Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is one of the three new rides at Cars Land, and in my opinion, a hidden gem. It’s one of those rides that actually is a lot funner than it looks.

Is funner a word? More fun? Meh, my blog, I’ll use whatever words I want.

First, let’s be honest: Mater’s looks a bit dull–there’s a little tractor and you’re in a little cart behind the tractor and the tractors all go around in a figure-8 type motion while the seats move. Here’s a picture.

Your little tractor and seat

What makes it cool is that the little trailer swings way out around each curve with some major g-force action, as it whips you around (but not in a “Ouch! My neck!” kind of way) each curve.

The whole setup is very cute.

Despite being Mater’s ride, Mater is not actually IN this ride

It’s a true testament to Disney imagineering that they make a miniature tractor look both adorable and slightly confused.

This is the “petting zoo” part outside the ride–you can take a picture here

The queue is straightforward–switchbacks under a tin roofed open building. The decor is best described as “hipster junk.”

A big collection of signs and stuff

Totally unrelated, but when did Pabst Blue Ribbon turn into the hipster beer of choice? That stuff tastes like crap!

Anyway.

There’s a hidden Mickey in here. Can you see it?

I actually rode this ride on two separate occasions. The above pictures are from June. Last week we went on Mater’s with Kevin and Theo and I got a couple more shots.

I thought this was cute

The license plates are a combination of actual state plates and made-up ones.

Did you find that hidden Mickey?

Here it is!

Here’s a kind of action shot. Because MYWTM just wouldn’t be the same without some questionable photography.

Boy, makes you feel like you’re on the ride yourself, huh?

One nice thing about Mater’s is that two normal-sized adults and one small child fit comfortably, unlike Dumbo where I wasn’t sure the three of us were going to be able to exit our shared elephant without a crowbar or emergency personnel.

And there’s something particularly embarrassing about “Help! We are collectively too fat to get out of our elephant!”

Plenty of room for Mommy!

Another great thing about Mater’s is that there are actually two ride areas that run simultaneously. That really bumps up ride capacity, even though it’s not a continuous load ride. We only waited about 15 minutes to get on.

And then the music starts and you’re off! Right after we whipped around the first corner, Theo cried out “I LOVE IT!!!!!” Which was very cute.

Self-portrait attempt to capture the joy and delight on my darling child’s face

Okay, I realize it looks like he’s being squeezed to death in that picture, but I assure you that the tractors ARE fairly roomy.

Really, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is awesome. Don’t pass it by because it looks boring. It’s really a fantastic ride. The only bad thing about it was Theo’s unhappiness when we told him he couldn’t ride it again.

Because we’re really mean parents.

He’s not getting a pony for Christmas either.

Why Isn’t There A Bambi Ride At Disneyland?

Why isn’t there a Bambi ride at Disneyland? This thought just recently occurred to me. I mean, it’s Bambi! It’s all classic and stuff. Is there something I’m missing?

I have not seen Bambi as an adult. In fact, the sum total of my recollection of Bambi is:

1) Bambi’s mother gets shot

2) There’s a big forest fire that Bambi runs away from

If that’s not enough for a Disneyland ride, I don’t know what is.

It’s like all of the great dark rides put together. You start out in your ride vehicle–let’s say a 4-seater Thumper, Flower, or Faline, the little doe friend. Or alternating Thumpers and Flowers and Falines. It’s an idyllic day as you pull away from the loading station, and you turn right and leave reality behind, totally immersed in the flora and fauna of a beautiful forest. Your small critter friends dance around and sing (I don’t know what they’re singing, but surely there’s a catchy song from the movie. Or they could get Alan Menken to write a new one). Of course your /Thumper/Flower/Faline ride vehicle skids over an icy patch (hee hee!) while your other woodland friends slide and play.

Oh, maybe your Thumper/Flower/Faline even turns in a complete circle like Bambi does when his legs go all splayed out in the movie! There’s an interesting element!

Then it’s time to move to the next room. You know something bad is probably coming because it’s kind of dark and the snow is all around and Alan Menken’s music has stopped playing. And sure enough…

CRACK!

It’s the sound of the gun. Now that this point I’m a little torn on my ride design. Option #1 is to have the entire room go red, like we’re all encased by the blood of Bambi’s now-late mother. OR, we can go all realistic and have the deer suddenly step in front of your Thumper/Flower/Faline vehicle and roll onto the Thumper/Flower/Faline’s windshield.

I call this the more realistic option because there’s nothing quite like experiencing hitting a deer on the road and having it roll up and over your car. I mean, I have never actually HIT a deer, but back when I lived in Michigan they continually stressed that if you see a deer and cannot brake in time, JUST HIT THE DEER, DON’T SWERVE OFF TO THE SIDE OR ANYTHING, JUST HIT THE DEER. Which seems a bit callous, but a little more understandable when you find out that you are much less likely to damage yourself if you hit the deer than if you try to avoid it and hit something else.

