If you’re looking for stuff to do this summer, one thing that should be on the top of your list is a trip to the newly opened Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. Prior to the official public opening on June 15th, Collider was invited to the grand opening celebration that was attended by many of the voice actors from Pixar’s two Cars films (including Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt and Cheech Marin), along with Tom Staggs (Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts), Robert Iger (Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co.) and John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studio and Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering), who all took the rides for a spin themselves. Hit the jump for more about what to expect from this $1.1 billion re-tooling and expansion at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Featuring Lighting McQueen and Mater, the 12-acre immersive experience of Cars Land offers fun for everyone, as it brings the town of Radiator Springs to life. Thoroughly realized in every little detail – whether it’s the attractions, the entertainment, the food, the merchandise, the costumes and even the landscaping – its visitors are immediately transported, especially considering that you can’t even see the rest of the park when you’re inside.
“This is a theme park that celebrates the dreams, the imagination, the spirit and the optimism of California,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, “and we believe it will build upon and extend the legacy of the Disneyland Resort. From the romance of Buena Vista Street to the thrills of Paradise Pier, Disney’s California Adventure has been transformed into a place where guests can connect with the Disney stories, characters and music that they love, and create those shared memories that last a lifetime. Of course, the keystone to this transformation is Cars Land.”
Specifically speaking about Cars and the characters in the films, John Lasster, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, added, “These characters are so close to me, personally. I love all of my children – all of the films at Pixar – equally, but the Cars films are really particularly close to my heart because they combine two of my great passions in life, animation and cars. When I was a kid, growing up in Whittier, my mom was an art teacher at a high school for 38 years and my dad was a parts manager at a Chevrolet dealership. So, you could say that I was destined, from birth, to create an animated film about cars . . . It’s an amazing feeling to see the world that we created for this film, actually come to life.”
As you walk down the forgotten bit of Route 66 that Cars brought to life, you encounter the three new rides. For Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, guests board a trailer pulled by a sweet-faced baby tractor and whip around in time to lively music sung by Mater (aka Larry The Cable Guy). Then, for Luigi’s Flying Tires, you can strap into a larger-than-life tire and float on air, as you glide around according to your own movements and bump into other guests doing the same. And of course, the highlight of the entire thing are the Radiator Springs Racers, which is sure to be a must-see for years to come. Starting out with a scenic tour of Ornament Valley, past Radiator Falls and through the majestic mountain range that looks even more beautiful at night, you will quickly find yourself on a parallel track with another race car, zooming through the desert landscape.
And if all of that is not enough, adding to the experience are the newly re-themed entrance of Buena Vista Street, evoking the 1920s Los Angeles that Walt Disney might have encountered when he arrived, and the Carthay Circle Theatre, modeled on the motion picture palace where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in 1937, and now home to the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge.