Disney sets opening date for 'California Adventure' resort

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Walt Disney Co. has announced the opening of its 55-acre California Adventure mall-and-entertainment complex, an addition it hopes will rival Florida's Walt Disney World.

California Adventure is scheduled to open to the public Feb. 8, 2001, the company announced Monday.

''We can now start counting the days until our guests can come and visit the new park,'' Disneyland President Cynthia Harriss said. ''The construction people are doing a terrific job. That's why we're confident about making this (opening date) announcement.''

The $1.4 billion expansion, which broke ground in 1998, is smaller than the 75-acre Disneyland but could help recast Anaheim as a multi-night destination similar to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Harriss said.

California Adventure will include attractions meant to represent the state's beaches, deserts and mountains, and businesses such as filmmaking and winemaking. It also will include a roller coaster, a whitewater raft ride and a beach boardwalk complete with street artists and musicians.

Disney has said it expects the park to attract about 7 million visitors a year and create about 7,000 net jobs, Harriss said.

The 750-room Grand Californian Hotel inside the park is scheduled to open Jan. 2. Downtown Disney, a shopping, dining and entertainment strip that will straddle Disneyland and California Adventure, is set to open Jan. 12.

Anaheim city leaders expect the Disneyland expansion, coupled with the renovated convention center that opened earlier this year, to generate $6 million to $10 million a year in new sales-, property- and hotel-tax revenue, Deputy City Manager Tom Wood said.

Even local competitors are cheering the completion of the California Adventure park.

Bob Ochsner, a spokesman for Knott's Berry Farm in nearby Buena Park, said the amusement park would only benefit from the extra tourists California Adventure will bring to Orange County.

''We are the closest major attraction to Disney, and we expect to benefit significantly because of that,'' he said.


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