When the idea of Disney California Adventure was first developed, Disney executives were debating between building a second California park next to Disneyland in Orange County or next to Long Beach (since the company had just acquired the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose). The Long Beach location were to become DisneySea and the parking lot next to Disneyland to become WestCOT (a west coast version of EPCOT). They ended up opting for the Orange County parking lot and changed the name to CA Adventure. The DisneySea idea was not lost. In 2001, DisneySea opened next to Disney Tokyo and was a huge success, winning multiple awards for best amusement park. That same year CA Adventure also opened, but it was not so well received. Disney fans were not fans. It took a billion and a half dollar expansion a decade later for it to finally gain popularity. Some of the complaints were that there wasn’t enough for little kids to do. Apparently 1.5 billion dollars is all it takes to make some much needed changes. Now it is the perfect place to take your little one. We had so much fun and kept super busy, and still didn’t see and do everything. (Maybe we should have moved on from the carrousel sooner, or not gone back to it later in the day…)
I remember the first time I went to CA Adventure. I, too, was not impressed. How great that Disney decided to invest more money and give their fans what they wanted; more attractions, more Disney characters and more character (in general). The public got exactly what they asked for. We now have two amazing amusement parks in Southern California, with park entrances right next to each other. Lucky us.