Day 3 – Exit
Funny thing is is that I woke up at 6:30 AM and didn’t have that much time to get out of bed and presentable for the re-dedication ceremony of Disney California Adventure Park happening in less than 2 hours at 8 AM. Sharp.
The tiredness grew in as the rest of the team was still sound asleep when I quietly leaped out of bed and rushed into the bathroom to get ready.
It was 7 AM and I finally had the guts to get everyone up and out of bed. The last thing I wanted was a groggy team covering an extra special event, but they were gracious with me and decided to get up and get ready for the ceremony.
It was the last event we had to cover for this whole event and we were cutting it pretty darn short.
We still had to make it down the elevator, wait for the shuttle to to take us to the media center and then to Buena Vista Street, and then get set up on Buena Vista Street to record what was going to be Disney history in the making.
7:30 AM. We stopped at the media center for their delicious FREE breakfast.
7:45 AM. We arrived backstage outside of Hollywood Land and made our way to the media table to get our host who would be taking us to Buena Vista Street to get set up.
7:55 AM. We were still waiting for our host to pick us up.
7:59 AM. There was no host to be found so we just said “Let’s go” and made our way to Buena Vista Street.
As you can probably tell by the times in these series of events, the ceremony was already beginning as we were still making our way to the risers to get set up to record and shoot the ceremony. Fortunately, there was still space on the riser and we were escorted up and got to recording and shooting right before Disney CEO Bob Iger made his way to the stage set up in front of Carthay Circle Theater.
(Don’t worry folks, we just missed the first in a series of sing-and-dance numbers performed by the Red Car News Boys. It was pretty cool how Bob Iger came to the stage with them inside the Red Car Trolley though!)
It was a rather short ceremony with Bob Iger making short comments on how DCA transformed to better represent Disney, the brand and company, and of course its founder Walt Disney. He also took time to read the re-dedication plaque located on the new ‘Storytellers’ statue located just a few steps away of the stage.
Shortly after Bob Iger’s speech, the Red Car News Boys and Mickey Mouse came out and sang and danced once more to the tune of “California, Here We Come”.
“Thanks, you Mouse! We did it!”
What was really cool is when Cast Members from pretty much every new attraction and show a part of the new DCA came out and joined in song and dance. A big “flash mob” as some were to call it.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the new Disney California Adventure!” – Bob Iger
And with those words, the new Disney California Adventure was re-dedicated and re-opened on the morning of June 15, 2012.
The media cheered, the Disney execs cheered, the massive crowd of regular folk who were waiting since as early as the afternoon the day before cheered…and they wanted in.
Yep, that was them and all that was holding them back was a thin rope. But they wanted in.
And they eventually got their wish…early. As DCA was to officially open at 9 AM, they started escorting these guests into the Park around 8:30 AM.
Those happy guests. This photo is of the first guests in line being escorted through Buena Vista Street and well, into the place where most of these people wanted to go first – Cars Land.
As guests were being lead to Cars Land, you had some good PR going on by the Disney execs Tom Staggs and George Kalogridis greeting them with warm welcomes and firm handshakes.
And the occasional “surreal” interactions Mr. Staggs had with kids in line.
Although it seemed quiet inside the gates of DCA, outside was a different story.
Yes, folks thats the entrance Esplanade and as you can see, the whole area was filled with a giant mass of people! It was crazy busy. To just give you an image of how the line worked, it pretty much zig-zagged the whole width of the Esplanade and stretched as far as the gates of Disneyland!
To keep guests from being too rowdy while waiting, the Disney execs even made their way from inside DCA’s lines and out through the gates of DCA to greet the waiting guests outside as well.
Mr. Staggs and Mr. Iger are make quite an impression to those who don’t even know who they are. The crowd just cheered at their presence!
In all seriousness, these guys and the rest of the Disney Company Leadership Team is just a wonderful bunch. Throughout the 5 years as DCA was being rebuilt, a majority of them, particularly Mr. Staggs (who is the Disney Parks Chairman) and Pixar Chief Creative John Lasseter, made frequent visits to the Resort and DCA to ensure all was going well and according to plan. They believed in this rebuild and showed it by taking the time to visit and coordinate with crews and Cast of all sorts.
Their dedication and love for this project paid off and to thank guests for their time to enjoy their project is just showing you don’t see executives at any company for that matter doing. That’s just cool.
Thanks, the executives said.
After all that, our event was pretty much winding down and as the crowds began to swarm Disney California Adventure Park, it was time to make our exit.
The whole 3-day press event was something we never would have expected to be like, let alone be invited to it. Sure, a lot of things went wrong before, during, and after the event, but it could never stop us from wanting to do what we love to do. To be able to share in this Disney history during those days was something I’ll never forget because those three days took five years of waiting.
Throughout DCA’s expansion, I, as well as the rest of the DisneyExaminer Staff would regularly visit the Disneyland Resort for whatever reason and every time we’d go, we’d always see DCA in a new shape. The whole expansion was a part of our lives.
Some of us graduated high school.
Some of us graduated college.
All of us made new friends.
All of us waited those 5 years
DisneyExaminer saw each and every change for those 5 years.
And at the end of the day,
It was all worth it.
And I’m sure our story was pretty much the same as all the other guests that waited in line that grand re-opening day morning. How can we tell? Because the smiles were endless, even as the lines grew. If you’re a frequent visitor to Disneyland or any Disney Park for that matter, you know that doesn’t happen often. But for that day, it was the case.
The new marketing tagline for the Disneyland Resort this summer is “The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier” and from the looks of guests as they entered through DCA’s gates, that was just the case.
We thought it might be cool to just end our Wrap-up report with those happy faces from that morning.
Trust us, folks. The Disneyland Resort now has that happiness contagious to “…all who come to this happy place…”
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Thanks for reading our very long Wrap-up report, folks. We honestly really enjoy getting emails and all sorts of contact from you, our dear readers, who write to us just to say thanks or encourage us with every report we write. We love it and we love you all.
We’ll continue to do what we do best – share Disney with you by taking a closer look at the company we love.
Go back to Day 2 – Buena.
Go back to Day 1 – Entry.
Go back to the Wrap-up Introduction.
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