Having just watched the ingloriously painful “Disneyland Sing-a-long” DVD this morning with Claire (at her pleasure, of course) I was reminded of a bit of random awesomeness I experienced there back about a month ago but had forgotten to blog about. I had no computer whilst in SoCal so didn’t write, but this would have made it highly ranked into my daily highlights, and beyond, were I keeping such records. I wasn’t. But I did want to share this:
Karin and Claire had gone back to the hotel for the afternoon nap. I’d sent the in-laws off on their own for some reason, likely so I could poke around the Disney clock shop to see if there wasn’t some possibility of a holiday gift for the wife (though too bad for her a custom Disney watch starts around five hundred American bucks!) And as a result I had scored a couple hours on my own in Disneyland, which sounds way more alluring than it actually is. I decided to accomplish three things: (1) as mentioned, some gift shopping (which turned out to be a bust), (2) collecting some pressed pennies for Claire’s collection (another long story) from around and about the park, and (3) check out the one or two geeky rides that no one else wanted to go on (in other words, the Star Wars Star Tours simulator).
Fast forward to number three: I wandered by Star Tours and (likely due to the fact that in the decade plus since it’s been built it’s become a blistering point of Disney epic-fail-ness) there was almost no one in line. Thus, I walked right on.
Now, for those who have yet to experience the ride, here is how things are supposed to go: It’s a simulator, so besides walking through a mock Rebel Alliance base with animatronic droids all around, the whole of the ride takes place in what is essentially an enclosed tiny (fifty-seater) movie theater on hydraulics that jostles you around in sync with what’s going on during the short video. And
I’m sure it used to be the height of awesome. But time, you know, she is a harsh mistress.
First, the ride is old and seems to be playing off a VHS SD video tape. Second, the ride is quite old and I have more high-tech video gear in the second tier system now living in my basement. Third, almost no one cares about Star Wars too much anymore save for us older-than-thirty-nerds who knew the franchise before Lucas ruined it with the prequels.
That said, I wanted to have another go (the last time being five years previous on our last trip) and while I’m sure I could have dragged her on (mostly through pity and guilt) Karin didn’t seem all that keen.
The plot is simple — and if you go to Youtube you can probably find multiple versions of someone’s camcordered experience (such as…) — revolving around you going on a ill-begotten deTOURed space tourist journey that makes sure to brush past a handful of original trilogy highlights, guided and piloted by an inept droid named Rex (yet another animatronic part of the ride, voiced by Pee-Wee Herman, I think) all while the simulator jostles you around to make it seem like you are riding in what is pretty much a rickety space bus.
Now, normally one would expect all the “passengers” to sit quietly and enjoy the simulated flight. But apparently there is something of a pop-cult following and some folks ride WAY too often for their own sanity. Case-in-point: the dude who was sitting in front on me and performed an awesome deadpan MST3K-esque routine in conversation with Rex for the entire duration of the ride. And while this may have ruined it for some, I was in stitches by the end of the five minute adventure. His routine (and keep in mind it’s been a month for me) essentially began as nothing more than a few off-hand “Hi, Rex.” and “Thanks, Rex.” or “Turn left, Rex.” but eventually evolved into a in-depth, perfectly choreographed scolding of the robot, often in language I try not to use on this blog.
Epic win, in my book.
Of course, like many such enhancements, it would be tough to go back to the original after experiencing the (albeit unofficial) improved version. Kudos to the unnamed performer, wherever you are. According to my (official) tally that was easily in the top five experiences of MY trip.