Archive for the ‘DCA’ Category

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.

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!

Buena Vista Street restrooms

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

The time has come for us to fulfil our promise of giving you all the details of the new Disney California Adventure attractions!

We’ll start off with the wonderfully redone and thoroughly redesigned Buena Vista Street restrooms.

The Buena Vista Restrooms are no longer the main attractions (as they were in the old Sunshine Plaza), but they are still prominent and easy to locate on the right-hand side as you enter the park. The restroom complex has two entrances, one for men…

Buena Vista Street restroom entrance: Male version

…and another for women (which is very similar other than the signage, but which we were unable to photograph without inadvertently looking creepy).

The restrooms are clean and well maintained, and their overall mood of lightheated fun is set by delightful, slapstick signs such as this one:

Wacky Buena Vista Street restroom signage

Our only complaint is that the commodes are a bit too tall for the average American, and the toilet paper is mounted too low on the walls. For this reason, children have a tendency to fall in, and adults tend to get leg marks all over the toilet paper. But aside from that, it’s a true wonder of restroom technology!

Secrets of the New DCA

Monday, June 11th, 2012

When experiencing the new additions at Disney California Adventure, one cannot help but be impressed by how immersive and detailed they are. We know you’re dying to hear about the new attractions — and we promise we’ll get there in short order — but first we thought we’d share our favorite "hidden treasures" of the new DCA.

Piston Springs initials

Much of the original Cars takes place in the little town of Radiator Springs. Unfortunately, Disney was not able to secure permission from the United Radiator Producers of America to use the term "Radiator" in DCA’s Cars Land, so the town has been rechristened Piston Springs for its real-world debut. As a show of civic pride, the town’s initials can be seen stamped hither and yon all across Cars Land. It on government buildings, official documents, "car-hole" covers in the street, on the surface of specially genetically engineered popcorn, and even spelled out in rocks on the mountainside!

Piston Springs initials

Mortimers Market

When Walt Disney lost the rights to his Oswald the Trademarked Rabbit character, he moved on to create a new character, Mortimer Mouse. Although Mortimer’s place in Disney’s stable of characters was eventually lost to Mickey Mouse (in a perfectly fair game of bridge), Mortimer has been commemorated in DCA with the opening of Mortimers Market on the new Buena Vista Street.

If you take a look at the sign to one side of this fruit-and-drink stand…

Mortimers Market sign

…you’ll notice something interesting — there’s no apostrophe in "Mortimers." This pays homage to the fact that Mortimers Market isn’t actually owned by Mortimer (it’s the property of The Walt Disney Company).

Ghirardelli animated mural

On the wall behind the new Ghiradelli soda fountain is a delightful mural depicting scenes from San Francisco. Not content to be a static display, every few minutes the mural comes to life, depicting such stereotypically San Franciscan scenes as an earthquake, an escape from Alcatraz, a Golden Gate Bridge suicide attempt, Rice-A-Roni, or — as depicted here — an impending streetcar collision.

Ghirardelli animated mural

Disneyland references

Because this relative newcomer to the Disneyland Resort recognizes the park that made it all possible, there are many, many Disneyland references in the new DCA. Much has been written about the reference to the 20,000 Leagues walkthrough attraction in the queue for Luigi’s Flying Tires and the Mr. Toad train in Piston Springs Racers, but to our knowledge nobody has made note of this use of Mara script (from the Indiana Jones attraction) in the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe.

Mara Script at the FF&P Cafe

The giraffe

In the window of one of the shops on Buena Vista Street is a stuffed giraffe that pays tribute to either the giant Lego giraffe that used to be in the Downtown Disney Lego Store, or the Jungle Cruise giraffe that got its head knocked off by a misdirected construction crane some years ago. There’s also a persistent internet rumor that it’s named Giraffrey Katzenberg, but that doesn’t make much sense to us.

Secret giraffe

Streetmosphere "characters"

At certain times throughout the day, colorful "streetmosphere" characters can be found on Buena Vista Street, interacting with guests and helping set the scene as 1920s Los Angeles. At least, that’s what Disney would have you believe. In fact, there are no streetmosphere characters — Disney simply encourages guests (annual passholders in particular) to "get in the mood" and dress in silly outfits when visiting the park, and other guests just assume that they must be official park employees. When we met this woman…

Flashy photographer lady by faded cable car

…we initially assumed she was a castmember. After a little careful questioning, however, we discovered that she was actually an unemployed screenwriter from Santa Monica, visiting DCA to take photos for her blog.

No Cars Land castmembers

Everybody knows that Disneyland Resort has no employees, only castmembers. In the new Cars Land, Disney has taken the idea of placemaking one step further, and instead of the new land being staffed by castmembers, it’s staffed by "cars" (which is an abbreviation of CAst membeRS — get it?) You can easily spot a "Car" in Cars Land because they always use "two tires" to point at things.

Cars Land "Cars Only" sign

That’s it for now. Let us know if the comments if you discover any additional secrets in the new DCA that you’d like to share. In the meantime, we’re hard at work on our reporting of all the new attractions and will be telling you about them shortly!

The Nine Worst Problems with Cars Land

Monday, June 11th, 2012

We were lucky enough to be able to preview Disney California Adventure’s new offerings this weekend, and over the next few days we will be reporting on them extensively. However, while we sort through our terabytes of photographs and pare our comments down to a few thousand words, we want to take a moment to get something off our chest. Yes, Cars Land had quite a bit to offer, but it also — sad to say — had a few rather enormous problems.

