A Bug's Land: The Big History of This Small Land at Disney California Adventure

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout From A Bug's Land Disney California Adventure

Disney's California Adventure opened with very few rides and attractions based on preexisting Disney characters, which led to an almost immediate push to add more to the struggling park. The first major way this was attempted was by expanding the area taken up by a film already present in the park on opening day, A Bug's Life.

Welcome to Disney Parks History, where we explore the stories behind Disney's famous rides, attractions, and beyond at the Disney Parks. Today we are taking you through the history of A Bug's Land, the first area at Disneyland Resort's second park dedicated exclusively to a film. Be sure to check out the full series here.

Disney's California Adventure opened with just a couple of attractions based on existing entertainment properties, significantly including It's Tough To Be A Bug, a copy of the identical show from Disney's Animal Kingdom. This attraction had actually predated the film it was based on its original park.

It's Tough To Be A Bug was themed as an educational film on the use of bugs in the world's ecosystems including animatronics, 3D, and 4D effects.

The lobby featured bug-themed versions of classic musicals from A Chorus Line to West Side Story, and played versions of classic songs from these musicals played by a bug orchestra.

This attraction initially opened in Bountiful Valley Farm, a land dedicated to showcasing the farming practices used throughout California. But as the park looked to quickly add more characters, it was easy to expand on a film that was already present in the park. An underutilized area between Bountiful Valley Farm and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (another addition at roughly the same time) was then turned into Flik's Fun Fair in 2002.

Flik's Fun Fair was themed as a small amusement park the bugs had set up in response to Disney California Adventure being built around them. Areas of Bountiful Valley Farm also received a light retheme to better fit their new bug surroundings but remained mostly unaffected by the new insect inhabitants of the park.

The land would add a variety of carnival rides to the park themed based on the characters from the Pixar movie.

Francis' Ladybug Boogie was a low-intensity spinner in the park.

Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies Disney California Adventure

Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies in the land quite possibly the slowest bumper car attraction to ever exist anywhere in the world.

Princess Dot's Puddle Park was a small water play area themed as a garden spigot.

Flik's Flyers was a balloon style spinner with ride vehicles themed like different food containers.

The last ride in the land was Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. This was by far the most elaborate ride added in this expansion. It was a caterpillar train style ride where you ride with Heimlich as he eats a variety of oversized foods.

A Bug's Land Disney California Adventure Disneyland

The land included a variety of elements to make you feel like you had shrunk to the size of a bug, from oversized three and four-leaf clovers to lights themed as pencils stuck in the ground.

A Bug's Land Pencil Light Disney California Adventure

This land represented the first major expansion of Disney's California Adventure, and the start of the new direction the park would take in replacing the opening day attractions with ones based on Disney, Pixar, and other films that would guarantee an attendance boost.

The original land Tough to Be a Bug was found in fell victim to this same wave of change, with Bountiful Valley Farm being demolished to make way for Cars Land, the land that would finally solidify the newly renamed Disney California Adventure as a world-class Disney Park.

Unfortunately, the trend started by this land would also end up as its downfall. A Bug's Life proved itself to not have the same lasting appeal as many of Pixar's other films, making it a weird film to have an entire land dedicated to it at a Disney Park.

It's Tough To Be A Bug entered a mysterious refurbishment in 2018 and it would never reopen as it was announced the entire land would be replaced by a Marvel-themed land named Avengers Campus, one of three lands based on the Marvel Cinematic University built simultaneously across the world. It would receive a proper send off during the Pixar Fest celebration before closing September 5th, 2018.

It remains to be seen how its replacement will be received or if there will be any tributes to Bug's Land in the new land, as Avengers Campus was delayed indefinitely due to the COVID19 pandemic. With the Disneyland Resort still closed and with no sign of reopening in the near future, the future of this land is uncertain.

Bug's Land was a means to an end, a way to quickly bring recognizable characters to the park in a way that was fast and cheap. When Disney had access to characters that were more popular and with broader appeal than this early Pixar film, it was inevitable it would be replaced.

One of its rides would live on, with Flik's Flyers being rethemed into an Inside Out attraction in Pixar Pier.

The audio from one of the attractions, Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, would be reused in a game on Pixar Pier.

Bug's Land was a wonderful child-friendly land in a park without many of them. It remains fondly remembered by those who experienced it. You can still experience its star attraction, Tough To Be A Bug, in Disney's Animal Kingdom to this day.