How do you improve something that’s already great? That’s the question that Imagineers faced when The Walt Disney Company chose to repurpose California Screamin’. It wasn’t just the best roller coaster at Disneyland Resort; it was one of the best attractions overall. Making California Screamin’ better wasn’t easy, but the park planners at Disney California Adventure somehow managed. Let’s go behind the ride to learn the tricks that turned the Incredicoaster into the most wonderful new ride at the Happiest Place on Earth!

The Experience: a Repurposed California Screamin’

The Trick: New paint, new lights, and a lot of great ideas

Image: DisneyDisney California Adventure (DCA) struggled from the beginning. Its questionable theme, the state of California, failed to attract guests from near or far. Californians could see the state from their living room, and tourists didn’t want to visit a theme park simulation of something that they could experience for real in other places.

Over the years, DCA dwindled in popularity, particularly in comparison with its adjoining park, Disneyland. Disney executives tried to improve the lesser gate, and they gained momentum with Radiator Springs Racers. Even with the addition of that tremendous themed land, park planners knew that DCA needed to change. Ultimately, that change required new theming. The California core concept dwindled, with a replacement of Pixar and Marvel themed attractions.

California Screamin’ had won over even the most diehard DCA critics with its glorious adrenaline rush. This roller coaster stood apart from the largely generic crop of attractions at the park. Still, it had California right there in the title, and its coolest trick involved circling through the Paradise Pier logo that highlighted the park. That seemed brilliant right up until the moment that Disney chose to change said logo to Pixar Pier. They needed a roller coaster that reflected this fundamental redesign of DCA.

Image: DisneyIn January of 2018, park officials revealed that California Screamin’ would close forever, and the Incredicoaster would rise from its ashes. With such a limited amount of time to redesign the attraction, the repurposed roller coaster would share most major similarities with its predecessor. Disney would make up the difference with its special skill, immaculate theming.

Almost all of the changes from California Screamin’ are cosmetic. The length of the track is still 6,072 feet, and the coaster carts still zoom along the tracks at 55 miles per hour, reaching that speed in only four seconds. It’s the small stuff that changes everything, though…


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