Disney California Adventure

Freakin' Awesome!

May 2003

Walt Disney once commented on people's fascination with the bizarre, saying, "When they will not give a penny to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian." Even so, the shows of oddities -- human and otherwise -- that were popular in Disney's childhood just don't work today, in part due to the influence of lobbies such as the Coalition Against Exploitation of the Atypically Shaped and the powerful Society for Prevention of Defamation of Freaks. But didn't stop Imagineers from paying tribute to this bit of Americana as part of an effort to add additional "E-ticket" attractions to California Adventure in 2003.

California Adventure's tribute to the boardwalk freak shows of old is, in deference to its slightly sensitive nature, a little difficult to find. Behind the carousel is a white building with a short passage running through it. Walk down the passage, and you will find the attraction's unassuming entrance.

Freakin' Awesome! features a variety of animatronic Disney characters acting out the parts of sideshow entertainment in a light-hearted, humorous way. There is nothing grotesque here (no chicken-head-biting geeks or racially insensitive "wild men," for example), just a lot of fun.

Mickey Mouse plays barker for this traditional "ten in one" show, introducing each act. The attractions include:

  1. Roger Rabbit's impossible contortionist act (pretty impressive for an animatronic figure)
  2. Extra fat and extra skinny versions of Chip and Dale
  3. A "world's smallest man" act performed by Flik (who, for once, is in correct scale)
  4. Minnie and Daisy's "forbidden dance"
  5. Huey, Dewey, and Louie covered in tattoos
  6. Chernabog's magic act (he pulls Thumper out of his top hat)
  7. Jasmine playing "serpent woman" with Kaa
  8. A "real Egyptian mummy" (who looks suspiciously like Goofy wrapped in someone's laundry)
  9. The preserved remains of the Little Fiji Mermaid
  10. The amazing "half prince, half princess"

Additional humor is added to the presentation by Donald Duck, who keeps interrupting Mickey so that he can demonstrate his fire-breathing act. Three times he appears and fails spectacularly, but the fourth time, he breaths an enormous fireball out over the audience for a breathtaking finale to the show. It's darned impressive, but tends to pop guests' balloons.

Trivia: As the curtain opens and closes, you can glimpse hints of other acts and oddities back stage. Look for the giant block of ice labeled "Walt."

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