Disneyland and DCA – New Attractions and Shows

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On our recent trip I had the opportunity to experience some new shows and attractions that have recently opened. I say “new”, but two of them were actually updates of existing attractions that just came out of lengthy refurbishments.

The first is the Jungle Cruise, which just re-opened on May 6. The biggest change was to the dock area, to help keep the boats more stable during the loading/unloading process. The dock that you seen on the right side of this photo was added, which helps to confine the boats and limit their movement.

Jungle Cruise dock

Here’s a view from the boat – you can see the boats also had bumpers added to them.

Jungle Cruise dock

A closer view of the bumper.

Jungle Cruise dock

There really weren’t any changes to the ride itself – everything was just freshened up. The skippers still tell the same corny jokes. (Here was our first sign of “Danger.”)

Jungle Cruise

I thought the piranhas sprayed more than I’ve seen before.

Jungle Cruise

We had a slight wait before going to the dock to unload, so heard a longer version of the menu at the “Cannibal Cafe” – rump roast, toe-fu, ladyfingers, Girl Scout cookies, cold shoulder…

Jungle Cruise Trader Sam

The elephant was added to the roof above Tropical Imports.

Jungle Cruise

It was nice to see the Jungle Cruise return – it’s a classic attraction.

Another refurbished classic attraction is the Tomorrowland Autopia. The big change is that Honda is now the sponsor rather than Chevron. There’s a whole new color scheme now.

Autopia

Autopia

Autopia

Autopia

The cars are still the same, though some of them have an updated body with a Honda logo. Others appear completely unchanged.

Autopia

You can see some of the old and new cars in this photo.

Autopia

The load process is still the same.

Autopia

I hadn’t done this ride in a long time. I thought that the graphics on the screen in the loading area and inside the building part of the queue were new, but I could be wrong.

Autopia

Autopia

Some of the graphics on the outdoor screen were fun.

Autopia

Autopia

Autopia

The track is still the same – some interesting views.

Autopia

There is still a short “off-road” section. It had rained earlier on the day we did it, so that area was a little muddy.

Autopia

There’s still the booths on the exit ramp where for $5 you can get a photo taken to put onto your Autopia Driver License.

Autopia

Autopia

We had to laugh when looking around the queue – I’d say that 2/3 of those riding were parties of adults WITHOUT children. Pretty high nostalgia factor for this one.

Autopia

One change: Autopia is no longer a Fastpass attraction.

Over in DCA…

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, which replaced Luigi’s Flying Tires, opened in March. It’s the first attraction in the U.S. Disney parks to use the trackless vehicle technology that they have in the overseas parks. The cars are Luigi’s cousins from Carsoli, Italy, who are demonstrating some of the traditional dances from their village. The cars move all around the floor as they whirl around each other, and at the end they all dance and spin in formation.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

There are five different songs, most of them accompanied by lots of beeping.

It’s quite finicky about operating conditions, though. I saw it E-stop because someone’s hat blew onto the surface, and on this recent trip I was on the ride when it stopped because of light drizzle. (Cast members had warned us that might happen – they gave us a pass that was good for almost any ride in either park.)

Autopia

It’s a cute ride, and the spinning at the end is fun, but a lot of us preferred the Flying Tires.

Over in the Animation Building, the Turtle Talk with Crush show has been updated to include characters from the upcoming “Finding Dory” movie. Dory and Destiny the Whale Shark appear together in an extended scene, as does Bailey the Beluga.

Turtle Talk with Crush and Finding Dory

Turtle Talk with Crush and Dory

There’s also Marlin, Hank the Octopus, and a hermit crab.

Turtle Talk with Crush and Finding Dory

Turtle Talk with Crush and Finding Dory

Turtle Talk with Crush and Dory

I saw this several times – it seemed much more scripted than it has in the past. I think that’s mostly to get the appearances of the “Finding Dory” characters in there. Still a cute show, though, and it was very popular with the kids.

Finally, I saw the new sneak peek of the upcoming Alice in Wonderland film: “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Instead of the “It’s tough to be a bug” theater, where the sneak peeks are usually held, this one is in the former Muppets Theater, now that the “Frozen” sing-along has moved out. The theater has been renamed the “Sunset Showcase Theater.” On the outside are some of the oversize props from the Mad T Party.

Through the Looking Glass preview

On the inside, though, it still looks like a hall in the Kingdom of Arendelle.

Sunset Showcase Theater

There’s something fun in the pre-show area: two booths that will transform you into different characters from Alice in Wonderland. I thought it was pretty well-done. To get started you answer a few questions on the touch panel in front of you, and then look into the mirror above. After some initial process takes places you can use the touch panel to select which characters you want to see yourself as – Mad Hatter:

Alice Mad Hatter

Queen of Hearts:

Alice Queen of Hearts

White Queen:

Alice White Queen

Cheshire Cat:

Alice Cheshire Cat

White Rabbit:

Alice White Rabbit

At the end you choose one of them and mug for the camera. Then, if you have supplied an email address during the introductory portion, it will email you a video.

It was fun to do, and fun to watch. There’s a line off to the side for those who wish to try it. It takes several minutes for each person.

The movie clip itself was in 3D. There were just a couple of “4D” effects. Not really my cup of “tea”, though. The movie opens June 10; the sneak peek is scheduled to run through June 12.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

While this wasn’t a new attraction or show, it was still something new…ducklings! They were in one of the planters near the hub. It’s always fun to see the new babies every spring.

Disneyland ducklings

We still have some more new things to look forward to – the new Frozen – Live at the Hyperion musical, as well as the new Soarin’ Around the World film. Frozen opens May 27; Soarin’ is scheduled for June 17.

Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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