So, without further ado, here is our list of the nine worst problems with DCA’s new Cars Land:

1. Obscure references. Let’s start off with a minor one. Upon entering Cars Land, we walked past the glorious landscape of the Piston Springs outback. Along the way, we saw signs like these:

What are those, you might well ask? They are a humorous reference to the old Burma Shave signs that were placed along the side of the road to greet travelers of olden days — covered wagons, the Lone Ranger, folks like that. What kid today is going to get a Burma Shave joke? Heck, what kid’s parent is going to get it?

2. The music. Now we get into the big stuff. Music is playing all through Cars Land, but even though every little detail of this land was carefully thought out, apparently nobody thought to check to make sure that the music makes sense in the context of a land that represents a world run by sentient cars. For example, why would there be a song about a “truck driving man” when trucks can drive themselves? And think about the woman singing about saving up her money to buy a car — in the world of Cars, wouldn’t buying a car be akin to slavery? What is this, Pirates of the Caribbean?

3. Speed limit. If the sign is to be believed, the speed limit in Piston Springs is 25 miles per hour. Now look at this photo:

See Lightning McQueen in the background there? Well, he’s not going anything close to 25 MPH. Why wouldn’t a sports car like McQueen be pushing the speed limit at all times? It just ruins the illusion of immersion.

4. Price gouging. If you buy a bottle of water from a cast member who is walking around selling drinks, it costs $3. However, if you stand in line at a snack or beverage stand and buy that same bottle of water, it costs $3.01. Why? Because after you’ve stood in line, they know they’ve got you. You’re not going to refuse to pay that penny after spending so much time waiting to make your purchase. That’s corporate greed right there, is what that is.

5. Inverted signage. Standing in the town’s main intersection, you can see a “Route 66” sign like this:

…painted on the ground to the north of you and to the south of you. Both of them are, as you can see in the photo, upside down.

6. Rule Breaking. Piston Springs Racers is an incredible attraction and we enjoyed it very much. single rider line What we did not enjoy was the lax enforcement of attraction rules and policies. In particular, we conducted an informal survey and discovered that more than 25% of the people in the single-rider line were, in fact, not single at all, but married.

7. Atmosphere. This is another relatievely minor point, but we found it difficult to immerse ourselves in Cars Land was it was so full of humans.

8. Traffic control. The stoplight at the center of town was permanently blinking amber, causing confusion and traffic snarls.

9. Luigi’s. The biggest batch of problems we found was with the queue for Luigi’s Flying Tires. First and foremost, at the beginning of the queue there are many posters showing Luigi’s obvious preference for Ferraris. Since there are no manufactured vehicles in the Cars universe, cars must be born Ferraris, so in context Luigi’s not expressing brand preference, he’s being racist. This is just not appropriate for a family park.

Moving into Luigi’s showroom, we found many, many problems with the tires on display. For example, we looked closely at the rows of tires:

Looks fine, right? Well, look closer. Here’s a Lightyear brand tire:

…and a Linguini:

…and a Cannelloni:

…and a Lasagna:

…and an Antipasti:

Notice something peculiar? That’s right! Even though these are all supposed to be different brands of tire, they all have the same tread pattern! It’s completely ridiculous, and thoroughly ruined the illusion for us. Also, none of the tires seem thick enough to be steel belted radials, even though they are advertised as such.

But the final icing on the bitter cake came in the showcase of awards and mementos where we found this little gem:

That’s right, it’s a cute little reference to John Lasseter, but they spelled his name wrong!!! Oh the shame, the shame of it all!!!

Okay, that’s all we’ve got. Thanks for letting us get it off of our chest. We promise that all future posts about the new stuff at DCA will be much more positive and less likely to spawn flame wars in our comments section.

CALIFORNIA for rent!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

As part of the massive remake of Disney California Adventure, the gigantic “California” letters that once graced the park’s entrance have been removed. Instead of tossing the letters into an industrial shredder, locking them away in the company’s massive “history vault” salt-mine bunker complex, or disposing of them on Craigslist, Disney has made them available for rent to any business or organization that might have a use for them.

Said someone in a green visor from an accounting department, “Disney’s parks department has to look for new, non-traditional ways to earn cash. In the past, they’ve just raised admission prices whenever additional finances are needed, but some guests — particularly those for whom ‘renewing my annual pass’ is swiftly becoming synonymous with ‘giving up regular meals’ — have started to notice.” Renting out old equipment could go a long way toward helping Disney reach its financial goals.

The word-rental program was an instant hit for the company. Even though the prices are steep and don’t include shipping, numerous companies have signed up for their chance to display the letters at their business or event. Some participants include:

  • Corporate design firm A Flair Icon
  • Manufacturers of the Facial Iron wrinkle-removing device
  • Anti-discrimination hotline Racial Info
  • Anti-government-brainwashing headgear makers Crania Foil
  • Makers of Farina Coil, “the spring-loaded breakfast”
  • Airfoil Can spray airplane surface repair
  • Orca Finial (an architectural design firm specializing in sea-themed ornamentation)
  • The A Frail Coin antique and collectible coin shop
  • Owners of the Falcon Air I stunt jet
  • Organizers of Coal Fair, Indiana

It’s not clear why any of these groups would want giant “CALIFORNIA” letters, but if their business helps DCA stay afloat, we’re all for it!