Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure

Mickey’s Fun Wheel

Disney California Adventure
This is one of interesting rides at DCA. I’ll share the facts/stats then I’ll share my thoughts and suggestions on the ride.

           Mickey's Fun Wheel is a 160-foot (48.8 m) tall Ferris wheel at Disney California Adventure Park, at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The ride was inspired by Coney Island's 1927 Wonder Wheel at Deno’s wonder Wheel Amusement Park. Both attractions feature swinging and stationary gondolas while Mickey's Fun Wheel has a large Mickey Mouse face in the center. The attraction was formerly known as the Sun Wheel (February 8, 2001 - October 14, 2008). Mickey's Fun Wheel was expected to open April 24, 2009, but due to delays the attraction opened May 4, 2009. This renovation is a part of the new Paradise Pier placemaking including the Silly Symphony Swings, World of color, Goofy’s Sky School, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Games of the Boardwalk retheming, the removal of Maliboomer, and enhancements on California Screamin’.

Mickey's Fun Wheel is an eccentric wheel, differing from conventional Ferris wheels in that 16 of its 24 gondolas ride on interior rails so that they slide inward and outward as the wheel rotates. This results in a more intense experience, and motion sickness bags are provided in each gondola due to the disorienting nature of the ride. The other eight gondolas are fixed to the rim of the wheel and do not slide. Guests may choose to ride in sliding or fixed gondolas, each of which can carry six people.

Former attraction and renovation

Disney California Adventure Park is currently undergoing a $1.1 billion (US) renovation. One of the subprojects was to retheme the former Sun Wheel as the new Mickey's Fun Wheel. The ride experience has not been significantly changed, but the sun face has been replaced by a giant Mickey Mouse head, the color scheme was changed from mainly yellow to mainly red, and each gondola now has a picture of Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, or Goofy to be consistent with the introduction of classic Disney characters into Paradise Pier, the area where the attraction is located. In addition, new LED lighting effects now illuminate the attraction, and some Victorian theming echoes the elaborate architecture of the nearby Toy Story Midway Mania attraction.

My Thoughts

Mickey's Fun Wheel is a great way to get up high and look around at both DCA and DL. At this time it is particularly fun because you can see over the fence into Carsland.

As stated earlier there are 24 gondolas with 16 of them swinging. You can choose to get into the main line that splits in two when you get near the front of the line. You can then choose which set of swinging gondolas you will go to. The gondolas to the right swing slightly faster than the ones to the left. So choose wisely. The gondolas to the right are on a track that takes a slightly sharper slant.

If you wish to ride the non-swinging gondolas then go up the exit to the line marked non-swinging. This is also the way handicapped people access the ride but you don’t need to wait in the non-swinging line. The non-swinging line is usually shorter than the swinging.

When making the choice between swinging and non-swinging here is what you may want to consider.

1.     If heights are a problem for you go for the swinging gondolas because they do not go to the full height of Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

2.    If you don’t like park swings they you may not like the swinging gondolas so the stationary gondolas might be best.

3.    Wheelchairs and ECVs can be accommodated in the non-swinging gondolas so those that cannot transfer still can ride Mickey’s Fun Wheel.


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