Ariel Skywalker?

It’s been a long while since I’ve last blogged about Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Theme parks and a lot has changed to make the Disney experiences more magical than ever.

Last September I blogged about Star Tours getting a total makeover and on June 3 this became a reality. “Star Tours 2.0” as I like to call it, let’s the journey’s continue. This attraction which has long been a fan favorite has been completely revamped into a whole new 3-D experience. Passengers hop aboard the improved Star Speeder 1000 and take a journey to any one of 54 different combinations of places.

Grand Opening - June 3, 2011
The Tours will Always be With You

Being an annual pass holder, I was able to experience the ride during a special pre-event showcase in May and was allowed to ride the attraction every 30 minutes for a time span of 5 hours. This allowed me to fully appreciate the ride at its potential and give you the scoop on all of the journeys.

Several times I experienced the exact same routine with the exception of one or two small changes. I do not want to spoil it for those of you who plan to attend by detailing the exact ride but there are some common themes to each experience. For example, each ride is randomized with choice of beginning experience (one out of two) , a planetary experience (from 5 choices), a visit from a projected friend (3 choices) , followed by another planet experience and ending. I’d say at most, there are “truly” 5 experiences and not “really” 54 as they claim, as they are simply interchangeable video clips which makes each experience different in that respect. I can say for certain however that Disney has certainly raised the bar with this ride. It’s a definite must do on each visit. I have been on it at least 12 times in the last 3 weeks and every time I enjoy it. Expect that with summer hours and business at the park, the ride will be at least a 60 minute wait time.

My advice: Get to the park 30 minutes before opening, have a buddy take your tickets to the fastpass distribution line located across from the attraction while you wait in line. This way you can ride twice before your Disney day is up. Fast passes have been running out around 9:30am each day, including weekdays. Be sure to check out the new merchandise at Star Trader and Tomorrow Land Terrace is carrying R2D2 Steins and Popcorn  Buckets are at the carts nearby as well. Watch out for Rebel Spies and as always “May the Force be with You!”

Bleep Blop Bloop

Another long awaited attraction “The Little Mermaid’s Undersea Adventure” at Disney’s California Adventure also had its grand opening on June 3. This ride, although not as exciting an experience as Star Tours, certainly has brought Ariel and her friends into the 21st century. It also has elements of classic Disney “wall rides” like Peter Pan mixed with it’s a Small World.

Here, you board a clam shell and take a ride through Eric’s Ship down “Under the Sea” where parts of the movie comes alive with video screens, lighting effects, music and animatronic creatures from the film. Imagineers, those who create the Disney rides, really put their minds to work to create a true experience for tadpoles and mermaids alike. I was super impressed with the creative talents of the outside of the attraction and cues. There were mosaic tiled mermaids & starfish on the ground as you enter the cue as well as urchins on the poles holding up the line ropes. Even the plants outside looked like sea weed and mosses. I especially loved that they used a concrete that looked like sand and embedded sea shells in them before it dried. Every little touch matters to make a true Disney experience become a Magical one. Imagineers spared no expense creating this beautiful ride exterior.

This attraction is a must see! So, swim on in to Disney’s California Adventure and check out “The Little Mermaid’s Undersea Adventure” located across from Paradise Pier and boardwalk. Watch out for Flotsam and Jetsam guarding Ursula’s undersea cave… “poor unfortunate souls”

The Little Mermaid's Undersea Adventure Mural

My advice: This line at it’s longest was no more than 60 minutes. As summer begins, hours and lines get really long. There is not much shade in the outside cue so wear plenty of sunscreen & bring bottled water to quench your thirst as sodas will cost you around $3.75 each for a 20 oz bottle. Try to get to the line when the park opens so that will eliminate unnecessary wait times. The ride moves constantly, stopping only to grant handicapped access to those that need it, so the line moves pretty steadily. Remember… “Life Under the Sea is better than anything they got up there”- Sebastian.

Finally, Disney has created a new Parade just for Summer. It’s called the Soundsational Summer Parade. Make sure you check this out. I am not an avid parade watcher but this one was exciting. It has all new acts, characters from the princesses to Lion King and even has it’s own Drum Core to kick it all off.

My Advice: Get to the parade route on Main Street 1 hour before the kick off of the parade begins and find a shady spot on the West Side. We got stuck in the sun for 1 hour and 30 minutes and it was not a pretty sight. Also, if you sit on the curb along Main Street, you can remain seated the entire time. Everyone else has to stand. Enjoy and have a Magical Summer!

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