World of Color Premiere a Hit

Last night the Disneyland Resort premiered it’s new World of Color water show at it’s California Adventure gate. There were the usual celebrities, high ranking executives from the company, and a phalanx of media. The event was also live streamed for the benefit of those who couldn’t be there in person. Ustream reported over 9300 viewers at the height of the internet live broadcast.

I couldn’t be there, but I have enjoyed seeing some photos and interviews from the ‘blue’ carpet from AllEarsDeb, On the Red Carpet, Theme Park Insider, LaughingPlace and LaughingPlace‘s always excellent full coverage.

Tonight were the first three shows for the general public. Normally they’d just offer two shows a night, but with all the fast pass gone by 10:45AM, Disney decided to add a third show tonight. Since there are no actors or fireworks to be reloaded, just a computer program to reboot, this is something Disney might find itself repeating often if the demand is there.

So what does this mean for California Adventure?

World of Color is just one part of an expensive plan (more than what it cost to build the park int the first place) to fix what is a fundamentally broken theme park. Adding new attractions and a reason to stay late in the park are steps along the right path, that’s for sure. But the park continues to lack the one thing that’s most important – interestingness.

A park about California in California will forever have a dimmer presence than a “Magic Kingdom”, especially when the very prototype of that park is less than 500 feet away. Changing the name for branding or trademark reasons to ‘Disney California Adventure’ instead of the possessive “Disney’s” certainly ain’t gonna do it.

I don’t want to rain on World of Color’s parade; it certainly is an impressive show and will no doubt be a big draw competing with Fantasmic for guest attention for as long as Disneyland Resort is willing to fund both shows. But I wish the people who hold the purse strings for Disneyland had the sand to fix the real problem instead of burying it under more California themed attractions. The park is sinking in quicksand and instead of throwing it a rope and pulling it out, they just pile on more sand.

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12 Responses to World of Color Premiere a Hit

  1. p says:

    I too thought that a California themed park in California 500 ft from the Happiest Place on Earth was a bad idea when it first opened. I actually refused to go to DCA until Disney made my AP good for both parks. DCA has been growing in popularity and interestingness for quite some time. It will always be hard to compete with the very first Walt Disney theme park being across the street but I think the improvements they are working on are going to encourage guest with small children (who tend to avoid the park) to hang out for the day. We affectionately refer to DCA as “The Pixar Park” or “The Date Park”
    John, I think you need to make a trip out west and see for yourself the changes that DCA has made and is continuing to make.
    P.S. I do hate the new sun they put on Screamin’

  2. J says:

    Although I can point out flaws left and right, I’ve always quite enjoyed Disney California Adventure. There were certain things brought into the park that really were unique and special. However this expansion for me is a blessing. World of Color is the first step towards the bigger picture, a true Disney park. Something that stands apart from all the other carnivals and theme parks of the world.

    If there is one thing we can say about the original lacking California Adventure, it’s that the public will NOT come just because it has Disney in front of it. There needs to be something there, a draw, a uniqueness, a magic touch that only Disney (when given the opportunity) can do. There is a reason why people come to Disney, we expect the best, and when it doesn’t come through, well we get California Adventure. I am glad they didn’t fold it over, but decided to give it the makeover and spruce it deserves.

    One more thing, although it could potentially hurt at first, I would fully support a name change.

  3. Brian says:

    “The park is sinking in quicksand and instead of throwing it a rope and pulling it out, they just pile on more sand.”

    umm, did you get the news? they’re not even close to finishing the remodel… it’s still several more years out.

    the park sucked, but it won’t suck forever.

  4. Spokker says:

    “Tonight were the first three shows for the general public. Normally they’d just offer two shows a night, but with all the fast pass gone by 10:45AM, Disney decided to add a third show tonight.”

    They had already planned to do a third show weeks in advance.

  5. Chris Glass says:

    The one thing I constantly think when walking around DCA is how poorly utilized the space is, everywhere. At Disneyland, everything has a place and a purpose. Tightly packed and fairly efficient. DCA is much more open and certain areas (Sorcerer’s Workshop) just offend me with how giant a space they take up.
    But why does it bother me? Because they spaced everything out to fill out a park with a fraction of the attractions and that’ll be more expensive to fix.

