Monday, April 1, 2019

Disneyland Resort Attractions Throwdown: Day 6

Alright, Day 6 is here!  Since I didn't get to say it on day 5, we're over halfway through the first round.  It's taken a lot of effort, but I am really enjoying this, so I;m determined to see it through.  Hopefully my friends aren't feeling too pestered, but if you are, well, we've got a long way to go still.  So sorry, I guess.  Maybe you should just be a bigger Disney fan like I am! Kidding, really, but let's move on to the important stuff, shall we?

Match 64.21
Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly Mickey's Fun Wheel and the Sun Wheel)
Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

Depending on when your last visit to California Adventure was determines what name you might know this ride as.  Yes, within the space of a decade this ride has know three separate names.  For me, the swinging gondolas used to terrify me.  Now it makes for a fun unique take on a ferris wheel, but I still prefer the ride for it's lighting rather than it's usefulness as an attraction.  The Enchanted Tiki Room is a classic Disney attraction, slightly boring and dated, but fun nonetheless.  Again, I suppose it comes down to a nostalgia factor and the history behind the attraction that I appreciate more than the show itself, but I'll give it my vote. 

Match 64.22
Mark Twain Riverboat
Turtle Talk with Crush

Alright, I'll confess.  I'm definitely biased on this one towards Turtle Talk, because I worked the Turtle Talk with Crush show at WDW during my first College Program.  To me, that show is so much fun!  I loved interacting with the kids, who have the most silly of questions.  Most of the time they don't even want to ask anything, but peer pressure states that when you're five and all the kids around you are excitedly raising their hands, you have to as well.  Besides, the theater for Crush at California Adventure has seats instead of benches at WDW, so that makes it even better (for the parents at least).  Also, I can't share with anyone how this technology is accomplished, but let's say it is really cool to watch how a show goes together.  It's one of the special experiences of training at this attraction, and probably something I won't easily forget.  As far as the Mark Twain, it is good for a leisurely ride around the Rivers of America.  Again, I want to see the changes to the scenery from the Galaxy's Edge construction intruding into this area a bit, but i do like relaxing on these trips every once in a while.  Definitely the Mark Twain over the Columbia, I will say, but it still can't beat my love for Turtle Talk.  Duuuude!

Match 64.23
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

I thought it was really interesting that the two "side attractions," if you will, of Carsland ended up heat-to-head in the first round.  This is for sure not a main pull for this land, but if you find the line for Radiator Springs Racers too long, there are okay to still stop at.  Out of the two, I give my vote to Mater.  He has more songs that Luigi does, and Mater's ride is a little more predictable.  The fun way to ride this is throw you (and your companion) against the side of the vehicle that you are swinging around, as this increases the speed and force of the swing.  With Luigi's ride, I like the (albeit slow) adoption of a trackless ride system, but hate that I have no idea which way I'm about to get jerked around.  I don't know if they even tried to make the programming smooth, but in my experience, it was a lot of jerking in different directions, and not enough pay off for it. 

I also want to share a short but sad story.  One of those former Disney rides that I am obsessed with was the Flying Saucers ride at Disneyland in Tomorrowland.  It lasted from 1961 to 1966, but was closed due to regular breakdowns and an unreliable ride system.  The cars floated on a cusion of air, and leaning in any direction was how you steering into other riders.  It's strange to think of a "bumper cars" type ride in Disneyland, but this was as close as it came to existing.  Anyway, at the opening of Carsland, Luigi's Flying Tires was the resurrection of this ride, and I was so excited to get a chance to ride something I had always dreamed of.  Of course, the ride was no more reliable after all these years, and it was soon closed, lasting an even shorter time of 2012 to 2015.  And of course, it closed before I had a chance to ride it!  I guess that could be another reason I'm a little bitter about Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters....

