Disney's California Adventure Archives

January 8, 2018

Soarin' Around the World ... and behind the scenes


The entrance to Soarin' Around the World at Disney's California Adventure.

Prior to a recent trip to California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort, my wife Janet signed us up to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Soarin' Around the World attraction. The one-hour tour is offered to members of the Disney Vacation Club.

Soarin' Around the World is located in the Grizzly Peak section of the park, just a short walk from the Grand Californian Resort. We arrived for the tour early, grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Starbucks-sponsored Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, then met up with the other members of the tour just outside the entrance to Soarin'.

Our tour guide led us to the entrance of the attraction, then we veered right to a "cast members only" door and were escorted to an open lot to the side of the main building. Here, our guide talked about how he was proud of the fact that he was a member of the attraction's opening day team [California Adventure's Soarin' Over California opened on Feb. 1, 2001].

He explained the reasoning behind keeping the Soarin' building just one story tall. "The designers felt that having a multi-story tall building in California Adventure would be too distracting. They had to work around the fact that the attraction's screens are 85 feet tall, so they buried the building 25 feet into the ground.

"Then, three years after we opened," he added, "they built the Tower of Terror" ... the ultimate tall, distracting building.

Guests take their seats as they board their "flight" on Soarin' Around the World.

We then re-entered the building and walked down a flight of stairs to the main boarding area of the attraction. As we exited the staircase, I noticed several animal cages in a corner off to my left. Ever curious, I asked a cast member standing nearby what the cages were for. "When guests with service animals ride the attraction," she said, "we put the animals in these cages until the guests return."

Prior to the pre-show, our guide talked about Soarin's host, Patrick Warburton. Warburton has a history with Disney, having played Kronk in The Emperor's New Grove and Steve Barkin in Kim Possible. It turns out that Warburton wasn't the first choice for the Soarin' assignment: Action film star Steven Segal was.

After the pre-show, our guide asked if anyone wanted to skip the ride for whatever reason. That was my cue to join him off to the side, where another cast member sat in front of a battery of computer monitors.

My wife and I were among the first guests to ride Soarin' in Epcot when it opened in 2005. Initially, I embraced Soarin' and even encouraged friends to ride it. I have been less than enthusiastic about it over the last few years.

For as long as I can remember, heights have been an issue with me. I get queasy sitting in the upper decks in baseball or football stadiums. The one and only time I made it to the observation deck of the World Trade Center, I had all I could do to keep from high-tailing it down the stairs. If we stay in a hotel room that's above the third floor, I tend to avoid the balcony.

After about five trips on Soarin', I started to experience waves of panic every time I approached The Land pavilion where Soarin' is housed.

When I did muster enough nerve to ride Soarin', I found myself gripping way-too-tight onto the handle bars. I even started to wear sunglasses to keep people from noticing that I had my eyes closed for most of the ride. When I did open my eyes, I'd spend more time glancing up than at the screen.

It just wasn't fun anymore. To me, it was downright terrifying sitting 40, 50 or 60 feet in the air near the rafters, your feet dangling, with just a seat belt restraining you. Worse, I worried that if the ride somehow malfunctioned and we get stuck up there for longer than 4 and a half minutes, I'd probably lose it.

It's silly, I know. The ride is totally safe. Hundreds of thousands of people have gone on it and raved about it. But I do know that there are countless people like me who have issues with heights. These days, I'm quite comfortable sitting on the sidelines, feet planted firmly on the ground.

Imagineering's Mark Sumner stands with his Erector set model of the Soarin' ride system he developed.

Sitting off to the side of the Soarin' screen gave me a totally new perspective on the attraction. For one thing, the IMAX screen is massive. It's concave and made out of metal and mesh ... metal, so that it won't be damaged by anything falling onto it, and mesh so that sound is able to pass through it.

For another, the three rows of seats go way, WAY, WAY! up into the air. "The top row is between 60 and 65 feet up," our guide said. It looks higher than that from ground level. And it's amazing how every rider dangles his or her feet during the show.

At the end of the show, our guide gathered the group and took us truly behind the scenes ... and behind the screen. From here, we could hear the beautiful score, view the projections on the screen and see the rows of seats as they were raised at the start of the show and dropped down at the conclusion.

