I rode Monsters Inc yesterday and also saw Turtle talk for the first time.
Monsters: Cute "C Ticket" reworking of the truly hideous Superstar Limo (in my estimation the worst ride ever to have come from Imagineering). Given the limitations of space, layout, etc, Monsters comes off well - - not exciting or surprising - - but pleasant. The three dimensional models (several with limited motion) are quite attractive and close to the level of the Roger Rabbit ride. Though there are several amusing setpieces (like Harryhausen's), there is only one really dynamic visual scene in the wherehouse full of doors. One would wish for one or two really new, original and surprising effects - - and storywise, I would have liked to have been transported through one of the doors to Boo's bedroom (and back again) at the end of the ride, but at least it is no stale Pooh fiasco. DCA really needs rides instead of shows and this helps to flesh out the offerings. It's nice too that it is an original to Anaheim. Anyway, a good if not sterling effort - - I hope they add a somewhat more spectacular "D-Ticket" Little Mermaid attraction to the pier area as DCA finally gains some momentum.
Hollywood "placemaking": Looks nicer. This sort of theming layer is really needed throughout DCA (some places even more drastically). It helps make this feel like a place you might actually want to go and hang. I'm glad they are thinking about such things again. One thing I don't get: the Sorcerer Mickey fountain looks great here - - why not just rename the Hollywood Pictures area Walt Disney Studios and give the rest of the "land" the same treatment (mouse ears on the water tower, WDStudio merchandise, etc.) - - I mean, people would rather see that anyway, so why not just give them what they want? It also allows for unique merchandise to sell that people might want (some imported from the Studio or Florida and Paris).
Turtle Talk; Charming. Surprising. The kids loved it. Breakthrough new technology. Now that's a Disney worthy little show.
Keep the DCA changes coming fast and furious, Matt, and you may turn out to be the man who made a silk purse from a sow's ear. But there is a long, long way to go yet... Mickey's Philharmagic sould be brought to that San Francisco Palace of the Arts Theatre (replacing Golden Dreams) as soon as possible! And how about some Haight Ashbury style shops over there in those empty storefronts - - keep the energy building in this park!
(BTW - - Now that Julie Andrews has replaced Eisner in One Man's Dream I'd love to see that film return to Anaheim in a more high profile location, say the Main Street Cinema in Disneyland itself (Walt's own park), made over into a proper small screening room - - that couldn't cost too much. This is a really touching film, and its location in DCA was far too remote to give the full exposure it deserved with the public, especially now that Julie is hosting. It compliments the 50th.).