Match 64.24
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

This is another really tough matchup.  As I've said, Mr Toad's is probably my favorite dark ride, but I again happened to be biased regarding Finding Nemo themed things.  I remember going on the original Submarine Voyage attraction at one of my early visits to Disneyland, and it was one of the rides that I loved.  It was sad when going later and it was closed, but even worse it that they left things there almost as if it could reopen at any time.  Thankfully they did keep it in fairly good condition, since that allowed them to reopen it several years later with the Nemo overlay.  Some people don't like this ride, but I definitely enjoy it. 

So there we go.  Join me again tomorrow for more opinions that you didn't ask for!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A note on Day 4

I fell behind in my blog posts this weekend.  I had a draft going for the day four matches that was started on Saturday, when those battles were live.  I didn't finish it until tonight, but when I went to post it, the half of the post that I had just written disappeared without a trace.  So, I'm a little peeved.  If I can get over my anger, I might try to finish that post up again sometime, but for right now, it's going to be kept in cyberspace. 

Also, in the interet of catching up, I'm also forgoing a post on Day 5.  If I forge ahead, I can hopefully stay on track and not get even more behind.  Again, hopefully I'll have time to make it back here to finish those posts up, but not right now.  Thanks for understanding, and I'll see you tomorrow for Day 6!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Disneyland Resort Attractions Throwdown: Day 3

We are really moving along now.  Results for the first day were finalized, and I have to say, it was kinda interesting to me.  The battle between Tarzan's Treehouse and the Sailing Ship Columbia was really close, with Tarzan winning it by only one vote! on the other extreme, Splash Mountain beat out Rodger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin 54 to 5.  Other winners include Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Disneyland Railroad.  I've been really happy with the amount of response I've gotten with this; it far exceeded my expectations but really it's just for fun, so getting anyone involved would have made me happy.  But the more people involved, the more fun it is, in my opinion. 

Let's get to today's matchups!

Match 64.9
Soarin' Around the World
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

This one is no contest for me.  I appreciate Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, especially since the upgrade of the animatronic a few years back, but it's generally not one I tend to visit regularly.  Soarin' is an excellent attraction, both in concept and execution.  I love the technology involved here, the screen is huge which is really cool, and the scents being blown in your face make it all that more realistic.  However, the original version of this ride that contained only scenes from California was significantly better in my opinion that this new version.  By the way, I'm totally not biased having been born and raised in California..... The new ride just feels hokey to me.  The scents in the first one just enhance the experience, but the second version seems to be designed specifically to insert smells as often as they can (I'm pretty sure there's at least three different scents).  As well, the scene changes in the first were just hard cuts in the film.  With the new version, there's an obsession with having things fly at/point at the screen for each change, some of which are poorly CGI'ed.  Also, they took the main theme to the original soundtrack and then just repeated it for every scene, with slight variations to match the location being shown at the time.  Obviously I have some serious dislikes about the new version, but I'd still rather have this than nothing, and it beats out Mr. Lincoln (sorry Mr. President).

Match 64.10
Toy Story Midway Mania
Space Mountain

This is probably the hardest match in the first round of 64.  I love both of these rides so much, so it's hard to pick between the two.  Toy Story Midway Mania is a little like an updated version of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, but it's so much fun even without the competition.  This is another one where I like to ride with people I can beat the pants off of, but even by myself I try to go for "best in vehicle" which I can usually get (and even a few times getting "best in the last hour").  The Mr. Potato Head animatronic is insanely cool as well.  I appreciate the fact that in California the figure is in a place where everyone can see, even those just walking past and not just waiting in line.  In Florida, the figure is buried deep in the queue, in a location not even seen by those in the Fastpass line, which I feel is a bit of a shame.  Space Mountain is also a really good roller coaster.  It's gotten better in recent years with the addition of an excellent soundtrack by Micahel Giacchino and replacement of the track just before the Golden Celebration of Disneyland's 50th birthday in 2005.  I remember going at the very beginning of 2005 and being disappointed that Space Mountain was closed, but I had no idea the reason why until many years later.  The ambiance and execution of this ride is so much fun.  I've also ridden a few of the overlays of this ride, namely Rockin' Space Mountain and Hyperspace Mountain.  I've wanted to experience the Ghost Galaxy overlay present at Halloween time, but so far I have never visited at the proper time.  Anyway, this is a hard decision between two rides that I enjoy very much, but I'm going to go with Space Mountain on this one. 