Again, our guide was a wealth of information. There are 56 speakers positioned throughout the theater. In addition, there are scent canisters placed above the seats, which release a variety of smells to enhance the attraction. "The canisters dissolve very slowly," our guide said. "They have to be refilled about once a month."

The final leg of the tour took us into a corridor, where photos of the attraction, as well as scenes from the film, were on the walls. There also was a model of the erector set that Imagineer Mark Sumner used to come up with the cantilever ride system.

Another interesting aspect of the tour came when our guide talked about the thinking behind the updated version of the attraction. Indeed, there was a rhyme and reason behind the filming of each new scene.

For instance, the inclusion of the Great Wall of China sequence is a reference to Disney's Mulan. The Great Pyramids are an homage to Indiana Jones; the Taj Mahal [Alladdin]; Fiji [Moana]; Argentina [Paradise Falls in Up]; the Eiffel Tower [Disneyland Paris and Ratatouille]. He went to explain that there's even a Hidden Mickey located during the beach scene while soarin' over Fiji.

During filming a sequence in Africa, the guide added, the helicopter used for shooting the footage was called into service when an elephant became separated from its group. "The helicopter was used in the search-and-rescue mission," the guide said. "They found the elephant and it was nursed back to health. We were happy to help ... it was worth the delay in production."

According to Ryan March, editor of DVC's Disney Files Magazine, "There's a Soarin' tour for DVC members at Epcot. It takes place most Wednesdays at 8 a.m."

Here's a link to details on our website:

August 16, 2015

Disneyland Chronicles – An Updated Timeline

Gary Cruise banner

By the time this blog is published on Carol and I will be enjoying our 10th visit to Disneyland and attending the D23 Expo in Anaheim.

Although it seems like yesterday, it was a decade ago when we made our first trek west to visit Disneyland for the park’s Golden Anniversary. We had a ball as we joined in the fun at “The Happiest Homecoming On Earth”, the official name of the 50th Birthday celebration! Just before flying west we received the Summer 2005 issue of Disney Magazine and had a chance to read a very timely article by Jennifer Eastwood titled “The Disneyland Chronicles”.

The wonderful five-page article gives a short history of the park, a timeline of significant and unusual events in the history of the resort. It certainly whet our appetites as we read that article just before our big adventure began!

In addition to the timeline, there were recollections from some famous names you are sure to remember, Hayley Mills, Michael Reagan and Bobby Benson.

The article is included below, click on each page to see a larger copy you can read at your leisure.

Disney Magazine Summer 2005 pg 36

Here are a few of my favourite points from the article:
- The park officially opened on July 17, 1955 and only seven weeks later they welcomed their One Millionth guest – Elsa Marquez.
- In 1961 the first Disneyland Grad Nite Party was held. Teens in formal garb spent ALL NIGHT in the park.
- In 1963 the first Audio-Animatronics appeared, ♫♪ in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room ♪♫
- In 1967 The Pirates Of The Caribbean opened.
- In 1969 hundreds of VW Beetles paraded down main Street on Love Bug Day and later in the year The Haunted Mansion opened.
- In 1979 the first baby was born at Disneyland – Teresa Salsedo was delivered on a bench behind the Plaza Inn – she later received the first birth certificate issued by Disney!

Disney Magazine Summer 2005 pg 37

Disney Magazine Summer 2005 pg 38

Disney Magazine Summer 2005 pg 40

Disney Magazine Summer 2005 pg 41

There’s plenty more good reading there; take some time to read all of Jennifer Eastwood’s article!

Now Disneyland is celebrating 60 years, it’s the Diamond Anniversary. Let’s look at what’s happened in the decade since Carol and I made that first Disneyland trip in 2005! Let's update the timeline!

Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

That has proven to be very true! Let’s look at the big changes in the past ten years!

In 2008 - Toy Story Midway Mania opened - A huge resort expansion began with the 2008 opening of Toy Story Midway Mania! at Disney California Adventure park. This ride-through, interactive adventure, located on Paradise Pier, takes riders into a high-energy 4-D carnival midway hosted by “Toy Story” characters. Riders don 3-D glasses and rapid-fire their cannons as they whirl and twirl through the midway firing balls, darts, paintballs and rings at everything in sight! Toy Story has become one of our “must-do” rides, Carol and I become very competitive as we spin through the targets!

