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DCA, Future Expansion
Topic: Observations, Impressions, Questions of DCA 2.0

Tue 11/13/2012 12:57a
A week ago was my first visit into Carsland, Buena Vista Street, and the restaurant complex to the west side of Paradise Pier. And I have several observations and a couple questions.

I got to experience Carsland like a "normal" day at Disneyland .. circa 1970s. With pleasant crowd levels.

My first impression ... It's not "TOONed" up. It's design is rooted in real life fixtures, and buildings. The Carsland films mimicked real fixtures .. real buildings. Not an overly “tooned” look .. and I’m pleased to see, the theme park “vision” created - brings to life an environment unlike Toontown, and some other “tooned-up” creations, created in recent memory. And the music soundtracks piping into some of the eateries, and shops were 50s and 60s music hits. Not a “toony” soundtrack. So, the fact so much of the land is rooted in real life things, music, etc ... It spoke more like an “Adult” ... and not a very “childs-like” place. That made a big impression on me. So, could this be a new direction Disney is taking now? Creating a feel that doesn’t just resonate to little kiddies .. but to the adults as well? Or a one-off.

After walking around for an hour ... just taking it all in .. on a post election day afternoon ... My first ride was Luigi's Flying Tires. Waited only 15 minutes. Junkyard Jamboree came next ... nearly a walk on. Just 5 minutes. And then Radiator Springs Racers at dusk - (the single rider line) ... was max .. some 23 minutes.

The tire ride - This is Carsland's weakest link! They either need to build a bigger arena ... to let these oversized vehicles ... get some good traveling going .. from one end to another. They just barely move, and the ride is only 1 minute 30 seconds. Or they need to just scrap it someday ... and go for a different type of ride altogether.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree ... a sweet "C" ticket in my book. My only quibble ... I wish the floor was a little more smooth. That “jitter” along those little bumps .. was just ever so slightly uncomfortable. Do you all think the floor could be more smooth? Or do you think they deliberately gave it that "rustic" feeling ... in every respect?

Radiator Springs Racers ... No doubt ... a qualified E Ticket Attraction - No question. I thoroughly enjoyed the "show room" scenes. As I entered the land from the far right entrance, rather than down the main entrance (was told the entrance through the warf would make for a bigger impact – It worked!) I noticed the RSR vehicles seemed a bit slow. But when you are on it ... It does travel fast enough.

Small quibble here ... they seated me in the front row. Right side. Well ... there's really only room for the middle seat person's feet ... and this very small section to place my feet was awkward. The tire-well makes it impossible to have a wider foot rest for all 3 riders. So .. I propped up my right foot up .. to keep my leg straight.

I do wish the cavern section at the end ... was more extensive. It was big. I just wish we traveled deeper through it. That was my favorite scene.

So .. while I find it to be a qualified modern E Ticket ride ..... still comes shy to the overall scale and magnitude .. of rides like PotC. To me .. PotC is the champ of them all! Sometime ... I wonder if in my lifetime .. Disney will ever attempt again .. a ride that will equal or surpass .. the absolutely "grandness" of PotC. I'm glad to see they socked a lot of money, time, and effort to making Radiator Springs Racers. It is, for all intent and purpose - DCA's "PotC" .. till .. SOMEDAY .. they decide to top R.S.R.
So ... I had dinner at Flo's V8 Café, before riding RSR. Ate in the room .. where you have a view of RSR ... with a 60s inspired silver Christmas tree resting in the corner. That was a 15-20 minute "magical" moment ... that I never felt before .. in DCA 1.0! That room in Flo’s with the views of RSR in front .. the mountain range .. looking across to the far right of additional outside seating ... with it’s very nice architectural design ... dusk setting in .. lights on - WOW!!

