



  12. #27

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

    This is very interesting, and it provides great retrospect. Every Harvard-educated, MBA-holding Disneyland exec in the company was so completely convinced and assured of themselves that DCA would be such a smash success from the beginning that they thought they'd have to turn people away in droves. Whereas an unpaid freelance writer (Al Lutz) predicted the downfall of DCA before groundbreaking even took place!

    Now, it's not my place to judge who is more effective at running a theme park, but it really does show that positions, titles and salaries mean absolutely nothing when it comes to effectively building and running a theme park. Suits that hold an MBA and make more money in a week than most people make in a year couldn't even see the error of their ways even AFTER it was a failure. I am so thankful the current Disneyland administration has a handle on Disneyland's show and has openly acknowledged DCA as a failure. After all, admitting DCA was a failure is the first step in rebuilding it to its full potential.

  13. #28

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

    I'd bet that they'd redo the park as an add-on, that is apart from slight changes in Paradise Pier and HPB that Al Lutz has noted in recent columns, the new areas would focus on new themes. As in "Disney's American Adventure" being the new theme, and Paradise Pier being representative of East and West Coast piers and GRR being representative of all mountain areas and Condor Flats being any desert in America.

    Then they are freer to add whole new areas, such as some of the concepts drawn up for the 90s era Manassass Virginia park "Disney's America" that they tried to build.

    I'd bet that would be the direction they're looking now... Although if Iger's smart he'll wait until after Eisner is gone to seal the deal... and this time they better study it upside down and backwards before signing off on development of the remaining acreage in Anaheim. Once they fill out all the way to the corner, they're out of space for this second gate. And if this gate doesn't get transformed into a serious draw, they'll never try to build another theme park in California again.

    Then part of the spirt of Disneyland, in Walt's original visions for the company, dies. I would be sad to see that although due to the DCA disaster we may never see another Disney park open in North America again.

  14. #29

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

    You know, Walt was successful at building a theme park, not because he had some fancy degree or a slick hairdo, but because he was a "regular guy" and he built something that "regular guys" would enjoy. He didn't look down from on high at all the "Walmart shoppers" (and what EXACTLY is wrong with that anyway, I ask ya?) and assume that he knew better than they did about what they OUGHT to enjoy.

    Unfortunately that same strategy (what I like, other folks'll like) didn't work so well for Eisner and Pressler because they weren't cut from the same "middle America" stock.

    Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...



  15. #30

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

    FYI, I decided to post this information here because some folks want to re-write history, and claim things like DCA was designed as a park just to get folks to stay another day, when if you go read the LA Times article from 2001, you can see that is totally incorrect...

    Or when you see folks like John Cora say that the park primary focus was to have it built as cheap as possible, then folks like Roy Disney confirm it... well, no wonder people are disappointed and upset with what Disney delivered in DCA....

    But there is hope, as Al Lutz stated in his last update on Tuesday, maybe the poor performance of the park will finally get the attention of the new folks in charge, and they will be willing to address the problem, and approve some funds to help improve the park....
    Last edited by Darkbeer; 09-05-2006 at 10:33 PM.
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