A few weeks ago I shared that my family and I were on our way to Disneyland to share in the grand opening of Cars Land.
This grand opening marks the completion of a 5-year expansion of Disney California Adventure and Disney executives and fans alike were so excited to mark this special event.
Our week was filled with Disneyland magic – rides at the park with my kids, fireworks at Sleeping Beauty’s castle, Mickey’s Soundsational Parade (twice!) and more.
Of course, the biggest and best event was at the end of the week – Cars Land opened it’s streets to the public on June 15th, but the day before some very lucky members of the media were invited to check out Cars Land before the official opening day.
Of course, reading details online ahead of time I knew what to expect – yet walking into Cars Land for the first time, I was struck by how I had literally walked into Radiator Springs and out of the regular park atmosphere. The creators have done a remarkable job recreating Radiator Springs and if I at 35 had a gasp of appreciation walking in, imagine the wide-eyed wonder of my 4 and 8 year old kids!
Look to your left and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is waiting to take you on a silly, spinning ride (stand around for awhile and listen to Mater sing his l’il heart out, it’s priceless!) Look to your right and you can find healthy (organic in some cases!) fruits and juices at Fillmore’s Taste-In. Keep walking and you’ll find Flo’s V8 Cafe, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, Cozy Cone Motel and so much more.
Each time you set eyes on a new Radiator Springs landmark, the next part of the fun is finding out how the creators have made it into a part of your Cars Land experience! Cozy Cone Motel, for example, is a food-court of sorts with each Cone selling a different conerific (it’s not a word but today it is) concoction!
The biggest attraction at Cars Land is, of course, the 3 new rides: Radiator Springs Racers, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Flying Tires. We, being dutiful media guests, made sure to try all 3 of them!
Luigi’s Flying Tires
Luigi gives a countdown “Uno for the money, due for the show, tre to get ready and quattro to go!” and drops the flag for the “Festival of the Flying Tires.” Guests on the ride use their body weight to move the oversized Fettuccini-brand tires around as they bump into eachother. Inflatable balls are all over the attraction, making for a fun challenge to catch but also, an easy distraction when trying to sail across the floor which is powered by 6714 air vents that keep the tires floating approximately 2 inches above the ground!
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
Mater is as adorable as ever, singing and telling jokes while guests ride in the back of runaway baby tractors (none of the 22 tractors are the same, by the way). Larry the Cable Guy recorded 7 original songs just for this ride, so it’s a real treat to stay for a second tow-si-do to hear more, or take a rest stop and watch others ride while you hum along to the tunes. While I thought this ride was “teacup” reminicent, my husband was able to ride with the kids without his head spinning so take note that it’s an ok ride if you’re a little hesitant. The kids, of course, loved it and as soon as they hopped off, they went back in line for another spin!
Radiator Springs Racers
Aruguably the biggest and most exciting attraction at Cars Land (not to mention the biggest by acreage at Disneyland Resort covering 6 acres total!), Radiator Springs Racers is worth the wait! Opening weekend boasted line ups hours long but this is a Fast Pass attraction so hopefully the anticipation won’t build too long for you while waiting! On our visit, we didn’t have to wait very long which enabled us to tag-team the baby duties and ride more than once. My 4 year old daughter was the one who rode the most, tagging along with either mom and dad when she could!
The first part of the ride takes each 6 passenger car through the countryside and town of Radiator Springs. It’s worth mentioning that, like many Disneyland Rides, there are some dark areas. One area would have scared my son when he was younger (the tractor tipping scene in Cars had him refusing to watch the movie for awhile as a 3 year old). That scene is recreated in the darker area along with the “mad” combine.
There’s a quick stop at Ramone’s House of Body Art (and a treat inside which made me laugh, I’ll let you discover it) and then you’re on your way to race! The creators of this attraction made it super fun in that you pull up to another vehicle waiting (or one pulls up to you) and, after revving the engines to ensure you are aware how absolutely-super-cool this is going to be, you’re off on a nose-to-nose race through the desert!
Watching videos online before the trip, I wondered how fast Radiator Springs Racers really was. Was it Autotopia fast for little ones or at a speed like some of the roller coasters at Disneyland? The photo below gives you the answer, I think (look at my daughter’s hair!)
While on this ride with my 8 year old and 4 year old, I felt as young as them! I was clapping, laughing, and cheering along with them and squeeled as we raced through the desert! It was so much fun, and at the end of it all I think we won, but I was laughing so much I’m not entirely sure! Radiator Springs Racers is the cherry on top of the Cars Land cone (Cozy Cone Motel reference, heh) and you simply can not visit Disneyland without going on this attraction! It’s a must! A MUST!
I’m so thankful our family had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to check out Cars Land during it’s grand opening week, and especially for our preview day for members of the media before the grand opening. Had we not gone when we did, I know my kids would have heard about it through friends or elsewhere and would have given me puppy-dog eyes asking when we would be able to go. However, now that they’ve been – you know it – they want to go back!!
Honestly, who could blame them?
I want to go back and ride Radiator Springs Racers again, forget that I’m a 35 year old mom, and squeal and clap like a 4 year old.
Uh…I mean, I want the kids to experience Cars Land again. It’s all about the kids.