Everything You Need to Know about the Incredicoaster
The king is dead. Long live the king!
Earlier this year, Disney California Adventure did something shocking. They closed their wildly popular roller coaster, California Screamin’. It was part of a total overhaul of an essential section of the park. Imagineers would convert this part in Pixar Pier, and they would anchor it with a new E-Ticket attraction. On June 23rd, the ride opened to the public. Here’s everything you need to know about the Incredicoaster.
Park officials closed California Screamin’ on January 8th. Less than six months later, the roller coaster returned. With such a short turnaround, Imagineers obviously couldn’t overhaul the entire structure. Instead, they repurposed minor parts of it while keeping the core intact.
The Incredicoaster is still a steel roller coaster that is one of the three longest of its kind in America. In other words, it was always a long ride as California Screamin’, and that hasn’t changed. The trip lasts approximately two minutes and 15 seconds, which is a few seconds longer than the original version. You’ll understand the difference in the next section, but Disney didn’t add any track to the Incredicoaster. The ride that you knew is still there. It’s just hidden under new immersive features.
The primary difference between California Screamin’ and the Incredicoaster is theming. The original attraction tied back to the nebulous theme of Disney California Adventure as a whole: California. I could explain all the ways that Imagineers augmented that theme, but let’s be honest. They were never readily apparent to the casual observer.
The Incredicoaster is different. It has a strong theme that drives the action from moments before the ride begins until after completion. And that theme is The Incredibles, the film franchise that recently claimed the title of largest Pixar opening weekend ever. Disney’s Imagineers seem prescient because they built the ride around the story of The Incredibles 2 rather than the original film. That’s presumably the reason why the attraction didn’t open until after the release of the movie.
Some ride elements are mild spoilers for the movie. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to be spoiled, well, you should probably stop reading here. It’s all but impossible to separate the film and the ride. So, I’m giving you fair warning. There are mild movie spoilers in the rest of the article.
The premise here is that Jack-Jack has caused yet another babysitting emergency. The child with 17 superpowers and counting tends to roam. Since he can teleport, blink into other dimensions and whatnot, he’s quite the handful.
At the moment, he’s with everyone’s favorite fashion designer, Edna Mode, but she can’t quite hold him. She alerts the Parrs (aka The Incredibles) that Jack-Jack is on the loose. The rest of the ride is a mad scramble as Jack-Jack’s family tries to get him back before he gets hurt…or, more likely, hurts somebody/something.
The story drives the action here, which means that the Incredicoaster is one extended chase between super-powered beings. At crucial moments during the attraction, Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) punches through a wall, Helen Parr (Elastigirl) stretches in a failed attempt to retrieve her baby, and Violet Parr uses her force shield to stop her little brother. Also, Jack-Jack displays at least four different powers during the attraction. I’ll spoil which ones in the next section, so you are again warned to stop reading if you want to maintain the element of surprise.
Alternately, several videos of the Incredicoaster are already available on YouTube. You can watch the pre-show here. This clip shows Incredicoaster during the day, and my favorite is the nighttime version. I strongly recommend that you watch the one from after dark, as it highlights the majesty of Disney California Adventure at night.
The improvements on the Incredicoaster are readily apparent almost immediately. A well-lit building hosts a display of Jack-Jack showing off his powers to Edna Mode. Previously, this area was warded off. Imagineers added a structure with a showcase room just for the Incredicoaster. That’s the most they did in terms of actual architectural changes.
The next big difference happens when the roller coaster is almost ready to explode into action. You’ll hear a new voice as your narrator. Disney superfan Neil Patrick Harris had hosted California Screamin’. His presence was a bit odd, as there was no particular reason for him to talk. With the Incredicoaster, the theming is much tighter.
Dashiell Parr aka the Dash is the new narrator now, and that makes a lot more sense. His superpower is speed, after all, thematically fitting for a roller coaster that goes 55 miles per hour. Plus, Dash has an emotional investment since his baby brother is in trouble. He’s not the only voice that you’ll hear, though. All of the Parr family speaks at some point, and Edna Mode’s ominous words are what trigger the ride. She says, “And the baby is gone…” At that point, you know that you’re about to chase down Jack-Jack.
Within a few seconds, you’ll see a couple of critical differences between the Incredicoaster and its predecessor. Disney has cleverly added red track lights across the entire path. It’s the same color as The Incredibles’ outfits. You’ve seen it a million times in stores, and it immediately manipulates you into believing that you’re in the same world as the Parrs.
The first colors in California Screamin’ aren’t visible until you’re in the first tunnel, where some neon lights brighten the path. For the Incredicoaster, you’re looking at something different. Once you enter the first tunnel, you still see neon lights, but they’re now laser beams shot out of Jack-Jack’s eyes! Yes, it’s that kind of ride. Each tunnel tells a different part of the chase-and-retrieval story.
In the next tunnel, Elastigirl fills up the entire side of the wall. She’s stretched out more than 50 feet to catch the baby. Park officials indicate it’s the single-longest ride element Disney has ever constructed. And it’s impossible to miss due to her dazzling red-and-blue uniform. You’ll also notice that Mama almost captures the baby. Unfortunately, one of his powers is to turn gooey, making him impossible to grab.
The third tunnel is less about subtlety. Mr. Incredible is more about brute force when he springs into action. He punches a hole through the tunnel and tries to reclaim his son by using a cookie as bait. It’s another color visual that will grab your eyes the moment you enter the tunnel. And once again, Jack-Jack escapes. He’s not ready for that cookie quite yet.
The next phase of the ride is the most recognizable part of California Screamin’. It’s the moment when you do an upside-down loop, spinning around the front facing of the park symbol. Historically, it said Paradise Pier. Now, you get an up-close look at the new Pixar Pier sign before shooting into the next tunnel. The eye candy here involves Violet trying to use her force shields to capture Jack-Jack. Since there’s still 40 seconds left in the ride, you can guess how well that works.
With the tunnels done, the Incredicoaster enters the final stretch, which I call Jack-Jack’s Taunting phase. One of his new superpowers is to turn into many, many Jack-Jacks. As the coaster tears down the tracks, eagle-eyed observers will view more than 10 Jack-Jacks along the way.
Then, you reach the end of the Incredicoaster, where one final surprise awaits. Edna Mode has used a cookie to lure the boy back inside the house. He looks a little bit different than you’d expect, though. I won’t spoil the surprise, but when you watch one of the linked videos, you’ll get a good laugh out of it.
From a design perspective, California Screamin’ and the Incredicoaster are almost identical. Somehow, the new roller coaster feels like a dramatic upgrade, though. To fully appreciate what Disney has accomplished here, please watch this comparison video. It’s a side-by-side display of the original roller coaster, California Screamin’, with the new Incredicoaster. What you will see is how similar the ride is in structure but how different it feels thanks to the painstaking theming.
One day soon, probably around October, you’ll be able to watch The Incredibles 2 on your phone while waiting in line for the Incredicoaster. That’s the ultimate way to appreciate this roller coaster’s impeccable connection to the film that inspired it.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below!