As enjoyable as Buena Vista Street is, it likely never would have come to pass if this had not come first.
Yes, I recall various quotes, especially the one from John Hench, about the area as a parking lot. And I wonder what DCA might have been if Disney had spent the bucks here the first time around. As much of a fan of exploring the Golden State as I am, the idea behind the park intrigues me. The concept of giving guests a taste of California without actually having to travel all the miles? Not as bad as it sounds. That is, if Disney had remembered that people are what really make this state what it is.
For example, I would have love to have seen guests interact with some of the state’s more colorful characters. In the San Francisco area, it could have been Emperor Joshua Norton. One of the Gold Rush era’s best loved eccentrics. A tourist attraction all his own. Or something later, a hold over from the Sixties, The Automatic Human Jukebox. Inside that small space worked a great trumpeter. (Even if he was busted for selling pot out of the back.) A street artist who entertained tourists of all kinds.
The list can go on and on. So many great people with great stories to share. Sadly, Disney cheaped out and didn’t follow through as they should have. And now, it is great to see more street-mosphere cast members out and about. Interacting with guests. Making smiles and memories.
Even Walt recognized that people are an important part of the experience. “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
Disneyland and California Adventure are not museums. You don’t walk through a gallery from one work of art to another, quietly admiring the work. No, here you are part of the experience, whether you intend to be or not. And that is what being part of the magic is all about. If there are no guests having a great time, then it is better as a parking lot.
But with the right bit of magic and the right guest experience, that smile is worth every penny spent to bring it to fruition.
And that’s just what Walt set out to do. Glad to see that that spirit keeps coming to life every day in those former orange groves and parking lots.