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Disney California Adventure will mark ten years since its opening day this week, at a time when the the park is undergoing extensive changes.

Disneyland's sister park will celebrate its tenth anniversary on February 8, 2011, with a $1.1 billion series of upgrades now in full swing. These are designed to improve attendance at the park, which has consistently underperformed since its grand opening in 2001.

The cost of updating Disney California Adventure dwarfs the park's original construction cost of $600 million, which led to criticism that Disney had built it "on the cheap". The company's Imagineers have opted to radically overhaul many of its existing lands and attractions, as well as adding an all-new land based on Pixar's Cars movies.

Disney CEO Robert Iger recently revealed that the company considered combining Disneyland and California Adventure into a single "mega-park", before opting to pursue the current upgrade plan. Iger also conceded that Disney California Adventure had been "mediocre", causing Disney's brand to suffer.

To turn around Disney California Adventure's fortunes, Iger says that the company will make it "bigger and better". The park has already seen the addition of the World of Color night-time spectacular (which opened in June 2010) and dark ride The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure will open in 2011. Extensive remodelling of many areas of the park is also underway, and the upgrades will be completed in 2012 with the addition of the Pixar-inspired Cars Land, anchored by the $200 million Radiator Springs Racers attraction.

You can learn more about the park's first 10 years, as well as the plans for expanding it, in our in-depth feature "10 years on: The past, present and future of Disney California Adventure in pictures and video".

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.


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