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  • Blog Post: California Misadventure -- Part 1

    Walt Disney was desperate. Here it was, early 1955. Walt had pumped every penny he had into building "The Happiest Place on Earth" out amongst the orange groves of Anaheim. When he suddenly realized: "There's no place for them to stay." Who's "them?" Disneyland's customers. AKA the guests. All those...
  • Blog Post: California Misadventure -- Introduction

    February 8, 2001 marks the end of Disneyland as we know it. Why? Because on that date, Disney's California Adventure (DCA) is finally supposed to open. Once this brand new theme park -- one of the key elements in a $1.4 billion expansion of the Disneyland Resort -- throws open its gates, life in Anaheim...
  • Blog Post: California Misadventure -- Part 2

    OUR STORY SO FAR: Way back in 1955, Walt Disney made a rash decision. In order to get a hotel built next to his Anaheim theme park, Walt gave TV producer Jack Wrather a 99-year lease as well as exclusive use of the Disney name (should Wrather decide to build any more hotels in Southern California). It...
  • Blog Post: California Misadventure -- Part 4

    OUR STORY SO FAR: After months of playing Long Beach and Anaheim off one another, Disney (surprise, surprise) picked Orange County as the future home of its next Californian theme park. This $3.1 billion development would have risen up out of Disneyland's old parking lot, changing forever the fiscal...
  • Blog Post: California Misadventure -- Part 3

    OUR STORY SO FAR: Hoping to turn Anaheim into another Orlando, Disney CEO Michael Eisner proposes adding hundreds of Disney-owned-and-operated hotel rooms to Orange County. Understanding that he needed a way to keep those new hotel rooms filled, Eisner asked his Imagineers to design huge new Disney attractions...
  • Blog Post: Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 4

    There's this myth about the Walt Disney Company (one that the Mouse itself likes to promote) that no other corporation can ever beat the Mouse when it comes to cross promotion. Disney likes to call this practice "synergy." I.E. Mickey's ability to use every single division of the company to cross promote...
  • Blog Post: Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 3

    Okay. I know. Today, we were supposed to get into all the behind-the-scenes stuff. All the technical problems that "Light Magic" had prior to its disastrous May 1997 debut. I was to explain why exactly the "streetacular" was in such rough shape when it was first performed for Disneyland's Annual Passholders...
  • Blog Post: Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 5

    Just a quick note before we get started here today. I want to take a moment to thank all of you nice people who've sent me notes over the past 10 days, saying me how much you've been enjoying my "Light Magic" series. In particular, I want to acknowledge an e-mail that I just received from Vicki T. of...
  • Blog Post: Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 7

    So when did the bad buzz on "Light Magic" really begin to spread? Obviously, Disneyland's technical staff - the people who'd been putting in 18-hour days for weeks now, trying to get those "rolling stages" ready for their May 13th debut - must have told their family members that "Light Magic" was an...
  • Blog Post: Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 6

    You honestly have to wonder what's worse: Having disaster strike you unexpectedly, or knowing full well that you're marching to your doom. Disneyland's Entertainment staff didn't really have a choice in the matter. By the middle of March 1997, they already knew that "Light Magic" was in serious trouble...
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