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!
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…
…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.
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.
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.
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…
…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.
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!