Featured Attractions

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Walt Disney's California Dreaming

Imagine a park themed to the state of California. It would feature restaurants serving fresh California vegetables cooked by California chefs. Unique shops and attractions would highlight the Golden State, in the hope that it would inspire its guests to explore more of California. Sound familiar? It describes DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE, right? Actually, it describes DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA LIVING, a theme park idea dreamed up by Walt Disney in 1961, a full 40 years before DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE opened in 2001.

In the map below, the proposed DCL park's location is highlighted in red. DCA's current boundaries are marked in gold. Other than its proposed location, little is known about DCL. Harrison Price, who helped Walt Disney locate a suitable location for DISNEYLAND and did the original feasibility studies for the park, says he didn't know many specifics about the park, only that Walt just got too busy and ran out of time to build it.

The official company story is that DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE was devised completely independent of any plans for DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA LIVING and that the project team knew nothing about Walt Disney's original plans. That could be true. Maybe the idea was so good that it was an inevitability. At the very least, it shows how many of Mr. Disney's ideas were truly ahead of their time.

“Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, ‘Isn’t it a shame that Walt Disney couldn’t be here to see this?’ and I said, He did see this, that’s why it’s here.”

-Art Linkletter July 17, 2005