Disney’s California Adventure SUPERSTAR LIMO Model

Disney’s California Adventure didn’t get off to a good start. The attractions left a little to be desired, including the one featured today. Superstar Limo was situated in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot area of the park and was one of the original attractions featured on opening day on February 8, 2001. The attraction closed in 2002, earning the distinction of being the park’s first attraction to permanently close.

But it did spawn its share of merchandise, like this nice die-cast model of the ride vehicle:

The attraction’s purple “stretch limo” ride vehicles took riders through a cartoony rendition of Hollywood. Riders were introduced to stars, some of whom appeared at the time on ABC shows. Among the celebrities were Joan Rivers, Regis Philbin, Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas, Cindy Crawford, Tim Allen, Jackie Chan, Drew Carey, Cher, and Whoopi Goldberg. Whoopee Doo!

 

Out on the town!

This originally sold for $8.00 US back in 2001 but the asking price at the collectible store where I purchased it was $20.00 CAN. I grouped it with two other Disney die-cast cars and was able to get it for a reduced price.

So whether we have fond memories of Superstar Limo or not, there will always be room in my Disney collection for cool attraction-based merchandise!

Would Walt Disney Approve of Modern Disney?

I don’t really know how many times I’ve heard a Disney employee say: “I think Walt would have liked this (or that)!” But I think it’s safe to say that it happens often. A new Promotion comes along, and it’s just what Walt would have thought up. A new Attraction is built, and it’s just what Walt would have designed. A new balloon color is chosen, and all of a sudden, it’s Walt’s favorite color!

Top Executives and Imagineers alike are apt to claim that they are certain that they have Walt’s stamp of approval. But if Walt Disney were here today, would he approve of the Modern Disney?

To answer that, we need to look at another question: Did Walt Disney approve of everything in his day? After reading more books on the man than I can remember, I feel safe in saying ‘No’.

Starting in the early 1930’s, Walt always argued with his brother Roy about how to build their fledgling company. And almost always got his way. On into the 1940’s, Walt pushed the boundaries of Animation his way, often against the will of his staff. Many of these early Animators claim that the only way to get your idea approved was to make Walt think that it was actually his idea. On into the 1950’s and television, Walt reinvented the medium to reflect his vision of what it could be. And then went on to reinvent the Amusement Park, turning it into his own thing: The Theme Park.

I think we get the idea!

Walt Disney did things his own way. So if he walked down Main Street at Walt Disney World (which he never got to do as he died in 1966, with the Park opening in 1971) one must believe that the first thing he would do would be to notice some little thing that should have been ‘plussed’. Then he would likely launch into an elaborate description of what the whole thing could, or should, be!

Does this mean that Walt would disapprove of the Modern Disney?

He definitely hated corporate structure, even in his day. So it is likely that he wouldn’t enjoy how involved the Hierarchy of his company has become. But I believe that as he would look at the overall results of his legacy, he would be proud of how it has all turned out. But would he be satisfied?

He might look at Soarin’ and say: “Why not have it fly over the world?” He might look at Splash Mountain and ask: “Where’s Uncle Remus?” He might look at… just about anything and say: “We can make that better!” And knowing him, he could! So the good thing about worrying if Walt would approve is that the final product is bound to be the best it can be, without Walt’s direct supervision. But can we ever claim that Walt would approve, without even one suggestion to improve it?

No. But kudos to the Modern Disney for trying to gain Walt’s approval anyway!

Top 5 Mistakes Walt Disney & Company have Made

Did Walt Disney ever make a mistake? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’, but then, who wouldn’t have when taking so many risks to create great entertainment?

So what follows is a list of some of those mistakes, or lost opportunities:

Oopsy Number 1

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The character was a hit. The deal was a dud. Walt failed to retain the rights to a character that his studio created from scratch and so had it taken away from him, along with most of his studio! But never one to stay down, Walt learned from his mistake, and vowed never to repeat it. And with the creation of Mickey Mouse, he built an empire all his own that no one ever took from him! So who had the last laugh, Mr. Mintz?

