Welcome back to Disney Extinct Attractions! My name is Cole Geryak, and I’ll be your banner holder on today’s unofficial parade route!
As we’ve been doing lately, I’m going start by answering a question from one of you lovely readers! Today’s question comes from a loyal reader since day one, Sean Owens. He asks, “How many Disney resorts have more than one park?” Thanks for the question, Sean (and thanks for always giving me great feedback!). Four different resorts have more than one park, including the Disneyland Resort (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), the Walt Disney World Resort (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), the Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea), and Disneyland Paris (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park). Currently, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland do not have sister parks, but I’m sure that one day they will (Hong Kong has actually been asking for one for a few years now)! Thanks again for the question, Sean, and if anyone else has a question, be sure to keep sending them in (You can find contact information here)!
Talking about sister parks, we are soon to have one more extinct attraction from Disney California Adventure because the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will be closing to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT in summer of 2017! There has been a lot of backlash to this decision, but personally I think that it is an amazing idea. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tower of Terror, but it is actually much weaker at California Adventure than the versions in Orlando and Tokyo and almost identical to the one in Paris, all of which are remaining completely unchanged. I truly think that it is in Disney’s best interests to make the most out of their purchase of Marvel, something that they really had not done up until this point. Plus, the Tower of Terror at California Adventure does not pull in the same crowds as a lot of the other Towers, so I think this retheming will truly help the park bring in more guests, who will be more excited to see some of their favorite Marvel characters as opposed to an attraction based off of a 50 year old television show (though it is a classic)!
I think that the story behind the attraction works really well and will help spark a retheming of Disney California Adventure as a whole. I firmly believe that a problem that has plagued the park since the beginning is that they were limited to this strict theme of basing an entire park around one state (and I live in California, so it is nothing against the state)! I don’t think that any of the other attractions need to change, but I think that a general retheming of the entire park to give it a broader theme will help its long-term potential as a park immensely! Speaking of Disney California Adventure, our first attraction was actually based there, so let’s jump on over!
When California Adventure opened on February 8, 2001, its California theme was even more prevalent than it is today, with attractions like Golden Dreams, Superstar Limo, and Mulholland Madness all helping guests experience aspects of California . . . while they were in California. (Sorry, I’m just not a huge fan of the theme, but I’ll stop harping about it now!) All those previously mentioned attractions have joined the halls of extinct attractions, but today we’ll be focusing on a different California Adventure attraction!
Disney’s Eureka! A California Parade opened along with the park, helping establish the theme for all of the newcomers to the park (so basically everybody!). In fact, the parade was so dedicated to its theme that there were actually no Disney characters in the entire parade! Instead, each float represented a different part of California. Some of the areas represented were Los Angeles, the beach, and Chinatown, but surprisingly there was not much of a Hollywood or national parks presence! I’m not sure the exact reason for why they weren’t entire floats, but I suspect that it had to do with the fact that those areas were specifically represented with entire lands at the park.
I just had to include this picture because it was one of Hollywood’s few representations, plus I feel so bad for the guy who had to wear this for the entire route! Overall, I thought the parade was interesting for what it was, a parade that truly helped guests understand what Disney California Adventure was all about.
While it represented the park well, there was something about it that felt weird, with the parade lacking that Disney touch. In fact, my friend looked at my computer as I was watching the parade in preparation for this article, and after about five seconds, she simply said, “That doesn’t look like a Disney parade.” That type of sentiment was common amongst guests of the day, and the attraction’s popularity dwindled until it ran for the final time in the middle of 2002. But if you miss the attraction or never got the chance to see it, you can watch it right here. It’s definitely not one of Disney’s finest parades, but it is fun to at least take a look at because of how different it was from a normal Disney parade.
Disney California Adventure stood daytime paradeless for three years after the end of Eureka (though, they did have the Disney Electrical Parade at night)! But on May 5, 2005, daytime parades returned when the Block Party Bash held its first celebration as part of the festivities for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary! The Green Army Men from Toy Story led the parade through the park, stopping in specific spots to help involve guests in the party. The floats would stop for about 10 minutes and the show’s cast would dance and play with guests to a lot of fun, non-Disney music actually! Some of the songs included classics like “Celebration,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Shout,” and “Y.M.C.A.” In fact, the only Disney song that was featured in the entire parade was “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”!
