Expansion Continues at Disney California Adventure Park

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

As we look forward to 2011, we are excited to share that we are making great progress on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park. The year 2010 has been very exciting. In June, we made a big splash with “World of Color,” the nighttime spectacular that is wowing guests every night. On October 29, we reached an exciting milestone with Cars Land with the topping out of the mountain range – about 125 feet in the air. And, many of you have seen The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Goofy’s Sky School coming to life along the parade route. Both are scheduled to open in 2011 along with new restaurants and shops as we finish the entire Paradise Pier expansion.

Now, as we move toward a new year, expansion continues. In January, our efforts move to the front of the park.

The 'CALIFORNIA' Letters at Disney California Adventure Park

On Jan. 4, we will begin making way for a new entrance modeled after the legendary Pan-Pacific Auditorium. This means, the “CALIFORNIA” letters will be removed, and we plan to save these icons for possible future use. Now’s the time to get your photos!

Artist Rendering of the Disney California Adventure Main Entrance Area

As this work continues, we are making adjustments to the Disney California Adventure Main Entrance area, including relocation of some Guest service areas. We’ll keep you informed about those here on the Disney Parks Blog as soon as we have specific dates and locations.

Rendering of Los Angeles in the 1920s

Also on Jan. 4, we will begin the transformation of the Sunshine Plaza area into Buena Vista Street inside the Main Entrance. When complete, it will represent Los Angeles as it was when Walt Disney arrived on the west coast in the 1920s.

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more updates as the expansion continues.


  • In case it has not been answered, the Golden Gate Bridge will indeed be removed. 🙁 I rode in the front of the monorail a few days ago to record the ride from Tomorrowland with the GGB dressed up for Christmas, and there were even some golden-leaved trees along Harbor. I wish it didn’t have to go, but it clearly would not fit with the 1920’s L.A. theme.
    On the subject of San Francisco though, would it kill them to decorate SF street for Christmas? I know they used to do it and they have not for at least a couple of years now. Also there’s no tree at the north end of the pier. I know there’s another one at the south end but it’s smaller and why not have both? It was a little disappointment to see it missing this year.
    I will miss some of the original elements, but I’m happy with the overall increase in Disney-theme (Silly Symphony Swings vs. a big orange peel for example) over California-theme.

  • Okay… So Basically I am very disappointed by all these changes. I loved the way Dcal was before…. ADVENTUROUS 🙂 But these changes make it seem less adventurous and more laid back. The old Paradise Pier seemed up beat and fun, however now its more relaxed, which in my book is not the best…. Also, Sunshine Plaza brought back that feeling that you got when you were on vacation, now it seems more like an old fashioned historical place (like the type of things you would see in a documentary)…. and the new entrance? I think the new one seems kind of plain, and the old postcard entrance (even though most people did not realize it was a postcard) was unique and strong. So, I will welcome these changes, yet still long for the old DCA.

  • Well said Paul 🙂

  • The great thing about the original DCA design is that we have our memories and photos. So we get to have experienced the old way and we’ll get the new experience as well. Even museums change the exhibits to keep it fresh. What’s the purpose of going back if it never changes? Just to relive your old memories? Instead, share your old memories and make new ones with your loved ones!

  • Heather,

    Not sure if you saw my post yesterday, but do you know if there is any way to get a higher resolution/larger copy of the first picture (current entrance to DCA.) Would love to use a crystal clear copy as my desktop background.


  • Heather–
    What is the plan to get guests in and out of the park during construction on the new main entrance?

  • I am willing to accept the changes so long as they add the Rockin’ Roller Coaster and the Great Movie Ride. I know, I know, there’s already 1 launch coaster at the park etc…. but I’ve NEVER ridden Screamin’ 15 times in a row like I’ve ridden Rockin’. It’s simply a better coaster. If they also add the Sci Fi Drive In restaurant, 50’s Diner and Derby I promise that park will be as popular with my teens as HS was when we were in Florida.

  • I love the idea of changing California Adventure to 1920’s but i’m not enjoying the entrance look yet. What are the plans for the giant letters? Will they be recycled, stored?

  • I guess with the economy heading to another great recession it makes sense to take the part back to that time period.

    Frankly I’m not a great fan of the art deco look, the entrance reminds me too much of giant toasters from the 30’s.

  • Please please please immediately move the California letters somewhere in the park. It’s a tradition to take a picture on one of those letters. We do it every year and would be so disappointed if the letters were completely gone. I understand you want to remodel and I’m not against progress but put them SOMEWHERE we can still stand by them and take pictures. Everyone loves doing this so much.