Toy Story Midway Mania

Toy Story Midway Mania

2009 - Mickey’s Fun Wheel - The next big attraction on Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure park, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, was actually a “re-Imagineering” of the old Sun Wheel. The 160-foot-diameter eccentric wheel lost its old marquee of sun rays and added a new Mickey Mouse marquee. The gondolas, some fixed and some sliding, all bear images of Minnie, Donald, Pluto or Goofy. The attraction is surrounded by the Games of the Boardwalk, carnival-style games in a Victorian boardwalk setting.

The Sun Wheel

Mickeys Fun Wheel

2010 – “World of Color” - a night-time spectacular featuring nearly 1,200 colourful dancing fountains and animated projections on a water screen the size of a football field, began nightly performances at Disney California Adventure park.

World of Color

World of Color

2011 - Star Tours – The Adventures Continue / The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure - At Disneyland park, the original Star Tours attraction that opened in 1987 was “re-Imagineered” as Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, featuring more than 50 3-D adventures that send voyagers for the first time to Coruscant, Tatooine and other destinations in the Stars Wars galaxy. Across the esplanade at Disney California Adventure park, The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure debuted, taking guests “under the sea” to experience a classic dark ride featuring scenes and songs from The Little Mermaid film.

Star Tours

Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Ariel's Undersea Adventure

2012 - Cars Land / Buena Vista Street - One of the biggest projects in Disneyland history saw the former Timon parking lot transform into Cars Land. This 12 acre themed land at Disney California Adventure park invited guests to enter a breathtaking new world inspired by the hit Disney•Pixar film “Cars” and featured three new attractions – Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. The addition of Buena Vista Street transformed the gateway of Disney California Adventure park into the 1920s and 1930s Los Angeles that greeted a young Walt Disney.

Cars Land

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree

Radiator Springs

2013 - Fantasy Faire / “Mickey and the Magical Map” - At Disneyland park, the royal red carpet rolled out at Fantasy Faire, a picturesque village square that welcomed guests to meet Disney’s fairy tale heroes and heroines. “Mickey and the Magical Map” a new, live stage show in the Fantasyland Theatre featuring Mickey Mouse in his timeless role as the sorcerer’s apprentice made it’s debut.

Fantasy Faire

Mickey and the Magical Map

Mickey and the Magical Map

2014 – Billy Hill & the Hillbillies / Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome - I’m a “glass half full” sort of guy, but I must admit that a couple of recent changes at Disneyland have left me disappointed, feeling like my glass is suddenly half empty. After 21 years entertaining Disneyland guests Billy Hill & the Hillbillies were informed in 2014 that their contract would not be renewed. Ouch! My absolute favourite Disneyland performers are now thrilling their many fans in a new location, Knott’s Berry Farm. Then the amazing Zoetrope disappeared from the Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure park. A friend who visited Disneyland earlier this year told us that the area where Carol and I would stand in absolute wonder as we watched the Toy Story Zoetrope spin has been transformed to Arendelle. Anna and Elsa, who continue to take over the entire Disney world, now meet and greet their little friends in the Animation Academy.

Gary with the Billies

The Zoetrope

While the last two changes have taken some of the magic out of Disneyland from my perspective, most of the developments of the past decade have been very positive. It seems that Walt was right; Disneyland just hasn’t stopped changing. In fact, change has been so prolific that some of the most recent changes have already undergone another change! Luigi’s Flying Tires has closed to make way for Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters which is scheduled to open in 2016.

I wonder what’s coming next?

There are rumoured to be some big announcements scheduled during the D23 Expo, so by the time you read this we may have all heard about some new Disney magic coming in the future!

January 20, 2013

Revved up at Cars Land

Gary Cruise banner

During our last few treks to Disneyland Carol and I have eagerly watched Cars Land take shape. We were excited and anxious to see it since the very first day the new project was announced. Our friends who visited since it opened in June 2012 have given it nothing but rave reviews . . . so our appetites were well whetted before our arrival in mid December.


