Archive for June, 2008

Midway Mania hints

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

In honor of the new Toy Story Midway Mania attraction at Disney’s California Adventure, here are a few tips for maximizing your final score:

  • Entrance: As your attraction vehicle moves into the show building, you will briefly turn to face guests waiting in line to experience the attraction. General guests are 100 points, anyone with a Mickey-ears hat is 500 points, and annual pass holders are 1,000 points.
  • Practice: If you can bank your pie off the pie of another player and hit Buzz smack in the helmet, your score will not immediately go up, but your hidden score multiplier will be incremented.
  • Barnyard: If you hit nothing but carnivores/omnivores during this round, your score will be doubled. Hitting only kosher animals (mainly cows and chickens), your score multiplier is incremented.
  • Sheep field: Of you can pop the three-headed mutant sheep’s heads without destroying its body, you receive a bonus of 5,000 points. Avoid hitting the clouds — if you clear their balloons it starts to rain, which may cause a short in your gun.
  • Army maneuvers: Hit enemy forces (in green) and avoid friendly forces (in slightly lighter green) for 5,000 points and an increase in your bonus multiplier.
  • Aliens: Ring all of the aliens in the central rocket target area to get the “chest burster bonus” and activate “alien autopsy” high-scoring mode.
  • Cowboy: You can increase your bonus multiplier if the total number of shots you fire on this screen is divisible by six (as if you have a six shooter).
  • Mine: Hit the bat and then hit the target behind the leftmost moving foreground target to release the invisible gas leak. When the canary (in the shadows in the corner) dies, hit it on the way down approximately six inches from the bottom of the screen for a 10-point bonus!
  • Final score: When your final score is announced, multiply it by your bonus multiplier for your actual score (this isn’t displayed, but it’s still completely official — just ask anyone).
  • Closed curtain: After the curtains close at the end of the game, continue firing your weapon to release a torrent of adorable animated tapeworms.

Buzz to the rescue

Monday, June 16th, 2008

As part of its “living character” initiative, Disney is exploring the possibility of replacing certain castmembers with animatronic figures. A few days ago, our Official DisneyLies Photo Correspondent managed to be on site during a test of the new Buzz Lightyear Guest Services Castbot.

Buzz Lightyear, tourguide

The robot speaks and understands more than 50 languages and can direct guests to any facility on the property, pass out maps, listen attentively to even the most bizarre complaint with a sincerely concerned expression, and blast particularly troublesome guests into oblivion.

Toy Story Midway Mania scoring

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

The point of Toy Story Midway Mania is to score as many points as possible. Targets are marked with point values — from 100 (simple targets and balloons) to 1,000 (moving targets and other guests) to 1,000,000 (the Eisner-reminiscent “Executive Salarybot” boss character). Some combinations of shots make special bonuses available. For example, shooting all of the balloons on a raincloud might release the “torrential downpour” bonus that provides big points even as it washes the rest of the targets away.

At the end of the game, players receive their official score as well as a “prize.” The prize is simply an icon depicting the player’s skill level. During one ride, we set a record with one player’s gun and let the other player’s gun sit unused so that the best and worst prizes would be awarded.

Toy Story Midway Mania scores

Toy Story Midway Mania

Friday, June 13th, 2008

The Toy Story Midway Mania attraction itself was very entertaining — simultaneously playful, enchanting, and horribly violent. At one time or another you throw darts at mutant sheep, knock over barnyard animals, participate in military maneuvers, and try to hurriedly score points before a bundle of dynamite goes off, ending the game (presumably because everyone was killed). Ride vehicles are robotically controlled omnifacing military battle transports, armed with a quartet of manually operated ballistic cannons and seemingly endless ammunition, delightfully themed with characters from the Toy Story films.

Gameplay involves speeding from one target-rich environment to another, earning points every time you whack a chicken with its own egg, trap a harmless alien in an escape-proof ring of power, hit a bar to release the alcohol, or break some of your mother’s good china.

