Cars Land was a 12-acre expansion opening on June 15, 2012. It transports you to the town of Radiator Springs where you will be able to see all your favorite locations from the film. The area originally opened with three atrtractions - Radiator Springs Racers, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Flying Tires. The Flying tires had their last flight on February 16, 2015 and will be replaced by a new attraction in that space.
My first impressions from 6/11/12
Next stop Cars Land. We were directed to the Wharf entrance. Stepping through the gate you are instantly transported to another place. As you get closer and the vista is revealed it is an amazing moment. I would highly recommend to any first time visitor to enter through the Wharf, at night Route 66 may give it a run for its money (but I have not experienced that yet so not sure). But if you can enter by GRR then walk through the Wharf the vista/reveal is worth it!
As with any new, complex, attraction the Radiator Springs Racers were experiences some glitches. I would venture to bet these down times and issues will continue for several months as all the kinks are worked out of the programming. For the first portion of our preview the Racers were down.
My first attraction was Lugis Flying Tires. The posted wait was only 20 minutes. The queue was really well done. We were told if you can see the line coming to the door its approx an hour wait. The first section of the queue is indoors and has A/C. Then you work your way out back to a garden area that is covered then the final stretch is an uncovered area. Most of our wait this time was in that area. I thought the attraction cycling time was insanely long and really could use to be optimized. For example to use the accessibility ramp they clear the attraction, then turn it on so they can move a tire to the ramp area, turn it off, load everyone, including the accessibility tire, then run the attraction. Once it is done the process is repeated to off load.
I found the ride experience to be really fun. I did not get into the beach balls that much but the challenge of flying my tire around was enough to entertain me. I was able to ride twice, once with someone and once by myself. I thought the tire was much easier to control by myself. Also that was my second ride, so maybe that had something to do with it. I wish they could have gotten the spin control to work. That would make navigating around much easier. There were several times I found myself wanting to turn and I could not since you had no way to spin. I thought it was a fun experience and look forward to riding again.
After exiting the Flying Tires and while walking to the Cozy Cones we ran into Kevin Rafferty. For those that do not recognize the name, he is an Imagineer and he was on the Racers team. We congratulated him on Cars Land and he spent a good fifteen minutes chatting with us and answering questions. It was a great encounter and his enthusiasm for the project is unbelievable. He was saying how he has ridden the Racers over 800 times(he had the actual number, want to say 826 but cannot remember now) doing the programming/test and adjust/and just for fun so far.
Maters Junk Yard Jamboree was my next attraction. The wait time for this was posted at 10 minutes when I went on so we had just a brief glimpse of the queue which has all sorts of props from Maters Tall Tales. I find Larry the Cable guy funny and he narrates and sings for this attraction. The line moved much faster than I had thought and the ride itself had a little extra thrill to it that I was not expecting. This may be the sleeper hit of Cars Land.
The Radiator Springs Racers are the marquee attraction of the new land and probably will become the one for Disney California Adventure. Should be interesting to see if it takes the crown from Soarin. The attraction takes up about half of Cars Land, so it is a massive footprint. Once open it will feature Fastpass, Single Rider, and a Standby line. I would anticipate massive lines, and so is Disney with a long queue and then a large extended queue too. As an experiment I would like to see them to continue to run it without Fastpass for a while. I think it leads to shorter overall waits. I could only image how slow the stand by line may run.
I was able to ride three times during the preview, all through utilizing the single rider line, so I have no real thoughts on the main queue. I do like how from the single rider and Fastpass lines you can still see and get most of the queue introduction. You cannot get up close to the buildings/scenes to see the details, but you can still get the drift.
The attraction itself is amazing. Since I said I would keep this spoiler free, let me just say that this is a definite must see and well worth the waits.
I was able to spend a little time roaming around the rest of Radiator Springs. I thought Flos was amazing and the views out into Ornament Valley were incredible from the dining room and patio. Those that ate there said the food was great too. The Cozy Cones were well done and had constant lines the entire time. I was a little disappointed by the size of the gift shops. I thought Lizzies and Ramones were both tight inside. Sarges seemed to have more space. I really need to go back and take a look at the details and photograph it more.
One interesting note about Cars Land is there is only one set of restrooms, near Flos, and I only noticed one set of drinking fountains, right next to the rest rooms. The drinking fountains were nice and cold though!
Another note was the lack of shade in some of the queues and as you roam around. Come late summer it is going to be a bit hot to walk around.
Overall I really enjoyed the attractions in Cars Land and found the mix great. The immersion into Ornament Valley and Radiator Springs was incredible and exceeded expectations. Buena Vista Street has an amazing amount of detail and references built in and I cannot wait to spend more time exploring it later this week.
Luigi's Flying Tires - Will be a new spin on the short lived flying saucers at Disneyland
32" Height Requirement to ride
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree - a whipsaw type attraction as well as an interactive play area
32" Height Requirement to ride
Radiator Springs Racers -
An E-Ticket attraction based on the same ride technology as Test Track at EPCOT. Here is a quick run down of the attraction
Queue - Stanley's Oasis
Load Station - board and set up storyline
Road trip - A trip through Ornament Valley
Dark Ride - Encounter Mack, the Sheriff, Mater and of course some tractor tipping with an encounter with Frank
Radiator Springs - You enter the town and are greeted by your favorite characters from the film
You then enter Luigi's or Ramone's and prepare for the race
The Race - Two cars race side by side around the outdoor portion of the track
Then you head back inside to Tail Light Cavern
40" Height Requirement to ride
Luigis's Rollickin' Roadsters (First Impressions from 3/4/16)
Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters officially opens on Monday March 7, 2016 and replaces Luigi's Flying Tires in Cars Land. This is the first trackless ride system to be rolled out at the Disneyland Resort. The attraction features Luigi's cugini (cousins) who visiting from Carsoli, Italy for race day in Radiator Springs. You board a two person roadster, buckle your seat belt and wait for one of five songs to start and the cousins to dance.
On Friday the attraction was open for Disneyland Annual Passholders to experience. No reservations or fees. You just had to wait in line and have your pass scanned. The wait times were long all day long. Averaging well over an hour throughout the afternoon and over two hours in the evening. You were also given a commemorative key chain which I thought was a nice touch. Having an Annual Passholder soft opening is great and much appreciated. I would have liked to have seen them run it more than one day.. maybe all weekend. There was plenty of signage about the event and a fair number of cast members on hand to assist.
Thanks to the long wait time (I waited about 80 minutes) I got to experience the queue and really look around. Most of the queue is unchanged from the original. Inside there are a couple new posters highlighting dancing tires vs flying tires. Stepping outside the signage has changed but the garden and area around the dance floor looks the same.
I really enjoyed watching the cars. After watching a couple cycles you can really see some of the variation which is interesting. The ride system allows them to do quite a bit and it looks impressive. Two minor issues though. One is the cars mostly seem to face the queue and those next in line. So if you are waiting or watching you are looking at the back or side of the cars a long time. Also seems a Bruin picked the color palette.. there are quite a few more bluish cars than reddish ones... almost three times the number I counted. At night the cars head and tail lights add to the scene and it looks great. I would lave liked to have seen some other lighting effects since it is a dance but for a first version it looks good.
The ride experience is very passive. Many guests did get into the dance routine and throw their arms up on the spin, etc.. but more or less you just sit there and enjoy the ride. It is a bit awkward with no hand bar so you are just sort of sitting on a bench as the car moves. The movements are a little hard to see what is going on while you are onboard for most of the ride. The overall experience is ok but I enjoyed the original Flying Tires attraction more because you had some control.
I thought the Imagineers did well with the very small dance footprint of the attraction. Nothing changed so it is the original approx 125 ft by 70 ft surface. They did not add or change anything from that respect. I would have liked to have seen them move to a continuous load like the Aquatopia in Tokyo. That way the area does not have these large lulls. Having cars seemlessly join in and rotate out of the dance would have been interesting to see. Also it would have kept the line moving more consistently. The hourly capacity of this attraction is very low, I counted 16 or 17 cars out at once, two people per car and each cycle was taking 5 minutes or so. It was about a 90 second ride then load and unload time plus safety check.
280,000 – Square feet of rockwork in Cars Land, making Ornament Valley mountain range the largest rockwork created in a domestic Disney theme park; built to an unusual level of complexity with very few 90-degree angles
125 – Height in feet at the tallest peak of Ornament Valley range in Cars Land
6 – Distinct car tail fins represented in the Ornament Valley range, inspired by classic car models from 1957 to 1962; hood ornaments, wheel wells and radiator caps also represented in the rockwork
4,000 – Tons of steel used to construct the Ornament Valley range and Radiator Springs Racers attraction in Cars Land
45 – The steepest degree of banking on the track of the thrilling Radiator Springs Racers attraction in Cars Land
36,000 – Approximate number of miles per year each Radiator Springs Racers vehicle will travel, equivalent to more than 14 trips down the original Route 66
6,714 – Air vents keeping the tires flying at Luigi’s Flying Tires attraction in Cars Land
7 – Songs sung by Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) at Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree attraction in Cars Land
525 – Approximate length, in feet, of the Route 66 that runs through Cars Land
70 – Species of native plants in Cars Land (450+ specimens of trees and cactus)
16 – Neon signs in Cars Land, with the Flo’s V8 Café sign standing tallest at 27 feet
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