Are you ready to get in a really really really long line? The construction walls are just about to come down over at Disney’s California Adventure in the Paradise Pier district and Toy Story Midway Mania is almost ready for the public’s prying eyes. The attraction with the overly wordy title is in its final test and adjust phase as I type this.
Long Story Short: You get in a vehicle, pop on some 3-D glasses and play several different, interactive computer generated midway style games. On your journey you’ll shoot darts, hoops, suctions cups and pies from your own personal “gun” and score points. When you’re done, you’ll get a score. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.
Good: The technology on display here is staggering. One of the simplest and most dazzling effects is how the projectiles that splat, soar and careen their way onto the 3-D targets actually appear as if they are coming from the “gun” mounted to the front of your vehicle. Other 4-D effects serve to enhance the experience, like puffs of air when you pop a balloon or a light splash of water when you hit a wet target. It’s great fun and immensely entertaining.
Bad: There is no story here. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. The very best Disneyland attractions are the ones that place you in the middle of a story in progress or at the least a highly themed environment. Beloved attractions tell a story. Also-rans do not. On Midway Mania you get in, you play the games and you get off – it’s like Buzz Light Year’s Astro Blasters on steroids without a plot. It’s all whiz and no bang.
Ugly: The ride vehicles are technically superior but strange in shape and size. Also there’s no clever disguise of a mine car, bobsled or jeep. It’s just a big weird behemothey thing you sit in to facilitate the game play.
Odd: It was noted among quite a few male riders exiting the attraction that firing the “gun” (an unusual device that requires you to yank repeatedly on a cord every time you want to fire) bears a resemblance to **ahem** a certain type of gratification. Females may not get it but the guys on board spotted the similarities immediately. One fellow even claimed to be blind after riding. You may want to steer clear of unsupervised packs of teenage boys.
So there you have it. Toy Story Midway Mania is spectacular display of a superior technology hindered only by it’s lack of story. It really doesn’t matter what I think anyway because people are going to love this attraction! It’s the type of family friendly fair that plays directly to the Disneyland faithful and the Pixar devoted. In other words everyone on the planet is going to be scrambling to ride it over and over again.