Disney California Adventure logo

We continue our look at the transformation of Disney California Adventure, with a collection of photos, concept art and videos depicting the attractions that will form part of its next ten years (following on from Part One).

2011 - The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Due to open in spring 2011, the opening of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure will be a major addition to the reimagined Paradise Pier. A classic Disney dark ride, the $100 million attraction will use the OmniMover system made famous by Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. It will also feature some of Disney's most advanced animatronic characters yet, which will help to tell the story of Ariel's quest to gain the love of Prince Eric.

Little Mermaid ride building concept art

The tried-and-tested Omnimover system will be used for Ariel's Undersea Adventure.
Image © Disney

Ariel's Undersea Adventure image

A host of animatronic characters will greet guests on Disney's new ride.
Image © Disney

A behind-the-scenes preview of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

You can find out more about Disney's latest headline attraction in our in-depth preview of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

2011 - Goofy's Sky School

Yet another overhauled attraction in Paradise Pier will be the former Mulholland Madness rollercoaster, which closed on October 12, 2010. The wild mouse coaster will receive a new theme based on the 1940 cartoon Goofy's Glider, which tells the story of Goofy attempting to teach pilots how to fly. Although the coaster's track will retain the same layout, the ride vehicles will be updated to fit the new theme.

Goofy's Sky School concept art

Goofy's Sky School will take guests on a trip through the "clouds".
Image © Disney

2011 - New entrance

Disney has already removed the landmark "California" letters that sat outside the front gate of California Adventure, as it prepares to give the entrance area a new look. Disney also plans to remove the replica Golden Gate Bridge which sits just inside the entrance, with letters set to be retained for "possible future use".

The new entrance will extend outwards to where the letters currently stand, with the Golden Gate Bridge replica being replaced by a series of arches. Overall, the result will look similar to the entrance at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.

Disney California Adventure new entrance concept art

An artist's rendition of the new entrance to Disney California Adventure.
Image © Disney

2012 - Buena Vista Street

Disney won't leave guests in any doubt that they are entering a massively changed park when the spill through the new entrance to California Adventure. The existing Sunshine Plaza is undergoing major surgery to become Buena Vista Street. Named after the Burbank street on which the original Walt Disney Studios are located, it is designed to resemble 1920s Los Angeles. A key feature of the new area will be a replica of the Carthay Circle Theater, which hosted the world premiere of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937.

Buena Vista Street concept art

Buena Vista Street is designed to resemble LA as a young Walt Disney saw it.
Image © Disney

Red Car Trolley

Red Car Trolleys will travel up and down Buena Vista Street.
Image © Disney

2012 - Cars Land

The overhaul of Disney California Adventure will reach completion in summer 2012, with the opening of a sprawling new area known as Cars Land. Anchored by $200 million E-Ticket attraction Radiator Springs Racers, the expansion will be inspired by Pixar's 2006 animated movie Cars and its upcoming sequel.

Constructed on the site of the former Timon Parking Lot behind the existing Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and A Bug's Land attractions, Cars Land will cover a 12-acre area (increasing the overall size of Disney California Adventure by over 20%). The land will be split into two broad areas - the fictional town of Radiator Springs, and a large area of rocky "desert".

Radiator Springs Racers will cover over half of Cars Land's total area, will feature a high-tech ride system and audio-animatronic characters, and will be surrounded by acres of elaborate theming. Also featured in the land will be two smaller rides - Luigi's Flying Tires and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.

A fly-through preview of Radiator Springs.

Cars Land overview image

Cars Land will bear little resemblance to the car park that preceded it.
Image © Disney

Downtown Radiator Springs concept art

Downtown Radiator Springs will be home to a host of shops and restaurants.
Image © Disney

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree concept art

Mater will boom out tunes as guests spin to-and-fro on a Whip-style ride.
Image © Disney

Luigi's Flying Tires concept art

Luigi's tire yard will be the home for his namesake attraction.
Image © Disney

Radiator Springs Racers test vehicle 1

The Radiator Springs Racers ride vehicles will be "living" cars.
Image © 2010 Disney
A video rendering of the Radiator Springs Racers ride experience.

You can find out more about the biggest addition to Disney California Adventure in our extensive preview of Cars Land.

2013/14/15 - Soarin' Over The World?

An update to Soarin' Over California (and sister attraction Soarin' at Epcot) has long been rumored. If Disney and More's sources are to be believed, the updated ride could open as soon as 2013. The same sources claim that the updated attraction will include flights over England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Japan and the USA's Grand Canyon and New York. This would mark a further move away from Disney California Adventure's original focus its local surroundings.

Soarin' Over California exterior

Could Soarin' Over California be set to expand it scope substantially?

2013/14/15 - Muppet*Vision 2 or Mickey's Philharmagic?

With the original attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios now 20 years old, it's no surprise that rumors have arisen about the future of Muppet*Vision 3D. Disney's Imagineers are said to be plotting an updated 4D version of the attraction to be introduced at both the Walt Disney World park and at Disney California Adventure.

Even if the Muppet*Vision upgrade doesn't pan out, other plans have been mooted for the same theater. These include a potential version of the Mickey's Philharmagic attraction which has been in place at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom since 2003.

Mickey's Philharmagic

Could Mickey's Philharmagic make its way to Disney California Adventure?

2013/14/15 - Cars Land Phase 2?

Although Cars Land will mark the completion of the current set of updates to Disney California Adventure, plans are believed to exist already for adding to the new land. These include a new minor attraction, and an additional restaurant similar in concept to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

A version of the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater could be on its way to Cars Land.
Source: Josh Hallet, Wikimedia Commons (License)


Few, if any, theme parks have undergone a transformation as extensive and ambitious as the one currently being undertaken at Disney California Adventure. There's no doubt that a number of exciting new additions are part of the plans - but will they come together as a cohesive whole when the work is completed in 2012? We'll have to wait to find out.

What are your favorite memories of Disney California Adventure? Which of the new additions are you most looking forward to? Let us know through the comments section below.


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