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!
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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.
Luckily, I sweet-talked my way into some FastPasses. Yeah, boy!
R2-D2 and the Starspeeder are still sitting there, only with new paint jobs.
C-3PO still British babbles on and on about something or other.
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.
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.
Nice. A new building for a new ride.
As with most things Disney, the beauty is in the details. Even the line was designed well, from the huge arched entryway...
...to the tiny crustaceans that lined the railings...
...to the mosaic work in the floor.
Even Ariel showed up beneath our sneakers.
The loading area looked a lot like the Haunted Mansion, minus all the goth kids.
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?
Sea creatures love music...
...especially when Ariel's crabs orchestrate!
Ariel's ice-cream head is ready for the salon!
Uh-oh. Grimace loves drag, but hates Ariel!
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.
Ariel and Generic Dark-Haired Man kiss!
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.
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.