By Charly SHELTON
I should have published this article earlier. I’m not sure now if there is time to renew your passport before you head to the Disneyland Resort for their Soundsational Summer. But you will definitely need it because they will be transporting you to never before seen locales like Tatooine, Under the Sea, Kashyyk, and Ursula’s Grotto, or even just down Main Street, U.S.A. That is all in addition to the classic destinations like the Lost River Delta’s Temple of the Forbidden Eye, the icy slopes of the majestic Matterhorn, and the town where all Toons live together but humans are always welcome to visit. This summer is going to be a busy one for Disneyland as they welcome three new attractions to their already amazing resort: at Disney’s California Adventure park, The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure takes guests on a magical, musical journey “Under the Sea.” Over at Disneyland, the all new Mickey’s Soundsational Parade heads down Main Street, U.S.A., and the rebooted Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, blasts guests into “A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”
Also, if you have $3,700 or more to spare, you can book one night in an all new “Signature Suite” at the Disneyland hotel.
First, let’s drop a line for Ariel, see if she takes the bait. The new dark ride attraction uses the Omni-mover ride system, the same that is used in the Haunted Mansion. Instead of Doom Buggies, you board Clammobiles and enter a sailing ship where Scuttle the seagull tells us the story of the Little Mermaid and sets the scene for our adventure.
Then we dive under the water and see Ariel dreaming of her Prince Eric and longs to be Part of That World. We follow her story through about half of the movie, breaking off and returning just in time for a happy ending.
If you are looking for another great dark ride experience like the ones in Fantasyland, don’t hold your breath (no pun intended). The Ariel ride is a ride-through music video. It even cuts out the story when there is no song. The scenes are Part of Your World, then Under the Sea, then Poor Unfortunate Souls, then Kiss the Girl, then its over. The whole part about Vanessa and Ariel almost losing Eric, then the big climactic battle with Ursula is totally written out. The only nod to it is in the happy ending scene where Ariel gets her voice back and gets her prince. Giant Ursula from the battle is back in the corner, about two feet tall, a cutout against the skyline. The plot of the ride is “lose her voice, kiss the girl, okay I did. Happy ending, please exit to the left.”
And with wait-times of over an hour, my suggestion is to skip it until it slows down. Time worth waiting: 15-20 minutes.
Star Tours on the other hand is awesome. For those of you waiting to hear all of the different combinations of the new Star Tours ride, let me say up front: I am not going to tell all of them. The fun of the ride is waiting to see which ones you will get. I don’t want to ruin it all for you.
Some reviewers have already listed all of the secrets online, so if you want to know them that bad, Google it. I preface this article with this message and disclaimer because in the seven days between riding the new attraction and writing this article I have been asked to divulge all the secrets about 50 times. I will tell some people some secrets, but if I have told you some, it is not all of them. The fun of this ride is that with over 50 possible story combinations, the experience keeps you guessing. Unfortunately, Jar Jar Binks, the bumbling fish kinda thing from Star Wars Episode I, is a possiblility. It’s not that he ruins the ride, he just makes it less enjoyable. Think about it this way – do you want to swim through a Gungan city and fight a fish, or blast through an asteroid field with Boba Fett on your six? Boba Fett? Thought so. It’s only logical. But other than the Gungans, this ride is fantastic!
The 3D is the best in the park, and with the new flight glasses, you expect some problems, but it always works realistically with the other technologies in play. It does, however make you very sick! Like reaching-for-the- camera-bag-seriously-gonna-ralph sick. If you are sensitive to motion sickness, only do this attraction once. I would say don’t do it, but for this, its worth it to be sick once. With wait-times over three hours on a weekday before school is out, be prepared to wait it out in the sun, even with a fastpass. Fastpass wait is over an hour as well. The preshow inside is great though for that last leg of the wait. Definitely not to be missed. Time worth waiting: 1 hour 30 minutes.
Next week, we bring you a report on E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but the following week, stay tuned for part two of this article when we will review the new parade and take a peek at the suites at the hotel, as well as see the new host of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios and take a flight with the Green Lantern at Six Flags. All this in just two weeks.
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