I’m joining my fellow Disneyland loving bloggers as we cover the past 60 years at Disneyland in 60 days. ?
Each blogger selected a year to research and discuss, with one big link-up of magic as the result. ?Sound like fun? ?It sure has been! ?You can catch up if you missed a few years by reading the early posts (linked below). It’s been a mind-blowing transformation of the Happiest Place on Earth.
My year is 2001. ?It was the year Downtown Disney opened, pin collectors got some good news, and a few attractions closed forever at Disneyland Park. It was also the year Disney’s?2nd gate,?California Adventure, swung wide open.
To mixed reviews.
Okay… bad reviews. ?But I’ll get there.
As for me, here’s the scene in 2001. ?I was a recent college graduate?waiting tables & bartending?at a Chili’s in Tennessee. ?I was pregnant with my first son, Jacob, and living on Ft. Campbell with my Army officer husband.
Yeah- pretty much as far away from Disneyland as I could get in my life!
So why would I choose this year?
The Haunted Mansion is possibly my favorite attraction- for sure it’s in the top 3 on any given day. ?(I’ll admit I interchange it with Peter Pan and the Disneyland Railroad. ?But I digress…)
My fellow Haunted Mansion loving pal, Beth,?snapped up 1969, the year the first Foolish Mortals entered the halls. ? So I took 2001, the year Jack Skellington moved in.
Haunted Mansion Holiday is an overlay to the traditional ride that opened to the public on October 3, 2001.
Pumpkins and neon-bright Christmas presents joined the wall to wall creeps.?Sally and Jack, the main characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, are included in the fun.
My friend, Kirsten shared some pictures from?her trip in November of 2001. ?This is her husband heading over to experience Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Disneyland has upped its game when it comes to decorations outside of the mansion since then!
2001 also stands out for a rare occurrence in Disneyland history: the parks were closed on September 11, 2001,?after the terrorist?attacks on the east coast. ? ?Unplanned closures have only happened 4 times in 60 years.
Speaking of closures: ?the Country Bear Jamboree held it’s last show in 2001. ?Rocket Rods also announce a?permanent closure in April of 2001.
Anyone else miss those attractions?
We also had two BIG openings in the early part of 2001.
The Downtown Disney area opened on January 9.
Guests could now conveniently?shop, eat and spend their Disney dollars- without leaving the park area!
A month later Disney’s California Adventure opened across the esplanade from Disneyland Park. ?The new park was built on the original parking lot of Disneyland.
One of the central features of the new park, dedicated to all things California, was the Sun Icon. ?This was located in the hub of the park, Sunshine Plaza (where you now find Carthay Circle Theatre).
The official description stated:
The portal to all the major areas of Disney?s California Adventure park, the Sunshine Plaza is also a prime location for guests to rest or catch a parade. The plaza?s centerpiece is a 50-foot-tall sun (sitting atop a perpetual wave fountain), which glistens during the day and is lit by a dazzling spectacle of red, orange and yellow lights at night.
It didn’t appeal to most people and was often referred to as the Hubcap. ?Ouch.
DCA was initially envisioned as Westcot- a west coast version of Walt Disney World’s Epcot. ?This idea was scrapped in favor of a California-themed park and construction began in 1998.
Annual passholders and other groups had previews of the park that January. ?Special edition pins were given and this became a new trend at Disneyland. ?Pin collectors now line up for hours to snag special anniversary pins when they go on sale.
Disney’s California Adventure didn’t go over quite as well as Disney hoped and attendance remained low for years.
Clearly Disney needed to do something with the flagging 2nd gate in California. ?They added and subtracted attractions, and then basically started over in 2008 with a massive overhaul.
And well… you know what happened next. ?(If you don’t, stick around the link-up to find out!)
Do you have a favorite memory from Disneyland in 2001? ?I’d love to hear about your trip!
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)