It's been a little more than a week since my trip, and I wanted to share my experience at DCA on September 16th, 2012 and my opinions on the park's new additions (and some comments and critiques of the old attractions as well). This was my first time experiencing Disney California Adventure since the additions of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.
We arrived at the gates twenty minutes before opening and went directly line to obtain a fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers. We passed through Buena Vista Street—incredible! I was highly anticipating the arrival of Buena Vista Street from the moment that I heard the news, excited for entrance with a story rather than the previous, tacky entrance that did nothing to welcome guests into the park. My family stared with amazement at the complete transformation of the entrance. We walked through quickly in order to get in the fastpass line, but with all the intentions of returning later to savor all the little details. The fastpass line was now winding through the queue of Disney Junior Live on Stage, and after a few minutes of waiting there, we were directed to the fastpass distribution area and received our fastpasses in less than ten minutes.
After receiving our fastpasses, we headed to the beckoning Cars Land, smiles brimming across our faces. I suggested Luigi’s Flying Tires as the day’s first ride, knowing that the five minute wait was the shortest we would see all day. Although the ride itself isn’t terribly praise-worthy, I loved the queue! Unfortunately, we rushed through the indoor portion, but I loved the rich wood walls and tire displays, with Luigi’s beloved white wall tires taking center stage. The outside portion was lovely! The vibrant colors, the red and white roses, the tire-shaped planters, and festive Italian music filling the air created a fantastic atmosphere. Bellísimo! I have no desire to ride the attraction again (I imagine the beach balls added something more to the ride) but I would like to see the queue again.
Next we had breakfast at Flo’s V-8 Café. Another spectacular display of details that create an authentic atmosphere. The restaurant is a direct portal to an authentic off the mother road, everything from the music to the Cast Member’s clothing to the chrome on the counter and the neon lights and period tiles. We sat next to the window with a view of Radiator Springs Racers as we split breakfast plates and some coffee. It’s the same breakfast plates that are served at the Tomorrowland Terrace and Riverbelle Terrace, with the potatoes, eggs, biscuit, and bacon. Pretty good, but unlike my family, I’m not really a breakfast person. I just like my coffee.
We checked the line for Radiator Springs Racers, and upon seeing that the wait was only 45 minutes, we excitedly entered. I adored the queue. I found it incredibly effective at immersing you in the story. I enjoy a well-themed queue as much as I enjoy any major attraction. I walked through the line marveling at the expansive, beautiful rockwork. Cadillac Range is a pure treat for the eyes and one of the most effective devices at making you question if you really are in Anaheim and not the surrounding desert of Route 66. The foliage along the way was also nice, several trees, and lots of cacti continued the immersion. Little nods to the history of Radiator Springs helped communicate the story of the attraction, and the two buildings that you pass through continued enhancing the authentic feel of the queue. I liked seeing the cars pass through the outside portion before disappearing back inside as the anticipation continued to build. Lastly, the music in the queue was fabulous. It felt very authentic to the period and complemented the rest of the queue.
Towards the entrance of the queue with the golden rays of the morning sun.
One of the fun buildings that you pass through in the general line for Radiator Springs Racers is a bottle house. I love the way that they caught and reflected the early morning's light.
An example of the catci from the window.
The view outside the window of the bottle house. Are you sure that we're in Anaheim?
Quite the impressive view.
The time came to board the actual attraction, and I sat in the front to the very left. Unlike many attractions, I don't think that a different seat with drastically experience your perception of the attraction. Some Single Riders joined my group, the safety check concluded, and our car began to leave the station. Oddly, the beginning was my favorite part. Slowly winding through the desert with peaceful music in your ears, growing into a crescendo as your car turns the corner and the beautiful glory of the waterfall captures your attention. Spectacular! I got goose bumps as the car then turns into the opening in the cliff and descended into the darkness, embracing you into a new world. I thought that the animatronics were fantastic, all seemed to be working well during my trip. The fluidity of their lip movements is particularly incredible. However, I found the dark ride portion was lacking and left much to be desired. Next, the racing segment. I liked how the guests zip off and speedily maneuver around the beauty of Cadillac Range, but again, I felt like this section felt something to be desired. Overall, although this ride is a nice addition to DCA, “nice” is the best word I can muster for the attraction as a whole. I personally don’t believe it joins the ranks of Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, or Indiana Jones.
We then strolled over to Hollywood Land. Tower of Terror’s wait line boasted an ominous 13 minute wait, a signal to walk right on. I would love to spend a while in the lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. The details are so rich and I never feel like I have enough time to appreciate them. A wonderfully creepy Cast Member with an unsettling stare and ghoulish voice greeted us into the library. I love Cast Members that enhance the creepy atmosphere on this ride and draw you into the story! This attraction is still my favorite in the park. It has a great story, a highly immersive queue, obvious attention to detail, and everything combines to create a great experience. I enjoy how the environment of the queue becomes progressively creepier, fromthe slightly unsettling, dust-laden and cobweb filled lobby to the dark library to the sinister boiler room.
The first red car sighting of the day! I love its vibrant red color and kineticenergy that it adds as it meanders through the streets. I like that I was able to capture the performer leaning out of the trolley's window without the shot looking overly cheesy, unlike the performance itself. I saw a bit of the show, and while the show itself needs new music and better direction, but the energy is great and the utilization of the trolley is genius.
More to come soon, including my thoughts and experience of Buena Vista Street and the neon lights of Cars Land! Thanks for reading!