Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

Orange Stinger

Height requirement:
48 inches or taller
Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2001

Welcome to a ride that’s a tribute to the orange groves and citrus honey production of California. After all, California Adventure is all about California.


Keep in mind that the 160 acres that Walt Disney acquired in 1954 for Disneyland and its parking lot were once covered mostly by orange trees—with honey bees buzzing around the orange blossoms.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

A ride inside.

The four-story orange peel is hiding a 48-seat Zierer Wave Swinger.

But this one’s not a Swinger; it’s a Stinger—the Orange Stinger.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2001

Entrance

Look for the honey bees with aviator goggles.

Head up the stairs to the ride level and wait for your turn. There’s no pre-show, but the view is pretty good. As you watch the riders to your left, you can anticipate what the ride will be like. Or, to your right, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Paradise Pier from a vantage point one story above water level.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Queue

The queue is on a platform along the edge of the orange.

Pick a swing chair, any swing chair. Your seat is suspended from a canopy high above you by chains. Get into a seat. Then put the metal bar across the seat above your lap.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Every rider gets his or her own seat

A hydraulic system raises the central column like an old-fashioned telescope, lifting the canopy. The central column rotates in one direction, while the canopy rotates in the opposite direction. To make it more interesting, the canopy tilts in various directions to create a wave-like motion for the riders. It’s really a mechanical marvel.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Flying with your feet dangling high above the ground

There’s something here for four of your five senses. See glimpses of Paradise Pier from the open areas in the orange peel. Hear the sound of bees buzzing (or the sound of screams drowning out the buzzing). Smell the scent of oranges. Feel the wave action of the tilting canopy and the centrifugal force that makes your seat swing out to the side. (The fifth sense is taste, but food and beverages are not allowed on the ride.)

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Don’t lose your shoes.

Before you know it, you hear a recorded announcement:

“It looks like our flight time is up. Please stay seated until your Orange Stinger stops. Then, lift the bar; check for your belongings; leave through the nearest exit. Thank you for flying with us. We hope to see you again soon.”

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2001

Dusk for the Orange Stinger

If you want to remember your ride on the Orange Stinger, stop by a park gift shop for the souvenir toy.

Orange Stinger souvenir toy

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Orange Stinger souvenir toy


The Orange Stinger was one of the original attractions at Disney’s California Adventure when the park opened in February 2001. At its core, the attraction was a Zierer Wave Swinger, an “off the shelf” product from German amusement park ride manufacturer Zierer Karussell und Spezialmaschinenbau GmbH.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

WaveSwinger in Fiesta Village at Knott’s Berry Farm

Surprisingly, the designers of California Adventure included the ride in the new park even though there was already a Zierer Wave Swinger at nearby Knott’s Berry Farm. (Knott’s originally called their ride Slingshot in 1987, but changed the name to WaveSwinger in 1998.)

WaveSwinger at Knott’s Berry Farm

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2001

California Adventure version of a Wave Swinger (rare early photo)

By enclosing the ride in a structure that looked like an orange and providing one-of-a-kind seating, the Orange Stinger would provide a unique experience, while still delivering the thrills that Wave Swingers are known for.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Original seats, looking like bee parts (February 18, 2001 photo).

When the Orange Stinger first opened, each guest sat in a whimsical seat that looked like a yellow and black bee abdomen with bee wings and legs on each side.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Tony “WisebearAZ” Moore, 2001

Another rare early photo

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Orange Stinger guests as buzzing bees

Guests were not simply riders on a ride; they became a swarm of buzzing bees, and they smelled the scent of oranges, pumped into the attraction. Sure, there were Zierer Wave Swinger rides all over the world, but no other one was like the Orange Stinger.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

“Bee behinds” gone (February 21, 2001).

The bee seats immediately became a problem. The decorative covers could not withstand the damage from the hanging seats banging into each other. Some of the “bee behind” photos in this article are from February 18, 2001. The photo above was taken just three days later. The decorative covers were gone.

Originally, The Orange Stinger had a posted maximum weight of 200 pounds. This restriction disappeared after a few years.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2004

Conventional seats on the Orange Stinger

The original designers of California Adventure made an effort to give the Orange Stinger a California theme. However, the ride and its theming did not successfully take guests back in time to “the heyday of the great seaside amusement park piers” (as Disney’s 2000 annual report described the theme of Paradise Pier). The giant orange peel looked more like something from the early 21st century than the early 20th century. For riders, the peel blocked much of the view.

When experienced Disney Imagineers redesigned Disney’s California Adventure, they decided to keep the ride—but to remove the peel and improve the theme. The underlying ride represented a substantial financial investment, and many people enjoy Wave Swinger rides. These Imagineers probably would not have chosen to put a Wave Swinger in the park if they were starting with a fresh piece of paper (or an untouched asphalt parking lot), but the ride was already there.

Disney concept art for Silly Symphony Swings

Concept art © Disney

Disney concept art for Silly Symphony Swings

Concept art showed that the Orange Stinger would become Silly Symphony Swings. The last day of operation for the Orange Stinger was July 13, 2009. It closed so that the ride’s transformation into Silly Symphony Swings could begin.

Purists pointed out that the 1935 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Band Concert, which inspired the new version of the ride, was not part of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony series. But Silly Symphony Swings sounds better than The Band Concert Swings.

Orange Stinger ‘peeled’ on August 6, 2009

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Orange Stinger being “peeled”

After more than ten months of work, Silly Symphony Swings had its soft opening on May 28, 2010 and its grand opening on June 11, 2010.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Great-looking construction wall

With scenes from Walt Disney’s brilliant animated short The Band Concert painted on an intricately decorated canopy and conductor Mickey Mouse high atop it, the ride emerged with “Disney magic” that it lacked in its original incarnation.

Wave Swinger at Chicago’s Navy Pier

Photo by Karen Weiss, 2009

48-seat Wave Swinger at Chicago’s Navy Pier

The Silly Symphony Swings attraction is a more conventional Wave Swinger than the Orange Stinger. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a good reason why Wave Swinger rides are not normally enclosed. It’s more fun for riders.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

© Disney

Former Orange Stinger

With the new decorations and the ride’s movements no longer hidden from guests walking around Paradise Bay, the Silly Symphony Swings attraction contributes old-time charm and kinetic energy to Paradise Pier.

Orange Stinger at Disney's California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Your conductor, Mickey Mouse


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Updated June 5, 2015.