Tag Archives: Cars Land

Cars Land

That’s right, I said Cars Land! Or should I say CARS LAND? Or how about


Yeah, that’s good. The biggest thing to happen to the Disneyland resort since the 50th is the expansion of Disney California Adventure (also known as the Mouse-Next-Door) with Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. The officially open on my birthday, Friday the 15th, and as much as I want to be there just to, you know, be there, my pass is blocked out.

Fortunately, I got into an annual passholder preview!

My ticket to fun! And my Winnie the Pooh watch!

I actually got to see Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, and I’ve got like a million pictures (actually 249, no joke) so watch this spot for the best in Cars Land and Buena Vista Street coverage! And by the best I mean my cheerful good humor and often mediocre photography! And exclamation points! Woot!

Cars Land is very well hidden behind shrub-covered walls and just plain old construction walls. The annual passholder preview entrance was back in Pacific Wharf, and I got a quick peek when they were letting out the earlier time slot (my time slot was 1-5pm).

I see it! I see it!

After  a bit of a wait, I made it past the walls, and it was seriously like being instantly transported to the desert. I know people say that whole “instant transformation” (just add water!) but really. It’s Disney, so I know you know what I’m talking about.


Traffic was controlled by dividing the main walkway into the land in half with traffic going in and out on either side. This was extremely efficient, as I was wondering how they were going to control the chaos of people getting in there.

I think the thing that struck me most about Cars Land was the sheer scale of it. These mountains are HUGE. It’s weird to have been watching the construction step by step, like from on top of Mickey’s Fun Wheel, or peeking out over the walls, or videos on Youtube, and then have it be so vastly different stepping inside there. The mountains look like the size of real mountains when you’re standing there. The scale is incredible.

The feeling of distance is amazing

The mountain range serves as the backdrop for the whole land.

There are three attractions in Cars Land: Radiator Springs Racers (the “E-ticket” combo dark ride, thrill ride, and awesomeness), Luigi’s Flying Tires (which is basically a giant air hockey table and you’re the puck, and also there’s beach balls), and Tow Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (which is a kind of spinning ride where your little vehicle gets swung out to the side and if you don’t hang on to something, you bash your hips up at every turn, ask me how I know). I rode all three and will be covering those separately.

Right now I just want to give an overview. If you’re familiar with the movie, or if you’re like Theo and are VERY familiar with the movie, Radiator Springs is all there.

Looking down the street from Radiator Springs Racers

I also want to memorialize this picture, because it will be a very, very, VERY long time before this street is this empty:

Hooray for annual passholder previews!

Radiator Springs is, of course, based on the various small towns along the old Route 66. As we all know, Route 66 was largely replaced by the interstate highway system and I have driven that highway so many times I really can’t count (this is what happens when you grow up in California and then go to college and graduate school in the Midwest, kiddies). Although I never drove the length of the actual Route 66, I have seen its vestiges, which makes Radiator Springs quite nostalgic for me.

Get your kicks…

Like every other amazing Disney land, Cars Land is filled with the tiny, impeccable details that makes it so authentic.

For example, a tourist with a bright backpack taking a picture–TOTALLY authentic

Route 66 was littered with these rough-and-tumble junk shops, and Cars Land has one of its own.

Curios and beat-up license plates

Some things are right out of the movie, like Luigi’s Casa Della Tires.

Home of Luigi’s Flying Tires

And Ramone’s body shop

This picture doesn’t do it justice

And here’s a picture I can’t really think of anything to say about.

Looking back toward Radiator Springs Racers

There are eateries–Flo’s and the Cozy Cone. Flo’s V8 Cafe is right out of the 50s

Is that guy singing “YMCA” or something?

And the Cozy Cone Motel, which is so awesome.

Love this place. LOVE!

The whole Cozy Cone Motel is one of my favorite parts of the Cars movie. It’s modeled after the old Wigwam motels where you can sleep in a teepee, because that’s all kinds of politically correct now. I always always always wanted to sleep in a teepee but my parents never let us. Kevin finally realized the dream a couple of years ago, staying there on his way to New Mexico, but I still haven’t done it.

And of course, if you’re a car, you’re not staying in a teepee, you’re staying in a cone!

Well the best part of the Cozy Cone at Cars Land is that there are five cones in the back, and each one is a food window serving a different kind of food, and all of the food comes in a cone.

I mean, how awesome is that?

There’s also Doc Hudson’s medical clinic

Just for show

It’s the Hudson Hornet!

And that’s where you’ll find a bathroom.

Because I know you were totally wondering

One great thing about Cars Land is that the imagineers planned all kinds of shaded rest areas like this one:

Nice and peaceful

It was awesome to have a few places where you can just sit down, cool off for a second, and do a little people watching. They really thought through everything.

And of course, there’s the obligatory meet and greet

Well dad-gum!


Both Mater and Lightning McQueen talk. Not necessarily TO you, but they know when you’re standing there and make comments. Mater told me I looked like I’d been through the car wash. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that.

For added authenticity, Mater and McQueen actually drive around. I mean, not fast or anything, and surrounded by a phalanx of people like Secret Service agents guarding the President’s limo, but still. They drive.

Mater on the move

And speaking of Mater, here’s his junkyard.


