Yesterland

California Adventure
Preview Center

Disney’s all new theme park, located right next door to Disneyland park, opens February 8, 2001. Visit the Preview Center in the Main Street Opera House building on Main Street, U.S.A.

The 10th anniversary of the grand opening of Disney’s California Adventure is just days away. Yesterland turns back the clock to before the grand opening. Get a sneak preview of what you can expect at the new park in the old parking lot.

Some paragraphs in this article are surrounded by quotation marks. These have the actual wording from the official website for Disney’s California Adventure in early 2001.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, February 4, 2011  


Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Preview Center sign

You might have noticed a huge construction project outside of the park today—especially if you were expecting to find a parking lot in front of Main Street Station. You might have heard that they’re building a second theme park here.

Do you want a sneak preview? Look for the “Special Preview” sign on the left side of the Main Street Opera House.

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Preview Center interior

You’ll find artist renderings, descriptions, and even merchandise. Buy a California Adventure logo shirt and impress your friends.

Admire the artwork on the wall. There’s a long tradition in Imagineering of creating paintings that go well beyond simple architectural renderings.

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Main Entrance

“Come celebrate the fun and adventures of California — Disney style! You’ll be immersed in the California spirit through the magic of Hollywood, the thrills of a beachfront boardwalk and the adventures of the great outdoors. So head on over!”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Golden State

“‘Golden State,’ a land celebrating the richness and diversity of California; its natural resources; and pioneering spirit of its people — past and present. The six unique areas of the land: Condor Flats, Bountiful Valley Farm, Pacific Wharf, Bay Area, Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, Golden Vine Winery serve as a backdrop for a look at the unique blend of commerce, industry, and agriculture that have helped California develop over the years.”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Grizzly River Run

“‘The Wetter the Better’ is the motto of this adventure that sends you roaring down a California river through whitewater rapids, mountain caverns, roaring waterfalls and heart-thudding drops into river gorges!”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Golden Vine Winery

“Nestled against Grizzly Mountain is the Golden Vine Winery, hosted by Robert Mondavi, where we celebrate California’s Wine Country. You can stroll through our vineyards, experience new vintages at the daily wine-tastings while you sit under the trees partaking of gourmet ‘take out’ items from the Wine Country Market or retire upstairs to the Vineyard Room for a more elegant meal. Either way you will be intrigued by the possibilities of blending food and wine in the overall dining experience.”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Paradise Pier

“Add a dash of the bygone days of California’s legendary surfside boardwalks to the excitement of a seaside resort and top it off with a heaping helping of Disney magic, and you’ve got Paradise Pier — a land at Disney’s California Adventure™ park dedicated to the fantastic ‘Golden Age’ of amusement parks, jam-packed with wild attractions, delectable diners and unique shops. It’s ‘Fun in the Sun for Everyone!’”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

California Screamin’, Sun Wheel, and Orange Stinger

“Imagine a roller coaster modeled after the traditional wooden coasters of the 1920’s. Now add a launch that takes you from 0 to 55 miles per hour in under five seconds, a loop-de-loop around a glimmering silhouette of Mickey Mouse’s head, over a mile of track reaching heights of 120 feet, and a 108-foot drop at 50 degrees — and you’ve got California Screamin’, the adrenaline rush of the century!”

“Modeled after Coney Island’s 1927 ‘Wonder Wheel,’ Paradise Pier’s Sun Wheel takes Guests on a Ferris wheel-ride high above Disney’s California Adventure™ park. You can play it a bit safer by riding one of the cool stationary gondolas; or for a real thrill, climb into one of the purple-and-orange gondolas, which ride on interior rails so they slide inward and outward with the centrifugal force of the wheel’s rotational movement!”

“Climb into one of the friendly bumblebee cars and buzz off on your swing-ride journey inside this huge, four-story-high California Orange. It even smells like oranges!”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Hollywood Pictures Backlot

“Through the enormous gates, that pay tribute to legendary filmmaker D.W. Griffith, await shimmering Hollywood Boulevard, glitzy cafés and shops, famous theaters and a real studio backlot. It’s all a bustling recreation of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and this time, you’re the star!”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Superstar Limo

“Get ready to be ‘taken for a ride’ through a wacky, whimsical version of Hollywood, where you’re Tinseltown’s biggest new star. You’re late for your movie premiere, but don’t worry — your limo driver knows all the short cuts — or does he?”

