Today I actually got to spend a little time in the parks, which was fun. The weather consisted of flawless blue skies with a nice breeze to take the edge off the heat.
And now some quick comments on the rides I got to see as I rushed around The House of the Mouse...
- Jungle Cruise. This ride needs a major overhaul, as it just isn't aging well. Making it be self-aware and "funny" (when it used to be narrated seriously) hasn't helped much.
- Indiana Jones Adventure. A bumpy, jumpy jeep ride through vaguely Indiana-Jones-esque settings. I always thought this ride was kinda disappointing because it doesn't seem very immersive (even if the queue is beautifully themed). With the exception of three appearances of animatronic Indiana Jones robots, it could be anything.
- Pirates of the Caribbean. The theme park ride to end all theme park rides and my all-time favorite. Unlike Indy, this attraction is sublimely immersive. It helps that the Disneyland original is 16 minutes long when all the clones in other Disney parks are half that.
- Haunted Mansion. While still a nice attraction with some great effects, it sure seems like they could upgrade this older ride with some amazing new technology. Oh well. Still a classic.
- Tarzan's Treehouse. I can't really figure out why the Disneyland treehouse was re-themed for Tarzan when the Disney World version is still "Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse." I do like the Tarzan version better... but wish the character sculptures were animated.
- Splash Mountain. Closed for temporary ride break-down.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Compared to the Disney World Pooh attraction, this is lame. Compared to the Tokyo Disneyland Pooh attraction, it's complete shit. Why Japan put the money into a great Winnie the Pooh ride when the US versions are cheap and crappy remains a mystery.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Closed for refurbishment.
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. I used to think this shooting attraction was pretty amazing... until "Toy Story Midway Mania" hit the scene. It's still fun, just not as cool as an experience as the later shooting rides are.
- Space Mountain. Closed for refurbishment.
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I have mixed feelings on this. The "Nemo" parts are great... even if they are dark and hard to see. But everything else, which is most of the ride, if so painfully boring because nothing is happening. They really need to refresh this so it's all Nemo all the time.
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. The original ride was great, but the update that happened back in 2011 made it remarkable. Even though I've ridden the Disney World version a dozen times to see all the random scenarios play out, this was the first time I got to see "hologram Yoda," which was very cool.
- Disney Railroad, Main Street. Closed for temporary ride break-down.
- California Screamin'. While not the most exciting coaster in the world, it's such a long, smooth, beautiful ride that it is nevertheless one of my favorites.
- Toy Story Midway Mania! One of the best new Disney rides to come along in years. It's a brilliant take on video games that only Disney/Pixar could imagine.
- Grizzly River Run. A really fun (and wet!) attraction that simulates turbulent river rafting. A vastly superior ride than its bastard twin sister, Kali River Rapids, over at Disney World.
- Soarin' Over California. Closed for refurbishment.
- Radiator Springs Racers. I thought this was a nicer, smarter, cuter take on the technology from Epcot's "Test Track"... but it's hardly worth the 90+ minute wait to get in.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. While not as immersive and interesting as the superior Disney World version, it's still a fun "faster than gravity" fall ride.
If you're thinking "Holy crap that's a lot of closed rides! you'd be right. And the horrible thing is that they're mostly the big "E-Ticket" rides that people most want to see... Splash Mountain, Space Mountan, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Soarin', Dinseyland Railroad... so it's a major bummer. Especially Space Mountain and Soarin', which are only closed because (apparently) Disney stupidly ignored OSHA warnings that were given last year. Oh well. I've riden them all before... many times... but it makes me sad for all the people who came all the way to Disneyland to experience them, only to be told "no."
After dinner I stopped by to see Abigail for a few minutes and get a new wallet, so that was a nice end to my day.
Now it's off to sleep before another busy day tomorrow...