ENGINE EARS TOYS - Engineers
As the California Zephyr
symbollically pulls into the station in DCA's Sunshine Plaza, one is greeted by Engine Ears Toys. One entrance of this attraction (not pictured here) is marked by a neon-emblazoned, cartoony sign depicting stuffed bears in conductor outfits driving a toy train. The true entrance to the shop (pictured above) is marked by the front of the train itself, which actually allows the pun to make any semblance of sense... but instead of showcasing both the store and the iconic California Zephyr locomotive, the store casually makes a mockery of the Amtrak passenger train. BUR-R-R BANK BAKERY - Burbank, California
Burbank, billed as the "Media Capital of the World," and home to The Walt Disney Company itself (as well as NBC Universal and Warner Brothers), doesn't get an attraction or proper recognition in Disney's California Adventure. Instead, it gets its city name turned into a pun and is turned into a ice cream counter. Clever. BAKER'S FIELD BAKERY - Bakersfield, California
According to the United States Census, Bakersfield is California's 11th largest cityand the 58th largest city in the nation. It's been noted in such works as The Grapes of Wrath
and is known for its country music thanks to the likes of Buck Owens. The city, when not being targeted for its deplorable air quality, is known for is agricultural productivity as well as its petroleum extraction and refinement industries. What Bakersfield isn't quite known for is its world-class bakers, because, well, there really aren't any. However, at DCA, Bakersfield is reduced to a joke as "Baker's Field Bakery" - and to think they don't even sell Smith's Bakery
's famous sugar cookies there! TASTE PILOT'S GRILL - Test pilot
Test pilots perform some of the most dangerous miliary aircraft flying during peacetime. In real life test pilots test aircrafts but unfortunately, at DCA, Test - or rather, Taste
Pilots just test bad hamburgers. FLY 'N' BUY SOUVENIR - Flyby/Flypast
Flybys, or flypasts, are typically done for ceremonial occassions or airshows. Not
for quick souvenir shopping. COOL YOUR JETS!
"Cool Your Jets
" is apparently an aviation term which relates, literally, to your plane's jets to cool after turning off the engines. It's also commonly used as similarly as "hold your horses
" or other phrases that mean to slow down or to calm down. EARBORNE POPCORN - Airborne
Earborne Popcorn is an outdoor vending cart in the Condor Flats section of DCA. "Earborne," of course, is a play on the word "airborne," which is an appropriate theme in this area of the park. However, the word "earborne" makes no sense in the context. Sure enough, its supposed to be clever, but comes off to me as being a new ear-borne type of contagious disease. Maybe puninitus, the ailment of too many bad puns, is earborne. "BEAR LEFT"
Bear left. Towards the big grizzly bear mountain. How clever. "LET'S CUT A DEAL"
It's not even funny. I mean, as if they're going to really haggle with you on the over-priced t-shirts and plush. They aren't fooling anybody, especially with yet another lame pun. LAOD BHANG'S PIN TRADERS - Loud Bang - Fireworks
Themed as a Chinese firework vending cart, in a feeble attempt to go with the nearby San Francisco
theme, as San Francisco is famous for its Chinatown
, this pin cart really has no business even being themed as a fireworks vendor. PIZZA OOM MOW MOW - "Papa Oom Mow Mow"
IN CRUST WE TRUST - In God We Trust
Perhaps this was a hint at the future of DCA's ticketing, because we've got ourselves a 2fer! Pizza Oom Mow Mow is home of two of DCA's more un-clever plays on words. Here, the name of the restaurant harkens back to "Papa Oom Mow Mow," a doo-wop song first performed by The Rivingtons in the 50s, then later covered by DCA's favorite band, The Beach Boys
, in 1965. MALIBOOMER - Malibu, California
Malibu, California is home to numerous movie stars and is known for its sandy beaches and expensive lifestyle. I don't think a "space shot
"ride themed to a test-your-strength midway game really reflects the true nature of the famous beach community. SIDESHOW SHIRTS - Curiosi-Tees, Oddi-Tees, Rari-Tees, Absurdi-Tees
