An upgrade of Disney’s California Adventure, its second (to Disneyland) theme park, has been under way for over a year now. The first incarnation didn’t capture the “pixie dust” or magic people associate with Disney parks. So they tweaked some things and added a huge new attraction in “Cars Land” after the animated film. It opens to the public March 15.
But to our eyes, the coolest addition are two Pacific Electric streetcars, installed on Buena Vista Street, itself remodeled to suggest Hollywood around 1923, when Walt Disney arrived in Southern California. They’ll run between the park entrance and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction.
Like many Disney attractions, the “Big Red Cars” are scaled down, but they look great in publicity materials so far. We’ve heard they were built under deep secrecy by Brookville Equipment Company, the same who restored Muni Car No. 1 and are renovating 16 Muni PCCs.
Back in the Trolley Festival years of the 1980s, we set our sights on getting Muni a real Pacific Electric car of this type, known as a “Hollywood” for the route they often ran, but the real thing is just a big too long and wide to clear the Muni system. Of course, the classic “Daylight” P-E livery of orange and red is represented in the F-line fleet by Muni No. 1061, paying tribute to the unusual double-end, center door PCCs P-E ran on the Glendale-Burbank line.
Nice to see a tribute to the (sorta) Big Red Cars close to their original back yard.
UPDATE: We had a glitch with our comment feature and lost a few in the past week. Apologies. To answer one question raised about the Disney attraction, the power source for the cars is batteries. Interesting, though, that they still mounted trolley catchers on the end, with the rope tied off to a corner stanchion.
Check back next week for our post on a real Red Car back in transit service in Southern California.