I, Constipated Robot

Asimo at DisneylandSomething is horribly wrong. I spent most of the day thinking “I wish I weren’t at Disneyland.” Black is white! Up is down! Actually, I guess it’s more accurate to say: Southern California is hot! Disneyland is really crowded during the summer and even moreso after they’ve opened a new ride! So in other words, the world keeps on spinnin’.

I actually had a bona-fide work-related reason to go today, to check out the Virtual Magic Kingdom stuff. I didn’t see a lot, but as it turns out I’m going back tomorrow with a bunch of people from work to get the official tour. So the remaining time was devoted to Space Mountain, and sweating while being touched by small children.

(It was really hot, and kids have no sense of personal space. That’s all I meant.)

The new Space Mountain is wicked awesome. It’s been closed for two (maybe three?) years and just reopened for th 50th anniversary. I could understand someone’s asking, “this took two (maybe three?) years?” because they didn’t make any monumental changes like adding loops or anything. As far as I can tell, the track itself is exactly the same — but then, it didn’t need to be changed. My take on Orlando Space Mountain versus the Anaheim version is that California has the better coaster, but Florida has cooler effects and an overall better “show.” The changes to Disneyland’s add only what’s needed to knock it over the top.

When I first saw the queue, I thought that the whole renovation was nothing more than a minor face lift. There’s new paint, it’s streamlined for FastPass, more lights and neon, and a new video-screen where a somewhat cheesy mannequintronic display used to be. But it turns out that most of the work went into the ride itself, which is exactly where it should’ve gone. They borrowed my favorite effects from Orlando — in particular the cool blue-light tunnel. What used to be a somewhat cheesy spinning laser-light on the lift hill is now a light tunnel done with projections or video screens that is just plain bad-ass. The inside of the ride is much darker; you can no longer see anything but stars.

And the cars look the same, but you can tell they’ve been significantly redone because the sound system is much cooler. They’re really committed to the soundtrack this time, apparently. And the music is cool — I was skeptical they could come up with anything that rivals Dick Dale playing a space surf guitar version of Carnival of the Animals, but the new music works. It’s like an updated version of the “Lost in Space” and “UFO” themes which actually fits in with the new theme better. Overall, it gets a solid A. Only reason it’s not A+ is because it’s a refurbishment instead of a whole new ride. I rode it three times, even though the wait was never shorter than an hour.

I did go to Innoventions for the first time in a while, which got “Now Is The Best Time Of Our Lives” going through my head for the rest of the day. Apart from the VMK, they were showing Honda’s Asimo robot. That was neat almost to the point of being Skynet alarming. They said it can walk 1 mile an hour, which if today is any indication, is faster than 99% of Disneyland guests. BOOM! And it can climb stairs and kick a soccer ball and dance like a fat awkward white guy.

The only reason I can’t get more excited about the prospect is because as nimble as it is, it still does that weird squat-walk. Like it’s always thinking, “If I could… just… fart!

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