Man rides California Adventure's Radiator Springs Racers 2000 times

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- A Brea man hit a meaningful milestone on Monday, when he rode the Radiator Springs Racers at Disney's California Adventure for the 2,000th time.

It was much more than a milestone for Jon Hale; it represented a personal transformation.

"There was a time where I probably couldn't even fit on this ride," Hale said. "I had really bad knees, and the only way that the knee surgeon would operate on my knees would be if I lost weight."

Hale weighed more than 380 pounds several years ago, before undergoing bypass surgery.

But several months later, and 150 pounds lighter, he found himself at Disney's California Adventure just as the Radiator Springs Racers ride was opening. He was hooked.

At first his goal was riding 300 times, then 600, then 1,000. He's detailed every race in a little notebook.

After crossing 1,000 laps in July, he decided to double it.

"The only other number to really go for would be 2,000," he said.

A friend tells Eyewitness News that another inspiration was Hale's father, who lost his battle with skin cancer in June.

Hale has had help along the way, developing a close connection with the crew.

"They're great people. I've made friends with them, I'm friends with a bunch of them on Facebook now, so every time I go to the ride, they always want to say hi," he said.

The question is: Has it gotten old?

"Every time, it's still exciting," he said.

He says even though he is friends with the ride's crew, he gets no preference in line. He doesn't even use a FastPass.

Hale doesn't plan on stopping at 2,000. He wants to get to 2,400 by the end of the year.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story said Hale's father died last year.

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