Paradise Pier: Then and Now
While much of this blog (so far) has been dedicated to all great things Disneyland, did you know that there is actually another park just across the way that also is full of incredibly memorable sights and sounds?
Disney California Adventure wasn’t necessarily love at first sight. It was just…different.
You know how you feel when you go see a sequel to one of your favorite movies? It still has all of your favorite characters and all, but with a new plot and story, you come out of the movie theater not quite knowing how you feel about the new movie? That’s how I felt the first time I went to California Adventure.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the park. My first experience was a hopper pass the day after a crowded, hot day at Disneyland. My mom and I wandered into California Adventure and my first impression was “wow, this place is really peaceful”.
DCA had a decidedly mellow vibe to it. Complete with wide walkways and fewer people, it was a really relaxing way to balance out an absolutely insane day prior. The main attractions were flat-out impressive. Hang gliders, rafts, Muppets, bug…all very creative and very different from each other.
Above all though, one image really sticks out in my mind from my first visit to DCA. I remember rounding the corner from Grizzly River Rapids (soaked, of course) and staring gape-jawed at the scene in front of me. A giant ferris wheel in front of an even more giant roller coaster. All this across a massive bay that creates the scene that is Paradise Pier.
As my blog theme indicates, this scene is one of my favorites of both parks. The panoramic view, especially in the evening, is rather spectacular and a must-see for any Disney Parks fan.
Of course, much has changed since the beginning, and I don’t just mean the increased crowds. Back when the park opened it looked like this…
and of course today it looks more like this…
So much has changed over the years since Disney chose to “Disneyfy” much of California Adventure with its $1.1B expansion project that included a massive makeover for this DCA gem. Over the next few posts I would like to re-visit the original Paradise Pier and it’s attractions, as well as take a look at some of the new features of the Pier, including the gorgeous Mickey’s Fun Wheel and the blow-your-mind World of Color water show that takes place nightly at DCA.
So drop back in tomorrow, grab yourself a castle corn dog, and let’s take a little stroll on the pier, shall we?