We knew the parks would be crowded at that time of year so we decided to focus on just a few of our favorite attractions and spend plenty of time at Cars Land. WOW! We were anticipating big things at the new 12 acre site but what we found far exceeded our expectations. It is simply overwhelming.

We were astounded by the transformation that had taken place in a former parking lot. As we turned into Cars Land and walked down Route 66 we felt like we were actually in Radiator Springs . . . "Look, it's Flo's V/8 Diner . . . over there is the Cozy Cone Motel." Our eyes were drawn in every direction at once.

Yes, it's that good!

The Imagineers captured all the color and excitement of the two Cars movies and reproduced it in stunning detail. You will see Sarge's Surplus Hut, a gift shop housed in an Army Quonset hut.


Next door is Fillmore's Taste-In, a snack shop with some surprisingly healthy food options. Fillmore's is set in and around a tie-died, psychedelic-hued geodesic dome.


The automobile theme is consistent throughout; even the flowers in the planters have a distinct automotive flair.






Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is one of the three new rides located in Cars Land. You sit in a small wagon pulled by a tractor as it travels around a double figure eight track. It looks and sounds pretty tame but it does give a pretty good "whip" effect as you whirl around the track. We really enjoyed it! Of course our favorite Cars character, Tow Mater, is joking and singing throughout . . . it's no wonder we liked it as much as the children.





Sally's Cozy Cone Motel is a series of five snack bars, each housed in one of the cones. Everything they serve is presented to you in a cone. There are some creative dishes such as the churro cone (churro bits served in a cone), chili cone-queso served in an edible bread cone, pop-cone (pop corn in a cone), cone coctions (pretzel bites in a cone) and of course ice cream cones.



There are regular meet & greet sessions with Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater in front of Sally's Cozy Cone!

At the end of Route 66 is Luigi's Casa Della Tires which serves as the entrance to the new Luigi's Flying Tires ride.

Luigis Casa Della Tires

You sit two or three abreast in the middle of a huge tire. The ride operates like a giant air hockey game; air blows up from below the surface and "inflates" your tire which becomes a hovercraft. You lean left, right, forward or back in order to move in that direction.



It's like a bumper car ride which operates in super slow motion. It's interesting technology but one ride was enough for us. We rode Mater's Junkyard Jamboree several times but at Luigi's it was "once and done".

Also at the end of Route 66, across from Luigi's, is Flo's V/8 Café. Step back into the early 60's when you enter Flo's. The décor is vintage 60's with plenty of neon and chrome.



There is indoor seating but the outdoor tables offer some amazing views. Sit out front among the gas pumps and watch people parade past on Route 66.


Or take your chow out the side doors to a seating area which overlooks Ornament Valley. We just loved the French toast we had for breakfast at Flo's as we soaked in the scenery of Ornament Valley . . . then as an added bonus Lightning McQueen drove past.


Lightning McQueen

Just past Flo's is Radiator Springs Racers . . . the real focal point in Cars Land.


The Imagineers did an amazing job re-creating all that awesome desert scenery from the movies. The Cadillac Range Mountains form the backdrop for beautiful Ornament Valley. Do you see those tail fins in the skyline?


Ornament Valley covers about 6 acres or about half of the total area of Cars Land and it is truly breathtaking. Our jaws dropped as we took a high speed tour and soaked in the grandeur of the desert scenery. We enjoyed this attraction so much that we rode it seven times during our short stay in California! On one ride I sat next to a young lady who commented, "Wow, this is amazing. I'm from Utah and this scenery is so realistic it really reminds me of Monument Valley." High praise indeed!

The standby queue for Radiator Springs Racers takes you past the spring (shaped like a radiator) which Stanley Steamer discovered before he established the town of Radiator Springs. As you continue on in the line you pass through some typical Route 66 buildings such as the "Bottle House" before you board your car and begin your tour.



The ride itself is terrific. I won't spoil it for you but, you meet some of your favorite characters along the way. You get a chance to do some tractor tipping with Tow Mater and then the ride finishes with a high-speed race to the finish line!


Red the Fire Truck

Lightning McQueen and Mater





Amazing . . . we cannot wait to get back in May and ride it again!

