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  1. #1

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    Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    The conclusion to the two-part article presents four more buildings at the Disney's California Adventure Park and the corresponding Los Angeles area buildings that inspired them. You can also read my comments about how the re-created Hollywood at California Adventure compares to the Hollywood streets at the Studios park at Walt Disney World.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    Excellent follow-up to last week's article, Werner. I agree with it all 100%.


    As for this....
    The historic façades were beautifully designed and crafted. Just think how nice the Chapman Market tower would look if the Churrigueresque details weren’t obliterated by the huge, character-encrusted “Off The Page” sign.

    You may soon get to admire that finely-crafted Chapman Market tower...
    This rendering shows an updated Hollywood Pictures Backlot (complete with the upcoming Red Car Trolley) - and if you look closely - the tacky "Off the Page" sign is missing from the facade, and the Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! sign is re-designed.




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  3. #3

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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    They also need to find a way to incorporate some real stores into those facades. This seems to be the same mistake they made in Paris's studios as well. Compared to what was there before, Paris's new Hollywood street is tons better, unfortunately it is still poor for all the same reasons you mentioned here. It looks great if you look at it from one angle, but just take a step to the right and you realize its all just fake facades.

    As you said, the other Disney parks, and even Universal in Orlando have gotten this so much better as they attempted to make them feel sometimes like a movie set, but they're set to certain time periods and they also feel immersive (well except for Universal entirely screwing up the New York area by throwing in Twister and the Mummy. Other than that they're good however.

    I for one hope that a decent portion of their billion dollars goes to making DCA's Hollywood backlot feel much more magical than it currently does.

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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    I totally agree with you on the design flaws of DCA. I saw Disney Hollywood Studios in Florida before seeing DCA. I loved the 1930-1940's setting that made you feel like you were in Hollywood of that period. I have never gotten that feeling at DCA. Also at DHS in Florida, they have a great back lot that really has facades that lead people to take pictures of themselves in London, or New York. But at DCA, I have never felt that it was a photo opportunity. So as an immersive experience, it fails and also as just facades, it fails. DCA feels much more like a themed shopping mall.
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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    My impression is that, most likely, the makeover for the Hollywood area of DCA will get pushed into Phase II of reconstruction along with a similar facelift to the Grizzly Peak area. Hasn't Al made some comments to that effect? I will be surpised to see anything significant here before completion of Carsland. More likely they would wait to see if Carsland and the Paradise Pier additions have the desired effect on attendance, then decide whether to procede with these other plans. As long as the current adminstration remains in place I would expect this second phase to be finished in time for the park's 15th anniversary...at which time DCA would finally be a worthy second gate to its illustrious sibling.
    Last edited by tasman; 01-18-2008 at 05:19 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    great article, i agree with almost all of it.

    The one part i do not agree with is the note about the animation building. I think the art deco look of the building not only helps attract and represent the whimsical feel of the interior but also helps show the diversity of the real hollywood. It is not unusual to see an eclectic cllection of buildings from diferent eras around Hollywood.

    Building everything to look like the real thing which is only a couple miles away would not be very smart.

    I do agree that some of the facades need some of the tacky signs removed and some of the facades also need to have doors that lead somewhere.

    There is nothing that can be done with the large facades covering the animation building since they are skins over the large show room but the opposite side could very well be turned into either stores or ODV areas.

    I have always felt that the one glass door next to the awards wieners should be kept open.

    Behind that corner facade sits a good size almost always empty overflow queue for Muppets.

    That area could be easily turned into a nice seating area for the hot dog eatery that is desperately needed. The area could be seperate from the rest of the muppet queue with another themed facade and a few windows to allow people to lok out into the attractions clever queue theming.

    the facades further down of course have open doors already but lead into the mostly unused Hollywood stage. A stage that either should be put to better used or removed and the large area used for another much needed darkride.

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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo View Post
    The one part i do not agree with is the note about the animation building. I think the art deco look of the building not only helps attract and represent the whimsical feel of the interior but also helps show the diversity of the real hollywood. It is not unusual to see an eclectic cllection of buildings from diferent eras around Hollywood.
    Baloo,

    Although the Disney Animation entrance has its roots in art deco streamline moderne, it's clearly not an art deco building of the 1920s or 1930s. If you see the Hollywood Pictures Backlot as representing the real Hollywood of today, then I suppose the Disney Animation entrance could represent a post-modern building of today on a street where the other buildings are 70-80 years old.

    However, from my perspective, the Hollywood Pictures Backlot doesn't try to represent the Hollywood of today. It doesn't look like the Hollywood that I visited in November 2007. The Anaheim version is more of a "Golden Age of Hollywood" street, with various contradictions that detract from the overall result.

