Written by: Staff Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 .
The wait for Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park is finally over. After five years and a $1.1 billion renovation of the entire park, the new “Cars”-themed land opens this Friday just as the summer season kicks off at Disneyland. This much anticipated new themed land brings the world of “Cars” to life with just the type of magic you would expect from Disney. Everything from the rides to the concession stands capture the spirit of the film down to the tiniest details. From what we’ve seen so far, Cars Land promises to be one of the most comprehensive themed lands since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Cars Land was first announced back in October of 2007 and it has maintained a strong buzz among entertainment enthusiasts every since. It has now been six years since the first “Cars” feature was released in 2006, but the story and characters still seem to have a hold on the public. Of course, it’s only been a year since “Cars 2” was released, which helped to keep the momentum for the new themed land alive (even though it wasn’t quite as good as the first one).
Cars Land is modeled after the forgotten desert town, Radiator Springs, where much of the animated film takes place. The 12-acre themed area is built around the main street of Radiator Springs, also known as Route 66. As you enter Cars Land along Route 66, you are greeted by a funky, but charming town that definitely contrasts with the typical Disney look. What really makes you feel immersed in this town is the 125-foot-tall Cadillac mountain range that surrounds the land. The incredibly detailed rock-work screens out the rest of the world and makes it feel as though you are really out in the middle of the desert.
As you make your way down Route 66, you’ll get to explore the shops and restaurants that are only hinted at in the film. In Cars Land, Flo’s V8 Café has been transformed into a 300-seat diner with a full menu of comfort food. You’ll also get some of the best panoramic views of the town through the windows at Flo’s. Other dining options include the Cozy Cone Motel and Filmore’s Taste-in Fuel. Not surprisingly, everything at the Cozy Cone Motel comes in some sort of cone, even the “Chili Cone Queso.”
Further down the main drag, the Radiator Springs Curio Shop is very much like any of those quirky all-purpose stores you tend to find in desert towns. There’s no particular rhyme or reason to the merchandising, which is precisely the charm of these type of old Route 66 souvenir stands.
Cars Land is home to three rides, one of which is a reprise of a Disney Classic, the Flying Saucers of the 1960s. Fifty years later, the Flying Saucers return as Luigi’s Flying Tires, and just like the original ride, it features floating bumper cars that hover on a cushion of air. According to the LA Times, Luigi’s is a “docile re-creation of the 1960s Flying Saucers” and has been somewhat of a let down. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is also an updated take on a classic; it is a combination whip ride and spinning tea cup ride with vehicles modeled after the baby tractors from the first film.
Radiator Springs Racers is one of the most expensive Disney attractions built to date. It is based on third-generation Test Track technology and combines a dark ride with a high speed race between two vehicles. There’s no doubt in our minds that this ride will be the highlight of Cars Land and one of the most popular new rides across the entire park.
Even though the official opening for Cars Land is this Friday, special media events will start tonight. Over the next couple of days, you can expect a lot of videos and photos of Cars Land flooding the internet that will definitely make you wish you were traveling down Route 66 for Radiator Springs.
All Images: thedisneyblog.com