Disneyland (CA)

First Review: Cars Land Overview and Entertainment

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Cars Land

Tom Bricker says:

“Overall, Cars Land was money very well spent. It will be a huge draw for Disneyland Resort for years to come.”

Cars Land is the crowning capstone on DCA’s transformation, and the first major “land” in an American Disney theme park devoted solely to a single film franchise. Tucked in the park’s southeast corner on 12 acres of repurposed parking lot, Cars Land’s main entrance is across from the Golden Vine Winery, though there are secondary gateways in a bug’s land and Pacific Wharf. A massive mountainous backdrop topped with 125-foot-high peaks patterned after 1959 Cadillac Pinnacle tail fins — known as the Cadillac Range — cradles Ornament Valley, home to a screen-accurate re-creation of Radiator Springs. That’s the sleepy single-stoplight town along Route 66 populated by Pixar’s anthropomorphized automobiles.

Along its main drag, in addition to three rides, you find eateries themed to the film’s minor characters such as Fillmore’s Taste-In, serving fruit drinks and snacks; Cozy Cone Motel, with chili, ice cream, and popcorn, all served in conical containers; and Flo’s V8 Cafe, serving creative takes on classic comfort food with a Southwestern twist for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Souvenir shops include Radiator Springs Curios, Ramone’s House of Body Art, and Sarge’s Supply Hut.

Cars Land represents a considerable investment in capital and creativity for the Disney company, resulting in a rare example of complete entertainment immersion. Toys of Lightning McQueen and his petrol-powered pals have been flying off store shelves since before the 2006 debut of Cars, and sales have only accelerated with the release of a sequel in 2011. Expect the area to draw large crowds all day, and even significantly increase California Adventure’s overall attendance.

Cars Land Entertainment

Red the Firetruck shows up with sirens blazing to spray down the crowds.

DJ’s Dance and Drive features the ‘ultimate party car’ cruising down the strip as an interactive mobile music-maker.

Mater and Lightning McQueen take turns posing for photos near the Cozy Cone Motel; these life-sized vehicles can deliver quips recorded by the original voice actors to grinning guests.

All eyes in the theme park industry turn this week to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, where the grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure is being celebrated in the high style befitting the finish line of a billion-dollar makeover marathon. Before this massive expansion officially opens to the public on June 15, invited media and paying sneak-preview participants will have already had an opportunity to experience the new attractions of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, and naturally the TouringPlans.com team is there on the scene. Touring Plans’ official photographer Tom Bricker, Unofficial Guide to Disneyland co-author Seth Kubersky, and new Touring Plans researcher Guy Selga, Jr. will all be on-property this week, documenting every detail to your touring advantage. Over the next few days, please check back on the blog for our hot-off-the-press first reviews direct from DCA, edited versions of which will appear in the 2013 edition of the Unofficial Guide.

All photos by Tom Bricker.


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Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

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