We continue the Cars Land Test Drive with Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, the surprise hit of the preview days. Many who rode this new attraction seemed shocked by how much they enjoyed what appears to be a fairly simple ride
Even if you're not a big Mater / Larry the Cable Guy fan, set aside your feelings about Cars 2 and come square dance with the baby tractors.
The ride's story is that while the residents of Cars Land were getting ready for the big race depicted in the Radiator Springs Racers ride, Mater set up a square dance in his junkyard, building a giant makeshift jukebox out of spare parts like car radios and horns. The music attracted a herd of baby tractors (not seen in the Cars movies, but invented for Cars Land), and Mater taught them to square dance.
The queue takes riders through Mater's junkyard, filled with souvenirs from Mater's Tall Tales, including the drum kit from "Heavy Metal Mater," oil cans from "Unidentified Flying Mater," and an office window from "Mater Private Eye." Rusting Radiator Springs license plates are nailed all around the queue, and even the stanchion poles are decorated with spare parts.
Happily, it appears that plans to include interactive noise making props (oil barrel drums, wind chimes, honking horns) in the queue were scrapped, because the last thing this ride needs is more noise.
Mater's has two ride platforms on either side of the loading area. Riders board trailers towed by each of the 22 baby tractors, each with a single bench seat that can accommodate up to three passengers; two adults and a child or one adult and two children. Each bench has a single seatbelt. The ride has an official capacity of 600 riders per hour, and a height requirement of 32 inches.
The queue is fully accessible to wheelchairs and ECVs, but riders must be able to transfer from their chair to the ride vehicle. You can roll right up to your vehicle to board; a cast member will move your wheelchair to a holding area until the ride ends, then return it to you. One car has a swing-out door to help riders transfer from a wheelchair, but the attraction does not offer transfer boards—if you need to use one, bring your own.
As the ride begins, Larry the Cable Guy, the voice of Mater, calls one of seven different square dance songs written for the attraction, accompanied by music recorded by Disneyland's Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. Outtakes from one of the recording sessions were used to create an eighth "blooper" song, which plays about once an hour. Mater also has a collection of jokes that he tells between ride cycles.
Described by a Los Angeles Times reporter as a "whip ride on a tea cup base," Mater's is deceptively fast. Like the Francis' Lady Bug Boogie attraction in Bug's Land, the tractors move in circles around turntables, jumping to the next turntable at each intersection. However, whereas Francis' Lady Bug Boogie has just two turntables and ride vehicles that move in a figure-eight configuration, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree uses four turntables on each of the dual ride platforms. And then there's the trailer. Pivoting behind each tractor, the trailer swings freely from side to side each time the tractor changes direction, the trailer sends riders sliding back and forth across the seat bench—you definitely want to hold onto any loose articles.
The result is a ride that provides a real thrill for adults, but is not too intense for younger riders. The dual ride platforms and variety of songs make this attraction surprisingly repeatable—you'll want to come back and try the other side, or see if you can catch the blooper song.
The only real complaint I can raise is that the ride is really loud. During testing without music, we noticed that the ride platform is fairly noisy, and it seems that the attraction's music has been turned up to mask that sound. The ride is located right at the entrance to Cars Land, so you can hear the music from a good distance away, which may prove distracting whenever there's a performance on the adjacent parade route.
Outside the attraction to the ride, a baby tractor (without trailer) is on display in Mater's Petting Zoo. This is a great photo opportunity, and lets kids under 32 inches tall see the tractors up close, and lets adults appreciate the detailing the little tractors—you probably won't notice their spot patterns and thin little lips while you're whipping around the track.
While some dismiss this as a minor Cars Land attraction, the Junkyard Jamboree provides what one rider described as a "stupid good time"—which is exactly what you expect from Mater.