Match 64.11
Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
King Arthur Carrousel

Another easy pick.  I enjoy walking past the carousel and hearing the music going, but I definitely would pick Star Tours to ride.  I'm not always a fan of 3D based rides, since I wear glasses normally and so the 3D glasses never fit particularly well over those.  However, I do have a love for the original Star Tours ride, and I enjoy the new system that randomizes the ride.  One thing I will complain about is that the timing of the ride is so fluid trying to fit into the action of the movies.  This is especially bad as of late, where they have been adding scenes based on episodes 7 and 8 (and surely 9 when that time comes), but the explained time frame of the ride is between the prequel and original trilogies (that's between episodes 3 and 4), so suddenly jumping in time to 30 years later without any explanation ruins it a little for me.  I know they do it for free marketing and because it helps people tie into the films more, but come on, be consistent or don't limit yourself by your own rules.  Wow, I guess I'm really ranting today. 

Match 64.12
Disneyland Monorail
Goofy's Sky School

I love the monorail!  I think it looks cool, especially since the debut of the Mark VII.  Unfortunately, whether because of the Mark VII or for another reason, the monorail has recently lost a lot of it's attraction appeal.  You used to be able to ride it for a complete loop, but now it only gives a ride from one station to the other and then you are forced off.  Most recently, I've even experienced not being able to ride it at all from Downtown Disney back into the park, which is the better part of the ride.  I don't know if that's a permanent change or just circumstances of when we visited, but it was certainly disappointing.  It makes it not a ride of cool futuristic tech but a simple transportation system, which doesn't even go anywhere useful.  This is already the case in Walt Disney World, and for me it cheapens the experience.  Still, I would take the monorail over Goofy's Sky School.  A neat ride, but I can ride the exact same ride at the local state fair.  Besides, with my size, it's no longer remotely comfortable. 

So there we go.  I'll have more opinions and rants, along with more results tomorrow.  TTFN!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Disneyland Resort Attractions Throwdown: Day 2

We are off to an excellent start!  Since I'm writing this post the night before it will go up, I can't reveal the winner of yesterday's rounds (because not all the votes have been cast).  So, if you're looking for how your favorite ride is doing so far....I got nothing for you.  But, I DO have a slew of new ride battles to choose between! Without any further ado, let's get going on the next four matches!

Match 64.5 (I'm using a new numbering system, which will remind me this is the 5th battle of the round of 64)
Gadget's Go Coaster
Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

Gadget's Go Caster was for me, one of the first roller coasters I would go on willingly.  On my earliest visits to Disneyland, I was only okay on going on Autopia, because it was safe.  At some point i remember being convinced that Gadget's Go Coaster was okay, along with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (as long I was sitting near the front).  Also, I was tricked into getting on California Screamin', but that's another story.  Anyway, it's good as a beginner to roller coaster thrills, but these days it's apparent that this ride is definitely not for people my size (6' 2").  It's also a pretty short ride, and so I rarely think that it's worth a trip out to Toontown to ride it.  I suppose that opinion might change with children, but we will have to see.  On the Monster's Inc side, this is one dark ride I really enjoy.  The history of Superstar Limo being (pretty much) the worst Disney ride failure is interesting to me.  I remember seeing the building in the early days of California Adventure, but our visits happened after it had closed, so I never saw this building until it had reopened with the retheme.  Another example of some really good effects.  I still have no idea if the Roz animatronic has some sort of programmable response like an early version of Toy Story Midway Mania's Mr. Potato Head, but it always seems to have a relevant response when you stop at it right before unloading.  Maybe I've just been lucky, I don't know.  Either way, I'm going to give it to Mike and Sulley in this one. 

