Mater's Junkyard Jamboree combines an old-fashioned whip ride with a spinning teacup platform to deliver a truckload of thrills much wilder than you might expect from its mild appearance.
The C-Ticket family ride is one of three new attractions opening June 15 in the 12-acre Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.
The setup for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree looks kiddie-ride trite. Riders sit in a cart towed by a tractor that spins through Mater's junkyard as the good ol' boy tow truck from the animated Disney/Pixar "Cars" movies serves as a "Hee Haw"-esque disc jockey.
But the whipsawing carts pay off with much more fun, excitement and intensity than you would expect, swinging with a swooping snap that sends riders sliding from side to side on the slippery seat.
Ride alone with your hands up in the air and you'll slam into the side of the cart with just enough force to knock the wind out of you. Ride with a friend and the two of you will bang into each other like a pair of battling hockey players.
The best part of the ride is the near-miss moment that occurs every time your cart transfers from one spinning turntable to another along a circuitous route, narrowly avoiding a T-bone collision with an on-coming tractor.
Last summer, our family took a theme park road trip across America that introduced us for the first time to the classic whip ride. The deceptively simple ride, designed and built by W.F. Mangels Co. of Coney Island, N.Y., whips riders around an elliptical track to the shrieks and shrills of hysterical laughter. We fell instantly in love with the World War I-era whips that we rode on.
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree operates on the same principle, throwing in a turntable-transferring twist along with a healthy dose of Disney/Pixar storytelling. The throwback ride doubles the fun of the original by adding an unpredictable element of random chaos to the mix. Spinning and whipping in an endless loop of figure eights, you never know which way you're heading next.
The attraction's ramshackle setting would make the famously fastidious Walt Disney roll over in his grave. Visitors walk through a literal junkyard of old car stereos, batteries, horns, hoods, hubcaps, mufflers and oil drums collected by the lovable but dimwitted Mater. A nice touch: Radiator caps top each of the stations lining the queue area. My favorite part: Mater reciting the safety spiel in aw-shucks Spanish.
Based on my first few preview rides, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree looks like an instant classic, the kind of attraction I'll want to ride every time I come to the park.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times