Okay, okay, maybe the Bambi ride isn’t the best place to address deer-driving safety. So you hear the giant crack, and to appease modern sentiments, you don’t actually see the carcass of Bambi’s dearly-beloved, it’s just implied. Like the movie. Then you go through a darkish room that represents Bambi’s mourning, and also brings out his brooding side, making him grow his hair out to cover half of his face while piercing his ear with a paper clip, and Alan Menken’s music gets replaced with some Morrissey.

What about “Every Day Is Like Sunday?” Too much?

Also, some blacklights would be super-cool at this point.

Then we don’t linger there too long before we get to another happy pastoral scene with Bambi’s deadbeat dad stepping up to do the parenting. We see the animals growing up and everyone falls in love. Faline has, of course, grown into a fine young doe with some sleazeball deer after her. Bambi and Sleazeball duke it out in a real Showcase Showdown which of course Bambi wins.

But then! Forest fire! Crank up the heat in that room like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and import the burning buildings tech from Pirates of the Caribbean. Throw in some crackling for good measure. Maybe crank up the Morrissey for a bit? Of course your Thumper/Flower/Faline vehicle speeds the hell up because dude, it’s a fire, and that adds to the effect. You think you’re out of the clear until you hear…

Barking dogs! The dogs which have cornered the now-grown Faline! (I’m getting this whole plot thing from Wikipedia, btw). Fortunately, Bambi, along with you in your Thumper/Flower/Faline vehicle, vanquish the dogs and save the doe. The ride ends with the scene of a fully-grown Bambi and Faline and their new baby twins.

And…scene.

You know, the Wikipedia entry really is fascinating. Although it contains some genius lines like:

Disney wanted to show man being killed in the fire to prove to Bambi that man was not invincible.[6] However, the scene was cut for unknown reasons.

Unknown reasons? Perhaps because some man being burned to death in a fire is disturbing and gross, even if he is the guy who shot Bambi’s mother?

So why DON’T they have a Bambi ride? I mean, the idea is solid (Disney, you are hereby given permission to use the above idea to create your new ride, “Bambi’s Adventures Of Happiness, Grief, and Terror”). Is it because of the space? Because although it might initially seem like a good candidate for Fantasyland, it clearly belongs in Critter Country, perhaps right next to Pooh.

If you can figure out a way to make it real fire, that would be very cool too.

New! And! Improved! Blogroll!

Did I mention all of this free time I have now that I’ve graduated? Well, at least more free time than I had in my graduate program. Which means I’m back to reading blogs! And I’ve updated my blogroll over here on the right

Just scroll down. It’s right underneath that button you pushed to follow me on Twitter. You did push the button to follow me on Twitter, right?

Anyway, just wanted to highlight a couple for you.

AllEars.Net: Salute To All Things Disney But Mostly Disneyland
AllEars is a fabulous wealth of information–everything from the latest news about the park to menus for each restaurant. It also has great information about trip planning, since as I have mentioned, I cannot tell you which hotel to stay in since I live here. The link is for the Disneyland blog, encompassing mostly Disneyland but also exciting other events.

Babes In Disneyland
This blog is a fabulous guide for doing Disneyland with young children.

Daveland
I absolutely LOVE Disneyland history, and Daveland is one of my favorite blogs. He has a bunch of old snapshots of Disneyland (I don’t know where he gets them from) and walks you through these flashbacks in time. I mean, check out this entry from the 50s. There’s a picture of a performing monkey on a leash on the sidewalk. A PERFORMING MONKEY ON A LEASH, PEOPLE!!! He also covers his own visits to Disneyland (and some personal stuff) and seriously, his photography is MUCH better than mine. (although, as you know, that’s not much of a leap)

Decidedly Disney
For Disney collectors, this blog has all kinds of cool stuff. My personal most recent favorite is the small plastic toy of Mickey jumping out of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. That’s not the good part. The good part is that “Disneyland” on the bottom is missing the bottom half of the I. For realz.

Designing Disney
If you’re into design, the Designing Disney is your place to go. Not just limited to Disneyland! If you’re not into design, read it anyway because it’s really interesting.

DIS Unplugged
DIS is kind of like this giant, huge, mega behemoth Disney site, with like pretty much everything you ever wanted to know, EVER, about all of the Disney parks plus the cruise line, vacation club, and so on. We’re talking EVERYTHING. The drawback, of course, is that it can be kind of intimidating. The link above is to the blog, but the main Disneyland section is here. Also on DIS is the DIS Boards, populated entirely by really nice Disney fanatics loyal fans ready to offer advice and have some fun. You can find me over there every once in a while posting under “MyYearWithTheMouse.” I know you never would have deduced that that poster was me, so I thought I’d throw it in.

Disney On Wheels
I’ve posted about Disney On Wheels before including a guest post from Melissa herself. Melissa uses a wheelchair and has a great perspective on the Disney parks experience. Although she goes to the Mouse-In-Law (also known as Walt Disney World, for those of you joining us recently), I love her writing style and commentary.

Gorillas Don’t Blog
Nothing to do with gorillas, Gorillas Don’t Blog is all about Disneyland history with fabulous pictures and commentary. Knott’s Berry Farm sneaks in there every once in a while, but that’s okay. We love Knott’s too. Just not as much as Disneyland.