    • Spokker says:

      Yeah, and there’s no sense of place in many areas. The DCA makeover will fix some of that, but in many cases you don’t feel like you are in a themed land in a Disney park, but some kind of advanced outdoor mall.

      “DCA is much more open and certain areas (Sorcerer’s Workshop) just offend me with how giant a space they take up.”

      Concrete is much cheaper than attractions.

      Open space is great in Disney World, but not so much in Anaheim.

  6. Ryan says:

    What would you have built in a park, as you put it, 500 feet away from the real deal? It was always going to disappoint from the onset (DCA, Westcot, or whatever they would have built would have been unfairly compared to 40+ years of growth across the esplanade). DCA was underwhelming, but it’s on-par with the post-Disneyland Paris parks the company’s been building, DisneySea being the exception.

    I see DCA as a modern Disneyland… one that they’re only now starting to pack full of detail and new attractions. Disneyland had huge holes in the park after opening, and so did this one, it’s simply taken more time to fill them (it doesn’t help that a Walt Disney wasn’t behind the scenes, pushing for more at DCA like Disneyland). To those who think DCA should have been perfect from the beginning, you need to read up on your Disneyland history to find out the failures and pitfalls the original park suffered in it’s first two decades.

  7. Chris says:

    Actually DCA is becoming more and more of a park worthy of a one day ticket by it’s self. In fact yesterday we spent the entire day there from about 11 AM to the extended park closing time of 11 PM. DCA has a major advantage with large shows like World of Color in that it has extremely wide walkways that helps with guest control A LOT! Yes the park has had and needed numerous changes and a lot of those are not complete, but all in all it is a lot better off than it originally was. After seeing World of Color, I have to say that it is exactly the kind of thing the park needs. In addition the resort needed another nighttime show of this caliber too. The show is incredible, while it does not use fireworks, the way they use the water truly looks like fireworks during the show, it is an amazing show. The guest control was incredible, especially considering this was opening weekend, but I don’t see how they could have handled the crowds much better. Glowfest certainly helped with the crowds, speaking of which during Glowfest there is a new dining option added to Sunshne Plaza, they bring in a Green Truck that look really good, we were way too full after dinner (we did the dining package at Ariel’s Grotto, which had a few hiccups, but the CMs worked them out for us).

  8. Bill says:

    Westcot, DCA, what ever was on the drawing board could never hold a candle to the pop cultural classic that is Disneyland. I agree with John that DCA bites.

    In fact, I always thought the “expansion” as it is today — Downtown Disney notwithstanding — is the thinnest veiled cheaply constructed Ripley’s Believe It or Not tourist trap the Walt Disney Company has ever produced. Thinner still than Walt Disney Studios Paris. Are all Disney parks tourist traps? No. Not to these eyes.

    I miss the parking lot.

  9. Brendan says:

    I actually prefer DCA over DL in many ways.

    The California theme was lame at first, but it’s grown on me over the years. They seem to be adding new worthy additions every month. And I much prefer the open spaces of DCA over “space efficient” Disneyland on a crowded day, not to mention summer nights before fireworks when the entire center of the park is a big crowded mess (but it sounds like DCA may have similar gridlock with World of Color).

    Plus, DCA has better rides and food. DL is still the king, and Epcot is the queen, but DCA is third to the crown in my book.

  10. David says:

    In 1961 Walt Disney commissioned Buzz Price to do a feasibility study for a potential 2nd gate for Disneyland called “California Living”. The idea for a Cali themed park in Anaheim has a long history. It was Walt’s idea in the first place. I think that is important to put out there as so many people seem to criticize the concept.

    I think DCA is an easy target. I find a lot to enjoy there. No, it isn’t Disneyland, but what is? DCA has it’s fans and that base is only going to grow. DCA might never reach the attendence levels of Disneyland, but as a Disney Park I find DCA much more interesting than any non-Disney park.

  11. John Frost says:

    That Walt thought of it doesn’t mean it was a great idea. Walt threw hundreds of ideas against the wall to see what looked good. ‘California Living’ was not one of those ideas.

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