- middle of map, between 3 & 1)
GRIZZLY PEAK -
Grizzly Peak Recreation Area is a 10-acre faux California wilderness
planted with redwoods and other native vegetation.
The centerpiece of this section is
Grizzly River Run, a Disney-engineered water ride about a
creaky old gold mine that the owners have turned into a river-rapids
"We paid a lot of attention
to the rockwork, the logs and the plants so that the attraction will
depict a very accurate California riverscape," Braverman said.
Grizzly River Run will include a
45-foot climb and two drops. The larger drop, at 22 feet, will be the
biggest of any rapids ride. "It spins you 360 degrees as you drop at
a 30-degree angle," Braverman said.
We now have a ride review up
for this - and, to be kind here, it isn't pretty. It's below,
and originally ran in the D-I-G [Disneyland Information Guide] update
Da Bear - Da Bore?
Here's the first review of the new Raft ride
at Disney's California Adventure [DCA for short] that someone was kind
enough to send to me.
Sadly it seems to be a heck of a lot more Paul
Pressler in what it offers than Walt Disney as far as show
Yes, there is now water in the flume and
they have been testing the station and developing operating guides for
the future CM's.
The ride is extremely basic, pretty much what we've assumed it was going
to be all along. It is a re-themed version of Kali River, [the
poorly received new ride at Animal Kingdom] but without even
Kali's very basic animation or "burning rain forest" show
The ride is roughly four minutes long, give
or take ten to fifteen seconds. The first twenty seconds after the raft
has been dispatched from the loading station is spent drifting around a
bend in the flume and towards the very long lift hill. The lift hill
takes about fifty seconds for the raft to make it to the top. Then the
raft begins it's very fast moving journey around and down the sides of
There are two tunnel sections along the
flume. There are no show effects, with the exception of growling
bear sound effects and some basic lighting, inside these two tunnels.
[Just like the Rocket Rods eh?]
There is one drop that sets the raft
spinning as it heads down. The thrill in the drop comes not so much from
it's modest height, but rather from the spinning effect of the
Roughly two minutes and thirty seconds after
the raft has left the lift hill, the raft is again at the base of the
mountain and has twenty to thirty seconds of free floating time before
docking back at the unloading area of the station.
So you've got roughly a minute a fifteen
seconds spent leaving the station and ascending the lift hill, roughly
two-and-half minutes spent splashing thru the flume down and around back
to the base of the mountain, and finally an estimated twenty to thirty
final seconds of slow moving flume as the raft floats back into the
loading area for disembarking.
There are no animatronics at all in this attraction. There are a
few lumber mill-type set pieces around the boarding area, much like the
Cider Mill on Tom Sawyer's Island. A few of these set pieces turn and
move, and they are the only moving show effects on the whole
Of course there are some nearby merchandise
locations themed like an old lumber mill which match the attraction
boarding area buildings. There are no conventional Disney show
effects alongside the flume.
They have planned to have a geyser area of
the flume at the base of the mountain where visitors can insert tokens
into machines that set the geysers off, thus soaking the raft
passengers. Sea World's new raft ride also has these types of coin
operated geysers. They make a lot of money.
There is an allusion to some
"bears" in the tunnels thru the use of growling sound effects.
But there are no grizzly bears, stuffed, animatronic, or otherwise,
to be seen anywhere on this ride. The scenery along the flume consists
simply of ponderosa pines, shrubs, and convincingly fake rockwork.
The three real selling points for this ride
are simply the picturesque bears head rockwork at the top of the
mountain, the flume drop that sets the rafts into a short spin, and the
chance to get very wet. That's it. Your basic, four minute long
amusement park raft ride.
This attraction will have Fastpass on opening day. The
rafts, originally designed to seat six, have had the seating rearranged
so that eight seats are now squeezed in each raft. This helps increase
capacity at what will be marketed as one of DCA's few "Big
Rides" that people from around the western USA will be expected to
flock to in 2001.
Basically, they took Kali River Rapids and cut out the "Save the
Rainforest" storyline and it's modest burning forest show effects.
