After much fanfare and anticipation, Cars Land finally opened as a whole theme park “land” at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim in 2012. At the time we missed the openning by just two weeks, so were super keen to get to see it for ourselves last year.
It didn’t disappoint! The area is made up of three attractions, stores selling Cars merchandise, a meet’n’greet area, snacks and a cool 50s themed diner.
The first thing you see is the incredible rock work of the Ornament Valley Range in the background, which looms over this entire area of the park. If you are familiar with the movie Cars and didn’t know better, you’d swear it was where the movie was filmed.
The headliner attraction is Radiator Springs Racers, I won’t spoil it for you but essentially you get to ride in a Cars themed car in a race. But before you get to that point, you have a number of really cool scenes to go through and experience first. Part of it is indoors in the dark, but its not scary for small children. Then you get to zoom along the outdoor area which is like the drive that Lightning McQueen and Sally take together.
Luigi’s Flying Tires is a new take on an old “Flying Saucers” style ride that used to be at Disneyland years ago. In your huge blow up tyre, you can move the tire around the arena by moving your body. For our group of 8 (two per tire), it was hilarious to crash into each other or completely avoid the others in the group. Its a bit like bumper cars with a much softer bump.
Finally, is what many would consider a kiddie ride called Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. I defy anyone to ride this and not come off with a massive smile on their face. Its a very simple attraction and we rode it more times that I could count, it was a firm family favourite with our entire group from Grandma all the way down to Nathaniel (aged 3). You ride in a trailer behind one of the baby tractors, from the tractor tipping scene in the movie, on a circular track that swings you from side to side as the trailer moves. The music to attraction is also very catchy and we often found ourselves singing it later in the day.
As I mentioned previously, there are a number of stores where you can buy all manner of Cars related merchandise, tshirts, hats and so on. Much of this is only available in this area of the park – hurray for unique items to buy!
There is a meet’n’greet area where you can meet characters from the movie – Lightning McQueen, Mater and Red the Fire Engine. I’m not sure if they have other characters out at times but these ones tended to be there most times we went through.
The Cozy Cone motel’s from the movie have been recreated and provide different snacks at each of the “cones”. The other place to eat is Flo’s V-8 cafe. With its airconditioning and really cool 50’s diner vibe, this is a great respite from the heat in the summer months. We had lunch here and was very impressed by the veggie tater bake on the menu – Disneyland is starting to have some impressively different vegetarian menu items around the park. Also nice that it came with your choice of two side items from a reasonably extensive list.
Ok, so what else do you need to know about Cars Land? Firstly Radiator Springs Racers is at this point still super popular and sees some of the longest lines in the park. Make use of the Fastpass system. It also has a Single Rider Line so thats another way to “jump the queue” if you don’t need to be sitting with others in your group in the vehicle.
Make sure you see Cars Land during the day AND at night. There is a truck load of neon lighting in this area and its quite simply spectacular, the photos do not do it justice!
And finally, we got around to seeing the Disney movie “Planes” yesterday – which if you have seen the movie “Cars” is much the same except with… Planes. Hence the name. In summary, its a plane race instead of a car race. Wonder where they came up with that story line?
Anyway, it will be interesting to see if they incorporate Planes into Cars Land – they are the same worlds and it would be a good fit. I can see them perhaps having Planes merchandise and it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to have a meet’n’greet with Dusty Crophopper.
My nephews loved Cars Land but I think the adults in the group probably appreciated it more for its attention to detail and how amazingly like the movie it is.