ANAHEIM At Disney California Adventure on Friday, it was a day of rushing the gates, a six-hour wait for a new ride, figuring ways to survive the crowd and lots of smiles.It's been 11 years coming, but it sounds like they're finally starting to get that place right. I took my family on the 2nd day California Adventure was open, in February 2001. We arrived at about 4pm thinking we would just walk around and look at the new park since it would surely be jammed packed with people.
The public got its first crack at the new Buena Vista Street and the new Cars Land – with many specifically wanting to be here on Day One.
Five minutes before California Adventure was to open at 9 a.m., the ropes dropped and fans rushed in, mostly straight to Cars Land. Visitors gasped, hooted and held their cameras high.
Terrance Clayton, 38, of Placentia, and his wife and two children beelined for Radiator Springs Racers, one of three new rides in the park and the one that has easily received the best raves from journalists and annual passholders who received sneak peeks.
For the Clayton family, it was but a 10-minute wait.
"That was awesome that we were among the first to get on," Terrance Clayton said. "I feel like we were part of history. What a rush."
Two hours later, it was clear Disney had a hit on its hands with Radiator Springs Racers – and guests had a tremendous wait.
Tracy Webb gasped as she looked at the line that twisted back and forth and out of Cars Land to a different section of the park, Paradise Pier.
Disney staffers greeting guests delivered the news: A six-hour wait.
"Six hours?" Webb, 41, exclaimed, shaking her head. "I hear it's the best ride, but I just can't stand upright that long."
It was empty. It had rained earlier in the day and by the time we got there we practically had the place to ourselves. We went on every attraction in the park (except the roller coaster), had dinner, and were all done by midnight. Soaring Over California was certainly the highlight, but my impression that night was this park was in big trouble. Why would you come here?
Since then the park has undergone significant changes, with rides and lands added to give people more to do (especially kids), and I think they've finally got the combination. Glad they kept working on it.