Are you ready for June 15th? That’s when the new California Adventure will be open to the public at Disneyland. Sure, Disneyland itself has alway been consistent fun for Los Angeles-area families (and, obviously, tourists galore), but the California Adventure side of the theme park has been sorely in need of a renovation for years. Now that the renovation is basically done, I was able to get a sneak peek. Let me tell you: The new California Adventure is great. The additions bring it on par with Disneyland in terms of fantastic immersion in the story-telling adventure of a trip to Anaheim’s most famous theme park.
The two biggest changes at California Adventure are the grand openings of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. Cars Land is, of course, based on Disney Pixar’s movie Cars, and even just wandering the grounds of this area is a trip. The Route 66 nostalgia, the 1950′s music, the snappy waiters and waitresses at Flo’s…it’s all good. Even though this is a theme park, and not the real 1950s or the real Route 66, there is something authentic and genuine about the experience that has to impress, and win over, even the most hardened visitor to Disneyland.
Cars Land’s blast from the past will probably appeal to dads as much as kids at Disneyland. And admittedly I, neither a dad nor a kid, happily got caught up in the retro feel of the area. The attention to detail is as impressive as anything else at the theme park.
Buena Vista Street takes park visitors further back in time, as it is evocative of a 1920′s boardwalk scene. Think Jersey Shore, but before Snooki. Before Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Heck, even before Atlantic City legalized casinos. Buena Vista Street recalls life during the Roaring 20s, with Victorian architecture and characters dressed in comedically Victorian attire wandering the streets and interacting with the families spending their vacation days at Disney California Adventure. Look for the funny police officer and the wandering photographer.
There’s so much more at the new California Adventure at Disneyland, it almost boggles the mind. Older kids and teens — who may feel “aged out’ of Disneyland across the way — will feel right at home after dark: a new nighttime celebration called the “Mad T Party” in Hollywoodland is thumping and festive, albeit always (always!) family-friendly as well. The Mad T Party takes Tim Burton’s vision of Alice in Wonderland (less cartoony, more steampunk and vivid), and runs with it as inspiration for an almost-wild scene. And to cap off the night, the now-famous World of Color is adding some freshness to the show of lights on water.
If you haven’t been to Disneyland in a while, or been a little sick and tired of the admitted shabbiness of California Adventure, this is the summer to remedy that. Disney’s California Adventure is fresh and new, and worth the wait.