Thursday, June 27, 2013

Disneyland's Cars Land puts you in a Pixar animated movie set

About a year ago, the Hovers headed to Disneyland.  And although it claims to be the Happiest Place on Earth, there was something decidedly non-happy about that visit.  Pixar’s Cars is BHo’s favorite movie.  It was the first one we ever took him to at a theatre in 2006.  We’ve watched the DVD fifteen billion times.  And Disneyland had a brand-new “Cars Land” addition to the theme park.  The only problem was, we were there about a month before it was to open to the public.  All our little eight-year-old Cars fan could do was look at it through a construction wall.

So this year I was going to be in the L.A. area to drive the new Ford Fiesta.  This was it—the opportunity we had been looking for.  We decided to head back to Disney’s California Adventure and take care of some unfinished business.  This was our chance to go to Cars Land.

The worst part about Cars Land is the people.  This place is pretty new, and everyone wants to go there.  You can barely get through the streets, not much less get on the rides.  If you ever think this is someplace you want to check out, have a lot of time and bring a lot of patience.  You’re gonna need it.

Crush of humanity aside, if you’re familiar with Radiator Springs, this place is definitely cool.  Yes, everything at these Disney parks is too expensive.  But there is something to be said about an entertainment venue that is created on an unlimited budget.  I mean, I thought it was pretty incredible that they were able to create an entire, realistic world for the animated movie.  This is even more amazing, because they transformed that animated world to real life.  You are literally in the town that’s in the movie.  It is completely enveloping and convincing. 

Really, there are only three rides in Cars Land, and two of them are fairly mediocre.  Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree whips you around in a trailer hooked to a tractor like you’re in a square dance.  Luigi’s Flying Tires is sort of like being on a giant air hockey table in a lazy bumper car.  But the one everyone really wants to ride on is Radiator Springs Racers.  I’m serious.  Everyone wants to ride it.  Everyone.

Disneyland has a “Fast Pass” system where on more popular rides, you can grab a Fast Pass ticket and return at an appointed time to avoid the lines.  On this Radiator Springs Racers ride, the Fast Passes go within ten minutes of the park opening, so you probably aren’t going to get one.  We stood in line with the general population, and after two hours, there was an announcement that the ride had broken down.  They encouraged us to stay in line, and would let us know if anything changed.  Thirty minutes later, they had the ride going again, and an hour after that, we were climbing aboard our car.

So if you’re familiar with the movie, this is sort of like the scene where Lightning and Sally take their scenic, romantic cruise to the Wagon Wheel Hotel. Animatronic versions of several Cars characters talk to you along the way, you cruise by the majestic waterfall and hear the epic soundtrack, and you wrap things up by drag racing another car around a curvy road.  It really is fun, and the man-made scenery is incredible.  This ride will be awesome during non-peak time two years from now when the new wears off.

For us car lovers, there are a few other interesting trucks and things located around the park.  Old busses, trolleys, and vintage truck food stands are here and there.  The truck that Indiana Jones climbs around on is near the Indiana Jones ride.  And while we were there, the actual steam engine that was used in the new Lone Ranger movie was on display.  The premiere of the movie was actually that night, but inexplicably, we weren’t invited.

As usual, I tried to take some pictures of things that I thought would be of interest to the car crowd.  Check out the slideshow below, or click this link for a better version.

1 comment:

  1. I love the pictures.This looks like so much fun.Makes me want to take a trip to Disneyland.
    You Rock!