Legacy Content

Jim Hill
Page 2 of 3

And yet -- were you to wander just a hundred feet or so to the south of Grizzly Peak -- you'll suddenly find yourself in an area that's virtually screams "This was done on a very tight budget." A section of the park that's almost a textbook example of what the Imagineers like to call "Bad Show."

Where is this? I'm talking about that stunted group of buildings near the entrance to the "Golden Dreams" theater. This area -- according to the DCA guidebooks -- is supposed to represent San Francisco & the Bay Area.

Really? This runty bunch of structures is supposed to make me think of beautiful "Baghdad by the Bay"? To be honest, the only thing that's even really remotely recognizable as being from the Bay Area is that 45-foot-tall replica of the Rotunda of San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts. But even that's too small to be very reminiscent of the real thing.

Oh sure, there are those tiny little pseudo-Victorian-facades that act as sort of a buffer zone between Grizzly Peak and where the "Golden Dreams" theater is located. Their bright & vibrant color schemes tell me that the Imagineers had been hoping that these faux buildings would remind visitors of San Francisco's "Painted Ladies" (Those colorful mansions that can be found in the city's Alamo Square area AKA Postcard Row).

But what do I personally think as I stand in this section of DCA, where the only significant structure is a restroom? A) If this is really what WDI thinks of the Bay Area, then someone really needs to rewrite the lyrics to "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" ASAP. Because hundreds of DCA visitors are leaving lots of things every day in this miniature version of San Francisco. But none of them are what you'd call heart shaped.

And B) to put it bluntly, I look at these runty looking buildings and think "This must be where the money ran out."

Okay. I'll admit it. That's a pretty mean thing to say about this part of the park. But I just don't understand how the Imagineers could do such a magnificent job on something as difficult as "Grizzly River Run" (Which is a far more entertaining version of that theme park favorite -- the river raft ride -- than WDI's earlier attempt at a similar attraction: Disney's Animal Kingdom's awfully tame "Kali River Rapids") yet so obviously drop the ball on something that should have been so simple to pull off : a Disneyified version of the Bay Area.

That said, that still doesn't mean that I'm always going to be angry with Barry Braverman & Paul Pressler for allowing such a dinky version of San Francisco to be built at DCA. I'm just disappointed. For now. But -- as always -- I'm ever hopeful that these guys will somehow someday find a way to fix up this part of the park.

See. That's the beauty of standing on The Middle Ground when it comes to DCA. You aren't forever married to some bleak opinion like "This place sucks." You have the option of being optimistic. Of holding onto the hope that maybe someday Barry, Paul and WDI will come up with a way to fix what's wrong with the place.