Disney Ephemera: 2001 Disney’s California Adventure Guide Map

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Previously I showed you a vintage Disneyland guide map from 1986. Perhaps you looked at that vintage map and it provoked a few cherished memories of the past. Today we will take a look at a guide map of a place where memories go to die, Disney’s California Adventure in 2001!  Let me start out by saying that every negative thing you have ever heard about the original DCA was absolutely true. Just by looking at this map you can see how bad this park was in its early years.

When DCA opened in February of 2001, Disney quickly found that the public had rejected its new theme park. The crowds weren’t interested in what the park had to offer, so several quick-fix solutions were added to the park to try to help before new major attractions could be added. One of the first was bringing the Main Street Electrical Parade out of retirement. The extremely popular parade had been retired from Disneyland in 1997 and was brought to DCA to try to get people to stay in the new park past sunset. During the first couple of years, DCA – an already empty park – would be practically deserted at night. The Electrical Parade didn’t help much, and the park was still pretty empty on most nights. The parade lasted until April of 2010, when it was sent over to Magic Kingdom.

This page features a collection of entertainment, all of which is long extinct. Steps in Time was a stage show that was a musical revue featuring songs from various Disney films. It was shown in the theater that currently houses Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular. Also of note is the parade “Eureka! A California Parade,” which wasn’t great, but at least its theme matched the park. It lasted less than a year before being replaced by nothing until Block Party Bash came along in 2005.

(Please click to enlarge)

Looking at this map it’s almost unbelievable that the park opened with this roster of attractions. Think about this: DCA opened in 2001 with the same amount of attractions as Disneyland had when it opened in 1955!

Seen in the middle of the park is the worst Disney theme park land ever. Bountiful Valley Farm. One of the attractions in this land was the chance to climb into the cab of a real tractor! The interesting thing about Bountiful Valley Farm is that this was rumored to be one of Michael Eisner’s personal favorite things about the park. In my opinion it’s no coincidence that this area was completely eradicated for the park’s billion dollar makeover.

The cockiness of Disney during this period is now legendary. Before the parked opened the Los Angeles Times ran an article titled “The Most Jam-Packed Theme Park on Earth?.” The company estimated 7 million people would attend in the first year; the real attendance was far from that. This is an actual quote from company: “There will be days when California Adventure will have to turn patrons away, particularly in the first weeks after the park opens, during spring break and again in the summer.”

It wouldn’t be a Disney map without a Kodak ad on the back. Kodak Advantix was frequently featured on guide maps of this era. I was curious to see if Kodak still produced this film. It turns out Kodak discontinued that product in 2011.

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Posted on November 1, 2012

8 Responses to “Disney Ephemera: 2001 Disney’s California Adventure Guide Map”

  • we like it…we had fun…It wasnt like the other park, but it wasnt all that bad. I just wish my dad was here to see the changes.

  • by Marc Ricketts on November 1, 2012, at 7:16 pm EST

    I have a couple of big wall maps from that year. The scarcity of attractions is evident by how BIG they had to be pictured compared to wall maps of DL. Wish they’d do another one now that the park has come into its own.

  • My kids really did love climbing on those tractors, but I concede the point that Bountiful Valley Farm wasn’t exactly compelling.

  • I think Bountiful Valley Farm was the greatest land ever built in a Disney theme park.

    Then again, I live in Indiana, so that kind of thing is right up my alley…

  • So two follow-up questions:
    1) When you indicate that the number of attractions on opening day matched the number of Disneyland in 1955, I assume that you mean that there were not very many attractions in either. Is that right?
    2) Disney predicted 7M visitors in the the first year. Do you know how many actually attended that year? How far off(and cocky) were they?

    • by Guy Selga Jr. on November 2, 2012, at 4:19 pm EST

      1) 21 attractions. Less if you count getting a free tortilla or chunk of bread as an attraction. A bad number considering a single day ticket costs the same as a Disneyland ticket.

      2) Estimated attendance in the first year was between 4 and 5 million depending on who you ask. Disneyland is usually double that.

  • I loved the Bountiful Valley Farm and the old California theme. I know the masses didn’t agree with me, but I miss buying fresh fruit at the farm and appreciating all of the beauty of my home state.