Cars Land Tips
This is the most popular area in the newly refurbished California Adventure park and it is almost always crowded. The lines, particularly for Radiator Springs Racers are long. Here are a few pointers, based on our experience, to help you get the most out of Cars Land.

1. Guests at Disney Resorts are able to enter one of the two theme parks an hour early on select days. If you are not at a Disney Resort, check the schedule and plan to visit Cars Land when the "Early Entry" day is at Disneyland. The California Adventure park will be much quieter that morning since many folks will go to Disneyland.

2. Get there early. We arrived about ten minutes before rope-drop on our first day and were amazed when we saw two separate lines near the Carthay Circle Theatre. One line was a general line to enter the park but there were already several hundred people standing in the second queue to get FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers. Yikes! We stood in the general line and went to the standby line for Radiator Springs Racers at rope-drop. We waited 35 minutes for our ride. Then we went to pick up a FastPass, the big line at the distribution machines was much shorter after the park had been open for a while.

3. Use the "Single Rider Line". I can't stress this enough! The cars at Radiator Springs Racers hold 6 passengers and most groups in line are 2 or 4 people. They pull from the Single Rider Line to fill each vehicle. Even at the busiest times, when the standby line was 150 minutes, we were never more than 35 minutes in the Single Rider Line.

4. See Cars Land at night. It is very different after dark, the neon lights shine everywhere and the accent lighting brings out the red in the sandstone formations at Ornament Valley. It is a totally different atmosphere at night!

Cars Land at night

Ornament Valley at night



5. Here's a tip our friend Beci at Mouse Fan Travel gave us. It was great advice so I'm passing it on to you. Be sure to enter Cars Land from the back end. Walk past the main entrance which is across from the Wine Country Trattoria. Just before you get to the bridge to Pacific Pier you will see a smaller bridge to your left. Take that bridge to the Pacific Wharf area and head straight across, past the Pacific Wharf Café and the Lucky Fortune Cookery. As you pass under that big stone arch you will see an amazing vista of Ornament Valley. Take this route in daylight and after dark, it's very pretty!




Enjoy this video of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure!

So that's a brief glimpse of Cars Land. If you haven't seen it for yourself yet you need to drop everything and head there right now. I know you'll enjoy it . . . we sure did! We can't wait until we're there again in about four months.

September 1, 2011

A bit of Disney California Adventure

Alpha Gollihugh is a regular poster on the AllEars Facebook page. One of the ways she shares the magic is with her photo collages. Here are a few for you to enjoy!

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If your little one hates TOT or Splash Mountain, bring then over to DCA and Flicks Fun Fair (BugsLand) and find rides just the right size for them. But as Walt said, you can ride too!


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For everyone planning to come to DLR next summer, Carsland is moving along. The Cadillac range is being painted in wonderful sunset hues and the ride is somewhat in order. The shops and restaurants are starting to reveal themselves.....waiting....waiting. The little pic at the top is a car antenna topper. The bottom a Cars character meet and greet.


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1-2-3- scream..............California version


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Here is one of my favorite shops in California Adventures, It is called "Off the Page" and contains all sorts of Disney collectibles, and books and movies. The inserts are a modern and an older print of Mickey and the new DCA Mouse Ears set.


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I hadn't been on the "Monsters Inc" ride for a while and it was a less than 15 minute wait:


That's all for today. Hope you enjoyed a bit of West Coast Disney!

June 29, 2010

Disneyland’s “World of Color” Viewing Tips & Strategies

By Beci Mahnken, CTC-MCC

It's official. The newest addition to a long line of in-park entertainment excellence has made its debut at the Disneyland Resort in California.

World of Color

The World of Color is a 25 minute nighttime show that is a stunning blend of lights, water, animation and music. With nearly 1200 fountains that can shoot streams as high as 200 feet in the air, jaw dropping fire effects and appearances from some of your favorite Disney characters that will entertain as well as touch your heart" this is a show that must be seen in person to truly be experienced.

The show takes place at Disney California Adventure on Paradise Bay. Originally the prime viewing area was to accommodate as many as 9000 people, however that estimate has been updated to between 4000 - 5000 for the best locations that allow for some level of view of the main projection screens.

