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California Adventure Is Just Big Business

September 01, 2002

Ever since Walt Disney Co. opened California Adventure, I've read The Times' stories with interest about the park struggling ["Theme Parks Still Looking for Visitors," Aug. 24].

What never gets mentioned in your articles is one simple, underlying truth: Disneyland was founded in innocent times by a creative genius with a magical vision for something totally new, innovative and spectacularly fun, that would also make money and keep Mickey Mouse in the public eye.

California Adventure was founded in the 1990s by a board of directors looking for new revenue streams, market share and a way to grow the value of Disney's stock. I won't even cast negative light on that; it's just pure and simple business.

But the public knows or senses this, which is why they aren't returning.

Just walk around California Adventure. My recollection is a park jammed with booths, every single one requiring financial participation.

I felt absolutely no cultural nourishment; instead, I subtly felt like a sucker for just another big-business venture.

Pete Howard

Santa Monica

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