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Dateline! Disney’s California Adventure!

“California Adventure! Stately home of Paul Pressler’s career! Price? No one should say!”

This was making the rounds on Twitter the other day, but it’s too good not to share here. This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time; in fact, I’m insanely jealous I didn’t make it myself. When I first saw the link to the video I thought it was an amazing idea but prepared myself for disappointment – after all, the faux newsreel is a concept that’s very often done poorly. But this is aces, from the production values to the content.

So well done brave filmmakers! Excelsior!

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14 comments to Dateline! Disney’s California Adventure!

  • This is just great fun. I don’t “hate” DCA but man is it a great park to poke fun at. Especially with them heaping all this money on a fix that could’ve been done right the first time. coughWestcotcough

  • That is absolutely brilliant.

  • Brian Greer

    I enjoyed it more than I wanted to. In some respects, we have the east coast equivalent of DCA with both AK and DHS.

  • RO93461

    Mission Tortilla factory quote “Every Orphan’s Dreamland”. Funny line.

  • LOL! This just made my day. Even more so since I’m heading to that park tomorrow.

  • Mark W

    Wow. Hilarious and well done.


    The difference is that DAK is (with the exception of Chester and Hester’s) a beautiful, sophisticated and well-themed park. It just needs more attractions (Beastly Kingdom or Australia anyone?) and some serious maintenance work on the three existing E-tickets.

    DHS also started out as a very well-themed and intriguing park and then slowly degraded into… well, God knows what to even call it now. It’s just a mess, with no coherent theming or even clear reason for existence. But the original concept, at least, was compelling.

    OTOH, DCA was flawed from the start. It opened in more or less the state that DHS is in now. The current refurb is about shoehorning style, consistent theming, and heart into a park that had none of the above to begin with.

  • I think it’s a bit far fetched to compare DAK to DCA. DCA has been maligned by almost all sectors of society, but DAK has been much more well-received. You cannot fault the park’s layout and design (except for parts of Dino-Land, though at least it sticks to a theme). It’s a beautiful place. The idea that it’s a half day park is most likely perpetuated by people who just want to breeze through parks and hit thrill rides because if you stopped to appreciate the architecture and the animal walkthroughs, you’d need more than a day. Could it use another land? Yes. But that doesn’t make it akin to DCA. DCA is a park that largely repurposes either rides from sister Floridian parks or does a half-baked version of disinteresting boardwalk/carnival rides. The layout has no flow and the design is all over the place. Animal Kingdom has a ton of great things going for it, including all the types of things cynics constantly complain are lacking at MK, Epcot and DHS.

  • Brian Greer

    I did not mean the comparison to be as literal as it is being taken, and I agree with the positions already stated regarding DAK and DCA. I was thinking more along the simple feeling of it being unfinished. Despite DAK being a beauty in many ways, and the concept being solid and wonderful, it is still missing something to me.

    DHS is just a complete mess.

    I have never been to DCA, so perhaps I cannot imagine just how massively they failed with it. I know it has to be pretty poorly executed to not fool the masses, who tend to not be as discerning as some others. After more thought, the problem with DAK and DHS is that the concepts are executed fully (and looks like they may never be). At least they were solid concepts though, while DCA never had anything going for it.

    Instead of being frustrated with the way the current administration is running things, perhaps I should be glad they are not delivering those kinds of abominations instead.

  • Brian Greer

    I meant to say: After more thought, the problem with DAK and DHS is that the concepts are NOT executed fully (and looks like they may never be).

  • Another Voice

    Disney(‘s) California Adventure doesn’t have a concept, it has an excuse.

    Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom parks are built on the concept of “immersive movies”. The parks are theaters that present shows – just as your local movie theater will show a western one week, a sci-fi the next and an animated fairy tale after that. EPCOT Center took the same “cinematic show ride” technique and applied to the real world, much like Walt did when made the True-Life Adventure” series of nature films.

