To quote the song, It's a small world, after all--and it's going to get smaller. The Walt Disney Co. on Monday formally announced plans to expand Disneyland by adding a major new attraction: the $1.4 billion California Adventure.
Slated to open in 2001 on the area that's now Disneyland's parking lot, the 55-acre area will combine elements of Golden State culture and history. Featured will be Mousified versions of Hollywood, Yosemite Valley, the beach and other natural features of California, a state that many consider to be a theme park already. According to a statement from the folks at Disney, "The new design celebrates the fun and variety of California, its people, its accomplishments and its unique places."
The complex, which may also include stores, production facilities, restaurants and a 750-room hotel, replaces a 1991 plan for a $3 billion park called Westcot in Anaheim--a Left Coast version of Orlando's Epcot Center, scaled back due to California's lingering recession.
Disney has promised to insure bonds for a $550 million Anaheim revitalization project. If approved by the city council, the plan, which includes $150 million to expand the nearby convention center, would clean up surrounding areas. It would be funded by a portion of park receipts, a previously existing three percent increase in hotel and bed tax, and $96 million in federal and regional transportation funds.And speaking of transportation, Disney will add several new parking lots to accommodate the anticipated huge crowds.
Amusement analysts believe that since tourists already flock to the West Coast to experience an idealized version of the California dream, California Adventure will be a smash. Tim O'Brien, an editor for the industry trade magazine Amusement Business, said that visitors will appreciate a "whimsical" Yosemite Valley, even if it is a prefab version--and they won't have to worry about a killer rock slide, such as the one that recently struck the park, or about mosquitoes.
"On second thought, I hope they bring in the bugs--Animatronic mosquitoes would be great," O'Brien said.