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Welcome to the disneygeek.com Geek Speaks section. In this section I will post my comments on trips to the parks or other Disney related events.

Geek's Thoughts

Hello all,

I was unlucky and did not win the sweepstakes for the Annual Passholder preview today... but my luck turned on Friday with an invite from a friend to join them today for the afternoon preview of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. So we had the noon to five slot. Below are my first impressions and I am going to try and make them spoiler free for all of you who are trying to avoid specifics until you have a chance to experience it.


Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • First up a general impression on the Annual Pass preview. I was disappointed they only offered one day, three slots. This meant very few winners and an extremely hot ticket to come by. I know they were tight on time lines but still with the vast number of annual passes out there it would have been nice to see a few more days somehow. The event check in was smooth and access was easier. I was a little disappointed they did not have any handouts or even park maps. For the original DCA previews back in 2001 they had guide maps with AP preview on the front cover.

  • Stepping onto Buena Vista Street for the first time was great! Hard to believe what used to be there. Due to time constraints I did not have time to really explore the street or interiors. Just took some exterior shots as I wondered down and then out. I could have spent the entire preview there taking pictures but I really wanted to try and visit the Cars Land attractions with minimal waits so I pushed myself onward. I think the new street does an amazing job of setting the stage and gives DCA a proper first act. I hope the general public responds the same as the Annual Passholders I overheard in the area.

  • Next stop Cars Land. We were directed to the Wharf entrance. Stepping through the gate you are instantly transported to another place. As you get closer and the vista is revealed it is an amazing moment. I would highly recommend to any first time visitor to enter through the Wharf, at night Route 66 may give it a run for its money (but I have not experienced that yet so not sure). But if you can enter by GRR then walk through the Wharf the vista/reveal is worth it!

  • As with any new, complex, attraction the Radiator Springs Racers were experiences some glitches. I would venture to bet these down times and issues will continue for several months as all the kinks are worked out of the programming. For the first portion of our preview the Racers were down.

  • My first attraction was Lugis Flying Tires. The posted wait was only 20 minutes. The queue was really well done. We were told if you can see the line coming to the door its approx an hour wait. The first section of the queue is indoors and has A/C. Then you work your way out back to a garden area that is covered then the final stretch is an uncovered area. Most of our wait this time was in that area. I thought the attraction cycling time was insanely long and really could use to be optimized. For example to use the accessibility ramp they clear the attraction, then turn it on so they can move a tire to the ramp area, turn it off, load everyone, including the accessibility tire, then run the attraction. Once it is done the process is repeated to off load.

  • I found the ride experience to be really fun. I did not get into the beach balls that much but the challenge of flying my tire around was enough to entertain me. I was able to ride twice, once with someone and once by myself. I thought the tire was much easier to control by myself. Also that was my second ride, so maybe that had something to do with it. I wish they could have gotten the spin control to work. That would make navigating around much easier. There were several times I found myself wanting to turn and I could not since you had no way to spin. I thought it was a fun experience and look forward to riding again.

  • After exiting the Flying Tires and while walking to the Cozy Cones we ran into Kevin Rafferty. For those that do not recognize the name, he is an Imagineer and he was on the Racers team. We congratulated him on Cars Land and he spent a good fifteen minutes chatting with us and answering questions. It was a great encounter and his enthusiasm for the project is unbelievable. He was saying how he has ridden the Racers over 800 times(he had the actual number, want to say 826 but cannot remember now) doing the programming/test and adjust/and just for fun so far.

  • Maters Junk Yard Jamboree was my next attraction. The wait time for this was posted at 10 minutes when I went on so we had just a brief glimpse of the queue which has all sorts of props from Maters Tall Tales. I find Larry the Cable guy funny and he narrates and sings for this attraction. The line moved much faster than I had thought and the ride itself had a little extra thrill to it that I was not expecting. This may be the sleeper hit of Cars Land.

  • The Radiator Springs Racers are the marquee attraction of the new land and probably will become the one for Disney California Adventure. Should be interesting to see if it takes the crown from Soarin. The attraction takes up about half of Cars Land, so it is a massive footprint. Once open it will feature Fastpass, Single Rider, and a Standby line. I would anticipate massive lines, and so is Disney with a long queue and then a large extended queue too. As an experiment I would like to see them to continue to run it without Fastpass for a while. I think it leads to shorter overall waits. I could only image how slow the stand by line may run.

  • I was able to ride three times during the preview, all through utilizing the single rider line, so I have no real thoughts on the main queue. I do like how from the single rider and Fastpass lines you can still see and get most of the queue introduction. You cannot get up close to the buildings/scenes to see the details, but you can still get the drift.

  • The attraction itself is amazing. Since I said I would keep this spoiler free, let me just say that this is a definite must see and well worth the waits.

  • I was able to spend a little time roaming around the rest of Radiator Springs. I thought Flos was amazing and the views out into Ornament Valley were incredible from the dining room and patio. Those that ate there said the food was great too. The Cozy Cones were well done and had constant lines the entire time. I was a little disappointed by the size of the gift shops. I thought Lizzies and Ramones were both tight inside. Sarges seemed to have more space. I really need to go back and take a look at the details and photograph it more.

  • One interesting note about Cars Land is there is only one set of restrooms, near Flos, and I only noticed one set of drinking fountains, right next to the rest rooms. The drinking fountains were nice and cold though!

  • Another note was the lack of shade in some of the queues and as you roam around. Come late summer it is going to be a bit hot to walk around.

  • Overall I really enjoyed the attractions in Cars Land and found the mix great. The immersion into Ornament Valley and Radiator Springs was incredible and exceeded expectations. Buena Vista Street has an amazing amount of detail and references built in and I cannot wait to spend more time exploring it later this week.

  • A note on the up coming week. I will be at the Disneyland Resort four of the next five days so be sure to follow on Twitter @disneygeekcom or at the Geeks Blog for my latest postings. As of right now my schedule is:
    • Monday - Annual Passholder Preview (Pictures posted on Tuesday afternoon/evening)
    • Wednesday - Cars Land Grand Opening Arrivals & Opening Ceremony (note Disney is Webcasting this too so check the parks blog)
    • Thursday - Buena Vista Street Premieres, Cars Land Exploration, and a Celebration of Buena Vista Street
    • Friday - Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure then hope to spend some time at Disneyland as the summer festivities kick off there
    I will try to post some pictures and video as the week goes on but expect the large updates to go up over the weekend.

Interesting Web Finds/Notes:
Below are some interesting links, notes, and rumors I found/stumble across/or have been informed of since the last Geekspeaks column.

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

Stop by the Geek's Forum to discuss this and other Disney topics.. click here

Send comments, questions, any other email to: disneygeek@disneygeek.com

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