This is a splashy four minute flume ride around a nicely landscaped fake
You weren't expecting anything more I hope.
Sadly it fits right into what I had been
hearing from day one about entire new park - it truly will be a bare
bones effort banking solely on the Disney name to draw them in.
Reading that review, which I am sad to say will
probably only be the first of many similar ones, it brings to mind an
e-mail that was sent me by reader Greg O., which shows up just what
a hypocrite Michael Eisner, who approved and has supported Pressler's
vision of this new park, can be nowadays. Greg writes:
Just by chance I have been rereading the
book The Man Behind the Magic - The Story of Walt Disney by
Katherine and Richard Greene... ...there is a very interesting quote by
Mr. Eisner and I would hope someone would remind him of it. From page
Although Michael Eisner never met Walt,
he grew up watching the man on television and yearning to see
Disneyland. His background, he says, is about as different from Walt's
as anyone's can be. But he shares the founder's respect for quality
and his aversion to cutting corners. Does he think about Walt much?
"I use him", he said. "If someone wants to make a
shortcut or save a little money on this or the other thing, I remind
everybody of what our mission is here."
Thank goodness Eisner doesn't have Pinocchio's
schnoz problem... he wouldn't be able to turn his head without knocking
whole crowds over.
The second attraction in Grizzly
Peak is the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, a large
children's play area themed like a Scout camp. Visitors can climb rocks,
ride zip lines and traverse cargo nets and suspension bridges.
Another Tom Sawyer Island it
Plans also originally called for
a geyser type of area here - basically the technology used over in
Tomorrowland for the Cosmic Waves fountain. I wonder if they backed off
on that after the problems in the other park?
Note that the Grand
Californian Hotel also borders this portion of the park. This
hotel will be a top line effort - with room rates starting at around
$300 a night. As much as they claim it is "in the park" - the
truth is that only one corner actually borders the park. The hotel does
not sit in the actual park.
The biggest success Disney has
had in Paris has been the hotel at the entry overlooking the park there,
they want to duplicate this now here in Anaheim. [Animal Kingdom in Walt
Disney World has lodge overlooking a good portion of the park too.]
The monorail will pass through
the hotel, but will not stop at it, it has been designed to feed all
three hotel complexes.
- top of map, near #8)
- "The story here is that
this is a high-desert Air Force test facility of the 1940s,"
Braverman said. The buildings will look like old aircraft hangars, and the
streets will be marked as runways.
Soarin' Over California,
a Disney-exclusive attraction, is the big show here. Guests enter a giant
hangar to find themselves viewing an air show. Overhead projection and
surround-sound acoustics make it seem as if famous aircraft from
California's history are flying overhead.
"We will use
computer-generated graphics to show everything from the Spruce Goose to
the space shuttle," Braverman said.
Visitors then move to the main
ride where they sit on an 87-person suspended theater that floats above an
Imax-style screen to simulate hang gliding over scenic California.
"We can move you, changing
the pitch and dropping you to give you the sense of flying,"
Braverman said. The five-minute flight will take place over 10 to 12
different locales, and will be filmed 48 frames per second, almost double
the typical movie.
This basically is the only new
Disney / original attraction in the entire park. Think Universal's
"Back to the Future" ride with some "Peter Pan"
The 48 frame speed creates a
more realistic illusion for viewers, some may have trouble
distinguishing what is real and what isn't with the "Showscan"
The preshow "Air Show"
described above has been scrapped - due to FastPass.
YOU'LL SEE IN THIS AREA:
Sierra Nevada mountains
& Attractions: Grizzly River Run rapids ride, Redwood
Creek Challenge Trail play area
Campfire area for storytelling and small shows
Rushin' River Outfitters
CONDOR FLATS AREA:
Aviation, desert air force base
& Attractions: Soarin' Over California hang- glider
Fly 'N Buy aviation souvenirs
Earbourne Popcorn / Taste Pilot's Grill
PORTIONS OF THIS PAGE FROM THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER:
article quoted on this page, along with the map graphic is copyright ©
1998 by The Orange County
is reproduced on this site by kind permission of the author.