If you are reading this blog, then chances are pretty good that you are a Disney fan. Ok, probably really good chances. And if you are a Disney fan, chances are also pretty good you’ve heard of this new little thing over in California at Disney’s California Adventure called “Cars Land”, right? Thought so! I was lucky enough to get out to the West Coast last month to experience Cars Land. I can sum up our time in Cars Land in two words: Awe. Some. But, since two words don’t make the most exciting blog, I’ll throw in a few more words, a few pictures, and a video to round it all out!
We experienced Cars Land two different times on this trip. The first was just after dinner, during that magical golden hour as the sun is beginning to set and casts a golden light on the world. We were back first thing the next morning - it was so amazing we couldn't wait to get back!
First stop when you are visiting Cars Land is the photo at the entrance sign. Trust me, this is mandatory. Just in looking at the sign, you know you are going to be hit with an onslaught of details in this area, and it begins as you hear the music inviting you in. The excitement was revving up, so off we zoomed down Route 66. Wow.
Straight ahead down the street looms the Cadillac Mountain Range, so large and so incredible that you immediately forget you are in a California theme park - it’s almost impossible not to feel like you were plunked right in the middle of Ornament Valley. The rockwork in Cars Land is the most extensive Disney has done in any of their theme parks, and it just draws you in to come on down the road. But don’t go too fast or you’ll miss all the amazing details on the way!
Filmore’s snack and beverage stop is just past the sign on your right. Filmore’s Taste-In brought such a smile to my face; after all, it’s just a place to grab a quick snack and something cool to drink, and yet the theming was so detailed that it becomes a mini-attraction in itself - much like all the stops in Cars Land!
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is immediately to the left as you enter. I read some mediocre reviews before we left, and I must say I did not agree with any of them - this was way fun!!! The queue holds so many fantastic junkyard relics (and yet, they are so clean...), the music that plays gets your feet dancing and your face smiling - especially when Mater sings!
The ride itself takes place in little baby tractors that whip and whirl in the style of the old-fashioned whip rides. Sometimes these throwbacks work just as well as rides that are riddled with all sorts of new technology. Pure unabashed fun.
Keep on keeping on down the Route and we pass by Sarge’s Surplus Hut on the right, a perfect little shopping pit stop. On the left you come across the Cozy Cone Motel. This place is downright adorable. There are 5 cones perfectly sized to make you feel car-sized, and each cone offers a quick service window with a different treat. From churros to ice cream to popcorn (at the popcone - I love a good play on words), to the unique bread-cone treats, it’s as much a treat for the belly as it is for the eyes. While over here, look for Lightning McQueen and/or Mater out greeting guests out in front of Sally’s office.
If you are in the mood for some more shopping, stop by Ramone’s House of Body Art or Radiator Springs Curios. Even if you aren’t looking to shop, do yourself a favor and stop by Curios for a look at all the details here because it is just chock-full of them!
We’ve now reached the traffic light that blinks yellow at all times. On one corner of the light we have Luigi’s Flying Tires. Sadly I did not get to experience this, as I was taking one for the family team and waiting in line for Radiator Springs Racers FastPasses. My family did ride this though, and their very in-depth review of it was: “That was fun!”. Take it from them, folks.
If you are looking to fill up your tanks, pop across the street to Flo’s V8 Cafe. It rocks. Total 50’s throwback, with the teal and pink accents, the chrome, the neon, and the giant jukeboxes! Our 7-year old contemplated the jukebox for awhile then finally just said “What is this?”. So Flo’s provided a good history lesson, too! We stopped here for breakfast; service was very quick, food was fresh and tasty, and we sat ourselves at a table that overlooked Radiator Springs Racers - I’d say that all adds up to a win!
Here’s a tip: every night at sunset, Cars Land lights up in bright and happy neon lights. The lighting “ceremony” begins at the far end of the side street (near the end of Radiator Springs Racers), and one by one each building illuminates into a burst of happy. Be sure to arrive in Cars Land prior to sunset, and put yourself in park right around the traffic light, maybe up by Stanley!
So yes, I’ve saved the best for last. Radiator Springs Racers. There aren’t enough words to express how AMAZING this ride is. It combines the most incredible technological components into a classic Disney dark ride setting, and then throws you into a thrilling zoom through Ornament Valley.
I read so many things about the ride before we went, but none of those words can do it justice. The details on the outside in the valley are not to be outdone by the simply outstanding technology you see inside the caverns. I am still not 100% convinced that it was not the REAL McQueen, Mater, and Luigi. I cannot comprehend how they were not the real deal. If any of you think you can convince me that it was Imagineering magic, I double dog dare you to try.
Until then, enjoy a video of the ride. DISCLAIMER: My husband took this video. He is NOT a videographer. He’s just a great dad that is willing to take control of the video camera and does the best he can. And let me reiterate: there are not enough words to do this ride justice. It is arguably the best Disney has to offer. If you have any doubts, get yourself to the Cars Land ASAP (courtesy of your favorite Kingdom Konsultant, of course!). I promise you won't be sorry!!
Without further adieu.....our very professional, non-professional ride through video of Radiator Springs Racers!!