Jan 31, 2012

The Trouble for DCA

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California Adventure is going to face an interesting problem with the local Disneyland Fan crowd when it debuts this summer. Despite the massive project to completely alter the theme of the park, which they have done so beautifully, the theme hasn't really changed. It is still about California. At least that is how a fair number of the hardcore fans will see it.

I have already begun to see mutterings across fan sites about this. The problem here isn't DCA though, it's Disneyland. You see, Disneyland is generic in it's themes. A turn of the century American town, the old west, a stylized retro-future, the jungle. These could be any town, any jungle, any frontier town, etc.

Disney California Adventure, however, is doing things a little differently. It is still idealized, but it is representing time periods from a real place. Some see this as a failure but I don't. DCA, as newly imagined, is about Walt's Adventure in coming to California and starting his career.

As such, it isn't the real LA, but an idealized one based roughly on when Walt arrived. Those stores didn't exist, but the look and feel did. This is exactly like Main Street USA. None of those stores actually existed, but stores like that did. It could be any Main Street in any small town in America. Similarly, Buena Vista Street could be any street in the growing Los Angeles of the 1920s. All that is happened is that Imagineering has scaled the scope down from Any Town, USA, to Los Angeles, but kept the generic, placeless theme within the story they are telling. The two are identical on different scales.

Comparing DCA to Disneyland on anything but the most basic levels is pointless since they are not supposed to be the same park, yet so many among the fans seem to want another Disneyland. Why? We've already got Disneyland. Some argue that Disneyland takes you places you can't go. Now, DCA will as well. While the physical place of California does exist, the specific locations, and more importantly time periods, are not accessible in the real world.

For me the re-imagined DCA will capture that same spirit and feeling that Disneyland has had for all these years, but only if you let it. The trouble for DCA will be in convincing people to let it charm them.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's awesome it's like going back in time! The only reason people are complaining is to complain! There isn't any reasonable thing to complain about when it comes to Disneyland or DCA now that they are fixing it. So they make up nonsense. I think it will be amazing and I can't wait to go!