I was speechless really (which doesn’t happen much). Walking through the gates to see Radiator Springs for the first time took my breath away. I have long marveled at the magic that Disney injects into its parks, but by far, CarsLand in Disney’s California Adventure Park is a milestone in innovation, art and imagination brought to life. I had the great fortune to meet many of the brilliant minds behind this labor of love between Pixar and Disneyland, and could have spent hours interviewing and filming them to share in their words what the magic meant to them. Their passion is evident in the details around every corner in CarsLand. The re-creation of Radiator Springs captures the Cars movie with incredible detail and classic Disney style magic.
Here are HipTravelMama’s Top 10 Best ways to experience CarsLand:
1. Snap and share the magic of the majestic Ornamental Valley. The Pinnacle stands at 125 feet tall, and the mountain range, spanning 300k feet, is the largest rockwork construction in any domestic Disney theme park. You will marvel at the scale of this life-like mountain range.
2. Light up the Night on Route 66. At night Route 66 is illuminated with 16 neon signs in bright colors reminiscent of the ’50s era of cross-country travel along the vintage Route 66 and the mountain range glows in the background of Radiator Springs.
3. Get your Dance Kicks on Route 66. DJ’s Dance ‘n Drive cruises along Route 66 inviting guests into a spontaneous interactive dance party, groovin’ to “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “Car Wash.
4. Check in to the Cozy Cone Motel for a cone shaped treat. Everything here is cone shaped and delicious. Try the Cone Chicken Verde for a spicy wrap with a Street Cone cup of your choice of drink, or some “Pop-cone.
5. Fuel up at Flo’s V8 Café for some old-fashion breakfast, or home-style treats like Veggie Tater Bake and homemade “Pie-O-Rama” pies, with my favorite strawberry rhubarb.
6. Ride Radiator Springs Racers through a scenic tour of Ornament Valley. The ride’s slow pace to start helps you take in the beauty of this amazing attraction, and ends with a thrilling high-speed race for the Piston Cup. The cars come in eight colors, each with its own personality. FAST PASS ride: Minimum height requirement: 40 inches.
7. Tow-si-do in Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. These super cute baby tractors whirl and twirl about, as the voice of Mater, Larry the Cable guy sings along. Keep an eye out on the license plates, as they have letters that represent initials and birthdays of key contributors to the Cars Land project. Minimum height requirement: 32 inches.
8. Levitate at Luigi’s Flying Tires. Climb aboard these oversized Fettuccini-brand tires as you glide along over 6,714 air vents, levitating 2 inches off the ground. Gliding along, you shift your body weight to guide the direction of the tire, bumping and floating into other tires in the Italian garden and storage yard. Minimum height requirement: 32 inches.
9. Stop and say Hi to Red the Fire truck. Red stands across from Luigi’s Flying Tires, winking and encouraging kids to help him water the flowers – but watch out you could get wet!
10. Strike a Pose with Lighting McQueen and Mater. This is one of my all time favorite photos. Your kids will be so excited to stand proudly alongside life-size replicas of their two favorite Cars characters and you will have a lasting memory as you watch them grow!
So those are my picks! But want to hear from you – have you gone to Carsland? What are your favorite things to do there? Share your fun experiences here or with me on our Facebook page or Twitter @ #Carsland @Disneyland
Disclosure: I was an invited guest and hosted by Disneyland and Expedia for this visit. These recommendations are my own and reflect my own opinions and experiences in CarsLand and Disneyland.