Sideshow Shirts is a overgrown gift shop on Paradise Pier, in an area where better quality attractions is a necessity, not more giftshops. Sideshow Shirts not only insults park guests with its wide array of Roxy, Quicksilver, and Billabong shirts mixed in with its Tinkerbell and Mickey tees, it makes a joke out of the shirts on its signage, proclaiming them oh-so-cleverly as "Oddi-Tees," "Absurdi-Tees," and so on. MAN HAT N' BEACH - Manhattan Beach, California
Manhattan Beach, California is only three miles from LAX, about 19 miles Los Angeles and features a 928-foot-long pier. The city has an estimated value at $3.8 billion and the beachfront community is nicknamed "Pearl of the South Bay" for its desireable location and beauty. Instead of just getting turned into a bad shop name, you'd think Manhattan Beach and its similar beach communities would have gotten proper recognition in DCA. SHORE SHOT - Sure shot
Well, too bad this and the rest of the Games of the Boardwalk weren't sure-shot winners. Instead, they're overpriced, and similarly-rigged carnival games that do nothing to enhance the theming and overall enjoyment of Paradise Pier, their punny names notwithstanding. NEW HAUL FISHERY - Newhall, California
Newhall is the oldest district of Santa Clarita, California, the first anglo settlement in the valley, and is home to the Newhall Incident, where four highway patrolmen were killed in a brutal shooting. But at DCA, the small community is nothing more than a fishery. CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN' - "California Dreamin'"
"California Dreamin'" is a 1965 song by the Mamas and the Papas
and is the inspiration for the name of Paradise Pier's E-Ticket, California Screamin'. What's interesting, however, is that aside from the name, the rollercoaster has no other connection to the song - not via theming and not via the on-board sound system which could easily blast a version of the song suited for the coaster. CATCH A FLAVE - "Catch a Wave"
The Beach Boys can easily be regarded as one of California's quintessential bands. Their 1963 song, "Catch a Wave" is represented here, at DCA, as an ice cream shop, where you can, apparently, catch a flave
. RITA'S BAJA BLENDERS - Margarita
s at DCA. Yeah, if you can't stomach all of the bad jokes, then you can ease the pain with some booze. LUCKY FORTUNE COOKERY - Fortune Cookies
The Lucky Fortune Cookery in DCA's Pacific Wharf district has been closed for quite a while, but the building and all of its signage remains. The Lucky Fortune Cookery was actually one of the only cleverly-named things in DCA - fortune cookies being its specialty as it served chocolate-dipped and decorated fortune cookies for guests to purchase and enjoy with their $7 teriyaki chicken bowls. SAM ANDREAS SHAKES - San Andreas Fault
San Andreas Fault is a geological fault that runs about 800 miles through Western and Southern California. Instead of an attraction having to deal with California's earthquakes that would suit the theme of the park, park designers gave the honor of giving one of Californias most well-known, and perhaps, most-feared natural occurances to a milkshake stand. Delicious to a fault? More like tasteless to a fault. GONE HOLLYWOOD - "Gone Hollywood"
The Hollywood Pictures Backlot in DCA offers the most puns in the shortest distance in the park. Disney's Hollywood Pictures Backlot is perhaps one of the most insulting areas of the theme park - giving us a row of empty facades instead of attractions. It seemed where the Imagineers didn't have enough money for rides and entertainment for this section of the park, they made the puns and inside jokes the main attraction. Nearly every neon and window sign on DCA's Hollywood strip is making a joke. And "Gone Hollywood" is no exception. "Gone Hollywood," while being commonly used as a figure of speech, is also a 1979 song by Supertramp, which tells the story of a man who wishes he never had set foot in Los Angeles. How ironic that many guests probably feel similarly about DCA. AWARD WIENERS - Award Winners
Does this even need an explaination? It's just... tacky. PHILIP A. COUCH CASTING AGENCY - Casting couch
According to Wikipedia, "The casting couch is a euphemism for a widely recognized sociological phenomenon that involves the trading of sexual favors by an aspirant, apprentice employee, or subordinate to a superior, in return for entry into an occupation, or for other career advancement within an organization.
