Yesterland

Superstar Limo


“Get ready to be ‘taken for a ride’ through
a wacky, whimsical version of Hollywood,
where you’re Tinseltown’s biggest new star.”
Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Are you ready to do a lot of pretending?

Pretend you just arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. Pretend you’re the newest movie star in Hollywood. Pretend your ride vehicle is a fancy chauffeur-driven limousine. Pretend that your chauffeur is narrating your journey from the airport to a big Hollywood premiere, although the ride vehicles don’t have drivers. And pretend that people like Regis Philbin and Cindy Crawford are big Hollywood stars.

Good. Now you’re ready to take a Superstar Limo ride.

You begin by entering Los Angeles Union Station on the billboard-like facade. For some reason, this puts you into something that looks like it could be the airport in Toontown. You wind through the queue rather quickly, because there aren’t many other guests in line.

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

It turns out you’re at baggage claim at Los Angeles International Airport. Joan Rivers is on a TV monitor. “Hollywood’s newest sensation is going to be a big star,” exclaims Rivers. “I’m talking big, big, big. Bigger than Madonna. Bigger than Leonardo. Do you know what I’m saying? Yes, of course you do.”

Yes, Joan Rivers is talking about you!

Now climb into your “limo” which is equipped with a video screen for each row of seats. Pretend the video screen is a picture phone. Enjoy the ride...

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Hey, aren’t you Hollywood’s newest superstar? Please be sure to keep your arms, legs, and egos inside the limo at all times.”

Your picturephone rings.

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “There’s a collect call for you. It’s your new agent.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Swifty La Rue: “Swifty here, babe. Welcome to Hollywood. Lookin’ sensational as always.”

Swifty blows a kiss to you.

Swifty La Rue: “Listen, I’ll have your contract for you at the premiere. Okay? Just get to the Chinese Theater pronto, y’hear me? Everybody’s waitin’, capiche? Now don’t be late, babe!”

Swifty blows another kiss to you.

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Don’t worry. We’ll get you there in time. Our first stop is glamorous Rodeo Drive. There’s Regis Philbin, and that’s my final answer.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “If it isn’t vivacious Melanie Griffith and dashing Antonio Banderas.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “And there’s Hollywood beauty Cindy Crawford.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “The world famous Sunset Strip. Hold your sides, everyone. It’s funnyman Tim Allen.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Jackie Chan! Care to rumble?”

Your picturephone rings.

Swifty La Rue: “Hey, where are ya? I repeat, don’t be late. Kiss, kiss.”

Swifty blows two more kisses to you.

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Welcome to Bel Air, where the streets are paved with royalties and hype. How about a map to your house, Drew Carey?”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Sponsors seeking endorsements: “Endorse our soda! Sell our sneakers! Just sign here!”

Chauffeur: “Pool party! Hold your breath now!”

Your picturephone rings.

Swifty La Rue: “C’mon. Be Swifty’s favorite star and get here now!”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Malibu, where the beautiful people become even more beautiful.”

Voice from a crystal ball: “Angels, execs, producers beyond... Give us a sign the green light is on.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Why, the always entertaining Cher!”

Chauffeur: “Tattoos are all the rage. Shall I ‘ink’ you in for one?”

Paparazzo 1: “Look up and say cheese.”

Paparazzo 2: “Show us your pearly whites!”

Paparazzo 3: “Smile for the camera!”

Paparazzo 4: “One, two, Yeeowwww!!!!” (as he falls off his ladder)

Chauffeur: “Everywhere you turn, there are Hollywood studios.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

First voice: “Read my script!”

Second voice: “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry!”

Third voice: “Every word says you!”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Well, this is it... the premiere of your very own movie!”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Hollywood favorite, Whoopi Goldberg!”

Whoopi: “Look! It’s Hollywood’s newest sensation. And you know what that means, don’t you, baby? You’ve arrived!”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “As they say in this town, ‘looks like you are big boffo.’ And don’t let it go to your head.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Chauffeur: “Now there’s a familiar face, smiling down from that billboard.”

Superstar Limo at Disney's California Adventure

Your picturephone rings.

Swifty La Rue: “Congratulations, kid! They love your movie. Wow, you are a superstar. It’s bigtime boffo... I see your name in lights.”

