The Disney parks have different ways of delighting visitors

July 30, 1995|By Jay Clarke | Jay Clarke,Knight-Ridder News Service

It jars and jumps, it pitches and yaws, it rolls and reels -- and it wows its riders. Disneyland's new Indiana Jones ride is a real trip, say those who have been on it.

Riding on a "troop transport vehicle," visitors swoop and swerve through typical Indiana Jones territory -- the Mummy Chamber, the Gates of Doom, the Tunnel of Torment and the Cavern of Bubbling Death. En route, they encounter such cheerful items as skulls pierced with spears, a falling ceiling of spikes, scads of snakes and rats, and a 16-foot boulder rumbling down at them. All the while, they're seated in a vehicle that -- through an on-board motion simulator -- tosses them in several directions at once.

The $100 million attraction, built for Disneyland's 40th anniversary, opened two months ago and has become one of the most popular rides at the California park.

It's also a reminder that, as big as Walt Disney World is, the Florida park doesn't have everything Disneyland has. Indeed, though both are cast from the same mold, California's Magic Kingdom and the Florida version have a number of differences.

Besides the Indy ride, several other attractions are exclusive to California, including these three:

* The Matterhorn: This 147-foot-high replica of the famed Swiss mountain towers over the California park. A bobsled roller coaster whizzes around inside the snow-capped peak, annoying the Abominable Snowman.

* Toontown, opened in 1993, is a delight. It's an entire cartoon village where visitors can explore Mickey's House, Minnie's House, Donald's boat, Goofy's Bounce House and Chip 'n' Dale's tree slide and acorn crawl. Downtown Toontown has the Fireworks Factory, where visitors can detonate cartoon explosives; the Gag Factory, which sells palm buzzers and the like; and the Cab Company, where visitors can go on a Roger Rabbit ride, a black-light spin in a cartoon-like cab.

* Fantasmic, in Disney's words, is the "biggest and most elaborate live presentation ever produced at a Disney theme park." It features special effects projected on three water-mist screens (each 30 feet tall and 50 feet wide), plus a show with such characters as a 100-foot-long snake, a Peter Pan crocodile 25 feet long and a sea witch 20 feet tall. A 45-foot Sleeping Beauty dragon breathes fire.

Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio's Daring Journey are among the other attractions not found in Florida.

Florida's Magic Kingdom also has some exclusive attractions, chief among them Alien Encounter, which is to open in Tomorrowland this month. But even those attractions that are found at both parks may differ in part.

Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, has two watery drops in California compared to one in Florida. The Haunted Mansion in California is a New Orleans antebellum mansion; in Florida it is a Gothic house. The Skyway ride, long a California attraction, was taken down last year, but it's still floating over Florida's Magic Kingdom.

For Floridians visiting Disneyland, however, the most striking difference is the size of the place. Disneyland's Main Street was built at three-quarters scale; Florida's is full scale. California's Sleeping Beauty castle is only 75 feet high; Florida's Cinderella castle rises to 180 feet.

In fact, all of Disneyland could fit in Disney World's Magic Kingdom -- a circumstance that some of the Disney people based in Florida take delight in pointing out to their California brethren.

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