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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is There Anything I Miss About The Old Disney California Adventure?

Home Base for the Food and Wine Festival.
Rumored to become Monsters Inc. city of Montropolis
So while I'm trying to contain myself and keep myself in check from thinking about our December trip to Disneyland, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I have been quietly asking the question of what are the 'must-do' things we must put on our agenda. And thinking of Disney California Adventure and how much there is to do there now and some fine places to eat, I thought to myself ":is there anything I miss about the old California Adventure?"

The short answer is a resounding No. Everything Disney has done to the place for the last 10 years or so has been an improvement beginning with the Tower of Terror construction. Cars Land was just the crowning achievement. But two removals come to mind and yeah, I sort of miss them. The first is the removal of the Disney Electrical Parade (packed up and sent to Florida). True, the parade was a bit hokey and maybe the music relentlessly buzzing in your brain could cause brain damage, but there was something about it. Maybe it was the tradition, maybe it was than on that special night, when the mood was right, it really was a beautiful site.

The second thing I miss about the old days was the shutting down of the DCA Food and Wine Festival held for a couple of years in late spring. Imagine, a Disney Park event really meant for adults - not the street party non-sense of Glowfest, ElecTRONica, or Mad T Pary, but a sophisticated festival built around the enjoyment of fine wine and beers along with some excellent finger foods to enjoy along the way. Even my sister, a non-drinker, thoroughly enjoyed the festival with cooking demonstrations by top chefs and the whole grown up spin on the park experience. The Food and Wine Festival was a great addition to DCA.

The Food and Wine Festival was stopped due to the massive construction occurring in DCA especially with Buena Vista St. Others believed that Disney used the construction as an excuse to bring an end to the event. The rumor mill had the story that while there was some opportunity to produce revenue from the Food and Wine Festival in California, it just didn't produce enough revenue to make it worth while and it gets back to an old story. The Food and Wine Festival is an enormous success at EPCOT in Walt Disney World in Florida. People travel from all parts of the country to attend the festival, spent money in the resorts, and dropped additional money into special Food and Wine Festival events (often hundreds of dollars to enter certain events). It's a money making machine.

The Disneyland Resort is a different animal. Most of the attendees of the special admission events featuring guest chefs and wine experts were the usual Disney local annual passholders, the kind who drop into the park, attended the event of there choosing, then went home. Disney just wasn't able to pull people into the Food and Wine Festival high admission events who came from great distances and filled the hotels with extra tourists dollars.

At the time it was announced the Food and Wine Festival would not be held due to construction reason, Disney insinuated that the event would return. That's the last that was heard of it. But I know a couple of people who would love to see it return. Imagine: replace Mad T Party with a Food and Wine Festival - replace an $11 cocktail that glows in the dark with a sophisticated glass of a nice wine or unique micro-brew. There is a place for adult events in Disneyland.

Even the Food and Wine Merchandise was for adults.

Some were for beer, some were for wine, but DCA was littered with sampling opportunites


  1. I'm definitely with you! We love the Epcot F&W Festival so we were thrilled with the DCA F&W Festival. So sad to see it go and fear it shall never return. :(

    1. I think a Disneyland Resort Food & Wine Festival could be successful if they scaled it back even more and not try to emulate the EPCOT version which brings in tourists by the score. The first thing I would do is not bring in "celebrity chefs" which I'm sure charge plenty for appearance fees. Andrew Sutton and his team of chefs at the resort can do a fine job with special admission events. John Lasseter is a wine expert who already spends his non-Pixar time in Disneyland as Chief Creative Officer (or some title like that) and is a recognizable celebrity in his own right. Focus on the food and wine, make it more intimate and less sprawling, and I think it could work.