I remember as a child my biggest and ultimate wish was to go to Disneyland or Disneyworld and fortunately I got the chance, and hoping to one day enjoy it again with my son (it’s either that or going to the new Hello Kitty spa in Dubai).
Disney recently opened Cars Land at its California Adventure Park in Anaheim, and I suspect when my son is old enough and discovers what this means, he will go as ape shit as I did as a kid, wanting to go to a Disney park too.
The onne side of Cars Land features an exact replica of Radiator Springs as depicted in the Disney Pixar Animated hit Cars. Everything is meticulously crafted, bringing “the cutest little town in Carburetor County” to life in a way that only Disney can.
Here’s what else you can expect:
1) The rides – Cars Land features three rides that are great for the whole family:
- Luigi’s Flying Tires – This ride reminded me of bumper cars, but instead of driving, you’re hovering above ground (think air hockey table) in an enormous tire that you can control by leaning forward, backward or side to side.
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – Disney Imagineer Chuck Floek described this ride as a cross between teacups and a “whip” ride. Guests are swung around in trailers towed by tiny square dancing tractors. Check out my interview with Chuck at the bottom of this post to see the ride in action; and
- Radiator Springs Racers: This ride is the crown jewel of Cars Land and one of my favorite attractions at any theme park. What starts out as a leisurely ride through Ornament Valley in a six-passenger convertible “Cars” car turns into a high-octane nose-to-nose race with the car next to you. The speed is incredible as you soar over desert hills and zoom around corners practically on your side. This is one of those rides I would wait in line to ride over and over again. Extremely well done! My only word of warning is that the speed of the race may scare the preschool set. That thing can move!
2) The characters – Yes, you can pose for photos with your Cars faves just like in other parts of the park. But Disney took it a step further (shocker) by allowing the life-size versions of Lightning McQueen, Mater, DJ and Red the Fire Truck to drive around the park, interacting with delighted guests. In fact, bad-boy DJ hosts his own dance party where guests can learn moves like the Overdrive, The Reverse and the “hairpin.”
3) The food! When imagining the food for Cars Land, Disney chefs got out on the road for a 10 day trip on the Real Route 66. What resulted was an inspired menu, with nary a chicken finger in sight.
- Flo’s V8 Cafe – A quick-service restaurant featuring specialties like chicken tamale with scrambled eggs, brioche French toast with salted caramel (YUM!) and bananas, home-style rotisserie pork or New York strip loin, and house-made Pie-O-Rama for dessert. One of my biggest regrets is overlooking these much-talked-about pies at the the premiere party. From what I hear they are heavenly!
- Cozy Cone Motel – Each of the cones in Sally’s quirky motel is a snack bar featuring a different type of cone-inspired treat. Guests can choose from ice cream cones, chile “cone” queso (served in a bread cone), dill pickle and regular pop “cone” and other “cone”coctions. There were also traffic cone cups, lamps, and even planters. Disney at its finest. (see slide show below)
4) The merchandise – Cheryl Del’Ve and Scott Giersch from Disneyland Merchandising said they strove to create imaginative collector’s pieces to commemorate the new expansion. The two most popular items I saw were Mickey Mouse tire ears and a crazy Luigi hat, essentially a tire you wear on your head. All I know is it was refreshing to see new takes on the classics you get at Disneyland or the Disney Store.
Go to the official Disney Cars site for an interactive and more in-depth look at the park.