    The genius behind the attractions at the parks was that Walt and his gang made YOU the center of the movie. In a real theater, all you could do was sit and watch someone else have all the fun. But at Disneyland, You explored the haunted house, You flew with Dumbo, You boarded the spaceship to the Moon.

    DCA’s stated concept is to show the fantasy and reality of California. But the execution is simply used as explanation to tie together all the park’s decorations. And this grand redo is only making things worse.

    When you mention California beaches to anyone in the world, the words conjure all sorts of images. None of them are of a seaside amusement zone slathered with Victorian gingerbread molding featuring a major ride through attractions of a centuries old fairy tale of a Danish mermaid or faux-throwing CGI water balloons at a CGI set with the help of CGI run-its-course movie franchise characters.

    No, people fantasize the California beach as the place were Frankie and Annette go surfing, where beautiful bikini babes play beach volleyball in slow motion, where sea otters and seals fool around and dolphins come in to catch a few waves themselves. The California coast is the place where sprawling kelp forests are the home to colorful fish and massive grey whales.

    That’s the stuff that people want to Experience in California. Those are the unique things that have made people want to visit and move to this place for decades. But DCA presents nothing more than generic amusement park experiences slightly dressed up. The same way Eddie’s Taco Emporium in Nebraska nails a couple sombreros on the wall to give itself “atmosphere”.

    I think the reason why ‘Soaring Over California’ is so popular is because it was the only true Disney element of the place. It actually let people experience the “magic” of California in ways they’ve always wanted to, but that you can’t in real life. From skimming just over the waves to flying over the deserts, the cities to the farms – it’s what people imagine California is.

    I guess that saddest part about all of this is that it wasn’t really the designer’s fault. By this park, WDI had been so gutted and emasculated, all they really could do slog together ideas belched out by the suits. WDI wasn’t/isn’t a creative organization. They are an engineering firm brought in to build concepts from Marketing and Strategic Planning. DCA – none of the parks – will be right until this is fixed.

  • Mark W

    “By this park, WDI had been so gutted and emasculated, all they really could do slog together ideas belched out by the suits. WDI wasn’t/isn’t a creative organization. They are an engineering firm brought in to build concepts from Marketing and Strategic Planning.”

    The problem I have with this statement is that less than seven months after the opening of DCA, WDI delivered Tokyo DisneySea – the most original, intriguing, and compelling park since EPCOT Center. I have a hard time believing that WDI has been gutted to the point of worthlessness if they’re still capable of producing something like TDS. I think the issue is that Pressler had them on such a tight leash and the park “concept” and attraction roster of DCA was more or less dictated to them. When the OLC gave WDI creative freedom and a reasonable budget, they created a magnificent work of art. I think that the creative genius is still very much alive at WDI, but their ability to do anything with it has been emasculated by Parks and Resorts management.

  • Another Voice

    I actually think it’s a perfect example. WDI gave Eisner & Co. exactly the park they were told to deliver, and WDI gave the Oriental Land Company the park they wanted to buy. WDI has lost it’s”show producer” ability were they could come up with attractions on their own and place them in the parks. Now, WDI takes directions from their clients, i.e. the Parks and Burbanks, and simply deliver a product. I guess you could say WDI functions like an ad agency now instead of a movie producer. This arrangement doesn’t mean WDI lacked/lacks talent, it’s just that they are not the decision makers any more. Look to DCA – with all the vast story ideas possible in ‘California’ WDI is stuck rehashing a dark ride from a twenty year old European fairy tales, re-using a ride system on behalf of Pixar’s least popular and worst film, and using Mickey Mouse on rides the same way Donald Trump uses his comb-over.

  • I was doing some writing about the two different ways to approach environmental design opportunities and kept thinking that the old Disney was Place driven approach while WDI is more often forced into a Discipline driven approach.

    Bottom-line is the video is so funny because it strikes a very truthful cord. It will be fun to look back at it in 5 years.

  • walter

    Nice “Citizen Kane” reference there.

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