Wow! Fourteen years since Mike and Sulley made it to the parks. On January 22, 2006, we were introduced to Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! in Hollywood Pictures Backlot in California Adventure. The space that houses the Monsters, Inc. (2001) inspired attraction sat vacant for 4 years while Disney tried to fill its void with a “wanted” attraction. You see, the space once housed Superstar Limo, a very mediocre and boring attraction. Guests would ride in a limo through the streets of Hollywood and see celebrities like Joan Rivers, Regis Philbin, Cher, Antonio Banderas, Cindy Crawford, Tim Allen, Jackie Chan, Drew Carey, Melanie Griffith, and Whoopi Goldberg. That attraction was there on California Adventure’s opening day February 8, 2001, and closed only eleven months later on January 11, 2002.
Lets’ jump back in time and go on Superstar Limo as it was in 2001.
At this point, California Adventure’s attendance had been dropping drastically. This was the first Pixar attraction to be added to the park since the addition of A Bug’s Land. The following year started the five year, $1.1 billion makeover of DCA that would bring in more Pixar attractions and theming. The park wouldn’t see another Pixar attraction until Toy Story Midway Mania opened over 2 years later.
Nowadays, the attraction sits kind of lonely in the back corner of the now named Hollywood Land. It isn’t exactly in a high traffic area. It is still a very cute attraction though, and everyone should experience it. There really isn’t a lot of history or information about this attraction because it was just thrown in there. It’s not like we are talking about a classic attraction from the past, but I will do my best.
The ride basically makes you experience the part of the movie when the monster world found out about Boo. The voice cast either returned to record some new audio tracks for the ride, or some were reused from the movie, like the recordings of Mary Gibbs as Boo singing in the locker room.
The monster taxis you are boarding were once the Superstar Limo ride vehicles. They were painted and rethemed to match the new attraction.
When you first enter Harryhausen’s Restaurant, you can smell ginger and soy sauce. A Smellitzer was used to create the faux odors. The Smellitzer was invented by Imagineer Bob McCarthy in the 1980s for the Spaceship Earth attraction in Epcot to simulate the smell of smoke. The technical name is “Scent Emitting System” and the US patent for it is 4603030. The nickname given to it is the Smellitzer. It is used elsewhere around the parks, like on Soarin’ Around the World, or Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, to make you smell fresh grass or animal crackers. It is also said that they are used to make Haunted Mansion ballroom scene smell like gingerbread at Christmas with the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. When Disneyland first opened, they just had fans to blow out the smell of fresh-baked cookies to lure in tourists. The name came from the Howitzer Cannon which was used to shoot projectiles, much like how the Smellitzer shoots puffs of scents.
The restaurant Harryhausen’s, was named as such to pay homage to the late stop-motion special effects animator Ray Harryhausen. He worked on films such as Clash of the Titans (1981), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and Mighty Joe Young (1949). The sushi chef only has six tentacles. This is in reference to the film It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955). It was a low budget film, and to save money Ray Harryhausen put six tentacles on the octopus rather than eight.
At Celia’s feet before exiting you can see a Chinese food box. This is the same Chinese takeout box seen in Incredibles 2, Inside Out, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, and in Toy Story 2.
What is interesting about the Chinese takeout box that Sulley has Boo in is that it doesn’t match the one in the movie. The one in Monsters, Inc. was actually different than the boxes in the other Pixar films. The one on the attraction actually matches the other movies.
Before disembarking, you have to pay close attention to Roz. She is interactive and will have witty things to say to you or others in your car. Here are some clips of her.
Everyone likes looking for the Hidden Mickeys on Disneyland attractions. This attraction has quite a few of them.
- When you are watching the video, a monster taxi appears with multiple lights on the front. Three of them form a Hidden Mickey. It is the taxi logo, and it is located all around the queue area.
- In the queue area, there is a giant poster of the taxi with the three headlights that form a Hidden Mickey.
- Right as you board the ride, look at the cityscape for a silhouette of the Earful Tower, the water tower with Mickey ears from Hollywood Studios in Disney World. This is a difficult one to see.
- When crashing through Harryhausen’s, look for a full-side shot of Mickey’s silhouette in the window to the left of the sushi chef.
- Sully has a purple spot on his fur in the shape of a Mickey when he is hanging from the door holding Boo.
- Color-changing Randall has a purple Mickey head spot on his green skin when Boo is beating him with the baseball bat.
- The control panel on the Monstropolis news van has a Mickey made out of the dials.
- Not a Hidden Mickey, but a hidden Marlin. The clownfish Marlin is painted on the wall behind the sushi chef. This was placed here to copy the movie. It was a reference to what would be the next Pixar film, Finding Nemo (2003).
I hope I did this ride justice on its anniversary. Did you enjoy reading its history? Here is a full ride through video.
If you liked the fun facts in this article, you should get a copy of my book that has over 3,700 fun facts about Disneyland and Disney Movies in it www.DisneyGuy.org