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New Disney park welcomes California dreamers

  GALLERY

 

ANAHEIM, California (CNN) -- It's a postcard version of reality: Hollywood without panhandlers, Northern California without rolling blackouts.

Forty-five years after Disneyland arrived on the scene, the Magic Kingdom has a new neighbor in Disney's California Adventure, which opens Thursday.

It has just 25 attractions, compared to Disneyland's 63, but that didn't faze one visitor who got an advance peek.

Nor did the $43 admission for adults, which is the same as Disneyland.

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"It's certainly worth the price," he said.

California, concentrated

The park, designed to handle about 7 million people annually, focuses on California's history and natural wonders. The Golden State section, for example, features the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, the Bay Area, Golden Vine Winery and Bountiful Valley Farm.

Paradise Pier features rides and entertainment such as the California Screamin' roller coaster and Mulholland Madness, simulating an unusually wild trip along the famed road connecting Hollywood and the Malibu coast.

A California Adventure wouldn't be complete, of course, without a trip to the film studio, which in this case is the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

Recipe for success

Although the park features many original elements, it also borrows a few from other Disney parks.

They include a Muppets attraction, A Bug's Life and the Downtown Disney retail and dining area, all of which can be found in Disney's Florida parks.

Another feature is the ABC Soap Opera Bistro, where diners can eat in the emergency room of "General Hospital" or in the Chandlers' living from "All My Children."

The park, an accompanying hotel and Downtown Disney cost the company $1.4 billion. Economic analyst Jack Kyser thinks the investment will pay off by bringing in millions of dollars to the area.

"This year, tourism is going to be the growth industry in the state of California, no question about it," he said.

CNN Correspondent Anne McDermott and The Associated Press contributed to this report



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