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.
Here’s a view from the boat – you can see the boats also had bumpers added to them.
A closer view of the bumper.
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.”)
I thought the piranhas sprayed more than I’ve seen before.
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…
The elephant was added to the roof above Tropical Imports.
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.
The cars are still the same, though some of them have an updated body with a Honda logo. Others appear completely unchanged.
You can see some of the old and new cars in this photo.
The load process is still the same.
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.
Some of the graphics on the outdoor screen were fun.
The track is still the same – some interesting views.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
There’s also Marlin, Hank the Octopus, and a hermit crab.
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.
On the inside, though, it still looks like a hall in the Kingdom of Arendelle.
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:
Queen of Hearts:
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.
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.
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.