Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Blast From The Past - Disney's California Screamin'

Construction of the largest wienie on the Disney’s California Adventure property, a boardwalk themed roller coaster in the Paradise Pier section of the park began way back in 1998. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH, and built by Intamin AG the ride, paying homage to the 1965 Mamas & the Papa's hit California Dreamin'," was dubbed California Screamin'.

This steel massive coaster has the look of a classic 1930s wooden coaster, with most of the steel actually for being for show, instead of support. With 6,702 feet of track, California Screamin' is the second longest steel roller coaster in the US. 11,500,000 pounds of concrete were used on the footers, with the deepest being 48 feet deep. 36 miles of electrical wire, 167 miles of conductors and 5,800,000 pounds of steel were used in the construction.

Because Disney California Adventure is located within a residential zone and the city has sound restrictions special "scream" tubes were designed for California Screamin' to prevent all the yelling, during the most thrilling parts of the ride, from being blasted across Anaheim. California Screamin’ is a very magnetic coaster; the Linear Induction Motors launch uses 33 electromagnets which propel the coaster up the hill. Some of the brakes are magnetic, as are some of the boosters. The second drop is higher than the first, and uses... you guessed it... more magnets to push the train up the hill.

With a launch accelerating the trains from zero to 55 miles per hour in four seconds California Screamin’ is one of Disney's fastest attractions. And, like Space Mountain and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster the roller coaster is set to music. There are 12 brake zones and each of those zones has its own music track, with those tracks overlapping each other to keep the music smooth even with different weights or trains.

Speaking of brakes the ride uses side-mounted friction brakes on all its brake runs, rather than mounting the brakes on the track. In addition to this, there are LIM boosters all over the course of the ride, in the station, near most brake zones; after the loop, before the bunny hops and before the switch track back to the stations. This is to ensure that the trains are always traveling the correct speed and can be slowed or boosted accordingly.

Disney often has soft openings for their attraction and California Screamin’ was no exception, quietly opening in December of 2000, to iron out some of the bugs, before its spectacular opening on February 1st 2001. With 7 trains, one dispatching every 36 seconds, this 2:34 ride is a people eater. Trains are dispatched from either of two loading zones, which merge at a track switch. After the switch, the track banks left and stops on a flat section of track just above water level on Paradise Pier

In 2008 the iconic Mickey ears that were strategically place on the hill behind the loop were removed, the large circle became the sun with a LED Paradise Pier sign arched above it. It was a bit sad to see the “ears” go, photos of California Screamin’s loop were used in brochures, planning videos and TV shows. Many considered it one of Disney California Adventure’s major landmarks.