View Full Version : Our Family is Hooked on DCA

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08-11-2005, 11:30 AM
I don't want to get the anti-DCA crowd cranked up here, but I would like to share some observations about DCA based on our DLR trip Aug 1-4.

We are a family of six (four boys ages 9, 10, 12 and 13) and go to DLR about once every two years. In our 2003 trip we spent 3-4 hours out of a two-day trip at DCA. So we had an idea of what DCA is about. On this recent trip we spent parts of each day at DCA, with a big chunk of Day 2 there. Unfortunately we missed California Screamin' because of the July 29 accident. We went on Screamin' in 2003 and know what we missed. In all we spent 20-25% of our DLR time at DCA. If there was no DCA, our four-day trip would have been a three-day trip to DL. Disney was thus successful in getting us to stay one day longer at DLR because of DCA.

DCA is now part of our DLR experience. If I were to announce that on our next trip we were going to skip DCA and only go to DL, I would get complaints from everyone. That is why I think DCA is succeeding. It made us want to go back.

We really enjoyed Soarin' Over California, Grizzly River Run, Tower of Terror, Turtle Talk with Crush and the Aladdin show at the Hyperion. We were disappointed by the Redwood Creek Challenge. We intended to make it into Bugs Land, but never did. However, we did make it to everywhere else in DCA. We missed the Block Party Bash, but made it to the Disney Electrical Parade. Based on the 2003 trip, we also really like Screamin' (especially when the trains don't run into each other ;) ).

IMO as a person who was born in Southern California and grew up there, but now lives in Colorado, the California theme works. I think a lot of Californians do not go to DCA. My sister lives within an hour of DLR, and they go on day trips every year or two. There is just no way they would sacrifice any time from their day at DL to go to DCA. So they have never been. It is true that DCA appeals most to those with multi-day parkhopper tix and annual passes. And maybe that is OK. If Disney wants to get more day trippers into DCA, I think they will need to make DCA tickets a bit cheaper than DL tickets. Or they need to make all tickets parkhoppers, even one day tickets.

DCA needs two more E-Ticket attractions (the Cars ride will be one of them) and maybe a few more C and D-Tickets attractions and it can become the standalone park that Disney intended. They need something along the lines of Pirates of the Carribean or Indiana Jones. DCA's biggest advantage is also its biggest liability. Namely, it is located next to the most awesome theme park in the world. If people have to choose between DL and DCA, they will choose DL like my sister does. On the other hand, if people can easily choose both, I think they will. DCA has the advantage of being located near a park with a large attendance, and can draw from that.

I like DCA and look forward to returning. It still has some work to be done, but I think given more time it will become a real success for Disney. When a critical mass of people start planning DCA into their next trips, like my family does, it will be fine.

Check our full trip report to be posted in the next day or two.

Hakuna Makarla
08-11-2005, 11:33 AM
I also love DCa, in my opinion its awsome and I could never forgo it on any trip. Yeah, I love it!!

08-11-2005, 11:36 AM
We really enjoyed going to DCA this summer. We plan on going back next summer as well. There were some things that we missed this summer that we have decided can't be missed next summer. And the fact that the Monster's, Inc. ride will be open when we get there is another big plus for us.

08-11-2005, 11:49 AM
I too really enjoy DCA, it is a diffrent experience than Disneyland and is a whole lot of fun in my opinion, the boardwalk rides and games are fun for the family, the movies and shows (Aladin, Animation Building, California Dreams, Muppets) are high quality and worth the price of admission alone.
Considering going to a musical would cost over $50 a person alone, Alladin is a great deal! The park is still fairly new and I do believe that within a few years time or perhaps a bit longer with some adjustments and additional E-Ticket attractions we will see the capacity numbers rise.
The point about DCA having a hard time since it is so close to the worlds best amusment park is also very valid, since Disneyland is expensive it is not always an option for people to visit both parks, especially if Disneyland is a once in every few years day trip (which it is for many folks)
Anyways, I appreciate this thread and think DCA is a very nice addition to the resort. I know we all miss the old Marquee and old parking lot but in the end it was just lots of wasted space that is now being put to good use and employing alot of people, which in turn helps the economy and the community.

08-11-2005, 12:01 PM
I have to agree, DCA is awesome and gives Disney just a little different flavor! It's nice that it can incorporate the new Pixar type characters into a theme park without taking away from the old classics that you find in DL. We only get to visit every couple of years or so, and therefore we always plan on at least a 5 day hopper. This July, (before the unfortunate Screamin fender bender) we spent 1.5 days in DCA. My kids made me go on EVERY ride. I drug them onto TOT and they loved it! They drug me onto the Maliboomer and it took me 45 minutes to stop shaking! But nothing compares to Screamin, Soarin or Grizzly.

We tried, Knotts, Universal, Legoland and Sea World this time as well.....I'm glad there is DCA because nothing can compare. That California Music that locals tend to tire of sounds pretty good to me, I love dancing through that area and embarassing my kids! I also went out and danced with the Block Party Bash! Just a different type of Disney atmosphere that will keep us coming back!

08-11-2005, 12:01 PM
Soarin' over California is now one of my top 3 attractions, in either park. I enjoy CA because it is different, and it feels different. I enjoy the corn dog castle (there I go with the food again, lol), I enjoy A Bug's Life, and a loved it when STOMP (?) was at the Hyperion. I'm glad CA is there, and I also wouldn't dream of staying my alloted 5 days (or more) without making CA a big part of that experience! :)

08-11-2005, 12:16 PM
I enjoy DCA too, and it's part of my weekly trips! While I realize it could definitely be improved upon, there are a few things I hope never leave. It wouldn't be a visit to the parks for me without seeing the DUH show, going into the Animation building, seeing BPB, and having that delicious minestrone soup at the Trattoria.

Plus, NYE this past year was awesome!

08-11-2005, 12:19 PM
I love DCA it just a good kick back back to do in a few hours.DCA will get better over time.I cant wait until they start adding more stuff to do in that park.It is part of my weekly vist when I go besides goingto disneyland

08-11-2005, 12:24 PM
I agree that DCA is a different experiance than DL. I was weary on our first trip because we heard so many negative comments, but I was surprised that it was better than I had expected. My 8 year old son loves DCA and I admit I love soarin and grizzly. Since I feel so at home in DL I was a little lost in DCA at first which made the return to DL welcome relief and that is why I think so many purists out there bag on DCA. When you have grown up with something it is hard to imagine it any other way. Which is probably also why the 98 tomorrowland rehab was such a disappointment. It didn't feel like much of an improvement more or less just a terrible paint job. Now they seem to be embracing the old and trying to make it better which is working for me. But back to DCA - if you allow it to stand on it's own it can be a fun day.

08-11-2005, 12:42 PM
I think that there are a lot of us on these boards that are perceived as anti-DCA even though we are not. I spend time at DCA with my family and I enjoy the park while I am there. However, I am very critical of DCA because of its shortcomings and overall lack of theming. It's not that we are anti-DCA, we just wish that they did it right.

08-11-2005, 12:44 PM
I like it in terms of the GCH. If the GCH was not there, I'd never go. And, of course, if you stay at the GCH......with the special entrance and early admission......that makes DCA.

To me the GCH is the main attraction, even when you are staying elsewhere, because it makes a nice focal point and place to sit by the fire.

The original Park, though, is the Main Event.

I usually do DCA early in the day, to bide my time, and savor the main event---- the Original Park......which I have to look forward to by nightfall ! DCA makes a nice place to pass the time, in anticipation of the glamour and romance of the original Park, come nightfall.

08-11-2005, 01:02 PM
What is really annoying is that so many of the people that talk badly about DCA have never been there. There are a lot of fun attractions and there are never any lines. I go to DLR about once every year or two and on my last trip, I made my Aunt and Uncle come along (they live in Huntington Beach). They don't go to DL much at all and hadn't been to DCA. They had a blast. My Uncle worked for McDonnell Douglas (spelling?) for his entire career (he is retired now) and absolutly fell in love with Soarin'. He wanted to ride it over and over. We also made some great memories on Grizzly River Run (laughing at whoever got splashed) and the Sun Wheel (hanging on for dear life as we were convinced we were going to fly off).
Even if you are from S. Cali it is still something unique and fun to enjoy. The themeing is spectacular. Have you ever noticed that by the Grizzly River Run the walkway looks like a mountain highway? Its got divider lines and cracks and everything. When I was in the mountains here in Washington this summer it made me feel like I was back in DCA. Even if you only have a few days you've got to devote at least a few hours to DCA. It is so worth it!
We always take five day trips and we used to take one day each trip and do one of the other parks (Knotts or Universal), but because DCA is so spectacular we don't leave Disney.

08-11-2005, 01:09 PM
Yes, Grizzley Peak area is lovely. But, that's near the GCH; so they worked extra hard to keep that area up. The Hollywood Pictures backlot too. My complaint is the further you go from Grizzley....heading to the Pier....it all falls apart.

Something went terribly wrong in their design, once you get further from the entrances. It's like they ran out of money, or ideas.

And, now with Screamin closed and boarded up........it's another loss for the Pier.

08-11-2005, 01:23 PM
My favorite ride is now Soarin' Over California, where my favorite ride used to be Pirates of the Carribean.

Do you remember the opening months? SOARING used to draw APPLAUSE, at the end of the ride. -- Applause!
How many rides have you been on that made you want to clap and yell "Author!" or "Bravo!"?

DCA has 1/3 of the number of attractions than DL.
When DCA has the same number of attractions as DL, then we will see how many nay-sayers are still left standing.

08-11-2005, 01:28 PM
Just wanted to pop in and say that my family also has six members and we all love DCA too!!! Some of our happiest DLR memories are from there!!! :)

08-11-2005, 02:05 PM
Thank you so much HydroGuy from a fellow Coloradan. We are going in October and I am really looking forward to DCA, especially after reading this thread. I really appreciate your positive comments to get me amped up for DCA!