Stuff From The Park
Did I mention I love Disneyland history and old pictures? Stuff From the Park is another one that can’t be missed in that category. I mean really, since I’m too young to remember the slightly-offensive Indian Village, it’s always interesting to me to see pictures of it. And also he’s got stuff from the 80s recently, which I WAS alive for, and have the pictures of the spiral perm hairstyles to prove it.

Me in 1988. The bangs are uninspiring, given the time period, but that spiral perm took HOURS to cultivate. My hair is naturally very, very straight.

And seriously, I know I look about 11 years old in that picture, but I was actually 15.

What can I say–I was very youthful.

So these are a few Disney blogs I love, and I’ll cover some more in subsequent posts. But I’d love to hear from YOU! What Disneyland blogs or sites do you follow? Any good suggestions for me?

(and never fear, MiceChatters–you’re in the next post!)

Flo’s V8 Cafe, or I Should Have Had a V8!

Finally, the blockout period ends and I make my triumphant return to the Mouseland. I’ll admit I was feeling a bit of withdrawal.

We (Kevin, Theo, and I) headed to CA Adventure for the night. Kevin and Theo had obviously never seen Cars Land or Buena Vista Street–the sad consequences of being the spouse and child of the blogger rather than paying for the pass the blogger has. Theo, of course, spent a number of hours talking about how he wanted to see the castle and the fireworks.

That’s my boy.

Theo was a bit nonplussed about Cars Land, but Kevin was impressed. We decided to catch some dinner at Flo’s V8 Cafe.

I’ll admit I was nervous. Disneyland has really made a huge effort lately to improve their food–diversifying menus and giving greater value for the money. But my brain is still partially stuck in that place where they served nothing but dry overprocessed burgers at exorbitant prices (not counting the churros and corn dogs). So I’ll totally cop to the fact that Flo’s made me nervous.

I shouldn’t have worried.

They hand you a menu outside so you don’t spend your time at the register trying to read the menu board and holding everyone else up. I will warn you, the price on the printed menu is not the same at the register. Which is kind of lame.

Their kids meal, you can get a roast beef sandwich, a turkey sandwich, or macaroni and cheese. Theo picked the mac and cheese–a bit surprising since he generally doesn’t like mac and cheese (I know, right? What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese?). You could also get a Lightning McQueen racer with your kid’s meal.

It’s in the display case

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what it does. The wheels don’t move and it’s got two handles, so I guess it’s some kind of box or something?

Anyway, it cost $6 more and we have a remote control Lightning McQueen at home, so we passed on that valuable opportunity.

Up at the counter, the V8 Cafe does its best to be very 50s.

The jukebox doesn’t work. Yes, I pressed the buttons to check

It’s all shiny and stuff in the background

 

Actually that picture kind of freaks me out a little. Also, on the left? Flames!!!

The interior has plenty of seating. Actually more than you might think.

And by you, I mean me. And by think, I mean assume.

Interior seating with giant wrenches on the wall

Even MORE interior seating! Can’t beat that with a stick!

 

The silverware and condiment section was festive as well.

Route 66, which no longer looks like this

 

Also, Doc Hudson was a big-wig here, since he’s got all of these diplomas on the wall and stuff.

Little known fact: Doc Hudson only paid off his student loans right before he died

 

Now Doc Hudson is voiced by the late Paul Newman in Cars 1 (also known as “Cars”). Which is totally awesome and all, except that he died before Cars 2 was recorded, so he (Doc Hudson) becomes this kind of posthumous character, without ever really explaining how a car ages or what it means to die.

I mean, does a car go all Thelma and Louise and throw itself off a cliff? And how old are the cars in Cars anyway?

Sorry, I digress.

I ordered the pork loin dinner. I was very hesitant (can you tell I’ve been burned by Disneyland food before? And not in a temperature kind of way), because badly-done pork is REALLY bad. Like it’s all dry and chewy and you’re totally screwed once you go past that tipping point of nice and juicy and just plain overcooked.

However, at Flo’s, the pork came with a Coke BBQ sauce. Coca-Cola, not the drug. And that kind of appealed to me. It came with two sides, so I got the corn medley and the baked beans.

Here ya go!

 

It also came with a roll I found a bit uninspiring.

But overall, my pork was actually excellent! It was nice and moist and non-chewy. The BBQ sauce added the right amount of tang with just a bit of spiciness. I would totally get it again.

Kevin, in this slightly dazed picture, got the beef strip plate with gravy. It too was also very good. Go figure. He couldn’t resist a strawberry milkshake, but got it in a regular cup rather than the collectible Flo’s glass, which we really don’t need. The milkshake also came with “road gravel” which was basically little malt balls that just kept getting stuck in the straw. Cute, but not practical.

Kevin sporting his Anaheim Brewery t-shirt

Theo got, as I mentioned, the mac and cheese (sans Lightning McQueen racer car thing). It came with grapes, apple rounds, carrots, and peas. I actually really like that they put all the healthy food out there and if you wanted something else you had to ask.

This is what happens when I beg him to smile for the camera

 

All in all, I was very impressed! The food quality was great and the prices were on par with the rest of the park. Plus the outdoor seating area was ideally located for people and car watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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