The conversation with my 5 year old started like this…
“Hey Bud, Dad has to go away for work for a few days.”
“Where are you going?”
“I have to go to California, and guess what’s right down the street from my hotel?”
“Dad, can you go to Cars Land and take pictures for me?”
And so it began…..
Every January, Anaheim hosts the NAMM Show (National Association of Music Merchants) and I have been attending this trade show for the better part of 13 years. Being a Disney fanatic I knew that Cars Land opened at Disney’s California Adventure last summer which is literally 2 blocks away from the Anaheim Convention Center. Everything I have seen online shows that this area of the park is second to none when compared to anything else Disney has to offer across the Globe. My original thought was, I couldn’t go there without my family I would feel bad. But as the trip got closer and my son badgered me more and more, I just felt I had to go see this. I was able to find some time to get over there the night before I was to return home.
(Let me preface the next part by explaining I had less than 3 hours to experience Cars Land armed only with an iphone for pictures. So I apologize for not having professional grade pictures.)
Walking into Disney’s California Adventure, fans of the Florida theme parks are instantly reminded of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the entranceways are almost identical to each other.
It was after 10pm East Coast time but my wife and son stayed up late to get a quick report of my early adventures. Walking up to the Cars Land sign the excitement began to take over. After 6 months of watching youtube videos and reading online trip reports I was actually going to see it in person!
I started snapping pictures right away as I walked right up Route 66.
Fillmore’s on the right. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree on the left. It all looked amazing! All lit up in the classic neon lights! It was all I could do to take in all the sites.
I was anxious to take more pictures and explore but I know that the crown jewel of the area, Radiator Springs Racers, always draws a huge line so I made a bee line right for that. It’s all the way in the back of the area near the mountain range. Luckily I was alone so the single rider line was the perfect option. Even so it took 30 minutes to board a ride vehicle.
As I strapped myself in, I took a mental note of how surreal this was! Then the ride started. As I’m sure most of you Disney fans have seen online by now, the ride takes you on a leisurely drive by the mountain range and then into the dark ride portion showing scenes from the Cars movie. This all ends up with a race outside the mountains in the vein of Test Track but with more twists and turns.
As I left the ride vehicle and walked back to the main area of the park, I called home.
“THAT. WAS. AWESOME.”
“That is without a doubt, THE BEST attraction Disney has ever created”
Some of my all time favorite Disney attractions are Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster but this beat them all. In all honesty, it really is spectacular. Here’s hoping that Disney brings this land to WDW in some way, shape or form. It would really be a boost the Studios if the rumors are true.
After that, my wife said she was going to sleep and I went on my way to explore a few things that I hadn’t seen before.
My next stop was the Little Mermaid ride, which had no wait at all. I had not had the chance to experience this in Florida yet so this was a nice little bonus. Lovely dark ride that has all the charm you’d expect from a typical attraction like this.
Next I ran over to check out Monster’s Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue ride. This is not available in any form in Florida so I figured this would be fun to see. Again with no wait at all I walked right on. Overall I’m glad I experienced this attraction, and I’m sure my kids would love it, but next time I’ll pass.
So I ran back over to Cars Land and jumped into line again for the Racers. It was even better the second time around as I was able to pay better attention. Then it was time to explore the area a little closer and the details of Radiator Springs are just amazing.
Lightening McQueen and Mater take turns doing meet and greets in front of the Cozy Cone motel.
Also if you look closely inside the motel office you can see everyone’s favorite Space Ranger hiding there with a nod to Toy Story 2.
Then I was lucky enough to see DJ come out for his last show of the night where he plays some music and the waitresses from Flo’s Café come out to dance and invite guests to join in the party.
I thought about riding Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Flying tires, but I thought I might look a little funny riding those alone. So I passed. I’ll just have to bring the wife and kids next time!
Overall, I have to say Cars Land is the show stopper of Disney’s California Adventure and it’s a land to be proud of. My one disappointment is that I was not able to see this area during the day time. I’m sure the sun and blue sky gives it has a completely different vibe, but when you are under time constraints I cannot complain. I had a blast! The newest debate is should this land be built in Florida? I’m going to say yes it should. Maybe not an exact replica of the California version but they did such a great job that they could easily to something like this in Florida. Until then if you are a Disney Theme Park fanatic – you should get out to California and check it out!