And here’s another picture looking down the street.

Love those bluffs

And of course, Radiator Spring’s founder

Radiator Springs Fire Department


The big achievement in Cars Land is, of course, Radiator Springs Racers. I did ride it, and I took pictures of the queue, but I didn’t take pictures of the ride itself because I like to fully enjoy the experience before I do it all behind the lens. I went back to ride it again but it had broken temporarily and my feet were killing me, so you’ll have to wait on full ride pictures. I will show you these though:


Stick around for more Cars Land and Buena Vista Street!




D23: Carousel of Projects

One of the things I liked most about the D23 Expo was the Carousel of Projects. It’s like the Carousel of Progress, except it’s projects, and it’s not defunct like the Carousel of Progress, and it didn’t move. And it wasn’t sponsored by GE.  So basically the only thing it had in common was the name.

ANYway, this was the pavilion for Parks and Resorts. It was all shrouded in curtains and had an eerie glow and stuff.

Dude, whoa!

You had to wait in line outside (shocking!) and they brought you into the curtained area in groups. It reminded me a bit of that “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” part in Wizard of Oz.

Once inside, you were in a circular area with movie screens arching across half of the room. My immediate thought was “Oh dear God, it’s going to be like Circlevision!” Which as you may recall, is the only ride that has actually made me throw up. Fortunately it was just a big slide show thingy with different pictures of the parks and various projects. It actually made me really nostalgic.

Then you threw nostalgia aside and entered the World Of Tomorrow-ish!

There were lots of models, like this one of the now-being-built Shanghai Disneyland:

Looking a little sparse there, folks.

It was small and not very satisfying, since most of the attractions are either top secret or haven’t been decided on and designed yet.

On the other hand, the model of the Mouse-in-Law’s new Fantasyland expansion looks abso-frickin’-lutely AMAZING!!!

This one was big.

I mean seriously people, this looks incredible.


We plan to go back when Theo’s around 5, and I truly cannot wait. They even had a prototype and computer-generated simulation of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (not to be confused with the Mine Train at Knott’s). Here’s the ride vehicle:

I assume they're going to paint this or something. Heh.

The coolest part is that the end arm is actually a joint for the passenger compartment to freely swing on its own. So rather than having the track do all of the car movement, your seats will actually swing back and forth on their own.

Seriously. I want to ride that like right now.

And speaking of new and awesome things I want to ride right now…

This fabulous convertible seats six!

Yep, it’s the Lightning McQueen ride vehicle for the upcoming Radiator Springs Racers in the currently-being-constructed Cars Land at the Mouse-Next-Door! This ride is going to be massively awesome.

It's like the real Lightning McQueen!

It’s based on the technology used in the Test Track attraction at Epcot, which was one of my favorite rides there.

He's cute too!

They also had some of Lightning’s friends.

Theo LOVES fire trucks. He's going to go absolutely ape when he finally sees the movie.

His eyes even move, just like Mater on the floor outside.

Who knew a fire truck could be so adorable?

I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Mouse-Next-Door, but I am excited about all of the new construction and stuff they’ll have, like Buena Vista Street.

The models were just so cool. Except for Shanghai Disneyland which was a little barren.

Buena Vista Street is part of the massive overhaul of the Mouse-Next-Door. It’s to be the first “land” of the MND and will be similar to Main Street. It represents the city of Los Angeles the way it looked in the 1920s when Walt first arrived. It features the Carthay Circle Theater, which apparently hosted the world premier of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Models are awesome!

If you were at the MND previously, you may remember the giant letters spelling out CALIFORNIA. Those are gone. But funny story there–one time a friend was coming in from out of town and I went to meet her at the park. I picked the most prominent thing on the Esplanade I could think of to meet her at, and told her I’d be by the “A” at the MND.

Seriously, it wasn’t until I was actually walking up to the letters before I realized that California has two As. Dude.

Anyway, there were booths for the Disney Vacation Club, the new Aulani resort in Hawaii, and the Disney Cruise Line. Since we’ll be taking a Disney cruise of our own next month, I skipped all of those to see …

The Amazing Destini!

The Amazing Destini is a prototype of the latest technology in audio-animatronic figures. You had to wait in line to see Destini, so of course I did. He was a fortune teller in a booth and spoke to each person individually.

He was all curtained off too. The Carousel of Projects was really big on the Dramatic Curtain front.

What made Destini so special was his ability to see and respond to people. Through the magical use of technology, Destini could sense your face and the faces of many people around you. He could recognize when you were smiling or pulling some other kind of face, or dancing, or whatever, and respond appropriately.

This looks like it should be a part of Tomorrowland, but it's actually real!

After waiting my half hour or so, I got in to see The Amazing Destini!

Who looked quite a bit like Pepe the Shrimp in the Muppets.

He was very fun and told my fortune, which is that I’m going to be rich. It also takes your picture and prints it out for you, though mine did not turn out well. Apparently Destini has a ways to go on the photograph front. But still, it was super cool. I can’t wait to see it actually integrated into the park, though that seems like several years away. For now it was just a lot of fun.

There was also a small room with pictures of the construction of Cars Land but I was running short on time so I skipped it.

And this is what I took pictures of at the Carousel of Projects!


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