Disney's California Adventure History
Opened on Feb. 8, 2001, Disney’s California Adventure anchored a major expansion of Disneyland Resort. The expansion included Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Downtown Disney, a 300,000-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment district.
Building this expansive project took more than three years and resulted in an additional 6,000 jobs, bringing the total employment at Disneyland Resort to 20,000, making Disneyland Resort Orange County’s largest single-site employer.
The expansion was a catalyst for transforming the Anaheim Resort Area into a multiday destination that attracts millions of visitors from around the world who spend billions of dollars each year. Hundreds of millions of dollars in additional tax revenue, generated by the expansion, help fund vital services for the city of Anaheim.
Disney’s California Adventure has become one of the nation’s most visited theme parks. The 55-acre park is filled with dozens of shows, adventures and attractions that appeal to guests of all ages. Through Disney’s legendary storytelling, the fantasy of California comes to life in four themed lands – Golden State, Paradise Pier, a bug’s land and Hollywood Pictures Backlot.
In 2007, a significant multiyear expansion of Disney’s California Adventure was announced including new family-oriented attractions and shows that feature more stories and characters from both Disney and Pixar.
The park expansion began with the 2008 opening of Toy Story Mania! This interactive 4-D ride-through attraction transports guests into a carnival midway hosted by beloved “Toy Story” characters.
In early 2009, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, a 150-foot-diameter attraction that features a new Mickey Mouse marquee, reopened along with the Games of the Boardwalk, carnival-style games that now showcase some of the most beloved Disney and Disney•Pixar characters.
Opening in spring 2010, “World of Color” will bring nighttime excitement to Paradise Pier with a panorama of spectacular water effects, dancing fountains and music that will bring Disney animation to life with a new creative and technical approach. “World of Color” boasts a 9,000-guest viewing area.
The first major attraction based on Disney’s classic “The Little Mermaid” is coming to the park’s Paradise Pier area with leading-edge animation and special effects. Guests will be able to dive into the magnificent scenes and magical songs from the movie when The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure debuts in 2011.
In 2012, a brand new gateway to Disney’s California Adventure will welcome guests into the Los Angeles that Walt experienced as a young artist arriving with big dreams in the 1920s. Red Car Trolleys reminiscent of the old Pacific Electric Red Car Line will travel up and down Buena Vista Street alongside new dining, shopping and entertainment experiences. A new visual icon inspired by Los Angeles’ historic Carthay Circle Theatre, which premiered “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, will draw guests into the heart of the park.
Culminating the major expansion is the entirely new, 12-acre addition: Cars Land, which recreates the town of Radiator Springs as inspired by the hit Disney•Pixar film “Cars.” Cars Land will feature three immersive family attractions, Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Radiator Springs Racers will be one of the largest and most elaborate attractions ever created for a Disney park. This major E-ticket attraction will place guests in the middle of a twisting, turning, high-speed adventure.
Walt Disney Imagineering’s Blue Sky Cellar, a preview center located near the Golden Vine Winery, showcases the expansion plans for Disney’s California Adventure. Here, guests can take a sneak peek at models, concepts and sketches and view a video of what’s new and what’s next.