08-11-2005, 02:24 PM
...and a loved it when STOMP (?) was at the Hyperion.

Do you mean BLAST? I don't recall STOMP performing there, but I could be wrong.

As to the park itself, grundler said it well. I enjoy spending a small amount of time in DCA, and think Soarin' and the Animation building are first rate. But I think the jury's in that even the Disney folks are realizing the shortcomings of this park. There's just something that goes into a DISNEY attraction that's missing from a lot of the rides in DCA. The off the shelf feel of most of Paradise Pier doesn't belong. I like a carnival as well as anyone else, but it doesn't belong in a Disney park. The Disney execs of the day were on record as saying that they felt they could do a park of 6 Flags quality, and it would do well because the Disney name is on the sign. They found out differently, and most of those execs no longer work for the company.

08-11-2005, 02:35 PM
I love DCA!! It is not Disneyland and was never intended to be! One thing is that they still have space to do more!!! I wish they would put a water ride of some type in the paradise pier area...I think that would be awesome!! Also I love Saorin', GRR, ToT!! I also enjoy the fact that DCA is not ever as crowded as Disneyland, or at least in my experiences there. When you are at the parks and it is busy it is nice to get away from some of the crowds and meander over to a much less congested park!!
One thing...I wish they could open up the areas more to be able to travel from one end of the park to the other. You go to ToT and there just isn't anything else back there...It would be nice to have a pathway or a transport of some type to get from there to paradise pier for example!
I also like the idea raised in earlier discussions about having a way to travel from park to park (ie: skyway type or monorail stop!), I think that would ease the congestion in disneyland and get DCA's numbers up!!! :D

Susan L
08-11-2005, 02:35 PM
HydroGuy, you are the guy. You said it perfectly. Our family loves DCA. And I have a sister also that lives only 20 minutes away. She was one of those OC people that had never been and would talk trash about it. She and her clan did end up going finally one time when we were down for our annual trip to DLR. About a year ago she called me, they couldn't make up their minds to go to DL or DCA. One of her boys really wanted to go back to DCA. I told her since they were going on a Saturday to go to DCA it wouldnt be as crowded and because they have only been one time they should go again. She didn't take my advice. They went to DL on a intensely crowded Saturday and only spent an hour in the park. It was fun telling her I told you so.

08-11-2005, 02:41 PM
Do you remember the opening months? SOARING used to draw APPLAUSE, at the end of the ride. -- Applause!
How many rides have you been on that made you want to clap and yell "Author!" or "Bravo!"?

- I still applause at the end of the show everytime I go on soaring and many others still do as well. It is a great great attraction, it actually still brings tears to my eyes and I have been on it about 10 times or more. The score is wonderfull, the visuals are fantastic, it is an absolute classic ride which can be enjoyed by most everyone (except those with serious fears of hights and the highly motion sensitive)

There are two attraction that I know of where people consistently applause at the end. The first being "Soarin" the second being "X" at Six Flags Magic Mountain, without a question of a doubt one of the worlds best non themed roller coasters.

I cannot wait for another "soarin" adventure, I hope that it is on the long range plans for DCA to have another installment of "Soarin" perhaps "Soarin over Nevada or Utah" (Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon) How about "Soarin over New York"? The possibilities are endless with that ride franchise. Bravo Disney Imagineering for a tremendous accomplishment on that attraction!

Hawaiian Cinderella
08-11-2005, 03:28 PM
My family also loves DCA. In fact my husband prefers it over DL :eek: . On our last day of our trip in March we spent the ENTIRE day at DCA. My DD who is 6 wanted to stay at DCA and had no desire to go the DL...she just loves Ca Screamin'. We did manage to make it over to DL in the evening for our 10:30 balcony seating for Fantasmic and also to get a few last rides --Pirates and 4 rides in a row on BTMRR and also to see the Castle one last time :crying: until next year. I have to agree that watching Aladdin is alone worth the cost of admission.

08-11-2005, 03:31 PM
My family also loves DCA. In fact my husband prefers it over DL :eek:

Same here. He loves it and my kids really like it.

Monte Cristo
08-11-2005, 04:10 PM
IMO as a person who was born in Southern California and grew up there, but now lives in Colorado, the California theme works. I think a lot of Californians do not go to DCA. My sister lives within an hour of DLR, and they go on day trips every year or two. There is just no way they would sacrifice any time from their day at DL to go to DCA. So they have never been.

It's interesting that you bring this up. Allow me to preface my comments by saying I really don't have any strong feelings about DCA pro or con. I completely understand why it's had the underwhelming reception it has had, but I do think a lot of that is in large part due to being right next door to DL.

Now, here's the main problem I do have with it: I will never understand the point of having a "California-themed" park in California. Anyone living here obviously doesn't need to go to a theme park to see some of it's monuments, and people visiting don't need to do likewise.

That in and of itself just seems like the biggest flaw in the park's design.

08-11-2005, 04:14 PM
wow your name monte cristo make me want one

08-11-2005, 05:25 PM
DCA has many good points... it just needs more.