Saturday, June 1, 2013

Disneyland Review: Monsters Inc., - Mike and Sulley to the Rescue

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun visit with Mike, Sulley, and Boo
Cons: If the line is long; not much to keep you occupied
The Bottom Line:
See Monstropolis
You'll have a blast watching Boo's
Chaotic trip home

Watch Mike and Sulley Race to Get Boo Home in this Great Ride

California Adventure is a theme park still in flux.  There are lots of constructions projects currently going on in the park.  And some of their rides have already been replaced.  Case in point?  Monsters Inc. - Mike and Sulley to the Rescue has already replaced Superstar Limos.  Since I only rode the original ride in this space once, I don't really remember much about it.  But from what I remember, the original ride wasn't much.  Monsters Inc., however, is a wonderful dark ride.

Now I should admit my bias right up front.  Monsters Inc. is my favorite Pixar movie to date, so the fact that we can now visit the world of Monstropolis thrills me.

This ride is located is the Hollywood Backlot portion of the park in a corner almost by itself.  It's just a little further past the 3D Muppet show.  Frankly, you can't miss the ride since the outside has a facade of doors of various sizes and colors.  You enter the line through one of those doors.

The line can be a bit deceiving.  It winds around right there by the entrance and again around the corner before you actually enter the building.  There is little shade or little to keep you interest, so if you have a long wait, it will seem very long.  Frankly, the popularity of this ride seems to be dying down, and I find that I don't have to wait longer than 15 minutes for it any more.  They always have a sign outside advising you of wait times, and it's pretty accurate.  You can use that to decide if you want to wait or not.

The fun starts as soon as you enter the building.  You are now in the Monstropolis Transit Center.  As you wander around the last 10 minutes or so, you see all kinds of creative signs and ads.  My favorite is not too long after you enter the building as they give the rules for monsters riding the bus.  (No setting your fellow passengers on fire.)

The vehicles you ride in for this attraction are designed to look like taxis.  There are three rows that hold two adults each, so you can get roughly six people in each taxi.

What follows is a traditional Disney dark ride.  Not familiar with the term?  The best example is the rides in Fantasyland that retell the stores of the classic Peter Pan or Snow White movies.

And that's exactly what you'll get here.  Just as we are being welcomed to Monstropolis, we get a news bulletin - a human child is reported to be loose in the city!  We emerge from a tunnel to find ourselves on the city street as two of the victims are being interviewed by the local press.  We take a quick trip through the Harryhausen restaurant before returning to the Monsters Inc. factory.  A quick trip through the locker room, then it's on to the door warehouse before we reach a happy ending.

Since the ride only has three minutes, it cuts out lots of the story.  But it is so artfully done that you won't even notice some plot points are missing.  While I love the movie, I have ridden on it with people who have never seen it before, and they have no trouble following the story as presented, although my parents have been known to ask me some follow up questions while we wait in the line for our next ride.

Some of the earlier dark rides feature two dimensional characters and obvious tricks.  That's not the case here.  Everyone is fully sculpted in 3D and looks amazing.  The sets are great and the lighting perfect.  It feels like you are actually part of the movie.

There are a couple of neat effects with Randal, the villain of the story.  At one point, he appears and disappears.  Near the end of the movie, Boo keep hitting him and he changes colors.  While I know how they must do these effects, I still haven't seen any evidence of it.

When you first enter the door warehouse, there is a row of doors in front of you.  Three of those can open for brief cameos from characters in the movie.  Pay attention, you never know which one you will get.

Finally, just as you are about to exit, you'll come to a slightly interactive Roz.  She'll single someone out in your car and say something to them.  She seems to like to accuse me of making googley eyes at her.  I hope that never gets back to my true love, Belle.  That could make for an awkward conversation if it did.

While the movie has a couple of scary moments, those are noticeably absent here.  The ride is perfectly safe for the entire family.  Young kids will need to sit toward the inside of the car, but that's the only restriction that Disney places on them.

Like other dark rides, the cars move forward at a slow and steady pace.  This isn't a ride for thrill seekers.  The target is young kids and the young at heart.  Anyone else will be bored by the results.

The dark ride is a signature of Disney parks, and it's nice to see California Adventure get a great one.  Monsters Inc. - Mike and Sulley to the Rescue is one of my favorite things to do when I visit the park.

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