DCA Expansion, Phase 2?

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The LA Times posted an interesting story about a possible second phase to DCA’s major overhaul.

As Disney California Adventure reaches the midway point of a $1.1-billion expansion, I’d like to take a speculative look at what Walt Disney Imagineering might have in mind for Phase 2 of the massive renovation project.

DCA’s extreme makeover was necessitated by the on-the-cheap, off-the-shelf nature of the nearly decade-old theme park that even Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger now calls “mediocre.”

Phase 1, which began in 2008, fixes about a third of the flawed park. What I’m interested in looking at here are the possibilities for the other two-thirds.

What follows is a land-by-land compilation of possible attractions and thematic changes for Phase 2:

Most of the proposed plans that have come to light remain firmly in the “what if” stage. In some cases, Disney announced and then postponed attractions. In other instances, the ideas have filtered out into the online community. In all circumstances, Disney remains officially mum, guarding future projects as closely held secrets.

Quite naturally, any sequel to the wholesale reimagineering of DCA remains contingent on the success of Phase 1, which wraps up in 2012. So far, the crowds have responded positively to the uptick in quality (Toy Story Midway Mania dark ride), spectacle (“World of Color” water show) and attention to detail (Silly Symphony Swings wave swing).

And the best is yet to come. Crews have broken ground on Phase 1 projects that demonstrate Disney’s commitment (the $100-million Voyage of the Little Mermaid dark ride), ambition (the 12-acre Cars Land) and heritage (Buena Vista Street entry plaza).

Mouse watchers believe if Phase 1 continues to pay dividends, Iger will pony up more money for Phase 2 starting in 2013. The operative word here is “if.”

So far nothing has been announced for Phase 2, but Imagineers have been busy dusting off old plans and dreaming up new ideas for the re-emergent Anaheim theme park. As any Disney fan knows, these “blue sky” proposals can change repeatedly over the course of development – and many never see the light of day.

You can read on over at the LA Times Website.

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