Yesterland

X Games Xperience

July 1 thru August 10
 
(2003)
X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

X marks the spot. It’s the X Games Xperience at Yester California Adventure. Be immersed in a fast-paced array of activities inspired by ESPN’s X Games. The park promises “41 days of related events, activities, merchandise and promotions capturing the adrenaline and enthusiasm of the fast-growing sports.”


Each guest entering Yester California Adventure receives a game piece for the Ultimate Scratch & Win Game. It’s a free chance to win one of 10,000 action sports prizes.

You could win a pin, watch, or ESPN Zone game card. That would be cool, right? There are big prizes too—Mongoose bikes, Yamaha motorcycles and ATVs, and even Saturn ION automobiles! If you win the car, you’d really feel good about the $47 you spent to get into the park.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Banner on the Golden Gate Bridge

The park also promises, “The celebration will be aptly accompanied by upbeat music and extreme embellishments throughout the park.” One of those “extreme embellishments” is a banner on the park’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Suburban Legends concert

You’ve arrived at the “upbeat music.” In Sunshine Plaza, the band Suburban Legends performs as a stunt rider performs bicycle tricks, spins, and balancing acts as part of the Flatland Bike Exhibitions.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Xcade

Are you someone who likes to participate in action sports, but prefers electronic versions to the real thing? Then bring your wallet to the park’s San Francisco section for extreme sports-themed arcade machines.

It’s not a mere arcade. It’s the Xcade.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Inside the Xcade

The unfinished interior of the Xcade arcade is decorated with a huge Yamaha banner and white silhouettes of X Games athletes on dark blue walls. Arcade machines sit on the polished concrete floor. How’s that for Disney magic?

Top Skater, the skateboarding simulator from Sega, challenges you to use your entire body to race through its realistic courses. There’s much less chance of breaking bones than with a real skateboard.

You don’t need snow to ski. Put your feet on the ski-like foot stands of Alpine Racer 3, the skiing simulator from Namco. Does the sight of snow on the video screen make you cold? Then try Sega Water Ski instead.

Get in the driver seat with Cruis’n Exotica, a driving simulator from Midway Games. Choose from several tracks, including one with dinosaurs. You don’t even need a driver’s license. If you prefer a motorbike to a car, race through the Amazon with ATV Track, the arcade racing game from Gaelco.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Yamaha Raptor ATV

Speaking of Yamaha and ATVs, take a few minutes to admire the Yamaha Raptor ATV on display. Too bad they’re not offering rides.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Radical Merchandise

Want some radical merchandise? Then head to Radical Merchandise. That’s the name of the shop—really. Be sure to admire the theming which perfectly captures the casual culture of action sports.

A gray sign shows “Available Product”—t-shirts, caps, and outerwear, all related to the X Games Xperience here at the park.

But you’re not just here to listen to a band, play on arcade machines, and shop. You’re here to be amazed by the pros.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Stage at Paradise Bay

X Games experts have added a stage over Paradise Bay with a large vertical ramp.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Vert ramp for Halfpipe Bay Show

The Halfpipe Bay Show has Vert ramp demonstrations highlighting the action of bike tricks, skateboarding, and aggressive in-line skating.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Bike demo at Halfpipe Bay Show
 

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Skateboard demo at Halfpipe Bay Show

Do you want to see another show? Head to the X Arena, built especially for the X Games Xperience.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Boudin Bakery

In addition to holding flour for sourdough bread, the Boudin Bakery silo points you to the X Arena.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

X Arena

Grab a seat in the 2,500-seat X Arena. There are plenty of empty seats, even if you arrive just as the show is starting.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

“Big Air”

At the MX “Big Air” Show, watch a spectacular display of freestyle Moto X jumps, backflips and “big air” stunts. And see dirt... lots of dirt.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

More “Big Air”
 

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

“Big Air” times two

Nearby, at the Interactive Skate Park you can learn techniques from the pros and try them out for yourself. Bring your wallet. Skateboards and in-line skates are available for rental.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Xhibitions by X Games stars

The show’s performers are actual X Games athletes. Perhaps you’ve seen them on ESPN’s X Games.

You can meet the Star of the Day, a selected X Games athlete who will provide a Q&A session and an autograph opportunity.

Now let’s take a closer look at one of the athletes...

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Airborne athlete (with some photo editing)

Look at that Freestyle Moto X athlete airborne against a dark blue sky! And look at the crowd cheering him on!

Okay, so the photo doesn’t look quite real. But the photo editing makes it better than if you could see where the “athlete” is standing.

X Games Xperience at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2003

Photo opportunity

Do you want to be the athlete in the photo? Look for the photo opportunity near the Bodin Bakery. Please heed the sign: “Keep both feet on the ground. Please DO NOT hang, climb, or attempt to sit on the bike.”

California Adventure is hip and in touch with what today’s park guests care about, not old and stodgy like the nearby park that opened in 1955. At least that’s the intention with the X Games Xperience.

 

The X Games Xperience at Disney’s California Adventure park ran from July 1, 2003 through August 10, 2003.

Disneyland Resort management hoped that the temporary event would boost summer attendance at Anaheim’s second gate. ESPN management saw it as an opportunity to draw attention to the upcoming ninth annual X Games in Los Angeles. And it would be a great example of Disney synergy (most of ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company). A May 14, 2003 press release quoted two executives:

“X Games Xperience at Disney’s California Adventure is an up-close and personal encounter with the top action sports athletes competing in the X Games,” said Cynthia Harriss, president of the Disneyland Resort. “We’ve really captured the excitement and thrills of the X Games right here at Disney’s California Adventure.”

“This is a great new forum for these world-class athletes to showcase their tremendous abilities and to allow guests to sample a flavor of the excitement and energy of the X Games,” said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. “Visitors to Disney’s theme parks have come to expect the very best in family entertainment. The X Games Xperience at Disney’s California Adventure will provide the perfect lead in to X Games IX in Los Angeles.”

Whether the X Games Xperience really represented the “very best in family entertainment” in the Disneyland tradition is open for discussion.

It was the second consecutive summer with a summer promotion. The Rockin’ the Bay concert series of 2002 did not return in 2003. And the X Games Xperience of 2003 did not return in 2004.

The Timon parking lot where the X Arena was located is now Cars Land. There probably won’t be much debate about which is better.


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Updated June 28, 2013.