In terms of the actual content of the parade, the attraction actually showcased a lot of the different Pixar films that had come out at that point. In addition to the Green Army Men and Toy Story, guests also had the chance to dance with some of their favorite characters from A Bug’s Life and Monsters Inc.! This parade actually began its run a year before Disney purchased Pixar, so when Pixar officially joined the Disney family, they immediately had a home in Disney California Adventure!
I enjoyed this parade a lot and actually have distinct memories of it from when I was younger! I have always been amazed by gymnasts in parades and shows, so I remember really loving their performances whenever the floats would finally stop in the party zone where I was sitting! But the fun couldn’t last forever, and the Block Party Bash ended its run at the park on January 6, 2008 to be replaced by the Pixar Play Parade (which actually still runs there today!).
The Block Party Bash would not let Disney California Adventure rain on its parade (mainly because California doesn’t rain!), as it made its way across the country to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, opening there on March 14, 2008 ! The parade actually did not change because the entire show was simply shipped to Florida. I can just picture the floats driving on the I-10 all the way across the country (Ok, that is wishful thinking, but it would be a funny picture!).
I really did enjoy this attraction and watching it again brought back a lot of great memories of those fun times hanging with Heimlich, Boo, and company! If you want to relive your own fun times, you can watch the Disney California Adventure version here and the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parade here. It truly was a fun show to watch, and I loved that guests got to be a part of the action when they danced with some of their favorite Pixar characters! Plus, there was a special surprise appearance by some very animated super heroes!
The Bash did not last long at the Studios, either, formally ending its run on January 1, 2011. But Pixar was not done parading around the park yet, as Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun entered the scene on January 16, 2011!
However, many guests complained that the countdown was simply too short, making a valid point as the parade only clocked in at about eight minutes long. The parade basically used the floats from the Block Party Bash for returning films and added in a few small floats for the movies not represented in the Bash. On these floats, the main character of each film would wave at the crowd, while some of his cohorts would run around in front of the float, not quite having the same effect as the grand Block Party Bash floats.
All of the new floats had about the amount of decoration that you can see on this float of Carl Fredricksen! Needless to say, guests were not very impressed with Disney’s “updated” offering, especially because all of the parade stops were gone, so this short parade would go by with no real payoff in the end!
To be honest, I enjoyed watching the parade online! Sure, it was a short parade, but it was still fun to watch the characters go by and seeing Mr. Fredricksen dance truly brought a smile to my face! (Plus, this was the third parade I had watched in a row, and it was getting late, so a short parade was welcome!) So if you want to watch a version Block Party Bash with a few extra characters and no breaks, this is the parade for you! You can find it right here!
Unfortunately, most guests did not agree with my assessment of the parade, though, and it officially closed on April 7, 2013. Disney’s Hollywood Studios then sat without a parade for a year (quite a long time for it, actually!), until the Frozen Royal Welcome Ceremony came along. Yes, another Frozen attraction! It really is quite impressive how the Imagineers managed to implement so many things based on the attraction into the Parks in such a short time!
And with that, our cross-journey parade route comes to a close. But now all eyes are on next week’s post about an attraction having to do with these clues!
1. This attraction only ever existed in one park.
2. References and parts of this attraction can still be found in the park to this day.
3. This attraction involved Walt’s “favorite” type of transportation.
Thank you for reading, and I sincerely hope that you enjoyed what you read! As always, I love hearing your feedback and any questions you might have, so be sure to either send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, join this blog’s official Facebook Group, or follow the blog’s official Twitter page! I really do love hearing what you guys think, so feel free to reach out however you feel comfortable!
I just had to include this picture that I quickly put together because the Superstar Limo is coming back to Disney California Adventure as the SuperHero Limo! Coming soon, it stars all your favorite Marvel heroes out and about in New York! Ok, not really, but I thought I’d share this little joke! Thanks again for reading and have a magical day!