I revisited Disneyland & California Adventure earlier this week, for the first time in many years. There is some obvious construction going on at the moment on Tom Sawyer Island, which I presume will be the home of the upcoming Star Wars Land.
However, not content to wait that long, it seems Disney has rechristened Space Mountain as HyperSpace Mountain
-- which is now fully a Star Wars
-themed ride, both in the queue and the coaster itself. Granted, this probably happened a while back .. but I just learned of it on this trip, and I was mildly disappointed with it; this ride has always been among the park's most popular -- for decades -- without
the Star Wars
branding. I'm kinda hoping they change it back, after Star Wars Land opens.
Another ride which changed significantly since my last visit was the Submarines, which are now a Finding Nemo
-themed attraction. While the first half is largely the same (with occasional underwater animatronics, and lots
of obscuring bubbles), the second half of the journey is now mostly an underwater dark-ride, with progressive scenes of projected-video animations of the characters, rather than animatronics. I didn't mind the changes to this ride, as much; the last time I'd been on it, it was definitely showing its age .. and I'd always kinda preferred the similar -- but 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
-themed -- ride at Disney World, anyhow.
I also noted changes in A Small World -- where traditional Disney characters have been inserted among the children, in their appropriate lands (Peter Pan & Alice in England, Lilo & Stitch in Polynesia, Donald & the Three Caballeros in South America, etc). However, all are faithfully portrayed in Mary Blair's style .. and they're generally sprinkled around like 'easter eggs', rather than the focal point of any scene .. so, it works.
Ariel's Undersea Adventure -- The Little Mermaid
-themed dark ride in California Adventure -- had been 'under construction' during my last visit. I was very pleased with how this turned out!
The animatronics are among the most expressive I've seen .. and some of the small touches -- like the 'underwater plunge' effect which accompanies your clamshell's entrance to the ride -- are simple, but effective. The ride is a little bit
short, IMO (I really wish Ariel's sisters were featured in there, somewhere!) .. but it loads & unloads fast
; there is rarely a long wait, from what I observed.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is now a Guardians of The Galaxy
-themed ride. It isn't open yet, but it's visible from much of DCA park, in all its gaudy glory. It's clad in a colorful array of mismatched sci-fi pipes and panels; some of which have a mirror finish, and seem to 'glow' at the right angle/time of day.
DCA is also home to the Pixar Play! Parade, which is a pretty impressive celebration of everything Pixar, mixing animatronics, walkarounds, dancers & acrobats with one of those songs that takes a while to get out of your head.
As I'd mentioned over in the Cars
thread, though .. it was Cars Land which (very
unexpectedly, for me!) stole the show. I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere as interesting or fun as it is.
If Star Wars Land can reach those same heights .. it should be pretty amazing.