Archive for June, 2012

Portal to another world

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

This morning, the Haunted Mansion wasn’t particularly crowded, so we stayed back a bit and let the other guests go by after leaving the stretching room. We were looking at the portrait of the man and discovered that if you stand there long enough for the crowd to have moved on to their Doombuggies, the portrait talks!

Lemon-talking portrait in the Haunted Mansion

Here’s what it said:

When your wife gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade — make her take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t care if she has an axe; what the hell is she going to do with that? Demand to see your wife’s mother! Make your wife rue the day she thought she could give Captain Gracey lemons! Want to cut off my head? Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna haunt your house forever! With the lemons! I’m gonna get Leota to conjure a spectral lemon that pulls a thousand ghosts here! And we’ll leave room for you!

I don’t know if this is new or if it was just there for Father’s Day, but I will say this — it’s probably the weirdest and most obscure reference in the entire mansion!

Dinner at Flo’s

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Just had dinner at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land. It was awesome! Everything had spicy, delightful V8 Juice in it — even the pie!

Flo's V8 Cafe menu

Red Car Trolley

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Disney California Adventure’s Red Car Trolley now travels the rails from the park entrance to the Tower of Terror with just one stop between them (at Goofy’s Sky School). The cost for a ride was initially planned to be five cents, but due to recent adjustments to the Disneyland Resort’s pricing schedule, rides are now $75, one way, with monthly payment plans available.

Like the monorails, the trolleys are named for their color. For example, the two trolleys running today are Red Car Trolley Red…

Red Car Trolley Red


…and Red Car Trolley Yellow…

Red Car Trolley Yellow


In this second picture, you can also see how forced perspective is used to make the cars look longer when seen from the front, helping to disguise the fact that they had to be downsized in order to fit DCA’s roadways.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The attraction nearest to the entrance to Cars Land is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, named after Tow Mater, the tow truck namesaked for a tomato by a illiterate parents.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree signage

Cows are tractors in the universe of Cars, so the small tractors that pull the Junkyard Jamboree vehicles represent baby cows, making Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree the only veal-powered attraction in the park.

The attraction is a series of interconnected circular platters upon which a herd of attraction vehicles ride in sort of a triple-looped figure-8+ configuration.

A herd of attraction vehicles

Guests sit in trailers behind their tractors, but the trailers are not attached to the platters and therefore swing violently back and forth with each turn, giving riders the thrill of fast action and potential whiplash. The whole thing is a little like what Bug’s Land’s Francis’s Ladybug Boogie would be like if Bug’s Land’s Francis’s Ladybug Boogie was fun.

During the attraction, Mater himself can be heard over the loudspeakers singing a song to which the attraction vehicles “dance.” At the end of the ride, Mater honks loudly, causing the tractors to “tip,” spilling guests onto the ground and inspiring them to make room for the next group.

Luigi’s Flying Tires

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The second of the three major attractions in Cars Land is Luigi’s Flying Tires, which is themed like a tire dealership and banks on the fact that a tire (British “tyre”), lying sideways with a series of evenly spaced radial high-pressure leaks, will slightly hover.

It is rumored that John Lassitire was very interested in Cars Land having a remake of one of the classic Tomorrowland attractions, and after narrowing his choices to three (the Flying Sucers, the Phantom Boats, or the Paint Chip Hall of Fame), he chose the Flying Saucers. The original Disneyland attraction was only part of the park for about five years due to its tendency to break down, injure guests, and draw uncomfortable amounts of attention from silently hovering black helicopters filled with expressionless men in black suits. By using improved technology, having riders sign an injury waiver, and disguising the vehicles as tires, Imagineers were able to get past all of these problems.

After walking through Luigi’s nicely themed queue, guests are immersed in a series of visual and spoken instructions such as this one…

…spelling out the copious rules and suggestions for enjoying the attraction. For example, no trying to fly over the attraction’s barriers; no standing tires on their side, connecting them with axles, and building a monster truck; and you may not ride if you are pregnant, hoverphobic, or tired (pun!).

The vehicles themselves are fashioned to look like large tires. This is a big surprise to guests who have not been paying attention.

Luigi's Flying Tires tire flying

The tires hover under the influence of massive electromagnets embedded in the attraction’s surface. The up side to this method of levitation is that it is very powerful, allowing the vehicles to hover with even the largest guest or group of guests aboard. The down side is that after each ride the surface must be searched for keys, glasses, retainers, etc., that have been sucked off riders. Guests passing in wheelchairs may also find themselves irresistibly drawn to the attraction when it is in operation, and the entire area is instantly fatal to anyone with a pacemaker.

In addition to the attraction vehicles, Luigi’s is littered with huge, inflated beach balls, which do not float (since they are non-ferrous) but which guests can pick up and throw during the ride. Being hit in the face with a huge beach ball looks like this:


It is a particular irony that an American park named for California would have an Italy-themed attraction featuring beach balls made in China.

