While there are some knock-out rides and attractions at Disney Parks around the globe, some rides, for whatever reason, just didn’t hit the mark.
When it comes to the BIZARRE ride that was Superstar Limo at Disney California Adventure, it seemed to miss many marks. Let’s take a look back at the completely bonkers opening day attraction .
For starters, what exactly WAS Superstar Limo? In simplest terms, it was a classic dark ride attraction that sat where Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! currently resides. It was an opening day attraction at Disney California Adventure in 2001, but by early 2002 it had shuttered for good. Why? Explaining the concept or story of the attraction to another person can cause a few eyebrows to get raised.
To understand why Superstar Limo wound up the way it did, it’s helpful to know that Disney California Adventure was unfortunately built with a limited budget and no cohesive vision for the park. A much flashier, high-speed attraction was originally planned, but what they eventually wound up with was…well, let’s just walk through the ride itself, and you’ll see what we mean.
The guests assumed the role of a young Hollywood star on the way to a big move premiere. Along the way, you would pass by iconic Hollywood landmarks in your “limo,” as well as several celebrities. Yes, there were actual celebrities featured in the ride, as it thought it would increase the ride’s popularity. Celebrities included Drew Carey, Tim Allen, Cher, and Whoopie Goldberg. And let’s just say they looked…interesting.
The execution of the ride was severely flawed and clearly done on a dime. The majority of the attraction’s set were large painted flats, akin to the classic dark rides Disney would create in the 1950’s and 1960’s. And no, we don’t think they were trying to evoke a certain nostalgia for those kinds of dark rides. It was pretty obvious this was thrown together last minute.
In fact, in The Imagineering Story on Disney+, Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, probably said it best:
“We’re building California Adventure, and you end up with things like Superstar Limo, and you can’t point to the Imagineers actually working on it. The culture wasn’t really listening to each other; they would just go into these little pods of, this is my land, or this is my attraction, and I’ve lost touch with my peers, and there’s no sense of, hey, wait a minute, is this good enough? Each step of the way, you sort of buy in further of, like, okay, there’s no turning back, we just have to keep going. The original conceit was probably too self-referential about Hollywood — those paparazzi riding, and catching celebrities. Then you end up with Princess Diana dying right midway while the project is being installed, and suddenly paparazzi are, like, that’s a really bad theme! Well, hey, you’re almost done, what are you gonna do? So now it turns into, you’re going to be a star, now it’s an agent, but all the figures are these grotesque, kind of, like… It just didn’t work.”
Needless to say, the attraction permanently closed less than one year after it opened. It would later be replaced by Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, where the same track and ride vehicles were used. Reportedly many of those celebrity cameo animatronics were also repurposed to be the members of the Child Detection Agency.
So, while we only have video ride throughs on YouTube to remind us of what was Superstar Limo, if you ever find yourself at Disney California Adventure, give Monsters, Inc. a visit and you can get the slightest idea of what it was like. Much of what was a part of opening day at California Adventure is gone forever, but we can still look back “fondly” at what it used to be!
Were you among the lucky few who got to experience Superstar Limo in all its glory? Tell us about it in the comments!
Get more Disney history at the links below!
- Seven Times We Have No Idea What Disney Was Thinking
- A Tribute to the Worst Disney Ride Ever
- Did You Know Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas Made a Disney Attraction Together?
- Eight Characters You Won’t Meet in the Disney Parks Anymore
- Ranking the Most Short-Lived Disney Parks Attractions We Want to Experience Again
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