Match 64.6
Pirates of the Caribbean
Radiator Springs Racers

I'm interested to see how this one goes.  My sister is so upset with the fact that these rides are going against each other in the first round because they are both so good and hard to choose between.  It's another juxtaposition of a famous classic pitted against a recent pull-out-all-the-stops E ticket thrill ride.  Both are good options.  There's something about Pirates that always hits my nostalgia itch, and I love the Disneyland version much more that the one at Walt Disney World (how many times have I said that already?).  There is one "black spot" if you will, that has dampened my enjoyment of this ride recently, and that's the redhead in the auction scene.  For those of you unfamiliar with this change, for years there was a scene where a pirate captain led an auction of the pretty female residents of the town they have just sacked, so that the pirates could have a "wench for a bride."  The famous image of this scene is a tall skinny redhead showing off her goods while the pirates across the water cry "we wants the redhead!"  However, there has been a lot of controversy, especially recently, that this was in poor taste.  Since pirates are known for their staunch political correctness, the scene was changed to be an auction of expensive bounty found throughout the town (because there is such a high demand for chandeliers and paintings on board ships, you know), and the redhead was changed to be a pirate with a line of her own: the stereotypical "drink up, me hearties! Yo ho!" #somuchbetter  Obviously, I'm not a fan of this change, so we're going with Radiator Springs Racers.  An excellent ride, despite the improvements that could be made, that is always a fun romp.  Except when you have
 to wait a ridiculous amount of time in the queue for it. 

Match 64.7
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Mad Tea Party

Like I said before, I swear I randomized these, but still these rides which are right next to each other ended up in the same matchup.  Between the two, I'm picking the Storybook Land Canal boats, because it has a little more substance to it that the tea cups.  I'm not one of those people who tend to get sick on this ride, and I do love walking by this ride and hearing the soundtrack.  But I'm usually walking past to get to something else.  Storybook Land I will go on occasionally.  Besides, the best part of this ride is seeing gigantic killer man-eating ducks terrorizing the miniature scale London Park. 

Match 64.8
Golden Zephyr
Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise is an awesome ride, but it can be somewhat hit-or-miss, depending upon your skipper.  I've had trips where I'm dying of laughter, but also those where everyone is in stone-faced silence.  I feel bad for those skippers who get a bad boat, but it can also be an issue of their timing or not speaking clearly into the mike.  However, I do respect these cast members for putting themselves out there so much all the time.  There are also a plethora of stories that come out of the Jungle Cruise regarding behind the scenes hijinks among the cast that work there, and that's awesome.  Golden Zephyr is a good way to cool off, and does light up nicely, but other than that it's pretty much a run-of-the-mill carnival ride, with little to offer to set it apart from anything else.  If I'm looking for a swing ride, I will gravitate towards the Zephyr rather than the Silly Symphony Swings (which will show up later in our tournament). 

And that's all for today.  Come back again tomorrow for more musings on the rides at Disneyland, and maybe the results of our first battles (depending on whether I'm in the mood).

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

March Madness: Disneyland Resort Attractions Throwdown!

There seems to have been a trend in recent years that when the NCAA March Madness tournament rolls around, there also pops up tournament brackets where Disney attractions are pitted head-to-head.  For several years, Disney ran an official tournament of this type on both Disneyland and Walt Disney World social media pages, but despite it's apparent popularity, there hasn't been one this year (and last year's was pretty subdued anyway).  To fill the gap, I've seen a few people do tournament brackets of their own, but so far, I have only come across ones based on Walt Disney World attractions.  So, I decided to make a tournament of my own, based solely on rides and shows at the Disneyland Resort.  Prepare for.....

