July 10, 2013
How Casey Jr. Sums Up the Disney Difference
This miniature railroad, one of the park's oldest rides, beautifully represents a key design philosophy that sets Disneyland apart from other theme parks: It's so much better than "good enough."
Back when Disneyland was first being constructed, it would have been far less draining to the park's tight budget to create Casey Jr. as a basic little railroad ride with a simple oval course. Fortunately, Walt had a grander vision for his little train.
Casey follows a winding, ingeniously laid out multi-level course that includes rocky passes, bridges you travel across and under, and a long, thrillingly dark climactic tunnel. You can almost picture Walt scribbling a checklist of every element he wanted included in the layout. The above-mentioned chain lift pulls the train to the track's highest point as Casey (of course) chugs "I think I can, I think I can," and the entire adventure gives you an elevated view of Storybook Land that complements the water-level vantage point of the Canal Boats.
What a fantastic little masterpiece. If, by chance, you've never taken a ride on Casey Jr., please don't miss it on your next trip to the park. It's not just a great old ride. It's a great ride, period.