Thanks for joining SoCal Style again for this weeks West Coast installment! Each week we share planning tips, park guides, or even just things we love about the West Coast Disney in California (Disneyland Resort), the East Coast Disney in Florida(Walt Disney World), and a little bit of everything in between. Today we are taking a walk down memory lane to look back on 5 attractions you won’t see again at Disney’s California Adventures.
California Adventures had meager beginnings, opening over 17 years ago in 2001. Yes! It’s really been that long! I can hardly believe it myself! Maybe that’s because there has been so much construction in those long years. It seems like from day 1 there has always been an attraction closing, or a new one being built. To say this park required some fine tuning is a bit of an understatement. In fact most of the of the opening day attractions have been re-vamped or completely removed. For those of us who eat and breathe nostalgia it’s a sad thing to look back on these long gone attractions. If you’ve only visited once or twice, some of these might be new for you. Sadly though they are long one. Lets all take a minute to look back on these 5 Beloved Attractions you won’t see at Disney’s California Adventures again.
The Mad T Party
I’m already crying. The Mad T Party was a nightly event in Hollywood Land that was loosely based on Alice in Wonderland. I say loosely because while characters from the franchise were there, they weren’t exactly what you remember of the classic. There was actually very little of the story worked into the event. The party took place in the area surrounding Monster’s, Inc, it consisted of 2 stages, 2 counter service restaurants (bars, they were bars), some whimsical furniture scattered around, and a large open area to wonder through. The main stage hosted the Mad T Party band, where Alice and the Mad Hatter sang lead while several other iconic characters donned various instruments. The band played covers of big hits encompassing 90’s pop and classic rock. It was basically a small concert and it rocked.
The secondary stage hosted multiple acts from acrobats to dancers, and even Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum made an appearance. Throughout the area cast members dressed in Mad Hatter fashion walked around, some on stilts, to and to the atmosphere. The counter service locations served both adult and non-alcoholic beverages which were delicious, AND contained these fun light-up ice cubes you could keep as a souvenir. While it was a fantastic way to end the day for some, it really wasn’t very kid friendly. It reminded me a lot of a rave, which some people loved because it was almost anti-Disney while in Disney.
The attraction was closed in 2016, oddly enough right before the release of Alice Through the Looking Glass, but will live on in the hearts of it’s cult like fanbase forever. This one truly grew into a phenomena all it’s own, with the real life band members gaining a bit of notoriety outside of their costumes even. Whether the closure was due to rowdy attendees or in anticipation of the rumored Marvel Land (or more room for Frozen), we’ll never really know. Most likely it was a little of both.
Before the Mad T Party was ElecTRONica! Honestly, Mad-T Party was basically a rip-off of this event. ElecTRONica opened shortly after the release of the film Tron and it too was a nightly concert in the area surrounding Monster’s Inc. The theme was futuristic and featured techno and house music. Throughout the main area small platforms were erected which dancers performed choreographed moves atop throughout the night.
ElecTRONica earned itself a big following as well, and was even more rave like than Mad-T Party. Again this is probably the exact reason why people loved this event. It was closed in 2012, likely to make room for the Mad- Party. What’s really interesting is that neither of these films (Tron and Alice in Wonderland) really hit it out of the park at the box office, but were great themes for this type of live music event.
Aladdin at the Hyperion Theater
Frozen fever was the fatal cause of death for Aladdin at the Hyperion Theater. This musical stage show was an abbreviated version of the 1992 classic. It opened in 2003 and ran for 13 years, closing in 2016. This was the best show at Disneyland, possibly even Disney World. Throughout the 45 minute show there were multiple impressive set changes, taking the audience to the Cave of Wonders and through the streets of Agrabah. A magic carpet even took flight from the ceiling complete with Aladdin and Jasmine atop, singing “A Whole New World.” Parts of the performance were extremely interactive, including a parade through the audience.
The Aladdin show was a fan favorite even until it’s final performance. On a normal day the performances would be full, if you did not arrive at least 30 minutes before the show time you would probably miss out. I personally was present on the last day of the show and saw the line for FastPasses (which they didn’t normally give out) extend from the theater back through Buena Vista Street, looping multiple times through the area surrounding the Monster’s, Inc ride. So why in the world would Disney close such a popular attraction? It has been replaced with a Frozen stage show.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror is still sort of in California Adventures, but has been re-themed for Guardians of the Galaxy. It now operates as Mission: BREAKOUT. The original ride takes place in the Hollywood Tower Hotel, where a spirit from another dimension takes you for a wild ride. The queue was, mostly, inside the ride structure which was dressed as an unkempt old Hollywood style hotel. Once at the ride you were loaded up into a service elevator to take you to your room. The ride vehicle would go up, a short video was shown and then the elevator seemingly broke loose and zoomed up and down the hotel tower.
The ride track hasn’t changed, just the décor and storyline. There is a growing number of people who think the make-over was a great improvement. However, there’s a lot of people who disagree. Let’s be honest, it’s kind of a random track for the franchise and the new theming focus on a character that is hardly even in the movie. For those die hard Tower of Terror fans, at least the actual ride is nearly the same.
The Maliboomer was an opening day attraction located within the curves of the California Screamin. (Which didn’t make the list, because the Incredicoaster is really the same thing.) It was basically a mini Tower of Terror, minus the theming. The free-fall type ride is a common staple at sea-side amusement parks and since the area was themed as a sea-side amusement park it made sense. The ride closed in 2010 and has since become the meet and greet area for the Toy Story Characters. This one isn’t much of a surprise, since it’s big brother was just across the park, and while it was a fun attraction it’s departure was relatively unnoticed.
Mission Tortilla Factory
I know that this is #6, but this one barely counts as an attraction. On opening day Mission Tortilla had a factory in the Fisherman Wharf area of California Adventures, which was open to guests to take a tour. The tour itself wasn’t exactly thrilling, but they gave you a free tortilla at the end – so that’s a win.
Not Included – Cove Bar
You well may have noticed that the Cove Bar is not included in this list, and you might be upset about that. This entry was omitted for 2 reasons, first it is rumored that the replacement, Lamplight Lounge, will be nearly identical. Secondly, I can’t contain my love for this place within the confines of a few paragraphs. Be sure to keep an eye out for my Ode to the Cove – coming soon!
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