And just one other minor quibble .... All the building facades running down the main strip .. all had character .. and nice lighting. But Flo's north extension dining room ... is .. (on the outside) .. a medical clinic .. with NO colorful charm to it at all! While every sign was lit up for all other structures running down the strip. The “medical clinic” signage had no lighting. In fact, the whole outdoor façade of this dining room extension - Minimalistic lighting .. very white .. very sterile, 1-dimensional ... sticks out like a sore thumb ... to the rest of the main strip of Carsland. You have this incredible neon look of Flo’s .. which is really breathtaking, at night, and as the north dining section IS part of Flo’s .. the architectural design, with that green neon should have continued throughout the rest of Flo’s. I thought that was an odd choice to make Flo’s north dining room façade .. look like another building (and UGLY to boot!) – separate to Flo’s. When it’s not. Has anybody else noticed this, and think .. perhaps All of Flo’s V-8 Café have façades all the way around it, be consistent?

I did eat in Flo’s .. and I was very pleased to see a healthy selection of mains. And some “adult” touches .. with choice of wines, and other spirits. Anyway ... I had the turkey dinner .. with corn and mash potatoes. Very good!! Very Impressed. And the staff ... which I found so nice ... and helpful. I've experienced nice castmember customer service in my hundreds of DLR visits .. since the 70s ... For whatever reason .... I feel like the staff there .. pushed it up a big notch!

Buena Vista Street:
OH WOW! I think I may like it more than Main Street U.S.A! All throughout every shop .. every eaterie .... There's this 'adult' .. and 'sophisticated' ... ambiance ... that scored such big points for me. So elegantly appointed from one shop/eaterie to the next ... really blew me away.

There's no overly "sappy" childlike qualities around the shops and restaurants. There's this elegant classy "feel" from one shop to the next ... and the Carthay Circle restaurant ... just gives Blue Bayou and Club 33 .. a run for it's money. So elegantly appointed.
So ... I really like how there's this total lack of sappy childish character feel ... throughout Buena Vista Street. I feel for the first time in years ... Disney is talking to me as an adult. So that makes me want to return ... and be more a part of the experience.
So ... I walked around the place that was formally the Pizza Meow ..(whatever it was called) .. place .. and the former Burger Invasion .. again ... classy adult "feeling" .. that makes me want to hang out more. And the Italian food section near the former Maliboomer area .... I see a good menu ... that makes me want to come back .. and eat there next. The details in that Italian eaterie - so nice.

Over at Blue Sky Cellar .. I checked out that new Carsland characters little time-travel film. That was clever.
As far as “Cars” characters go there’s only a couple of them around, anyway .. throughout Carsland. (They are “cars” after all. Hard to have “walk around” Carsland characters anyway. ;-) ) For a land built on those Pixar toons – I didn’t feel like I was in this “toon” environment at all. The land has it’s “adult” qualities. That resonated with me. I didn’t feel like I’m being talked down .. as a kid. So, their artistic direction throughout this entire land .. works on some adult levels .. while still being a place that kids can enjoy. Which is the direction Walt took Disneyland. Sophisticated for adults, but still entertaining for kids.
So, Carsland, Buena Vista Street, West End of Paradise Pier ...really, so well done. No lack of detail here! And with the Christmas decorations coming in they even made Christmas decorations to go with the theme of the land. That’s a very nice plus, alone.

Luigi’s? Can’t wait to see what they do with that. I think it's there for a while - despite any issues. Flo’s north dining room? That façade - EEK .. They at least need to do something about the signage. Give it some depth, with lights built behind, so the whole facade doesn't look so dark and "flat" at night. And future riders of RSR avoid the front row if you can ... unless you are that lucky center rider.

And three-cheers for some “adult/sophisticated” qualities that remind of an earlier time with Disneyland. I hope to see more of this approach with their future endeavors.
Jim in Merced CA
Tue 11/13/2012 6:33a
Moon Waffle
Tue 11/13/2012 9:03a
Agree with a lot of what you have said. The latest batch of additions to DCA work well for both adults and children...and I hope they continue this going forward!

The thing I like best about RSR is that it is telling you a NEW story - not just a complete re-hash of the movie like TLM. True, some elements are the same as the movie, but it is still a unique adventure.

