makeover of an off-the-shelf roller coaster at
amounts to little more than a Band-Aid meant to hide an unseemly scar that earned the
theme park its on-the-cheap reputation.
I took a spin on the "refreshed" Wild Mouse-style coaster over the weekend and found little has changed from the previous
version of the ride. The minor cosmetic surgery performed on the coaster amounts to nothing more than a fresh coat of sky-blue paint, a few Goofy billboards and a propeller slapped on the front of the cars.
will officially open Friday, along with the
Paradise Garden Grill
Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta
restaurants as part of a $1.1 billion makeover of Disney California Adventure.
Inspired by the 1940 cartoon short "Goofy's Glider," the remade ride's new flying- academy back story follows the clumsy anthropomorphic dog's attempts to teach a group of novice pilots how to fly. Naturally, things go awry.
I didn't expect much from the re-imagineered ride, found at any freeway fun park or traveling carnival. But I could not have imagined much less from the team at
An ordinary Wild Mouse coaster doesn't belong in a Disney park and is an embarrassment compared with the
Big Thunder Mountain
coasters across the way at Disneyland. Simply put, the ride should have been removed rather than remade.
The best thing that can be said about Goofy's Sky School is that the modest makeover successfully integrates the ride into the 1920s and '30s seaside amusement park motif and Victorian and Craftsman architecture of the re-imagined
The removal of the
maintenance-yard theme of Mulholland Madness eliminates the final eyesore from a Paradise Pier landscape that once included the
wave swinger, the
drop tower, the
fast food stand and
Dinosaur Jack's Sunglass Shack
The transformative change of Paradise Pier accomplished over the last three years has been both striking and essential. The addition of the
Toy Story Midway Mania
Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
World of Color
" attractions, along with the retheming of the
Silly Symphony Swings
ride, the boardwalk games and the updated restaurants, have turned Paradise Pier from an industry laughingstock into a symbol of Disney's commitment to reinventing the park.
While Disney will declare the makeover of Paradise Pier complete, much of the themed land still needs attention. The queues of
Mickey's Fun Wheel
King Triton's Carousel
still don't match the 1920s and ’30s seaside amusement park motif. Likewise, the
Man Hat 'n' Beach
Point Mugu Tattoo
retail shops retain the old strip-mall architecture and bad California puns that typified DCA circa 2001.
Maliboomer's merciful removal has left a gaping hole hidden by a "park" that's more smoker's lounge than inviting respite. And the promised conversion of the
parachute ride to a Green Army Men theme has yet to materialize.
Long-term plans, still in the embryonic stages, call for a D- or E-Ticket ride to one day occupy Maliboomer’s space, according to
, with a second attraction envisioned for the unoccupied eastern helix of the Screamin' coaster.