The closer you get to that rockwork, it wraps around you. You can look around and you are transported to Ornament Valley…It’s so beautiful, you can take a vacation in Cars Land – John Lasseter
The moment I stepped into Cars Land, I thought to myself…I’m in the film…it feels like I’ve stepped right into Radiator Springs.
Earlier this summer, I spent a few days in the long-anticipated, 12-acre land that completes Disney California Adventure Park’s five year expansion. To say that I was impressed with the precise detail that went into Cars Land is an understatement. The team of Imagineers that worked on Cars Land traveled to Route 66 to ensure their representation was authentic. They wanted to see the lights…hear the stories of the people on the road. Storytelling is as important to the Imagineers as it is to Disney’s filmmakers.
One of the most popular attractions inside Cars Land is Radiator Springs Racers. Last week, I tweeted that it is my new favorite ride, and judging from the guests’ reactions after experiencing the ride, I’m not alone. Kevin Rafferty, who served as the Concept Writer and Senior Director, Walt Disney Imagineering correctly predicted that Radiator Springs Racers would be “one of the greatest attractions Disney has ever designed and built.”
The ride begins with a scenic tour through Ornament Valley in a shiny convertible. The visuals are stunning, so be sure to have your camera handy. Your vehicle will then make a stop at Luigi’s Casa Della Tires for some shiny new wheels or Ramone’s House of Body Art for a new paint job. Then you’re off on a thrilling race through the outside desert landscape. This is honestly my favorite part of the ride because I love speed! Each time you ride will be different since you never know who will win or what stop you’ll make. What I love about this ride is the fact that you are immersed in a story, and the adventure begins the moment you enter the queue. As you ride through the dark portion of the attraction, you’ll encounter the Sheriff who invites the car to the town’s big race. After the vehicle is prepared (either via a tire change or a fresh coat of paint), it’s off to the races!
Guests in a wide variety of age ranges will enjoy Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, a “tow-si-do” square dance that features seven original songs recorded and sung by Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Guests swing around in trailers hitched to baby tractors in a lively attraction that will have you laughing…or singing…likely both!
The third signature attraction in Cars Land is Luigi’s Flying Tires, which places guests inside large, Fettuccini-brand tires. If you had an opportunity to ride the Flying Saucers attraction which operated from 1961 to 1966 in Tomorrowland, you might see semblances in this latest innovative take. Guests shift their body weight to guide the direction of the vehicle as nearly 7,000 vents keep the tires hovering 2 inches above the ground. I haven’t had an opportunity to ride this attraction yet, but I’m highly intrigued.
In addition to the three main attractions listed above, visitors can meet Lightning McQueen and Mater to take photos near the Cozy Cone Motel, have a splashin’ time with Red the Fire Truck, and dance along with DJ, the rolling boom box.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, I highly recommend checking out Flo’s V8 Cafe for a home-style meal. The cafe was inspired by the quirky roadside eateries you’ll find along Route 66 and serves hearty dishes like New York strip loin with mashed potatoes and baked beans to lighter dishes like their Citrus Turkey Salad.
As you walk into Cars Land, several distinct, orange wigwam-like structures are visible. The Cozy Cone Motel serves five different cone-inspired snacks including ice cream cones, chile “cone” queso, and pop “cone.”
If you get an opportunity to visit Cars Land, be sure to stay through the evening as Cars Land After Dark is a unique experience.
Stay tuned for my tips on visiting Cars Land and an inside look at imagining Buena Vista Street.
No compensation was received for this post. I was invited to a media event and tickets, meals, transportation and accommodations were provided.
Photos: Rockin’ Mama unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.