These areas are divided into several color labels sections (blue, yellow, orange, red & green) that are divided in side-by-side sections rather than front to back. One of the sections also includes the bridge that leads to Ariel's Grotto. The view is acceptable, and you get a view of the projections, however you miss the intensity of the more up close and personal experience some of the other sections provide.

Personally I found some of the best, most centered locations in the Blue & Yellow sections located right in Paradise Park.

Tip: Some parts of the show are down at water level, but the majority of effects can be seen from several levels. Rule of thumb - If you have an unobstructed view of the bottom of Mickey's chin on the Fun Wheel from a center location, you should be able to see most of the major effects.

Getting in the Game of Getting a FastPass

It's important to note the information I provide here is subject to change at any time. This process is new and my experiences were from the opening weekend. Disney will more certainly be tweaking the options and processes to improve the guest experience as they learn what works and what doesn't.

So, at the time of this writing, there are several ways to enjoy the show, but three that will help guarantee one of the better views in the house.

1) The General Admission FastPass


Aside from your Disney California Adventure park admission, there is no additional purchase required for this option. However, you will have to arrive early to get in queue at the Grizzly River Run FastPass machine to get your FastPass ticket. Once they are gone... they are gone.

Tip: If you are a Disneyland Resort guest staying at one of the three Disney Resorts you have the extra benefit of using the Grand Californian entrance to the park that spills you into the area right next to Grizzly River Run. You MUST show your valid room key for entry.


Tip: If you do miss the FastPass distribution for the first and second show, be sure to ask a cast member if a third show will or has been added. If not, try for a picnic meal - see below.

2) The Picnic Meal

World of Color

The least expensive guaranteed FastPass option is the Picnic Meal for $14.99 per person. This provides a choice of pre-packaged snack options and a guaranteed FastPass. Ours was for the Yellow section. You have the option to pre-order online that will provide a pass to the first show or you can risk it and try to purchase on a walk-up basis which will admit you to the second show.

Tip: The hands down easiest way to order is online at . Be sure to print your confirmation and have it with you when you pick up your meal between 2pm-8pm at the Sonoma Terrace.

3) The Dining Package

Disney offers a dining package at two of its restaurants, Ariels Grotto (inside seating adults $36.99/ kids $18.99) and Wine Country Trattoria (adults $39.99/ kids $18.99). They offer a Prix Fixe menu with some hearty entrée choices as well as the coveted FastPass for the preferred viewing section for the show. Ours was in the blue section and allowed us to select our spots before the other FastPass holders were let into the viewing area.

World of Color

Tip: Of the three FastPass methods this was by far the most convenient and provided the best viewing selection. To make reservations call Disneyland Dining at : 714-781-DINE. Reservations are taken up to 60 days in advance.

I have my FastPass now what?

Your FastPass will detail where you go to check in for your show. The first show usually requests that you go right to the viewing area, while the second and third will have areas where you will queue up and a cast member will lead you to your assigned viewing section. Have your Fast Passes handy and ready to show when asked. The cast members are very diligent about checking them and you will be asked to show them a few times as you reach your viewing location.


Tip: When you enter your section, find your spot quickly. Best places are where a rope or fenced divider is to avoid having someone right in front of you. Opinions vary on if closer is better, but I can tell you, the closer you are the more intense the experience. However, the closer you are, the more likely you will get wet. They do have a Splash section right in front of Yellow and other locations - and they aren't kidding. If you want to get wet, you will.

What if I don't have a FastPass at all?

You can still see the show without being in one of the assigned color sections. Anywhere you can see the water will offer some view of the show and you will certainly hear the music. However from the side or behind you will likely not see the screens that project the characters and other animation.

I will say that after you have seen the show from the front viewing area, it's a wonderful experience to view the next show from the side or behind the main viewing area. It gives you a whole new appreciation for the artistry of the fountains and color patterns that don't get as much attention when the projections are visible.

Another interesting view is from a theme park view room on a higher floor at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. The music is piped into your room through a dedicated TV channel and the overhead view of the show is a unique perspective that you do not get from the ground.

Regardless of where you view the show, you will see Disney entertainment at its best with all of its heart string-pulling, energizing excitement we have come to expect from these talented Imaginers.