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

California Adventure model

Take a look at the model of the new park. The new buildings and attractions are in purple. The new Grand Californian Resort & Spa is in dark red.

Only one corner of the old parking lot is still left; it’s now called the Timon lot. In the future, it will provide space to expand California Adventure. The new park is expected to be wildly popular, so expansion is inevitable. The big question is whether the old park next door will still be able to pull in guests; after all, it’s more than 45 years old. How can it compete against the hip and edgy new park?

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

New logo

With two theme parks and three hotels, the old name—Disneyland Park and Hotel—and old logo just won’t do. It’s now the Disneyland Resort. The old Disneyland logo, with its simple, old-fashioned calligraphy, will still be used for the old park.

The resort has a new logo for a new millenium, featuring the standardized Disney brand logo, just like Disneyland Paris, The Disney Store, Walt Disney World, and The Walt Disney Company itself. Grizzly Mountain shares the spotlight with Sleeping Beauty Castle. In fact, Grizzly Mountain is set against a giant sun that looks like a halo. There’s a new park in town!

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Map showing the lands of the new park

Take a look at the map of the new park. There are three lands: Golden State, Paradise Pier, and Hollywood Pictures Backdrop.

Backdrop?

That’s what the map says, but other displays call it the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

Now, if you really want to see some cool Imagineering concept art, head over to the Disneyland Pacific Hotel. By the way, it’s being renamed the Paradise Pier Hotel and is getting new exterior decorations to make it match the timeless amusement park look of Paradise Pier.

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Surf City Wipeout roller coaster?

Do you remember seeing California Screamin’ in the Preview Center? Well, here in what appears to be earlier concept art, it’s called Surf City Wipeout.

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Left half of Route 66 artwork

There’s one piece of art that’s so wide that you can look at the two halves separately. Take a look at Gerdie’s Glasses, in a “California Crazy” building that’s no doubt named after animation pioneer Winsor McKay’s Gertie the Dinosaur.

Disney's California Adventure Preview Center at Disneyland

Right half of Route 66 artwork

Sue Veneer’s Souvenirs shop is next to a Route 66 sign. When the new park opens, we’ll have to see how well this part of Paradise Pier captures the feeling of being on the road that ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, before the age of the Interstate Highway System and ubiquitous McDonald’s restaurants.

Just keep in mind that the new park is expected to draw huge crowds.


The “Special Preview” display about Disney’s California Adventure opened around the beginning of July 2000 in the exit area from the Main Street Opera House (Mr. Lincoln theater) on Town Square at Disneyland.

There had been three earlier preview centers for the new park. The first two—a display at the Anaheim Museum and then a facility near the Team Disney Anaheim building—were aimed primarily at the population of Anaheim, in hopes of generating community support. The third preview location, a tent by the construction site, even had a platform so that guests could glimpse the work in progress.

There was another way to keep track of the new park when it was originally under construction. A wonderful website called “Wisebear’s Unofficial Preview of Disney’s California Adventure,” which became DCACentral.com, published regular updates as the new park took shape. DCACentral.com shut down in June 2002 when it became too much for Wisebear to travel back and forth between Arizona and California on a regular basis.

The photos in this Yesterland article are all from Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore (yes, the same Wisebear), who is now generously allowing Yesterland to use his photos from that era.

It’s interesting how many of the attractions in the Preview Center are now the subject of Yesterland entries. In fact, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the park that’s now called Disney California Adventure, please take a look at the Yesterland home page, scroll down to Yester California Adventure, and see how many attractions, shops, restaurants, and shows from the relatively young park are already part of Yesterland.


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© 2011-2012 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated July 27, 2012.

All photos of California Adventure Preview Center: 2000 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Artwork © Disney.