Radiator Springs Racers

Friday, June 15th, 2012

On our first visit to the new, improved Disney California Adventure, we were so busy exploring and documenting the wonders of the new restrooms that we didn’t have time to properly investigate some of the other exciting new rides and attraction that the park has to offer. We returned yesterday to remedy the situation, only to discover that the park was closed to the public for the day (apparently someone in maintenance had misplaced the key and they had to wait for a locksmith who was, of course, late).

Today, the crowds were a little larger (the park reached maximum safe capacity some ten minutes after opening and gates were closed some two hours later), but at least we were able to make our way in.

We will be updating the DCA portion of shortly with complete information on all the new goodness, but for now, we thought we’d share some of the photos we took during our exploration, starting with three from Radiator Springs Racers.

The entrance to Radiator Springs Racers…

…is quite detailed. Unfortunately, because Cars Land took so long to construct, there is already some evidence of rust and age on what should be sparkling new signage. We didn’t find this particularly irksom as it actually added to the ambiance of the place. One criticism we had, though, was the color of the car on Racers’ entrance sign. Although we are not Imagineers and assume that everything was done for a reason, we wish that the car had been painted red as a sly nod to Cars’ Lightning McQueen. We have forwarded this suggestion to Disney, and hope that they will implement it in the near future.

The queue for RSR has many interesting things to look at, such as this fountain:

If you look carefully, you can see that the rocks slightly resemble the radiator of a car with a spring suspension, hence the “Radiator Springs” name. In the background, a sign humorously says that the spring is the “8 3/4 wonder of the world”. According to official Disney publicity materials, the original wonders of the world in the Cars Land universe are:

1. Great Pitstop of Giza
2. Hanging Greyhounds of Cabylon
3. Statue of Harley at Davidson
4. Carlosseum
5. Great Whitewall of China
6. Paver of Rhodes
7. Headlighthouse of Alexandria
8. Carhenge
8.5 Leaning Tower of Tires
8.75 Radiator Springs

The attraction itself is quite spectacular. It was too difficult for us to take photos during the attraction as we were so consumed with shouting in joy, but there was a handy place along the exit path to take photos as seen here:

By running multiple cars at once NASCAR-style, Radiator Springs Racers is able to handle some 9,000 guests/hour, which means that at expected crowd levels over the next few weeks, lines should never be more than a few hours long.

Why we can’t have nice things

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Want to get a better feeling for why Disneyland’s expenses are so high? Take a look at the sign from outside Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue as it was discovered after a recent Grad Night. The shame!

Vandalized Big Thunder sign

The return of ducks

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

On our last visit to the park, we noticed that, with the warm weather here to stay, the ducks have finally returned to the banks of Disneyland’s Duck Land Canal Boats in significant numbers. Hooray!

Ducks at Disneyland's Duck Land Canal Boats

Cars Land restrooms

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Because of a media embargo, most Disney-related websites are unable to report on Cars Land until on or after its official opening on June 15. We at, rebels that we are, are under no such embargo. So we begin our exclusive coverage of Cars Land with one of the attractions that the embargoed sites dare not discuss until Friday: the Cars Land restroom.

Cars Land is exceptionally well themed, and its new, extensive restroom complex is a perfect example of that. The signs directing “traffic” to the “rest area”…

Signs for Cars Land restrooms

…are meticulously detailed and weathered. They really make you want to go to the bathroom!

The restroom complex itself…

Cars Land restroom exterior

…is tastefully set back from the road and themed like the restrooms of a 1950s diner. As the sign advertises, each restroom is equipped with an ATM and telephones. The man in this photo is apparently taking advantage of an open-air urinal, which, although innovative, makes us a little uncomfortable so we were unwilling to approach to learn more about it.

Inside the restrooms, the Cars Land theme stretches in every direction. For example, check out the floor tile:

Cars Land restroom floor tiles

See the long, white rows of rectangles with the four dark-blue squares adjacent? They’re little stylized limousines! And the light blue squares form wrenches, like might be found in an auto-repair shop. How clever!

Believe you us, if you’re in Cars Land and have need of a restroom, this is definitely the place to go. No pun intended!

Princess Merida at Disneyland

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

During a recent trip to Disneyland, we were headed toward “it’s a small world” in the hope of documenting the new Princess Merida meet-and-greet location that we had heard such wonderful things about. And who should we meet on the way but the Princess herself!

“I’m on me vacation,” said Princess Merida when we asked her what she was doing in the park out of costume. “Me brothers and I are gettin’ a few licks o’ fun before the big premier and it’s off to work again.”

Why was she dressed so differently than we were used to seeing her? “I canna go five steps in my dress from the film without bein’ asked for me autograph,” she said. “I’ve disguised meself as the wee lass from Disney’s G-Force for some peace and anonymity — at least as much as I kin get with these three demons in tow and bloggers as far as the eye can see.”

We certainly understood that! Thank you, Princess Merida, for the lovely chat — and for the autograph!