This practice is thought to be a phenomenon in careers which are highly desirable and traditionally difficult to break into, primarily the movie, television, advertising and music industries. Such trading of favors may be considered an abuse of power, and become a wider sex scandal if deemed newsworthy."
Interesting that the Imagineers would put a not to this
aspect of Hollywood in the park - shining brightly in neon, no less! Thanks to TrojanSkippa
for pointing this out to me. PHIL M. NOIR - Film noir
Film noir is used in stylish Hollywood crime dramas, and hit its heyday in the 40s and 50s. Noir is an important part of cinema, and is something that would make an exceptional theme park experience, especially with the creativity of Disney's theme park wizards. Unfortunately, Phil- er, film
noir just doesn't get proper recognition in DCA's Hollywood Pictures Backlot. GONE WITH THE CHIN - Gone With the Wind Gone With the Wind
is widely regarded as a breakthrough cinematic acheivement. Having won 10 Academy Awards and after being adjusted for inflation, is the highest-grossing film of all time, you'd think this film would be a gem of a theme park attraction. Instead, its just a clever plastic surgery doctor's office on DCA's Hollywood Blvd. If we must stomach the bad pun then this sign ought to get some plastic surgery itself and get the neon fixed - half of its missing! SOUVENIR ITCH - The Seven Year Itch
I wonder if movie-goers got the Souvenir Itch after watching Marylin Monroe's Seven Year Itch
in 1955. I'm betting no. SCHMOOZIES - Schmooze
What they thought was a clever merger of "schmooze" and "smoothies" is anything but funny. The Schmoozies flashing neon sign is quite possibly one of the most glaringly out-of-place and distracting elements along DCA's Hollywood Blvd. BEN HAIR - Ben-Hur Ben-Hur
is an 1880 book that has been adapted to film four times - twice as a silent film, once as a sound film, and once as an animated film. The 1959 Charlton Heston won eleven Academy Awards and depicts the tale of Christ. An epic film, however, at DCA, apparently can just become an epic salon. DIAL M FOR MUSCLE- Dial M For Murder
Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film adaptation of Frederick Knott's stageplay is nothing more than a fake gym in DCA. ROLE MODELS MODELING AGENCY - Role Model EXCESS BRAGGAGE - Excess Baggage
Of course, being a Hollywood star is all about bragging, so naturally, you'd want some luggage you can brag about. And that's what Excess Braggage at DCA claims to sell. However, good luck getting in to get your designer bags, because this shop is as fake as anything else on DCA's Hollywood strip. A SWEET SHOP NAMED DESIRE - A Street Car Named Desire
Tennessee Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948 for his play called "A Streetcar Named Desire." The film based on the award-winning play starring Marlon Brando and opened in 1951, and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and nabbed four of them. At DCA it's represented as a candy store that you can't even get into. Funny? FLORAL CANYON - Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California
Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles is known for the self-contained nature of its community, nestled along the canyon along the way to Mullholland Drive. Laurel Canyon is also an important thoroughfare between West Hollywood and Studio City and the rest of the San Fernando Valley. Laurel Canyon is also known for its famous past and present residents including Justin Timberlake, Orson Welles, Harry Houdini, The Rolling Stones, Meg Ryan, and Jennifer Aniston... so while the drive is lined with stars, the Canyon isn't quite known for its flowers, as it is at DCA. LA BREA CARPETS - La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits are a famous natural phenomenon comprised of a cluster of tar pits that have formed from tar that has seeped up to the surface over tens of thousands of years. The pits have fossilized the remains of animals that became trapped in the sticky pools, the result being an incredibly rich collection of fossils in the asphalt, dating back to the last ice age. The Tar Pits could potentially offer an interesting DCA attraction which would support and quite noticeably enhance the California Adventure theme. However, the rich history of California is again wasted in the park and merely represented as a carpet store on a fake Hollywood Boulevard.