Since today, February 8, 2001, is the 15th anniversary of Disney California Adventure, I thought I’d post some of my old photos from when it first opened. It sure has evolved since then! Even the name used to have “Disney’s” instead of “Disney.” Bountiful Valley Farm became A Bug’s Land. The ABC Commissary Soap Opera Bistro became the Animation Academy, and Toy Story Midway Mania was not even a thought yet. The photos below might bring back a few more memories for you.
Upon entering Disney’s California Adventure, you would find yourself in Sunshine Plaza, which included the “Greetings from California” shop. The music was themed to… (ready for it?) California!! You might hear the Al Jolson hit, “California, Here I Come,” “San Francisco Bay Blues” by Peter, Paul and Mary, or “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys. Today, this is all Buena Vista Street, themed to 1920s Hollywood, when Walt Disney first came to California.
At the end of Sunshine Plaza was the park’s icon, the “Sun Icon.”
Where “Silly Symphony Swings” spin today, Guests originally got swinging in the “Orange Stinger.”
Today, the Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue attraction transports Guests to Monstropolis, but when California Adventure opened, you could board a “limo” through Hollywood for the big premiere of your new movie.
Inside Superstar Limo, Guests traveled through a stylized Hollywood, seeing the likes of Drew Carey, Cher, Tim Allen, Whoopie Goldberg and, as pictured above, Regis Philbin. This was, after all, the height of the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” game show craze.
Where the Little Mermaid resides today, was the Golden Dreams theater, offering Guests a short recreation of the history of California.
Through projections, Whoopie Goldberg was seen as part of the theater’s decorations, and served as the host and narrator of the “Golden Dreams” film.
As I mentioned before, when California Adventure opened, it was the height of the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” craze, so at the Hollywood Studios Backlot, next to Superstar Limo, you could see a recreation of the popular game show, and Guests were chosen to be contestants.
What would a Disney park be without a parade? Disney’s Eureka! The California Adventure Parade featured floats representing many of the cultures in the Golden State.
Over in Paradise Pier Guests could board the Maliboomer, to be launched 180 feet high.
While California Screamin’ has remained, the theming has changed a little, and Mickey is now found on Mickey’s Fun Wheel. The photo above displays that attraction when it was still the Sun Wheel.