Buena Vista Street on Opening Day

Buena Vista Street (Ricky Brigante)Friend-of-the-site and It’s All About the Mouse Travel Planner Jennifer Walker is here today to tell us about her experiences on site during the opening of Buena Vista Street and CarsLand:

We arrived the night before the big grand opening of the new areas at Disney California Adventure: Buena Vista Street and the much-anticipated CarsLand. DCA was closed in preparation for the big event, and the ticket CMs were telling people they could start lining up at 11 p.m. for DCA’s 9 a.m. open the next morning. Although we were very excited to see it all, we were not going to camp overnight. We actually had breakfast plans at the newly-remodeled Carnation Café in Disneyland at 8 a.m. So we enjoyed Disneyland that first day and set to wake up for the big day early.

We walked past the insane line of thousands of people snaking back and forth all over the esplanade at 7:45 that morning, heading to Disneyland. The CMs had the crowds well in hand with quick directions to the right area depending on your plans. We ate a great breakfast and even did several rides that typically have long wait times before heading across to DCA. It was 15 minutes past 9, and we walked right in!! 

Seeing Buena Vista Street for the first time, I got emotional. I tell people that when we visit WDW that it is vacation and when we visit DLR it is home. So to me this was an extreme home makeover, and yes, I teared up.

After two years of DCA looking like a disaster zone, with construction walls everywhere, the build-up was huge, so there was a tremendous rush of emotion as I walked through the first time. We know DL and DCA so well, and to see so much that was new it was overwhelming.

I was expecting amazing and it exceeded my expectations. Everyone was so excited, and not just the guests: the CMs too! It wasn’t just a job for them on this day. We all knew that we were a part of something special.

Buena Vista Details (Anna Fox)
Details are reminiscent of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Buena Vista Street itself is similar to the Hollywood Boulevard part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but to me at least, more cozy. The hub is much more integrated than at DHS. It’s a re-creation of the Los Angeles that Walt Disney knew, and that L.A. is less than an hour away.

I do miss the Golden Gate Bridge for the monorail and the big CALIFORNIA letters right outside the entrance, though. I also miss that they don’t play “Celebrate You “ anymore at park opening. But overall I LOVED it. They did an amazing job with re-creating details and bright warm memories that Walt himself held close to his heart.

I liked that they kept the grouping of stores on the east side of the street connected, so you can stay in the air conditioning and go from one store to another. The shops were all really nice, with plenty of stroller/wheelchair room!

Trolley Treats (Ricky Brigante)The new Trolley Treats candy store is great. My husband loved the new gourmet marshmallows that are only available at DCA. The kids loved everything, but the character-themed items were great, too. They had custom taffy candies that were tasty – the cherry limeade had a good balance because you could take a bite of the tart lime part or the sweeter cherry part. If you took a combined bite, you got the perfect cherry limeade flavor.

The candy store was laid out well: if there was a line, it didn’t completely bog things down. The candy mountain ride model in the window, which was an idea that Walt Disney originally had for Fantasyland in DL, was very cool. Makes you wish they had actually built it. They were doing lots of training that day, and while we appreciate the need for training new CMs in real world situations, it seemed to slow things down a bit..

Although the shops kept opening-day memorabilia stocked up, some things did run short throughout the day. They ran out of Oswald hats very quickly. They ran out of CarsLand hats and antenna toppers too. By later in the weekend, they ran out of Cozy Cone souvenir cups. I hear the Cones are back now, but I haven’t confirmed that yet.

Disney coffee has a reputation for being pretty bad, so having a Starbucks inside the park gives the java junkies something to look forward to. I can say it was nice to have a mocha while waiting in the FP line for Radiator Springs Racers first thing in the morning.

Red Car Trolley Stop (Ricky Brigante)The Red Trolley is very cool. You don’t go on it to get anywhere quickly; you do it for the experience. They have merchandise for the Red Trolley line, and it is mostly limited edition stuff so CMs were limiting that line of merchandise to 5 items purchased at a time. I was lucky enough to get a Red Trolley print signed by the artist too!

They have mini two shows up at the hub, including performances by The Red Car News Boys and a group called Five and Dime. They’re not too exciting, but nowhere near as loud as the ones they have at DHS or the Phinneas and Ferb show over by Little Mermaid.

Overall, I loved it and we cannot wait to go back!

Have you visited Buena Vista Street yet? What did you think? And did you enjoy Jennifer’s post? Let us know in the comments below!


Jennifer is a Travel Planner with It’s All About the Mouse Travel. She spends her days chasing after two cute boys–Ethan and Ty. She’s also a wife and a mommy to two very sweet rescued Italian Greyhounds, and Disneyland is her Home Park.

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