Friday, May 18, 2012

Cars Land and a Tale of 3 Rides

Cars Land Artwork from Disney Parks Blog

There is the old saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.  This saying has far ranging application from us as individuals to governments to theme parks.

Cars Land is now less than 30 days from its grand opening. Disney fans are chomping at the bit to get in and get a look ignoring the cautions being thrown out that the demand to get into the place may exceed its physical ability to fit everyone.  As I’ve said before, I’m in no hurry to stand in a long line. A quiet Tuesday in mid-November may seem like a nice time to pay the place a visit.

The pictures of Cars Land look spectacular especially at nighttime when its oozing with brightly colored neon lights. They really did recreate the town of Radiator Springs from the Cars movies. I’m still not convinced that theming a large piece of real estate after a movie is the best thing to do but the verdict is still out. Will the popularity of the Cars movies sustain through the decades? Hard to tell. Look at ToonTown or A Bug’s Land both themed after movies that few people ever watch anymore. What is now Cars Land was originally conceived as a land based on the old mythical Route 66 and the wide open spaces of the desert Southwest. I would have preferred that it be kept that way but apparently that isn’t the most marketable way to introduce a new land. This is all about money and consumer products based on the Cars movies that sell in incredible numbers.

So Cars Land now comes down to a charming main drag with a large counter service restaurant (Flo’s V8 Café), a quick snack area (Cozy Cones), a couple of places to buy stuff, and 3 rides. It’s the rides that I’m taking a look at here.
Radiator Springs Racers Artwork
Disney Parks Blog

Radiator Springs Racers is a slam dunk E-Ticket attraction that covers an astounding 6 acres of land and is based on the highly successful Test Track ride in WDW’s EPCOT. But RCR offers some features that Test Track does not have which is primarily an undulating track which shows off slight elevation changes. This ride would be a success whether or not the movie Cars ever existed. Quite frankly, I’d prefer my Radiator Springs Racer car to not have a face painted on it. But this is going to be a winner for Disney and DCA for years to come.

Mater's Junkyar Jamboree Artwork
Disney Parks Blog

Meter’s Junkyard Jamboree is a big step down from RCR but hey, you need something for the little kids to have some fun in and getting gently flung about in a trailer behind a tractor seems like a nice way to go. Reminds me of kind of like a tea cup ride. Sure it’s a C-Ticket attraction at best but the park needs those as well. I just hope to heaven the voice of Larry the Cable Guy doesn’t blare at you constantly. That voice is like fingernails across a blackboard to me.

Luigi's Flying Tires Artwork
Disney Parks Blog

And finally we are back to our story about history that began this post. The third attraction Luigi’s Flying Tires. On the surface of it, it’s a great idea for an attraction as giant tires which serve as ride vehicles move about on thousands of air jets just like an air hockey puck – yes, it’s a hover craft. But didn’t Disneyland have hover crafts in the form of flying saucers a long time ago? Why yes they did. The original flying saucers attraction ran in Tomorrowland from 1961 to 1966 but did not make it when Tomorrowland was refurbished in 1967. The old flying saucers attraction used to be where the Magic Eye Theater (Captain EO) now sits. The flying saucers attraction failed because of high upkeep and maintenance costs and the fact that it was a slow loader which only a relatively small number of park guests were able to enjoy in the course of day.
Guess what they are saying about Luigi’s Flying Tires before the ride officially opens? It is tremendously slow loading. The ride vehicles are difficult maneuver without practice and experience and one you do get it figured out a little bit on how to get around, what do you actually do? The original flying saucers failed as a ride attraction. Why Disney thought they could make the almost identical ride succeed 40 years later is anyone’s guess? Luigi could have problems, trouble, and controversy written all over it. Will it survive 5, 10, 15 years? I have my doubts. So do others.

Do I expect to spend a lot of time in Cars Land as the years wear on and the novelty wears off? Only as a means to get to the Radiator Springs Racers I would guess just like Roger Rabbit is my only reason for setting foot in ToonTown. Kind of the same deal.

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