  • The streamline Art Deco style is so beautiful. I wish more of architecture would re-adopt this movement. Is there any chance of having a drive-in homage?

  • Please don’t use the font that’s in the drawing. It’s the default font from the Mac circa 1992. That will bother me every time I’m there.

  • I cannot wait until the day that Buena Vista Street is complete and I can walk into Disney California Adventure and feel as if I’ve been transported to 1920s Hollywood! It is going to be SO awesome and amazing!

  • Sounds awesome, BUT you HAVE to find a place for the letters. EVERYONE loves those letters, taking pictures with great memories over the years. WE Californians LOVE C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A!!!!!

  • I like the idea of the new entrance but will miss the seasonally-changing CALIFORNIA letters being out front (thanks for hinting that they will be elsewhere in the park; kids really love climbing and having their pictures taken on them) and definitely will miss seeing the iconic Golden Gate bridgelet. It’s such an important symbol of California, so I hope the imagineers will find another place for it in the resort. I agree that the Buena Vista Street will create a sense of entry into the park that hasn’t existed, hopefully with a terminating vista at the end of the street (like the castle at Disneyland).

  • Is the rendering final?
    It looks so similar to Hollywood Studios
    Theres just no imagination. I really hope they change the entrance up a little bit different from the drawing

  • Regarding the mosaic, i think that Heather had posted before that they would be preserved and put into the flooring at one of the hotels or something…can’t remember exactly. i’ll see if i can find the post…

    I’m also wondering about the Golden Gate Bridge? will it be dismantled? will the monorail still go through DCA? it’s sad to see all of it change, and yes, change is needed, but i was there opening day, and i LOVED IT! i’ll miss the CALIFORNIA especially since we wont be able to take a picture in the “big O” heh

  • I am so excited for this! I love the way the new turnstiles and buena vista street will look! In my opinion, it will make Disney nostalgia even more addicting. I can just picture myself on a red car trolley riding through beuna vista street (something I am CRAVING/DYING/HYPERVENTILATING to experience).

    The next time I will see all of the California Adventure updates complete will be on my honeymoon in 2012! I’m definitely excited to experience some more Disney magic and carry that onto the children I will have one day.

    As for the CALIFORNIA letters, I am okay with them leaving. For once, the entrance to California Adventure might not seem SOOOOO crowded.

  • I think its cool that they are planning on saving the letters.

    It reminds me of how the P.T. Flea Market building from the old Bountiful Vally Farm area was saved and will be used in the new dining area in Paradise Pier.

  • I am worry the new design will make it looks exactly like Disney Hollywood Studios.

  • Kudos for remembering the Pan-Pacific but I have to agree with Robert on the font. There are a myriad of stylish Art Deco fonts that would have looked much better.

    And if I’m correct, that font is Chicago which typographers (or Apple fans) will relentlessly point out each visit…to California Adventure 🙂

  • Wish they would recreate the Hyperion studio (at least the facade) maybe back where the Monsters Inc ride is. Fits the right L shape they got in that corner. The architecture matches what they’re doing in Sunshine Plaza too. I’m assuming the songs about California over the PA system will stop since they came out after 1923. I wonder if there will be 1920’s music playing in the plaza? Can’t wait to see Carthay Circle Theater reproduced.

  • As a passholder for many years I know that the entrance to ca adventure is super popular for photos with everyone posing next to a letter that represents something to them. Once i enter the park it feels immediately very nostalgic california. This park may not be as popular as disney would like but then thry should focus on the attractions and all the opening ones in 2011 will probably do it. They should have left the front alone, there wasn’t anything wrong there. I agree to the similarites to hollywood studios in florida which is kinda dated and not that inviting. The only thing i liked there was the entrance to star tours ;). Nonetheless i am super excited for the new rides!

  • Looks like it’s going to be VERY similar to Hollywood Studios in Florida. HS is easily the WORST Disney park in the U.S. so I’m not too excited about the similarities.

    Thankfully, DCA has much better attractions than Hollywood Studios though.

  • I really hope that the beautiful mosaics will be preserved and used someplace else in the park…I have loved looking at them and spotting so many familiar California landmarks hidden within the tiles.

  • Mary from Santa Barbara, CA

    I cant wait, is going to be amazing!! For that matter everything Disney does they put 110% into it and its always AMAZING!!!!

  • the new concept for DCA entrance.it is the same concept that is at hollywood stuidos in flordia. it is a great concept and look wonderful..thank you for keeping the california letters, would love to see them spread out around DCA…

  • Color-changing LEDs on the pillars? That’s even more anachronistic than using the “Chicago” computer typeface on the entrance marquee!

