10/24/14 Disneyland Resort Report: Disney California Adventure, Flying Tires Fly Away, Frozen Fun Coming West

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On a warm, moonless fall night in Southern Cal, an older gentleman in a crumpled fedora steps off a bus and shuffles through the darkness toward the bright lights in the distance. He passes through a small security check-point, but the small package under his arm draws no attention.

He glances off to the left, and what might amount to a smile slowly crawls across his lips. The visage of the old Pan-Pacific Auditorium reminds him of that part of L.A., those crazy days, and of a woman he can never forget. He shuffles on a bit more, favoring his right leg, before he sees the people he is there to meet. He calls out: “Hey! Hey there! It’s me. It’s Middlebrow.”  

Two people, one tall, one not, dressed in dark clothing step out of the shadows. There is a long pause before he speaks again. “I brought you something… I’ve got the information you asked for.” He pauses again before adding, “…and a book recommendation.” The severe, blonde, woman with the buzz-cut, who was the taller of the two, squinted as if to punctuate his statement with a question mark. He pushed a shaky hand forward, toward the short guy. “She only speaks German,” he said. He held out the small package for what seemed a long time, and then the small, flat box was gone from his hand. The woman took the and opened the box, She seemed puzzled to see several sheets of unevenly folded paper. Handing them to her comrade, who found harshly scribbled notes on them, It read as follows:

Crowds at the Disneyland Resort are Halloween huge! That’s no secret, everybody knows it. Maybe even the Anaheim Police Department…

Day Guests to the Disneyland Resort have a great opportunity to take full advantage of the somewhat reduced hours during the ongoing, sold out Mickey’s Halloween Parties this week. Park Hoppers at Disneyland Park, under the tyranny of a regular fall closing time (6 p.m.), can walk the former Trail of Tears to Disney California Adventure which stays open until 8 p.m… and hey, if you haven’t been here in a while, it’s pretty great. In many ways it is a better night-time park than Disneyland at this point since World of Color runs nightly at Park closing. The diminutive Disneyland Resort has the unique advantage of making “Hopping” a breeze. Your mileage may vary. Try the veal!

That’s all it said. Except, there was also a book recommendation. 

“Flying” Ride To Be Re-Tired

It was thought to possibly be the long-lost replacement to a short-lived Disneyland favorite, The Flying Saucers, but with less than three years in service, Luigi’s Flying Tires at Disney California Adventure will close at years’ end.

While much of the Disney Blogosphere has bellowed the repeated rumor of the ride’s closure for a week, WDWNT was able to confirm the attraction’s conclusion and inevitable replacement through the release of a park maintenance schedule on October 21st. It listed the ride on a rehabilitation closure for all of 2015. The logical conclusion was also made that the ride’s replacement is possibly now a Walt Disney Imagineering priority, as it could also be used in a Cars Land addition at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World or in off-shore Disney parks.

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It looks so peaceful. And that where the trouble started. Image © Disney
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The Flying Saucers had their issues too, but possibly avoided an awkward departure due to their removal during a wholesale renovation of Tomorrowland in the late 1960s. Image © Disney

I don’t know much about aerodynamics. I thought the Bernoulli Principle was a show on BBC America, but a lot of the Guest frustration seemed to come with the of steep learning curve to get the double seated “tire” to float. That coupled with the short time to get the hang of it before you got booted certainly conspired to earn the ride low Guest Research marks.

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Over-designed? Under-designed? Underwhelming! Image © Disney

Beach balls were added as early during the soft opening period, in what can only be thought of as a purposeful distraction from the lack of lift. Beach balls!! But nothing they did made the ride fun.

Beach Balls did not kill the beast.
Beach Balls did not kill the beast.
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Good-bye Luigi’s Flying Tires. At least you were a good Ride Poster. Image © Disney.

Rumors point to the eventual replacement as being a new, trackless “flat” ride starring Luigi and Guido from Cars. While there are several trackless rides in off-shore Disney parks, this would be the first use of that technology stateside.

In the long run the action is honorable. It’s a pretty big goof… maybe, a medium sized goof in the scope of things. But, no matter what happened, it shows that the park doesn’t want to put on a bad show. They know that all of the space has to contribute to a good show and park capacity. Doing the right thing. F.T.W!

Now A Beautiful Swan

So, in some kind of metaphor, if I’m Disneyland Park, then Disney California Adventure is my sister-park, right? My Sister.

…And I don’t want you talking bad about my Sister! Got it!?

Would you like to see a couple of photos I took, to show how beautiful she has become? I’ll bet you would.

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An Elysian setting in the Eureka section of the Park. This vantage point, near the Rushin’ River, makes for one of the most beautiful smoking areas in any park in the country.
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Some of the “original” assets in the Park, like this approximation of “Devil’s Post Pile” are very ambitious.
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The Food Court in the Pacific Wharf area is a highly effective central meeting place and is appointed in a rustic California style.
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Even the (Over) Painted Ladies are looking more comfortable with themselves. The trees have grown in, softening the look of the block.
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There are some great, sometimes lightly traveled vistas along the way.

Frozen Almost In Place

Here at FRZN-FM, we are all Frozen, all of the time! With news about new Frozen merchandize, new Frozen experiences and future Frozen Parks and Resorts on the “eights!”

This just in!  Frozen fun will be in abundance later this year when our Frozen friends take over the DCA Disney Animation building on HollywoodLand’s Hollywood Blvd. A Fastpass-only character meet n’ greet will move into the Turtle Talk lobby, the Animation Academy will be drawing pretty much all Frozen, while visions of Frozen video clips playing in the lobby will dance in our heads! A new Frozen musical stage show will be installed in MuppetVision theatre, and Frozen-themed ice skating will go into Stage 17. I thought all ice-skating was Frozen-themed?

Have we missed anything? Watch for these additions as the Park moves into what is sure to become known as the Frozen season in late-December 2014, carrying through to the start of the 60th anniversary in the spring.

Book Recomendation

In my various ramblings through the halls and vacant rooms here at Middlebrow Manor, many times I’ve pondered the unending irony of the classic Mansion manifestation being absent for the Pre-Hallow. No matter how tasty the Nightmare Pumpkin Spice flavor is. But, to manor’s extensive library has come a fine read about the Haunted Mansions. Plural.

Master Illusioneer Yale Gracey with one of his creations.
Master Illusioneer Yale Gracey with one of his apparitions. Image © Disney

If you “dig” all strains of Haunted Mansion-ism, and also want to mull over that tiny injustice in the world, you will want to read Jeff Baham’s  The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. It takes its job of acquainting you of the rather convoluted path the Haunted project took to open in 1969 at Disneyland seriously. It also compares/contrasts the various Mansions and relates the process of those productions in the other “stores” around the world.

Marc Davis, Rolly Crump, Yale Gracey, Claude Coats, Sam McKim, X Atencio and other classic Imagineers take star turns in this tale of professional rivalry and downright creepy creation in the time of Walt Disney’s life and death.

It’s on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions. A truly great Halloween read.

That’ll do it for now…

See ‘ya real soon!

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About the author

TimPat McRaven

Deejay Middlebrow is an American disc jockey who has been selected by a secretive group to curate the Radio Free Disneyland Podcast.

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