Guest writer Whit Honea is an award-winning writer and blogger of all things parenting, travel, and entertainment. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two boys, and way too many pets. Check out his blog Honea Express.
Disclosure: Whit was invited to a sneak peek media event at Cars Land at Disneyland at no cost.
Disney California Adventure Park (DCA), the second gate at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, has had a bit of work done. It’s a California thing.
The main attraction of the new and improved park is Cars Land at Disneyland, which is based upon the popular Pixar films Cars and Cars 2. However, before you can get to Radiator Springs you must first pass through the beautiful new park entrance and visit Buena Vista St., which runs right through Los Angeles as Walt Disney would have first seen it in 1923. Buena Vista St. is filled with shops and dining, and it also plays host to some of the park’s newest entertainment.
One act, the Red Car News Boys, is already pulling in the crowds. The performers jump off the Red Car Trolley (which itself is a homage to the once fantastic trolley system that ran throughout the Los Angeles area) and share the headlines of the era through song, dance, and humor. They are joined by a new mouse in town named Mickey for a few numbers before they ride off into Hollywood Land to chase dreams and possibly ride the Tower of Terror.
To reach Cars Land just walk straight through the hub at the end of Buena Vista St., past the majestic new Carthay Circle Theatre, and hang a left on the Mother Road. You can’t miss it. Cars Land is big (12 acres!) and impressive. The town of Radiator Springs is replicated in amazing detail from the two films and provides three new rides to the park:
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree takes guests into the world of everyone’s favorite tow truck, Tow Mater (as performed by Larry the Cable Guy). The classic whip ride puts riders in a trailer behind a dancing tractor, and hilarity ensues. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is good fun for riders of all ages.
Luigi’s Flying Tires puts a new spin on a classic Disneyland ride, Flying Saucers, where the guests actually steer the vehicles by shifting the weight of their bodies. Think air hockey meets something where people steer by shifting the said weight of their bodies, but with fun!
Radiator Springs Racers is the E-ticket of the group and it may be the best new ride (and overall experience) at Disneyland since Indiana Jones. It is the perfect blend of Disney imagineering and Pixar storytelling. On Racers the guests ride in one of the car inhabitants of Radiator Springs and experience a beautiful drive (breathtaking actually), a classic dark ride, and a full-blown thrill in which one team of racers faces off against another. It’s like three rides in one! The passion and attention to detail that went into Radiator Springs Racers is obvious and the ride is Disney at its best.
No new land would be complete without shops and dining, and there are plenty of both in Cars Land. For a fun spin on food there is a whole array of cone-themed treats (dill pickle popcorn is better than it sounds) and cone-shaped souvenir beverage cups.
Other new additions to DCA include a Ghirardelli ice cream shop in the Pacific Wharf, a Starbucks blended into Buena Vista St., and the Mad T Party (nighttime entertainment) which offers a rocking (leaning toward goth) spin on the characters of Wonderland (Tim Burton’s version), complete with family-friendly dancing and adult beverages (state liquor laws apply).
The spectacular World of Color water show also has some new additions. Footage from Pixar’s newest hit Brave has been included, as well as an opportunity for audience participation (besides getting wet). Guests may purchase a special set of Mickey Mouse ears that light up, and when standing in the proximity of the show the ears will be controlled by hidden sensors that cause the lights to change color along with the performance. Guests are the World of Color, which is a nice touch.
The changes and new additions to Disney California Adventure really enhance the overall experience provided by the park and should provide tons of family fun for everyone!
Photo credits: Whit Honea