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Disney California Adventure

Flik's "Fun" Fair

October 2002

Flik's "Fun" Fair, a sub-land of A Bug's Land, is itself divided into five sub-sub-lands or "fiefdoms". Each of these fiefdoms has been assigned the name of a character from Pixar's A Bug's Life. At the time of this writing, the Fair's fiefdoms enjoy cordial relations and share in the responsibility for common areas, such as the entrance box and toilet-paper-roll-themed restroom.

Entrance Box

The entrance to Flik's "Fun" Fair has the appearance of a gigantic cereal box. Because guests walk through the box, they are unable to easily see its exterior surface, which is humorously decorated with dubious health information and a list of fanciful and carcinogenic ingredients (including pixie dust and asbestos).

After passing through the box, guest find themselves in a garden of such proportions that they are, in theory, made to feel insect size. The problem, as any child with a pair of calipers and a good grasp of ratios will tell you, is that the scale is not consistent. For example, he gigantic clover (one of which has four leaves, and another which has a "Mickey" mouse bite out of it) has stalks far thicker than the ground-level lights, even though the lights are supposedly constructed from pencils. And the grain of the Popsicle-brand-frozen-desert-treat-stick benches is that of normal-size wood, when in reality it would appear much larger if the viewer was really an insect viewing a Popsicle-brand bench. The illusion's inadequacy is exacerbated because no attempt has been made to scale up dust, pollen, or other atmospheric elements.

For the first few weeks after the Fair opened, guests entering the cereal box were given multifaceted glasses that gave them a "bug's eye" view of the land. The glasses were popular with children, but made some adults nauseous, and greatly increased the incidence of elderly guests running into things and breaking a hip. Their distribution has since been discontinued.

Princess Dot Puddle Park

This water park has the appearance of a gigantic garden hose, the leaks and spray from which provide warm-weather entertainment and an after-dark/wintertime source of pneumonia-inducing chills. Entertaining to those too young to care about the finer things in life, more discerning guests will be dismayed that the Puddle Park is just another half-hearted attempt to create an "insect size" experience for guests. A Bug's Life did a fine job of depicting how falling water would appear to insects, with raindrops exploding like cannonballs among panicked ants. It is unfortunate that Disney couldn't have spent a few more dollars to recreate this quasi-apocalyptic experience instead of falling back on standard water-park fare.

Flik's Flyers

This ride appears to have been constructed by insect inventor Flik out of trash, including sticks, bits of string, and politically incorrect takeout food containers. Bucking tradition, the ride is designed to appear rickety, and the sound effects that accompany its operation are full of snaps, creaks, and groans guaranteed to suck any feeling of security out of those brave enough to come on board. The ride itself is rather tame, but the occasional drops, stutters, sudden falls, and false starts, combined with the practiced worried looks of ride operators, make this one of the most stressful attractions in the park.

Francis' Ladybug Boogie

Francis the ladybug has been cloned, enlarged, and hollowed out for the riding pleasure of guests -- such is the impression given by Francis' Ladybug Boogie. The ride involves a number of Francismobiles moving in a figure-eight pattern. A wheel in the center of each vehicle, themed to look like an insect-collector's mounting pin stuck through Francis' back, allows guests to manually add additional spin to the vehicles, increasing ride intensity and saving Disney some operating expense. The ride is generally enjoyable, although the dance is really more of a quadrille than a boogie.

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train

Guests board a train shaped like Heimlich the caterpillar for a caterpillar-speed ride through a variety of half-eaten foodstuffs. During the ride, Heimlich's narration describes what he is eating. For example:

  • "Ah, what a juicy apple! It would taste nasty without all the lovely caramel!"
  • "Enough with the carrots already -- bring on the candy corn!"
  • "What is that, brussel sprouts? Is someone trying to kill me?"

Several of the foods passed are multi-sensory in nature: the watermelon sprays mellon-scented water, the boiled cabbage has an authentic aroma, and the animal crackers smell like animals.

One minor disappointment for the attraction's under-five target audience is that this slow-loading ride's track is rather short and the entire experience lasts less than 14 seconds.

Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies

The Drive 'Em Buggies are just like real bumper cars, only slower and bug shaped. They are designed with a pair of "gas" pedals -- one for an adult, and one for a child -- so that parents and children can wrestle for control of the vehicle while it is in motion.

An interesting design note -- the Buggies do not have the overhead power grid common to carnival bumper cars. Instead, power is delivered to the Buggies through the ride's metallic floor. This not only avoids the eyesore of power-conducting poles sticking up from the vehicles and the occasional shower of sparks, it also ensures that anyone leaving their vehicle before the ride has completely stopped will receive a near lethal dose of electricity. (In Disney's defense, they do recommend that riders wear shoes with thick rubber soles.)

Note that vehicles shaped like Tuck are marginally easier to stear than those shaped like Roll.


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