Down Under Disney

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

Paradise Gardens Park: The Family Zone

Formerly a part of Paradise Pier, the newly named, Paradise Gardens Park is an area perfect for families. It is situated on the opposite side of the lake from Pixar Pier and features a number of small scale attractions that have little-mild thrills. Paradise Gardens Park also includes the viewing area for the amazing World of Colour nighttime show.

 

The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

File:The Little Mermaid - Ariels Undersea Adventure entrance.jpg

The Entrance to The Little Mermaid Attraction. Image from Wikimedia Commons

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Dark Ride

– Height Requirements: No

– Attraction Duration: 6 mins

– Area: Paradise Gardens Park

– Fastpass: No

-Rider Switch: No

– Year Opened: 2011

– Recommendation: Good for young children.

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 20 Minutes

 

Overview/Description

The Little Mermaid is a large scale dark ride situated inside a rather beautiful building, overlooking the lake. In the Dark Ages of California Adventure this same building played host to a fairly awful cinematic attraction entitled “Golden Dreams”. It was essentially a romanticised version of Californian History, starring Whoopi Goldberg. An absolute riot! Thankfully this attraction was part of the cull of ’08-’12 and what we are a left with (at the very least) is a more classical Disney ride.

By now you should all be familiar with how a Disney Dark Ride operates. The Little Mermaid attraction is no different. You simply sit in your clam shaped omnimover vehicle and relive some of the best moments (mainly songs) from the film, in animatronic form.

 

Verdict

In all honesty this is actually one of the better Dark Rides in the Resort. It’s more technology advanced, featuring projections and some decent audio-animatronics (Ursula is particularly good) and is about twice as long as some of the traditional rides in Fantasyland. I’d definitely give it a whirl if you have kids.

 

Spoiler Alert: Please find a POV of the Little Mermaid Ride thanks to Jason Sasaki.

 

Goofy’s Sky School

A great view of  Goofy’s Sky School. Image Sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Wild Mouse Roller Coaster

– Height Requirements: 107 cm

– Attraction Duration: 2 minutes

– Area: Paradise Gardens Park

-Height 17 metres

– Top Speed: 43km/h

– Fastpass: No

-Rider Switch: Yes

– Year Opened: 2001 – As Mulholland Madness and 2011: As Goofy’s Sky School

– Recommendation: Not essential

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 30 Minutes

 

Overview/Description

Goofy’s Sky School is your run of the mill Wild Mouse Coaster found at every show ground in Australia. It originally opened as Mulholland Madness, after Mulholland Drive in LA and was supposed to pay homage to the Californian freeways. This didn’t work though, mainly because people were travelling faster (43km/h) on the roller coaster than on any LA freeway. Like the other 80% of culled attractions this one also received an upgrade and retheming to become Goofy’s Sky School.

The inspiration for the retheming of this coaster was the 1940s animated short “Goofy’s Glider”, in which Goofy tries getting his homemade glider airborne. Throughout the ride you will encounter billboard signs with Goofy giving step by step instructions on flying a plane. Other than this the theming of this attraction is as simple and plain as the ride itself.

 

Verdict

My ride theory at Disneyland is this. Don’t go on something that is readily available in Australia. For me this is one of those ride. It does not offer anything new and exciting so I’d give it a miss. Having said that, this ride does offer something for the 10-14 year old market.

 

Spoiler Alert: A POV of Goofy’s Sky School thanks to LMG vids.

 

 

Silly Symphony Swings

Silly Symphony Swings.jpg

Silly Symphony Swings in full swing.

 

Attraction Specifications

– Ride Type: Wave Swinger

– Height Requirements: 102cm

– Attraction Duration: 1.5 minutes

– Area: Paradise Gardens Park

-Height 12 metres

– Fastpass: No

-Rider Switch: Yes

– Year Opened: 2001 – As Orange Stinger and 2010: As Silly Symphony Swings

– Recommendation: Not essential

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 15 Minutes

 

Overview

The Silly Symphony Swings is situated on the border of Paradise Gardens Park and Pixar Pier and is another stock standard attraction you can find anywhere in the world. It, like so many attractions at California Adventure, has a tragic past. Formerly known as the Orange Stinger, this attraction used to be situated within, you guessed it, a giant half peeled orange…On this ride the seats were bee shaped and they sprayed orange scent to enhance the experience. Ironically, real bees became attracted by this scent so they had to stop.

 

Orange Stinger.jpg

The old California Adventure summed up in one image.

 

 

Description

Like Goofy’s Sky School, Disney Imagineering used the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon, “The Band Concert” as the basis for this attraction’s retheming. In the cartoon, during Mickey’s Band’s performance of the William Tell Overture, a tornado strikes and sends the band flying. Likewise, with Mickey conducting on top, the wave swinger ride lifts, revealing a tornado image on the central shaft. The William Tell Overture plays and riders a spun around as if they were in a tornado.

 

Verdict

Again, my general rule is to give rides a miss if you can easily do them elsewhere. This, like Goofy’s Sky School is another one of these. Plenty of smaller theme parks and shows in Australia (i.e. Adventure Park, Geelong) include this attraction, which is (theming aside) no different. Family’s with children 6-12 will probably enjoy.

Golden Zephyr

File:Golden Zephyr from Jellyfish.jpg

The Golden Zephyr (Golden Breeze). Sourced from Wikimedia Commons

 

Attraction Specifications

– Ride Type: Gentle Spinning

– Height Requirements: No

– Attraction Duration: 1.5 minutes

– Area: Paradise Gardens Park

– Fastpass: No

-Rider Switch: No

– Year Opened: 2001

– Recommendation: Not essential

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 15 Minutes

 

Overview/Description/Verdict

The Golden Zephyr is a beautifully intricate, gentle, rocket themed ride that simple spins guests around a large tower. It was originally themed to fit in with the 1920’s boardwalk feel, for the former Paradise Pier and is actually one of the few attractions that survived the “Great Cull”. The term zephyr means a “Gentle Breeze”.

While there is nothing similar to it in Australia it’s still non-essential. Younger children might get a kick out of it but for me it’s an atmospheric attraction.

 

Jumping Jellyfish

Jumpin Jellyfish.jpg

The Jumping Jellyfish attraction takes guests 12 metres high. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Attraction Specifications

– Ride Type: Paratower (Gentle Drop Ride)

– Height Requirements: 102cm

– Attraction Duration: 1.5 minutes

– Area: Paradise Gardens Park

– Height: 12m

– Fastpass: No

-Rider Switch: No

– Year Opened: 2001

– Recommendation: Not essential

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 15 Minutes

 

Overview/Description/Verdict

Like the Golden Zephyr, Jumping Jellyfish is one of the few opening day attractions that has remained unchanged. It is a gentle drop ride that is supposed to replicate a jellyfish’s movement in the water. Simple as that.

Again kids might find this enjoyable but it really isn’t anything to write home about.

 

 

Final Notes: Paradise Gardens Park

Paradise Gardens Park is a nice calm area for families to escape the hustle and bustle of California Adventure. It has plenty to do, quick lines and a whole lot of seating areas. If you are between the ages of 18-30 and are not travelling with a family, you could almost bypass this area completely. Otherwise it’s certainly worth a look.

 

 

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