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Jim Hill
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A word of warning here, folks: This Disney’s California Adventure attraction revamp - which was originally scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving of this year - is now in something of a holding pattern. I have heard that DCA management would now like the new version of this Hollywood Pictures Backlot attraction to debut on the same day that DCA’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Play It!” does. However, given that the California Adventure version of this popular TV quiz show is now tentatively slated to open sometime in late September, that would mean that SSL would have to shut down sometime after Labor Day and receive a really rushed redo in order to be ready to open in time.

The trouble is, the Imagineers keep telling DCA management that there’s just no way they can meet that deadline. In order for this new version of Superstar Limo to work, there’s got to be lots of changes made to the sets inside the show building. Many of the nastier industry jokes will have to be dropped or redone to reflect the more innocent, optimistic world view of the Disney characters. Which is why the folks at WDI keep telling DCA management that the earliest that they can have SSL changed out is Thanksgiving. More to the point -- if they want the new version of Superstar Limo to really be good - these execs are being advised to give the Imagineers ‘til at least next Spring to revamp this Hollywood Pictures Backlot attraction. So they can be sure that all of SSL’s bugs are out & that DCA has a real crowd pleaser now.

So what exactly are we talking about here? “Goofy’s Superstar Limo,” where Disney’s top dog gets to serve as your host and driver on a trip through a tooned up version of Tinsel Town. Only the very best display figures from the Disney Store - the one that have the most dynamic poses, the ones that are in the best possible condition -- are expected to be used in this revamp of the DCA attraction. How many figures are we talking about here? I keep hearing that DCA management wants this attraction absolutely loaded with Disney characters. So - as you roll through the building - you can expect to see as many as 100 - 120 of your Toontown favorites.

Paul Pressler supposedly viewed a test for the revamped version of the ride back during the last week of June. The Imagineers went into Superstar Limo after hours and set up some display figures that they had spirited away from the Disney Store warehouse inside one sequence of the pre-existing attraction. Paul then reportedly came out early the next morning to view the Disney Store display figures in the test sequence. Pressler allegedly cycled through this Hollywood Pictures Backlot attraction several times, as the Imagineers monkeyed with the show building’s light levels - supposedly seeing if the Disney Store figures looked better in black light or in just simple theatrical lighting.

Pressler must have liked what he saw, for the “Goofy’s Superstar Limo” project IS moving forward now, folks. As of this moment, I can’t give you a confirmed opening date. But what I can tell you is - by this time next year - the original version of this DCA attraction is just going to be a distant painful memory.

On the upside, though: You Jackie Chan, Cher, Cindy Crawford, Drew Carey et al fans should definitely keep an eye on the Disney Auctions website. Sometime soon, you’ll probably get the chance to bid on some very interesting curios …

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-- Jim Hill

Jim Hill can be reached using the Talkback form below or by emailing him at [email protected].

Jim Hill is this guy who lives 'way out in the woods of New Hampshire. (Hey, it's not like he wants to live there. But the Witness Protection Program has got rules, you know.) He has one beautiful daughter and three obnoxious cats. When he's not looking for real work, Jim writes about the Walt Disney Company and related matters for LaughingPlace.com, AmusementPark.com, "Orlando Weekly" and Digital Media FX.

The opinions expressed by Jim Hill, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the past decisions and future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted July 26, 2001

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