Of course, long after Walt’s passing, Oswald returned to the Disney family! Last laugh: Disney.

Oopsy Number 2

The Animator’s Strike. May 29, 1941. A day that will live in Disney infamy and that would forever change how Walt interacted with his staff. Said to be over wages and credit, there is obviously more to the story than we will ever know! Would things have turned out differently if Walt had stayed to negotiate instead of heading for South America to gather material for future features? We’ll never know. What we do know is during the strike, Walt called the strikers ‘Communists’ and they burned him in effigy. Yikes!

Following the strike, irreparable damage to the psychology and mood of the studio had been done. Before the strike, the number of employees had been about 1200, but after it ended, it was reduced to 694. One letter of the period quotes Walt as saying, about the strike, that “it cleaned house at our studio” and got rid of “the chip-on-the-shoulder boys and the world-owes-me-a-living lads”. Ouch.

It’s a shame this couldn’t have ended better.

Oopsy Number 3

Doreen as the Patchwork Girl and Bobby as the Scarecrow

Rainbow Road to OZ. Walt had always loved the stories of OZ and eventually bought the rights to the books. He planned to make an animated film but then later decided to do a live-action version using the talented kids from the Mouseketeers. You can see a short clip of what it may have looked like on the Walt Disney Treasures collection entitled Your Host, Walt Disney.

This would have been a great vehicle for the Mouseketeers and a way to thank them for all of their hard work. Also, it would have made a fine companion to movies like Babes in Toyland, also starring a (by then) former Mouseketeer: Annette Funicello.

It may have taken until 2013 to pull it off, but Disney did finally realize Walt’s dream and put Oz on the screen with the major motion picture Oz, the Great and Powerful.

Oopsy Number 4

Zorro/Mickey Mouse Club. Why? That’s all I can say about the cancellation of two of the best and most popular, not to mention watched, programs in Disney history. WHY? The short answer is that Walt got into a bitter series of legal challenges with ABC over the ownership of both series. Unable to come to terms, it was decided to pull both shows from the air. With high ratings and viewer loyalty at all time highs, I think there must have been some way to resolve the dispute. This lost opportunity cost us perhaps years of quality entertainment.

Oopsy Number 5

Not hiring Lee Beatens. OK, I was only about 1-year-old when Walt passed, but that’s no excuse for overlooking great talent!

Bonus Round

Disney’s California Adventure. Not Walt’s fault, but certainly a swing and a miss by the company that bears his name! The concept of a theme park dedicated to California arose from a meeting of Disney executives in 1995. Construction of the park began in 1998, and was completed by early 2001. But the crowds never really came. After all, who’d want to fly to California and pay to enter a Theme Park about… California? Why not just… oh, I don’t know, tour the real California? The other problem that I can see was that the Imagineers filled it with rides that were reminiscent of the rides that Walt rejected for Disneyland! Epic fail.

But now with the re-Imagineering of the Park and the addition of Carsland, it’s finally on the right track, and attendance figures show it.

Disney PhotoPass Stock Photo

So we’ve seen that not all of these mistakes, or lost opportunities, were fixable. But most of them were addressed in some way years later, with a nice resolution.

Paradise Pier in Pictures

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When we arrived at the Grand Californian Resort & Spa for our stay during our trip to Disneyland, I had no idea that we were going to get the view that we got! When our room was ready and we went to it, after looking at all of the incredible detailing in the room itself (look for a more detailed post about that later) we were amazed by the view of Paradise Pier from our balcony, which you can see in the picture above. In addition to that view, I thought you would like to see some other pictures I’ve taken from the balcony. These were all taken with my iPhone, so please forgive the quality. Thanks!

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Thanks everyone for following along with us! I hope that you are all well, and that these posts get you excited about your own Disney vacations to come! When is your next trip to a Disney Park? Let me know in the comments, and thanks!