    The Disney Animation exhibit would be better served by a classic art deco movie theater entrance that would fit in with the rest of the street. And based on the initial renderings of the park makeover, it looks like that's what's coming.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner Weiss View Post
    Baloo,

    Although the Disney Animation entrance has its roots in art deco streamline moderne, it's clearly not an art deco building of the 1920s or 1930s. If you see the Hollywood Pictures Backlot as representing the real Hollywood of today, then I suppose the Disney Animation entrance could represent a post-modern building of today on a street where the other buildings are 70-80 years old.

    However, from my perspective, the Hollywood Pictures Backlot doesn't try to represent the Hollywood of today. It doesn't look like the Hollywood that I visited in November 2007. The Anaheim version is more of a "Golden Age of Hollywood" street, with various contradictions that detract from the overall result.

    The Disney Animation exhibit would be better served by a classic art deco movie theater entrance that would fit in with the rest of the street. And based on the initial renderings of the park makeover, it looks like that's what's coming.
    I'm not even sure the Hollywood Pictures Backlot really knows what the Hollywood Pictures Backlot is... The official "story" for the land is convoluted and stupid.. take a look:

    STORY SYNOPSIS
    The story of Hollywood Pictures Backlot operates on a number of on-stage and off-stage levels. The Hollywood Boulevard set and the shows inside the soundstages are onstage while everywhere else is considered off stage. Viewed from the park hub, the land appears to be a classic golden age Hollywood studio, but instead of passing through the ornate gates into a bygone era, entering guests notice some decidedly contemporary icons right away, like the friendly Playhouse Disney! logo on the side of a soundstage.
    All along the Boulevard, with its facades that hearken back to the 1920s and 1930s, there are window signs for modern small businesses that have opened up in the storefronts and on the 2nd floors of these grand old edifices. Since this is Hollywood, these fictitious businesses are colorful and bizarre: Ben-Hair, an "Epic" Beauty Salon; Philip A. Couch, Casting Agency; Gone with the Chin, a plastic surgery center.
    While much of what is encountered in this land is the story of the entire past century of movie-making, it's soon clear to guests that the real time frame is contemporary. Once guests move off-stage to the backlot or go behind-the scenes along the Boulevard, they're in the story of a modern, functioning Hollywood studio. There are soundstages, backlot facades, a TV studio where daytime soap operas could be taped, an animation building, a special effects lab, studio stores and even support departments like props, paint and greens. Just like real movie studios, several of the soundstage exterior walls sport enormous larger-than-billboard-size movie posters advertising current Disney films and television programs.

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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    I'm not even sure the Hollywood Pictures Backlot really knows what the Hollywood Pictures Backlot is... The official "story" for the land is convoluted and stupid..
    Interesting STORY SYNOPSIS! Thank you.

    It reads more like an attempt to explain away the contradictions than a description that would make sense to guests.

    So the "real time frame is contemporary." That only explains that the overall Hollywood Pictures Backlot is supposed to represent a movie studio of today. It doesn't explain why an outdoor street set at such a studio would fail to represent a specific, consistent time period.

    With the actual Hollywood of today only a half hour or so away, it would seem to me that letting guests go back in time to an idealized Golden Age of Hollywood would provide a better experience. And it looks like that's what we'll have in a few years.
    Werner Weiss
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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    WW said:

    "Did you notice that guests cannot enter any of Disney “buildings” on this page? I’m sure the explanation is that it’s because it’s a backlot, not a real street—but from a guest perspective, it just comes across as a street with too many uninviting, locked doors."

    Umm, but almost ALL of mainstreet USA in DL is just this way too. Isn't it??


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    Re: Jan. 18, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney's California Adventure, Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by TDSTOM View Post
    WW said:

    "Did you notice that guests cannot enter any of Disney “buildings” on this page? I’m sure the explanation is that it’s because it’s a backlot, not a real street—but from a guest perspective, it just comes across as a street with too many uninviting, locked doors."

    Umm, but almost ALL of mainstreet USA in DL is just this way too. Isn't it??
    Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland looks like a downtown street in a small Midwestern town of a century ago. Although there are a few storefronts that are just for show (with fake doors), the vast majority are entrances into shops or places to get food. There's even a fire station, a movie theater, and an "opera house" with the Steve Martin movie (and maybe with Mr. Lincoln again one of these years).

    We can debate if Main Street today, with an overwhelming emphasis on Disney character merchandise, is better or worse than Main Street in the park's early years, when there was more of an effort to represent a real downtown.

    But at least it looks and feels like a street.
    Last edited by Werner Weiss; 03-21-2008 at 01:08 PM.
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