Beci Mahnken, CTC-MCC is the Founder, President and CEO of MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel - An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner - Beci has over 12 years vacation planning experience, specializing in vacation packages and cruises, with a team of over 60 affiliates nationwide. Visit: - Follow Beci on Twitter @beci_MouseFan

June 14, 2008

Toy Story Mania - Comparing Disneyland and Disney World!

All Ears® Guest blogger JeanineY is back! You may recall she chronicled the NFFC trip to Tokyo Disneyland a few months ago.

This time she compares the brand new Toy Story Mania attractions at Walt Disney World and Disneyland!

Ride "Spoilers" Ahead. This comparison offers detailed descriptions and photos of the two attractions!

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Recently I spent a few days over at WDW, a not-inconsiderable-portion of which I spent playing their newly-opened Toy Story Midway Mania ride at the Hollywood Studios.

The day after I returned, I attended the annual passholder preview of Disneyland's Toy Story Midway Mania where we were able to ride with minimal waits for designated 6-hour time slots. With luck, I won't spend next week getting treated for repetitive motion injury.

Toy Story Mania Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

Toy Story in Disney's Hollywood Studios is outwardly themed around the Pixar Studio buildings in order to better fit with the generalized show-business theme.

Toy Story Mania Disney's California Adventure Disneyland

Toy Story at Disney's California Adventure is designed to fit in more with the boardwalk games that pepper the Paradise Pier area. The ride building is much more attractive and detailed than the other cardboardy-structures around there.

Mr. Potato Head Toy Story Mania Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

The multi-million dollar Mr. Potato Head is up and singing in WDW, but was boarded off and not visible in the Disneyland cue.

Toy Story Mania Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

Probably the most noticable difference between the two versions is the queue. In WDW the queue is indoors and the concept that the rider has shrunk to toy size is much more developed. Additionally there's air conditioning, which is a huge plus.

Toy Story Mania Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

In WDW they have a standby line, and a separate fastpass/single rider line, although the single rider line does not always run, and is not always a time saver. Disneyland will have a single rider line, but will apparently not have fastpass, similar to the Finding Nemo Submarine ride.

Toy Story Mania Disney's California Adventure Disneyland

The Disneyland Toy Story queue is all outdoors, with most of it similar to the outdoor Muppetvision queue, decorated with attraction posters. One can only assume the difference may be due to the more inclement weather Orlando has over Anaheim.

Additionally, the WDW queue is multi-leveled, whereas the DL queue is all on ground level (limited by California Screamin', which runs overhead.)

Frankly, the Disneyland queue looks markedly short, for the number of people you might expect to be waiting for it this summer. One CM stated that he thought the line held a little over an hour's worth of people, and that they were expecting the line to cross the walkway and extend over the bridge all the way to Golden Dreams, on the other side of the lagoon! Given that I saw the wait times at WDW reach around 190 minutes occasionally throughout the weekend, it seems likely.

Toy Story Mania Disney's California Adventure Disneyland

As far as the actual rides go, they're fairly similar. The areas between the shooting screens seemed longer at Disneyland, but the cannons and targets were all identical clones.

On the way out at Disneyland, you pass by this odd little room that, I suppose, is designed to clue you in to the whole "entering the Midway Games toy set" storyline, if you missed it earlier. I am sure some blogger out there knows the significance of the little dog figurines and the bust and the iced tea, but it would not be me.

Toy Story Mania Disney's California Adventure Disneyland

A curious thing is that at WDW, where the ride has been open to the public for some time, they still have no specific shop or merchandise for the ride, with the exception of one Mr. Potato Head t-shirt going for $40.

At Disneyland, where the ride was only in previews, a whole shop was open, with a multitude of purchasables. One cute item was the cannon-replica keychain that had a pull-string triggering a sound similar to the ride sound effect, and projecting a light image of a hoop from the ring-toss screen.

Toy Story Mania Disney's California Adventure Disneyland

As other blogs have gleefully noted the low wait times they've experienced at the press opening of the WDW Toy Story, I include the wait time we had at our AP preview out here.

It does seem likely that, without fastpass, the waits will be considerably longer than this in the near future as it is a great ride in either park.

Have fun, and remember--keep that fox out of the henhouse!

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About Disney's California Adventure

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in the Disney's California Adventure category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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