Top 5 Disney Roller Coasters

5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Disneyland Paris

dscn1283Big Thunder features an excellent use of hiding the track and incorporating the coaster cars into the storyline for the attraction, with the cars being part of a mine train. The track is similar in the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom variants, but the Disneyland Paris version by far the best. Taking the place of Tom Sawyer Island within Disneyland Paris’ Frontierland, the guests board the coaster and go under the river to travel on an island in the middle of the river. There are some great experiences when you coast on track hanging over the water. The finale takes you back under the river through a dark and thrilling tunnel.

4. Space Mountain – Disneyland

Far smoother than the version at Walt Disney World, this version also has 2×2 seating that is more friendly to families. The twists and turns in the dark are thrilling as is the energetic musical score by Michael Giacchino.

3. Space Mountain: Mission 2 – Disneyland Paris

This version shares little in common with the domestic predecessors. The guests “take off” via linear induction launch and then you plunge into the darkness of the mountain. This version is wilder than the other Space Mountains too, with three three inversions. Also features music by Michael Giacchino.

2. Calif Screamin’ – Disney California Adventure

Whereas most Disney coasters try to hide the track with rock work or darkness, the exposed structure of California Screamin’ sets a wonderful backdrop for Paradise Pier. The design follows the wooden coasters of the era it celebrates, but thanks to steel track technology, this is a smooth and thrilling coaster. Over 6000 feet, by far the longest Disney coaster (by over 1000 feet), this is the only coaster at the Disneyland Resort with an inversion.

1. Expedition Everest – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For the summit of our list, this one seems to be the Disney coaster that everyone can agree on (it ranked at the peak coaster by each member of our family). Plenty of thrills with a g-force inducing backwards section as well as a gigantic drop. But it also appeals to those who avoid inversions. It also includes the pinnacle of Disney place-making, as they’ve created an entire Hymalayan town of Serka Zong surrounding the attraction. The queue tells the story of past expeditions who experienced the mythical Yeti and is quite beautiful too. While it’s disappointing that the attractions animatronic Yeti has been motionless for many years, it’s still a thrilling encounter on one of Disney’s best attractions ever.


The Facebook Sign’s Dirty Little Secret

During my evening commute, I travel from Willow Road in Menlo Park and turn east to head home across the Dumbarton Bridge. As such, I pass Facebook’s headquarters every day on my commute. The campus has recently become famous for it’s large “Like” logo sign. There’s not a week that goes by when I don’t see someone out front taking a photo. In fact, some weeks it seems like we see someone every single day. This past weekend we went past it twice and sure enough there were people taking photos. So, this sign has sort of become a minor tourist destination.


But the Facebook sign has a dirty little secret. A very, very dirty secret.

As those in Bay Area may be familiar, Facebook’s campus was originally constructed by 1990’s industry darlings Sun Microsystems. But, after Sun fell on hard times and was acquired by Oracle in 2010, most of the campus was abandoned. Facebook began leasing the property in 2011 and all references to Sun were erased.

All of which is mildly interesting Silicon Valley lore but is actually more important at explaining the dirty secret of the Facebook sign.


Seems there’s still a little bit of Sun Microsystems left behind on the old campus after all.