Toy Story Midway Mania ride vehicles in action

Although the attraction was worth riding a second time, there were a few areas in which Imagineering frankly could have done a much better job. For example, all of the characters depicted in the attraction seemed to be from Toy Story — I didn’t spot a single character from the other movie mentioned in the attraction’s name, Midway. That may have just been a marketing decision, so it might be overlooked.

Not so easy to overlook is the fact that the computer-generated content for this attraction is neither crisp not clear. In fact, the images are so bad that riders are supplied with corrective glasses so that they can have a satisfactory ride experience. Wouldn’t it have been better to spend a little extra money getting everything in focus and doing away with the glasses entirely?

Toy Story Midway Mania control panel

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The Toy Story Midway Mania queue was really quite enjoyable. The walkway was smooth and free of any significant potholes, as if it had been built only months ago. Interior areas sported fans mounted to the ceiling to move air about and keep everyone cool — a neat innovation that we hope Imagineers export to other locations, and perhaps even private homes.

At one point, as the queue is approaching the ride’s loading area, guests pass immediately behind the attraction’s control panel. Glancing at the panel, guests who have detailed knowledge of Disney’s ultra-secret covert corporate intellectual capital protectorate guidelines (volume 2, chapter 6, subsection 3, paragraph 2, second bullet, sentence beginning with the phrase, “Devastating breach of security or confidentiality”) will notice something interesting — this attraction’s self-destruct button does not have a double-action safeguard, meaning that only a single button push is required to wipe the computer core and set off charges in unique or proprietary equipment.

Toy Story Midway Mania control panel

Why might this be? Apparently, the competitive heat between Disneyland and other entertainment destinations in Southern California has increased significantly in recent months. Disney has seen Legoland sign an exclusive contract with a company that makes robotic arms that can be used either as ride vehicles or valet parking attendants, Universal Studios Hollywood just opened its new Simpsons-Themed Disney Parodizer (and closed its short-lived but highly publicized Giant Flaming Kong attraction), and Knotts Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain are both still not bankrupt for one reason or another. This means that the potential for corporate espionage and spying is currently quite high, and explains why those of us attending the attraction preview were photographed, fingerprinted, and asked to verify that we were not associated with anyone on the “Mickey’s Enemies” list.

Toy Story Midway Mania Preview

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Yesterday, the DisneyLies.com staff was invited to a special pre-opening view of the new Toy Story Midway Mania attraction, open only to members of the press who were Disneyland Resort annual passholders who were chosen in an online drawing. We took advantage of the opportunity to ride the attraction repeatedly, making note of its subtleties and setting high scores that will be forever etched in the annals of history.

Security was high at the preview. Guests were given special tickets that allowed them to visit the attraction…

Toy Story Midway Mania tickets

…and the tickets contained language that made it very clear that they were nontransferable…

Toy Story Midway Mania ticket detail

Because we were members of the select elite, we received a number of additional perks, such as preferential seating (in only forward-facing cars) and a complimentary fruit basket for each score in excess of 100,000.

We found the Midway Mania queue to be nicely themed and largely linear, aside from a few turns designed to optimize space usage. Guests were generally either children or former children, and all who did not have a morbid fear of talking toys or implied shrinking seemed to have a great time.

Over the next few days, we will describe more of our visit to this excellent attraction. Please keep your Web browser tuned to this site so that you do not miss anything.

Today at the Park

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

The DisneyLies.com staff is meeting at DCA today to give the new Toy Story Midway Mania and Hot Dog Stand attraction a trial run. We’ll have a full report for you tomorrow. Probably. (Assuming that it goes better than our recent Universal Studios Hollywood Cookout did — but our lawyers say we shouldn’t talk about that one too much.)

Indie Mickey

Monday, June 9th, 2008

In honor of all the new Indiana Jones entertainment at Disneyland, we though it might be nice to show off a little something from the Indy queue that many guests might have missed.

Hidden Mickey in Indianay Jones queue

While waiting for your turn to be thrown about by this attraction’s vehicles (which operate quite smoothly when they are in good repair, by the way), make sure to peek into every little nook and cranny in the queue. You may be rewarded with the sight of one of many 3D hidden Mickeys!

(Thanks to our Official DisneyLies Photo Correspondent for the picture!)