Swifty blows another kiss to you.

Swifty La Rue: “I love ya!”

Announcer: “Ladies and gentlemen, Hollywood’s newest sensation!”

Chauffeur: “Don’t you look good on camera. Now that’s what I call a superstar! Let me grab some popcorn, because I know I’ll be seeing a lot of you in the movies!”

Your ride is over. Do you feel like a superstar now?


Superstar Limo was one of the original attractions when Disney’s California Adventure had its grand opening on February 8, 2001. It was the only dark ride in the park. Expectations were high. After all, nearby Disneyland had spectacular dark rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, as well as simpler dark rides that put guests into classic Disney movies.

Some guests loved Superstar Limo. They enjoyed the entertainment industry inside jokes and the cartoon-like scenes satirizing celebrity hangouts.

However, the majority of guests were disappointed and puzzled by the ride. Where’s the Disney magic? Is this the best Disney can do? Why is Disney recommending tattoos?

Here’s how Orange County Register writer Lisa Liddane described the brand new ride in an article on February 4, 2001:

Superstar Limo is about as cheesy as the National Enquirer. You know you’re in for a letdown when you’re greeted at LAX by Joan Rivers’ animated talking head, which, by the way, actually looks better than the real person. Joan, honey, you and Disney need to have a talk about your animated makeover.

Regis Philbin holds a wad of bills, Cindy Crawford spritzes perfume and Jackie Chan grins from above as you cruise along in your burgundy limo. I don’t get it. I’m ready for my close-up, but this isn’t it.

The Sunday travel section of the Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Colorado) had this description of Superstar Limo on February 11, 2001:

This attraction in Hollywood Pictures Backlot stands out because it’s so “whelming”—that’s worse than underwhelming. Billed as “a wild ride through L.A.’s star-studded streets,” it’s inane. But maybe it will play well in La La Land. Besides, Disney honcho Michael Eisner supposedly loves it, and that’s all that counts.

The idea is that you’re a star who’s just arrived at LAX to sign a big movie deal. A limo picks you up at the airport, where the PA system broadcasts, “Keep arms, legs and egos inside the car at all times,” and “no parking, no whining, no schmoozing, no white after Labor Day.” You ride past familiar audio-animatronic faces, including Drew Carey, who’s hawking maps of stars’ homes in Beverly Hills, and Regis Philbin holding a wad of bills. Then there’s Joan Rivers’ animated talking head, which the Orange County Register said looks better than the real person.

Margo Kutner of Mission Viejo, Calif., aptly called it “a one-time, cutesy ride.” Superstar Limo proves that even the talented Disney imagineers can make errors on occasion. Don’t bother standing in long lines, even if you’re a Hollywood groupie.

Disney management closed the ride after less than one year. Reportedly, the typical guest reaction to the ride had been so negative that the park was actually stronger when the only dark ride in the park was closed.

Just before Christmas 2005, a new ride opened in the former Superstar Limo building—Monsters, Inc.: Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! The official grand opening was January 23, 2006, more than four years after Superstar Limo had quietly closed. The former “limo” ride vehicles were repainted as Monstropolis taxi cabs. The track layout was left unchanged. The Monsters, Inc. ride brings scenes from the successful Disney/Pixar movie to life, although the tight spaces in the show building do not do justice to the grand spaces that the wizards at Pixar created in the movie. Still, it’s a fun ride which most park visitors enjoy far more than Superstar Limo.


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© 2006-2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated October 28, 2011.

Photo of Superstar Limo exterior: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Joan Rivers: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo vehicle: 2001 by Kevin Yee.
Photo of Superstar Limo freeway: 2001 by Kevin Yee.
Photo of Superstar Limo Swifty La Rue: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Superstar Limo Regis Philbin: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Melanie and Antonio: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Cindy Crawford: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Tim Allen: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Jackie Chan: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Superstar Limo Drew Carey: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo ornate house: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Muscle Beach: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Cher: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo studio gate: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Superstar Limo “hot set”: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Whoopi Goldberg: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo Maxiplex sign: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.
Photo of Superstar Limo ”Now Showing You” billboard: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Superstar Limo boutique featuring You: 2001 by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore.