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PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Two parks, two new rides: "Star Tours: The Adventures Continue" at Disneyland and "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure" at California Adventure.

This past Saturday, I got to ride/shoot both!

Check out my photos, thoughts, and complete lack of knowledge when it comes to anything Star Wars or Little Mermaid after the jump!
So the official relaunch of "Star Tours" is here; it's a ride I rode for the first time in the seventh grade way back in the eighties. Oh man, the eighties were just awful for the visual aesthetics of pretty much everything, right? Here's to hoping they updated this dated ride after 25 long years.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure
Nope! Same sign, same ride! Sure, this new signage is a little more fancy and three-dimensional, but for the most part it's exactly the same. What is different is the line! Not the visuals of it, but the length. It used to be that you could hop on this bad boy nine times in a row within the span of a half hour. When we were there last week the wait was almost 90 minutes... at 11:00pm.

Luckily, I sweet-talked my way into some FastPasses. Yeah, boy!

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

R2-D2 and the Starspeeder are still sitting there, only with new paint jobs.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

C-3PO still British babbles on and on about something or other.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

And Admiral Ackbar and his sister are still up in their air traffic control tower trying to stay awake. You know what? I want to open a restaurant called The Admiral Snackbar. Do you think George Lucas would sue me? Do it, George! I dare you! Mostly because I want the free publicity.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

And this little Short Circuit reject still interacts with people who wait in line. Sure, it's a little more techie, clean and colorful now than it once was, but the line itself is essentially the same exact thing with a fresh coat of paint.

They won't let you take photos on the ride itself so I'll sum it up for you like this: They replaced the Pee-wee Herman robot with C-3PO and tightened a few bolts. The ride itself is just as shaky and jolting, but it sounds much better. I don't think they really replaced anything, but it will probably be a few more years before it sounds as scary as it once did.

The video was alright. I have to be honest and admit that not only am I not a Star Wars fan, but I've only ever seen the first movie and Return of the Jedi, so I really have no gauge for where we were or what we did on the ride. We were in some race in the middle of a desert, and then we somehow warped to a giant city that looked a lot like Tokyo at night. But I couldn't give you any more details than that if my life depended on it.

And before you send me hate mail for not liking/knowing Star Wars, I'll have you know that I'm far better than my girlfriend who referred to C-3PO and R2-D2 as "Gold Guy" and "Little Machine" as we exited the ride.

Next up, Little Mermaid in California Adventure.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Nice. A new building for a new ride.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

As with most things Disney, the beauty is in the details. Even the line was designed well, from the huge arched entryway...

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

...to the tiny crustaceans that lined the railings...

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

...to the mosaic work in the floor.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Even Ariel showed up beneath our sneakers.
 

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

The loading area looked a lot like the Haunted Mansion, minus all the goth kids.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Alright, so before I go any further I also have to admit that I've never seen The Little Mermaid. I know, what kind of dedicated Disney reporter am I? I got into Disney animation with Aladdin, so I missed the boat on Mermaid. That, and I'm a guy.

But here's what I've been able to tell about the storyline from the ride: This mermaid girl, Ariel, wants to be a human and illustrates it by showing a trinket to Fat Yellow Fish. Just kidding, I know enough to know his name is Flounder. It is a him, right?

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Sea creatures love music...

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

...especially when Ariel's crabs orchestrate!

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure
These guys were my favorite because they reminded me of these bath toys I used to play with in the tub I was a little kid. And by "little kid" I mean "24 years old."
PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Ariel's ice-cream head is ready for the salon!

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Uh-oh. Grimace loves drag, but hates Ariel!

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Actually, I take it back: Ursula was clearly the best part of the ride. Her audio animatronic is--pardon my freedom speak--fucking awesome. Click here to see an earlier post with video of her.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Ariel and Generic Dark-Haired Man kiss!

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

Daddy approves of their relationship! And of sweet beards and even sweeter abs! Oh, and he has a trident because, you know, that's what motherfuckers with sweet beards/abs have.

PHOTOS: Star Tours & The Little Mermaid Rides at Disneyland and California Adventure

And they get married! And then, five years later, they're no longer having sex, resent each other, and Generic Dark-Haired Man is having an affair with Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.

It's cool though because Ariel just got a ton of ding-dong photos emailed to her from Anthony Weiner.


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