I really enjoyed taking a vacation to Disneyland with my parents and my sisters and their families. In ways it was like old times and yet in other ways, it was a bittersweet reminder that the old times can never be as they once were. I hope we do it again in a year or two, and this time I think we should slow it down a bit so we can enjoy each other’s company a little more. I think we ran around a bit too much, trying to fit in all the fun.
One of the things we were most excited about was visiting Disney’s California Adventure Park to see the new Car’s Land. I had seen a documentary on TV not long ago in which the Disney Imagineers were discussing the pressure they were under to try to recreate the town of Radiator Springs from the movie Cars. They talked about how difficult it was to create in the real world, what is pictured in a two dimensional movie and how they knew Cars fans would expect nothing less than a true replica of the little town on route 66.
Well, let me tell ya-they nailed it!
Walking into Car’s land was indeed like walking into the town of Radiator Springs. You find yourself staring down main street and you instantly recognize all the spots from the movie which have been turned into restaurants, rides, and shops fit for humans. You then look up to find the rock mountains Lightning Mcqueen and Sally raced on in that famous scene. This magnificent engineering feat houses the ride Radiator Springs Racers which is indeed worth the hour plus wait to ride on.
I’ll walk you through what I think are some of the highlights and give you some tips on how to navigate this busy new attraction.
First, I would not recommend waiting in the hour plus line for a fast pass to ride the Radiator springs racers. The fast passes do run out and the line is horrendous. If you simply arrive at the park before it opens and head straight to the ride, the line will probably be about the same as the fast pass line was. Avoid going to Cars Land on a weekend-opt for a slower week day. Also, download the free Disneyland wait times app to your smart phone and keep an eye on the wait times. This helped us score a 45 minute wait time versus the 110 minute wait times we saw frequently. If you can, try this ride at night too. You may be able to get a reasonable wait time late on a weekday. The ride is great in the daylight and absolutely breathtaking at night. The scenery is really impressive and the ride is fun and exciting for all ages. It features a fast-paced race through the mountains in which you really do race with the car next to you and after that, you cruise down route 66 at night and see all the famous faces from the movie in real life. It really is worth the wait!
There are two other rides in Car’s land both worth paying a visit to. Luigi’s Tire Shop is the façade for a fun ride in which you hover on tires above a platform, kind of like an air hockey table. You lean the way you want your tire to float and you run into others’ floating tires as you ride.
Mater’s Junk Yard Jamboree is a tilt a whirl type of ride in which you are twisted from side to side as you ride in Mater’s truck bed and listen to a charming tune sung by Mater himself.
If you are needing to refuel, Radiator Springs is the place to do it. The Cozy Cone Motel is a snack shack that features different items in each cone. You can get sodas in souvenir traffic cone mugs that are really cute and their “Chili Cone Queso” that is served in a bread cone is just delightful. My personal favorite treat is the Redd’s Apple Freeze at Cone number 4. It will cool you right off.
If you are searching for a nice, sit-down type of meal, which is often a nice treat after a few days in Disneyland, Flo’s V8 café is the place to visit. This adorable diner looks identical to Flo’s in the movie and is adorned with old fashioned gas pumps on the outside. You can dine inside or out and the service is friendly and quick.
While you are in Cars Land, you are likely to catch a glimpse of Lightning McQueen or Tow Mater just rollin’ down the street to greet their fans. My sweet little nephew A.J. has probably seen the movie Cars 100 times and to see his face when Mater was right there in front of him was truly priceless.
I admit, I was a little apprehensive about visiting Cars Land because I’d heard it was very busy, but outside of Radiator Springs Racers, I found it to be about as populated as most other areas of the park. If you’ve got a Car’s fan in your life, a visit to this place is a must!
It’s worth mentioning that California Adventure has many other worthy attractions to see in addition to Cars Land. I find it to be every bit of fun as the Disneyland Park. It’s got the charming detail of Disneyland with a fun boardwalk feel to it. It’s definitely worth spending at least two days there. Be sure to catch the World of Color show which will make you get shivers, it is so impressive.
Well, like the song from Cars says, life is a highway, and I’m going to ride it all night long. Life is certainly a highway of good times and cherished memories to be made. May you find yours, and ride it all the way.