I too am hoping Luigi's goes away soon, but I doubt it. Disney just takes FOREVER these days to actually replace dated attractions (Innoventions) and I could see Luigi's there for at least 10 years before anything changes. Unfortunate, as this is truly a terrible attraction. I find it more fun to sit on a bench than ride Luigi's.

Overall though, the new additions really have changed DCA for the better. I believe during our last trip my family and I spent more total time in that park than in DL...which has never even come close to happening in the past!
Tue 11/13/2012 9:16a
<<Disney just takes FOREVER these days to actually replace dated attractions (Innoventions) and I could see Luigi's there for at least 10 years before anything changes. Unfortunate, as this is truly a terrible attraction. I find it more fun to sit on a bench than ride Luigi's.>>

The final $80m pricetag will ensure that this one lingers for a long while. A tremendous waste of money.
Dr Hans Reinhardt
Tue 11/13/2012 10:08a
"still comes shy to the overall scale and magnitude .. of rides like PotC."

I get what you're saying here, and everyone will have their favorites, but the breathtaking Cadillac range alone easily trumps anything in Pirates IMO in terms of scale and magnitude.

We are in total agreement on BV Street though. I love it too.
Tue 11/13/2012 11:00a
>>I get what you're saying here, and everyone will have their favorites, but the breathtaking Cadillac range alone easily trumps anything in Pirates IMO in terms of scale and magnitude.<<

I totally agree, especially at dusk and night. Absolutely stunning.
Tue 11/13/2012 11:31a
>>but the breathtaking Cadillac range alone easily trumps anything in Pirates IMO in terms of scale and magnitude.

As far as attraction EXTERIORS go .... I have to agree with you. I would say it not only trumps anything in DCA .. but DL too, in 57 years.

As far as that "Cinerama" feeling goes .. on any attraction ... the peripheral view of RSR from side to side ... is amazing. Closest DL has to an attraction with one very wide (panoramic) view of it, is the facade for 'it's a small world'.

Because of tight spaces in DL we understand why many attractions are more compact, and run vertical. But over at DCA they really took advantage of the fact they had this good size parcel of land, and created a very W.I.D.E. attraction.
Tue 11/13/2012 11:34a
of course though ... Screamin' is the hands down winner .. but it's just a roller coaster. (Most amusement parks can achieve that.) But in terms of richly themed attractions go, the type we associate with, when it comes to "Disney" parks - RSR wins.
Fri 11/16/2012 7:45p
I must be the only person who was underwhelmed by RSR. I love the queue, especially the music, and the outside is gorgeous, especially at night. It had a lot less Mater than I was expecting (dreading), so that was good. I've not seen any of the movies and couldn't really tell what the hell was going on because I couldn't hear what the cars were saying. I have no idea what the bit with the tractors was...even after 4 rides.

I was so disappointed the first time I rode it. I just expected it to be a bit more thrilling, I guess? If I could choose, I'd just do the first part of the ride over and over again when the sun has already set. That part is amazing.

BTW, what IS the story? We're going to be in a race, we're getting ready for the race, and then we race?

That said, I LOVE all of the changes in DCA. Love the trolley (and the Mickey trolley hats). Love the addition of Oswald (if only the hats weren't sold out!)

We actually spent most of our 6 day trip in DCA instead of DL because we loved it so much.
Fri 11/16/2012 8:07p
>>But Flo's north extension dining room ... is .. (on the outside) .. a medical clinic .. with NO colorful charm to it at all!<<

Have you seen the movie? That is Doc Hudson's clinic. For fans of the film it is a must-see, especially now that the front has been converted into the Doc Hudson Racing Museum. And since Doc is no longer with us, Flo has incorporated it into her cafe.

I like the contrast of the streamline moderne facade of the clinic. But I do wonder why there is no holiday overlay there. (Anyone else notice that Ramone is the only car in town without a tree? Somebody call the car equivalent of Fox News!)

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