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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is California Screamin' A True Disney Attraction?

Let's face it - size matters. When talking about Disney Parks classic ride attractions, does California Screamin' make the grade? The coaster has zero Disney theming. The ride queue and loading platform are about as vanilla as it gets. The ride was purchased from a European manufacturer rather than being Disney "imagineered"? Just what's so Disney about California Screamin'.

Well, nothing at all. It has nothing Disney related going for it. California Screamin's can and probably does exist in any major theme park in countless cities around the world. But yet all but hardened Disney traditionalists kind of look fondly on California Screamin'. Why? Because the ride is huge and certainly isn't going anywhere. It's better to adapt and learn to love it. Besides, the huge structure does provide a backdrop for the well themed Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure. And the ride is fun, fast, thrilling, and to my knowledge, the only Disney ride that has a loop.

Now, if only Disney could do something about that ugly queue line and loading platform some day, the ride may finally get the Disney boost it deserves.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Message to Disney California Adventure: Just Say No to More Monsters

For the longest time, there was a rumor that Disney was going to take the under utilized buildings that surround the Monsters Inc. attraction (Stage 17 and the old Who Wants To Be A Millionaire buildings) and build a themed roller coaster based on Pixar's Monsters Inc. and Monsters University films - the so called "Door" Coaster. And while I'm all for Disney shelling out the dollars to build new and compelling attractions, my question has to do more with the Monsters Inc franchise.

I finally got around to watching Monsters University last weekend. You can read my brief thoughts of the movie under the Pixar tab at the top of this page. Hint: I didn't like it. So the question is why Disney would want to build an attraction based on a movie franchise, while quite profitable, isn't one of its best. That statement kind of answers its own question. The Monsters franchise is popular and profitable for Disney. A mini - Monsters Land in that tucked away corner of the Disney California Adventure would be a people eater - something that it isn't now with Monsters Inc. basically being a walk on ride and the nearby Muppets Theater hardly pulling anyone in anymore.

My thought would be forget the Monsters - a coaster is a coaster - why not build a Muppets themed coaster and put a new film in the Muppets Theater. In my book, Muppets trump Monsters any day of the week. Kermit and the gang have withstood the test of time while the Monsters franchise seems weak and lacking in energy.

Ultimately, I would care what Disney put in that one corner of the park as long as they put something. Any kind of attraction would mean less space for silliness like Mad T Party and ElecTRONica.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Giving Up on the Refurbishment Merry-Go-Round

Thunder Mountain Railroad - still under refurbishment

Over there.... on the right hand side of this page, I used to try and keep track of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure refurbishments and closures. But I give up. I have removed the refurbishment schedules from this blog because Disneyland would continually make a monkey or fool out of me by changing, delaying, or calling off scheduled refurbishments. It was like trying to hit a continually moving target. There are plenty of websites trying to capture refurbishments already.....why should I just frustrate myself? Better yet, check the Disneyland official website for the latest and greatest of what rides, restaurants, and attractions are scheduled for downtime.

From my point of view, other than a few classic attractions like Pirates or the Disneyland Railroad, you can shut down half the rides and attractions in either park and I could still find a way to have a really good time. At my age, you make the best with what you have. Disneyland gives you plenty of options. If something is closed, just move along and you will find something else to delight and keep you entertained.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Adventures In Fine Dining at the Carthay Circle Restaurant

Entering Carthay Circle main dining area
Entering the Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure is entering a world of decadent opulence set inside a theme park. It's an abrupt change of pace from the normal grind of having fun. I was going to make sure that at least once in my life, despite the high price tag for a meal, I was going to give the Carthay Circle a try. As for that price tag.... lunch for 4 sat right around that $200 mark. Was it worth it?

Yes and no. The place is beautiful. It's the first restaurant I've been in where the bathrooms were really bath rooms - no stalls!. The surroundings were ornate and filled with classic photos of Walt and his Hollywood friends from the late 30's. The service was first rate which from what I read was a bit of an issue when the restaurant first opened its' doors. But the staff was attentive, courteous, and friendly explaining both the menu and features of the restaurant itself. High marks indeed are given as far as a dining experience goes.

Downstairs lounge area of the Carthay Circle
As for the food, it was good but wasn't over the top great as far as the entrees were concerned. Better marks were given for the outstanding appetizers, soups, salads, and desserts than for the main meals. There's something to be said that when the best part of your $22 cheeseburger is the pickles, something has gone slightly amiss. 

That being said, there is a place for the Carthay Circle in your Disneyland adventure. If you really have something to celebrate by all means, go to the Carthay for a memorable experience. If your Disneyland trip budget allows for some overkill in in dining, then I'd go back to the Carthay Circle to offload some of that cash in a splashy way.

But all things being equal, I think I would probably take that same amount of money and spend it over at the Blue Bayou before going back to the Carthay Circle. It just seems more like the Disney thing to do

The $22 cheeseburger and fries. Great pickles!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Disneyland Traveler Goes Missing In Action

Let's see if I remember how to do this. Oh yeah...... I write about Disneyland or something about Disney in this blog and attach a few pictures. Couldn't be easier. Well, sometimes it's harder than it seems - the times when obstacles in life get in front of pursuit of a mouse.

When I new my trip to Disneyland in March wasn't going to happen, the Disney wind got let out of my sails, my Disney get up and go got up and went, and any other cliche you can think of that leads to the conclusion that at least for last month, I just didn't want to "think Disney".

Maybe that will change now. I hope it changes now but we will have to see. Thanks to all those who sent me emails of concern. It was deeply appreciated. Hopefully tomorrow, something related to Disney reappears in this blog.