    (Chicago was the Mac’s original bitmap system typeface from the early 1980s. A smoothed version of it is being used in these illustrations for the “California Adventure” lettering and on signage on BVS. I can only assume that this doesn’t represent the final design).

  • I’m very sad to see the CALIFORNIA go away. I like all the changes, but the sign going away.

  • My son can’t WAIT for Carstown to open! Can’t wait to go back and see all the “new and improved”

  • can’t wait to see it one day, i’m sure it will be spectacular !!!!!!!!!!!!!! ☺☺☺

  • I’m not sure I really like the new entrance. It feels like it needs something more to make it stand out.

    The new Sunshine Plaza, on the other hand….LOVE IT. I’ve always felt like Disneyland had the advantage because you come in on Main Street. DCA past the entrance has always felt a little disorganized, rather than being it’s own “land”, like it’s just something to pass through to get to more interesting areas. Main Street, not so. It’s a destination in its own right, and this new Sunshine Plaza feels the same.

    I’ll miss the CALIFORNIA letters. I hope they do show up somewhere else. That’s one of our favorite photo areas. : )

  • There are parts of California Adventure I love, and parts which have disappointed me. I love the Hollywood section and Condor Flats. I remain disappointed that the Pier is so far away from the entrance. I think Disney did itself a disservice not keeping the youthful attractions of the Pier accessible until long after the park itself closes… teens and twenty-somethings would party long into the night given the boardwalk/carnival atmosphere, and had it been placed near an entrance, it could be left open long after CA closes each night. The new entrance and Hollywood design is fine, and better organized than the original look. I hope the ultamate design is as fun as they can be.

  • I would love to make the top picture of the original DCA entrance my desktop background. Anyone know where i can find a larger/higher resolution copy of the image?


  • I love “old hollywood” So, I can’t wait to see the redesign when it’s finished. Also looking forward to finally having some transportation within DCA with the addition of the red trolley’s.

  • can’t wait

  • Looks amazing and change is a good thing too, can’t wait!

  • Its like DCA will be getting its own version of “Main Street USA” Cant wait!!!

  • I find it funny that a lot of people complained about how DCA looked before. And now that it is going to be changed, a lot of people are complaining about the changes! You can please some of the people some of the time…

  • What’s going to happen to the mosaic walls? They are such a work of art!

  • Okay, so I am a hardcore Disney Parks fan, was when I was a little girl, and I will be when I’m an old lady. I love Disney!

    However, I’m not going to lie…I’m pretty dissapointed that California Adventure is essentially going to be changed into Disney’s Hollywood Studios… I love the way California Adventure looks now! I even miss the sun on the ferris wheel (and I love Mickey, so that’s saying alot).

    I don’t mean to be so negative but it does kinda break my heart…

  • I love the new direction of the design. I have always loved DCA, but I see the need for the changes and I’m excited for the new look.

  • Adolph–Yes, the entrance gates look the same as the ones at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but their design is based on the architecture of Los Angles’ old Pan Pacific Auditorium, so it fits for California, and more importantly, the rest of the main entrance; Buena Vista Street, will be completely new.

    I’m really looking forward to the new entrance.

    Currently, Sunshine Plaza area is surrounded by construction walls. I have to say, it makes entering the park a little sad, since there isn’t really much to greet guests right now. At least the ElecTRONica sign is still around.

  • Can’t wait to see it

  • While I’m interested and excited to see the Pan-Pacific Auditorium-influenced design aesthetic, am I the only one who thinks the concept art is a little bluh-gly?

    With the ‘default font’ lettering for DCA, and the overly symetric layout, it leaves little to the imagination. I’m hoping at least the yellow piping on the mint-green pillars will have some color-changing LED or something to make it interesting.

    As of now, the concept art looks like the front entrance to Six Flags Magic Mountain, but with more people in front of it.

    That said, the interior short of Sunshine Plaza looks INCREDIBLE! There’s gotta be a better way of tying these two elements together.

  • I wish the California letters would remain the in front. Such a waste

  • This is REALLY cool for California Adventure! I know the park has been waiting a long time for such an extensive facelift. Maybe when this is done, we can see some improvement to Hollywood Studios in Orlando. 🙂 It sure could use some work and added attractions, as well.

  • The artwork makes it look like Disney Hollywood Studios – West!! Just my opinion, but this doesn’t show a lot of imagination.

  • Sounds exciting! Can’t wait for all the new additions coming soon. I visit a lot with my family so we are always happy to see new things, but we definitely enjoy the classics. Keep us updated! Thanks for the information, it’s always appreciated!

  • It looks amazing! I can’t wait. Does this mean there will be no more Golden Gate Bridge?

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