The Disneyland Resort Attractions Throwdown!
*cue dramatic music and lightning bolts*

Alright, so here'show it goes. I've prepared a list (with some help) of current rides and shows in Disneyland and California Adventure.  It was decided to include only the most current form of the ride/show, for example, using the Incredicoaster in place of California Screamin'.  However, since some of these are new enough that people may not have ridden them (especially in the case of Pixar Pier rethemes), you are certainly allowed to consider past incarnations when making decisions in each matchup. 

So each day I'll post a few new pairs of attractions (we'll be starting at four a day so this doesn't take forever), and you can vote for one option of each battle.  Voting will be done in the comments, and those that show up within 24 hours will be included with votes from other sources to determine winners each round.  I'm going to post on here brief (hopefully) comments on each ride and my personal preference as we progress.  Annnnnnnd..... that's all I can think of regarding rules, so let's get going into our first battles!

Match 1:
"it's a small world"
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

My personal pick here is Buzz Lightyear.  "it's a small world" is definitely a Disney classic, and I love the connection to the 1964-1965 New York Worlds Fair.  However, as much as I love the Sherman brothers, that song gets pretty annoying.  I'd probably go on this maybe once a trip, if the line is short.  On the other hand, I love Astro Blasters, especially playing against someone I can beat the pants off of.  Besides the fact that Astro Blasters in California is definitely better than the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin version of the same ride in Florida.

Match 2:
Splash Mountain
Rodger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

This is a little harder.  Rodger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin is a fun ride, and a bit of a hidden gem.  It's definitely the best thing available in Toontown these days, and I do love the movie Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?  However, the best part of this ride is the effects.  There are some really cool cartoon effects, the best of which is Rodger Rabbit summoning a tunnel out of nowhere at the end of the ride.  Splash Mountain is another excellent ride, and I definitely enjoy it on a regular basis.  The queue is well themed, and the drop at the end is really fun.  It's always a gamble for me whether or not I will get soaked on that part.  Side stories, I once got stuck for a significant length of time at the base of the final lift when it broke down once, which was the first time I remember getting evac-ed from a ride.  Also, if you want to hear an excellent comedian joke about Splash Mountain, Gabriel Iglesias has a part of one of his stand-up comedy specials that is hilarious.  Ultimately, Splash gets my vote, but only by a small margin. 

Match 3:
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Disneyland Railroad

Ooh, another good matchup.  I did randomize these, I promise.  Anyway, Disneyland Railroad definitely nails the nostalgia factor.  I told you, the 1964-1965 New York Worlds Fair does it for me every time.  The whole Primeval World segment of the railroad premiered at that fair as part of a separate ride for Ford, but was moved to Disneyland afterward and was added to the Railroad.  At Walt Disney World, I use the railroad simply for the transportation factor, but in Disneyland, I actually enjoy the ride and the scenery.  I'm really excited to see the new trestle bridge and updated Rivers of America scenes after the construction for Galaxy's Edge.  The Little Mermaid I love for entirely separate reasons.  Starting out as the show Golden Dreams, the only thing that remained after demolition and construction of the new ride was the recreation of the Palace of Fine Arts Dome in San Francisco, which I always loved.  There's a lot of really cool technology that went into this ride, and I love the Ursula animatronic in "Poor Unfortunate Souls." However, the story is a little abrupt in it's ending, and the queue is much cooler in Walt Disney World.  Therefore, I'm giving it to the Railroad. 

Match 4:
Sailing Ship Columbia
Tarzan's Treehouse

I don't really have anything to say here, neither of these are rides that I enjoy.  I do remember when Tarzan's Treehouse opened up, having been the Swiss Family Treehouse before that.  Either way, climbing isn't really my thing.  Last time I went, it was way too many stairs for my taste, so I'm going with Sailing Ship Columbia out of laziness.  But I do enjoy the use of the Columbia for it's use in Fantasmic! (more so the previous version than the new one, albeit I haven't seen the new version of the show in person yet). 

So that's it for the first four battles.  What are your preferences and the reasons behind them?