Cars Land is the name of one of Disneyland’s newest themed areas. Inspired by the Disney-Pixar film, Cars, it opened on June 15, 2012 and features three main rides to go with its various other attractions. The entire area covers approximately 12 acres and is at the heart of the California Adventure relaunch project. The overall aim of this project is to add a contemporary edge to California Adventure’s atmosphere. Disneyland executives essentially decided that the resort in general needed to cater more to the interests and familiarity of its younger visitors. That’s not to say that there isn’t still a place for nostalgia at Disneyland. Other recent changes to the resort include the addition of Buena Vista Street, which offers a nostalgic look at 1920s and 1930s Los Angeles.
The scenery of the Cars Land themed area largely reflects the setting for the movie Cars. That setting would be the fictional town of Radiator Springs. There’s even a portion of Route 66, and the Cadillac Mountains serve as a major backdrop. The immediate popularity of Cars Land is very much tied to the fact that such details were implemented. Of course, Disneyland visitors also flock to Cars Land to ride the rides. The ride, or attraction, that gets the most attention is Radiator Springs Racers.
Cars Land Rides
Essentially, the Radiator Springs Racers ride is a large version of a slot car system. The technology that is used to power the electric cars is similar to that which is used to power Test Track – a popular ride in the Disney World Epcot Center area. Riders begin by taking a leisurely cruise through scenic Ornament Valley. Eventually, the pace picks up, and among other things, the six-person cars race each other and pass through a wall of fog. This is the most thrilling ride at Disneyland Cars Land, and it’s not uncommon to see riders rush back into line immediately after their journey comes to an end.
The two other main attractions at Cars Land are known as Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Luigi’s Flying Tires is very similar to a past Disneyland ride that was known as Flying Saucers, which was in operation between 1961 and 1966. The vessels that guests ride in float on a cushion of air, much like a puck on an air hockey table. In the case of Luigi’s Flying Tires, the vessels come in the form of giant tires. Riders can make the tires move by leaning in certain directions, and there are opportunities to bump into other tires and play with beach balls. As for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, this ride sees Disneyland guests riding in baby tractors that move around to the sounds of music. The songs that encourage the tractors to "dance" are sung by Mater himself.
The various other attractions that can be found in the Disneyland Cars Land area include a play area, three restaurants, and several shops. As can be expected, much of the merchandise that is for sell in the shops is related to the film that inspired Cars Land. Visitors to the themed area can also enjoy character meet and greet experiences. At any given time at Cars Land, either Lightning McQueen or Mater can be found mingling with guests in front of the Cozy Cone Motel eatery.