Rockin’ the Bay
Summer’s Hottest Sounds
Yester California Adventure at Yesterland
Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
Music every night from July 13 through August 23

Do you want to “Catch Summer’s Hottest Sounds” at the Paradise Bay Stage (or the “Golden State Park Stage on Paradise Bay,” as the press release calls it)?

Just be aware that the superlative adjective “hottest” applies to the temperature of the seating area more than it does to music you’ll hear. In truth, most of these acts were hot around the 1960s or 1970s. The acts may no longer be as hot as they once were, but the summer sun can be very hot as it shines directly on the audiences of the two performances each afternoon.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
The temporary stage is on Paradise Bay at Golden State Park.

Do you want good seats? Here’s how to get a voucher for the preferred seating section for either performance today. Make dinner reservations for The Vineyard Room or buy the Electrical Parade Premium Viewing Package. Pick up your voucher at the Golden Vine Winery between 11:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Then, a half hour before showtime, go to the preferred seating entrance over by the Golden Zephyr.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
The performers are protected from the sun by a temporary stage structure.

Don’t think of making a dinner reservation for The Vineyard Room, getting your voucher, but then not showing up for dinner. If you try that, they’ll charge the $25 minimum to the credit card that you used to guarantee your reservation.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
Caps and visors provide some relief from the sun—but not much.

Actually, you don’t need a voucher to get a good seat. Many shows have empty seats.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
The Beach Boys are the quintessential California beach sound band.

Perhaps you’ll attend the first night of the music series, with the Beach Boys on stage. Don’t expect founding members Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and Al Jardine. But you can expect founding member Mike Love (born March 15, 1941), a cousin of the Wilson brothers. Also, Bruce Johnston (born June 27, 1942), who joined The Beach Boys in 1965 and sang on the hit “California Girls,” qualifies as a member from the band’s heyday.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
The Beach Boys on stage

In case you’re wondering what happened to the others, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson are dead. The surviving original Beach Boys have split into three bands. There’s original leader and primary songwriter Brian Wilson and his band. There’s Al Jardine’s Endless Summer Band. And there are the Beach Boys who are here at California Adventure; they’re the only ones who can call themselves “The Beach Boys” because Mike Love wound up the rights after a legal battle.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
Chubby Checker & The Wildcats

It’s not surprising that band rosters change over time. Most “oldies” bands have at least one original member. It’s amazing that some have more than one.

It’s different for a “name” performer like Chubby Checker. It wouldn’t be Chubby Checker & The Wildcats without Mr. Checker.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
“King of the Twist” Chubby Checker teaches audience members to dance the Twist.
 
Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
Chubby Checker isn’t afraid to navigate through the folding chairs in the audience.

Chubby Checker (born October 3, 1941) is best known for “The Twist” (1960), although he had a bunch of other Top 40 hits in the early 1960s. He still puts on a good show, although, in general, his audiences have aged along with him.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits giving a Richard Nixon-style victory sign

The group is called Herman’s Hermits, but there was never anyone in the band named Herman. “Herman” is really Peter Noone (born November 5, 1947). In the United States, this “British Invasion” group is best known for “I’m Into Something Good” (1964), “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” (1965) and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am” (1965).

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
There’s a new ride at the park—but only for performers.

Perhaps you would have preferred a new ride for the summer instead a nostalgic music series. Well, there is a new ride... sort of. The temporary stage over Paradise Bay doesn’t have a backstage area or dressing rooms. Instead, the dressing rooms are behind California Screamin’. The performers travel by boat to and from the stage. Sorry, no boat rides for park guests.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
K-EARTH 101 broadcasting live

Be sure to catch all the other summer 2002 entertainment at California Adventure, including Lilo & Stitch’s Ohana Luau on Paradise Pier, Eureka! - The California Adventure Parade on the Performance Corridor, and The Power of BLAST! in the Hyperion Theater.


The first summer season for Disney’s California Adventure was in 2001. Attendance was far below projections. With the downturn in travel after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, summer 2002 threatened to be even worse.

Disneyland Resort management had to come up with a compelling reason for guests to visit the new park in summer 2002. In the tradition of the well-received “Eat to the Beat” concert series during Epcot’s annual Food & Wine Festivals, guests were offered “Rockin’ the Bay” from July 13 through August 23, 2002. Disney chose acts that were once big names with Top 10 hits.

So what if most of the headliners were around an age to begin drawing Social Security benefits? So what if most hadn’t had a hit in decades? They still had talent. They still had name recognition (at least to people who had personal memories of the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show). And they often had great back-up bands.

But they didn’t draw new crowds to Disney’s California Adventure. “Rockin’ the Bay” was not back in 2003.

Rockin' the Bay at Disney's California Adventure
“Kind of a Drag” by the Buckinghams was a big hit in 1967.

When the music series began, the performances were at 3:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. To address the problem of audiences baking in the hot summer sun, the performance times were changed to 5:45 pm. and 7:45 p.m.

Paradise Pier construction in August 2009
Construction for Walt Disney’s World of Color in August 2009

On June 11, 2010, World of Color, arguably the most spectacular water show in the world, premiered at Paradise Bay. The prime viewing for it is where Rockin’ the Bay had been in 2002.


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© 2009-2012 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated August 3, 2012.

Photograph of Rockin’ the Bay sign with all acts: Werner Weiss, 2002.
Photograph of stage over Paradise Bay for Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of temporary stage canopy for Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of audience at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Beach Boys sign at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Beach Boys on stage at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Chubby Checker on stage at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Chubby Checker teaching The Twist at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Chubby Checker in the audience at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Herman’s Hermits at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of boat for performers at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of live radio broadcast at Rockin’ the Bay: Doug Marsh, 2002.
Photograph of Rockin’ the Bay sign for The Buckinghams: Werner Weiss, 2002.
Photograph of Construction for Walt Disney’s World of Color: Werner Weiss, 2009.