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.