Yesterland

Mulholland Madness

Presented by Alamo
Mulholland Drive, the famous road that winds its way from Hollywood to the Malibu coast, was the inspiration for this “Wild Mouse” ride that takes you on a winding, obstacle-ridden, fun-filled drive above Paradise Pier.
Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Los Angeles is known worldwide for the freeways that carry traffic through the endless urban sprawl of the city and its suburbs. But there are also winding two-lane roads in the city’s many hills and mountains.

The most famous of these is Mulholland Drive, named in honor of William D. Mulholland, the Irish-born Los Angeles Water Bureau Chief and City Engineer who brought water to the thirsty city—and who envisioned the road. Many roads climb up into the mountains, but Mulholland Drive ties them all together as it follows the ridgeline of the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains. Today the Mulholland Scenic Parkway and Corridor stretches for 55 miles.

This ride is a tribute to Mulholland Drive.

Well, in truth, the ride really only resembles Mulholland Drive in that both have many diamond-shaped yellow warning signs.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2002

Mulholland Drive crossing the crowded Hollywood Freeway

The ride is decorated with a cartoony mural that folds in and out like a roadmap. In fact, it is a roadmap. It shows Mulholland Drive and many landmarks along its route.

(Note for younger readers: Before GPS systems and Mapquest, roadmaps were printed on large sheets of paper and then folded up.)

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Coming through the roadmap

Behind the map mural, there’s a Wild Mouse roller coaster. The track even tears through a roadmap at the Pacific Coast Highway.

Looks fun, eh? Let’s go for a ride.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Warning! Warning!

This ride has plenty of warning signs that are just for decor. But the sign that resembles an Interstate Highway shield is real. Make sure you’re at least 42 inches tall and that you don’t have any of the conditions listed.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Diamond-shaped yellow warning signs

Climb into a four-passenger ride vehicle. Space is a bit tight if you’re tall. But you’ll be okay. It’s a two-minute ride, not a cross-country flight.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Heading up the lift hill

You start by going up a lift hill. That’s the traditional way that most roller coaster rides begin. When you reach the top of the lift hill, gravity takes over.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

A rather sparse “show”

It doesn’t look much like the real Mulholland Drive here. The decor consists primarily of the same kind of road signs that your county road department would use to warn drivers.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

“Coming to the BIG SCREAM!”

In addition to the standard caution signs, there are two billboards as decor. For the first one, I hope you like puns.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Mmmm... Donuts

The second billboard, which advertises fictional Mulholland Drive-Thru Donuts, is missing a corner. It looks as if a ride vehicle failed to negotiate the sharp right turn. The car apparently left the track and damaged the billboard. The riders must have plunged to their death on the hard asphalt parking lot below.

Ha, ha, ha. It didn’t really happen. It’s just part of the hip and edgy theming of Yester California Adventure.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Attractions from a high vantage point

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Pizza Oom Mow Mow

From up here, you get great views of other Paradise Pier landmarks, including Orange Stinger, Maliboomer, and Pizza Oom Mow Mow.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Watch for the High Patrol!

There are plenty of sharp, unbanked turns. I hope you like the person sitting next to you, because you’ll be sliding into each other frequently on this ride.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2003

Getting to the bottom of things

The views at the bottom of the ride aren’t as good as at the top. Enjoy the caution signs.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2007

All good things must come to an end.

That was fun. Now it’s time to return your car.

Did you remember to fill the gas tank?


The official opening date of Mulholland Madness at Disney California Adventure was February 8, 2001. It was an opening day attraction at the new park, which was originally called Disney’s California Adventure.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WiseBearAZ” Moore, 2000

Mulholland Madness on January 9, 2000

The track for Mulholland Madness was a classic Wild Mouse ride purchased from Heinrich Mack GmbH & Co., the German ride manufacture that originated this type of ride. The first prototype of a Wild Mouse (or Wilde Maus in German) was built of wood in 1957, two years before the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride debuted at Disneyland with its revolutionary tubular steel track.

With quick, tight, unbanked hairpin turns and quick, short drops, a Wild Mouse is fun and surprisingly thrilling. Compared to larger steel roller coasters with their sweeping banked turns, large drops, and various kinds of inversions, Wild Mouse coasters don’t take up much space and are relatively inexpensive.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photos by Allen Huffman, 2001 (left) and Werner Weiss, 2007 (right)

Before Alamo and after

Can you spot the difference on the mural between the left photo (2001) and the right photo (2007)? Hint: Remember the Alamo. While you’re at it, look for the hidden Mickey.

In a decade when Disney lost several major sponsors for attractions, Mulholland Madness, which opened without a sponsor, picked one up. In November of 2004, Alamo Rent a Car and Disney renewed their marketing alliance. In addition to being the official rental car company of Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, Alamo would also become the sponsor of Mulholland Madness at Disney’s California Adventure and Tomorrowland Transit Authority at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida.

Mulholland Madness at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Mulholland Madness from the Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (2010)

Another change to Mulholland Madness involved adding a partial barrier on the previously open side of the ride that faces Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, after construction of the new Villas wing. The blue sky and fluffy white clouds painted on this barrier anticipated the attraction’s future.

Goofy’s Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Goofy’s Sky School preview in Blue Sky Cellar

Big changes were ahead. Blue Sky Cellar, the preview center for new attractions at Disney California Adventure, had a display showing the changes to the park’s Wild Mouse. It would become Goofy’s Sky School, with a Goofy theme instead of a roadmap-and-roadsign theme. But it would essentially remain the same ride. The display showed that Goofy’s Sky School would even reuse the donut billboard.

The update would add Disney humor and Disney charm:

Goofy’s Sky School will join the fun along Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure. The coaster attraction is inspired by the 1940 cartoon short, Goofy’s Glider, and the theme is a flying academy with Goofy as the instructor. Guests will enjoy all the dips, twists and thrills as Goofy tries to teach a group of novice pilots how to soar through the sky.

Mulholland Madness closed permanently on October 11, 2010.

Goofy’s Sky School opened July 1, 2011.

Goofy’s Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Welcome to Goofy’s Sky School

Goofy’s Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Goofy’s Sky School lift hill

Goofy’s Sky School at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Sample lesson

When it comes to the color of track, sky blue is the new orange.


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Updated September 15, 2017.