Disney California Adventure just completed the largest expansion in their history, and they capped it off with a massive 3-day media event to celebrate all of the new additions and changes to the park over the last several years. TPR was there with Brittney (AKA Spears) and David. Check out the full coverage below!
Part 1: Red carpet and Cars Land grand opening party! [ Below ] Part 2: Buena Vista Street grand opening, more Cars Land, The Mad T Party, a special World of Color performance, and a private day and night at DCA! [ Page 3 ] Part 3: The grand re-opening of DCA! [ Page 5 ]
Also, check out this Radiator Springs Racers rider cam with Spears and David:
TPR is at DCA for one of the most epic media events ever! Over 3 days, we'll celebrate the grand opening of Cars Land, the grand opening of Buena Vista Street, and the grand re-opening of Disney California Adventure Park. There are tons of fun surprises in store!
This is part 1 of 3. In this update we'll cover the first night, the Cars Land grand opening party. Spears and I checked in and got our media passes, then headed to the red carpet to see some celebrities!
The red carpet started in front of the Carthay Circle Theater, and ran all the way down near the entrance of Cars Land.
TPR got a great spot on the carpet.
Spears was all set for the event with her checkered flag nails.
We brought a mini Lightning McQueen and he took a quick drive down the red carpet.
Mater tagged along with us too. We kept him at the ready in case Larry The Cable Guy (The voice of Mater in the Cars movies) walked by.
The media and some lucky fans lined the fences, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the celebrities.
Even the Goodyear Blimp showed up to get aerial footage and display announcements on its huge billboards in the sky.
Here come the celebs! First up is Bonnie Hunt, the voice of Sally the Porsche.
Here's Edie McClurg, the voice of Minny.
Cheech Marin, the voice of Ramone.
Cheech took a picture of Spears. Spears is a total celebrity!
Jenifer Lewis, the voice of Flo.
Michael Wallis, the voice of the Sheriff.
John Ratzenberger, voice of Mack (and Ham from Toy Story, and a voice in numerous other Pixar movies!)
Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Bog Iger, chief executive of The Walt Disney Company.
As Larry the Cable Guy walked by we whipped out our Mater toy. Larry spotted it and came over to talk to us and take a photo.
Sarah Chalke, from the Scrubs TV Series.
Zendaya Coleman and Bella Thorne from the Disney Channel original series "Shake It Up!"
This kid rolled down a good portion of the red carpet. It was pretty funny.
Here comes one of my idols, John Lasseter!
As he walked by, Lasseter pointed at Lightning McQueen and laughed and said "Cool!"
Disney gave us a host for the night who showed us around, answered our questions, and helped out with anything we needed. Our host's name was Mike. He has worked for Disney for a long time, and we shared stories and memories about when DCA was just a parking lot. He didn't want any photos, but I snapped this quick one from behind as he was guiding us through the crowd from the red carpet to the Cars Land opening event stage - because it needs to be said that he was really helpful and we had a blast hanging out with him the whole night! Thanks Mike!
In front of Cars Land there was a large stage set up, and a live band was playing to get the crowd excited.
Get your kicks...
... On Route 66!
The Goodyear Blimp hovered over Cars Land.
The blimp reminded everyone that everything officially opens June 15.
Bob Iger took to the stage.
Iger was followed by Tom Staggs and John Lasseter. Lasseter joked that it was one of the only times he has worn a suit, and Staggs was under-dressed.
Someone offered Staggs their jacket, which he accepted.
It was a funny moment.
Looking sharp Tom!
We then got a brief look at John Lasse-tire.
This is Bob Iger, if he was in the Cars movie.
Tom Staggs, if he was a car.
John and Tom introduced many celebrities from the Cars movies. Here is singer-songwriter Brad Paisley.
Lloyd Sherr, the voice of Tony Trihull the combat ship in Cars 2.
Richard Kind, the voice of Van.
Larry the Cable Guy then came on stage and announced that we couldn't open Cars Land without two special guests.
Lightning McQueen and Mater then began driving towards the stage. If anyone remembers the television ad where McQueen and Mater accidentally turn on the lights to Cars Land - this was like that moment in real life.
As McQueen and Mater drove towards the stage, dancers started performing.
The excitement was building.
The grand opening of Cars Land was just moments away. We had waited years for this moment!
Tom and John clamped electrical contacts to a big car battery, and sparks filled the sky.
The Cars Land lights turned on in sync with a burst of fireworks, revealing the beautiful rock landscape and neon lights of Cars Land.
Cars Land is now open!
A shot of the cars welcoming everyone to the new land.
The crowd of invited guests and media began filtering in to the land.
It's really open! No more construction walls!
Spears got her kicks!
... and some food!
Along with food at the restaurants, the event was catered and had all sorts of delicious treats!
Did I mention there was an open bar?
To get a drink or ride rides? Decisions, decisions.
Here's a look at the Cozy Cone Motel.
All the food cones were open and serving up delicious cone-themed food.
We decided to try some pop-cone. Every day they rotate between various unique flavors. Today it was Dill Pickle and Nacho Cheese.
Spears went with Dill Pickle.
Here's a look inside the lobby of The Cozy Cone Motel.
There it is! Spears found it!
Flo's V8 Cafe is gorgeous at night. All the neon is stunning.
There was a live band playing, so Spears cut loose and started dancing.
There were a lot of dancers. It was a real party atmosphere.
Ride or eat? I CAN'T DECIDE!
OK, time to ride! First up we decided to hit Luigi's Flying Tires.
This race car topiary is in the line of the ride.
They hand out wood cones to each group that will fit on the next ride cycle, and then collect them when you board.
For those who don't know, this ride is a tribute to a long lost classic Disneyland attraction. First you hop on a tire hovercraft.
Grab some balls!
Then you float around and throw your balls at people.
The hovercraft moves in the direction you lean. We found it to be very intuitive to control, and surprisingly fun. This ride is totally unique and very enjoyable! It's nice to see a classic concept re-visited for a modern audience. Well done!
I'm going to be honest, I was completely overwhelmed trying to photograph Cars Land in the limited time we had. There was just too much amazing detail everywhere we looked. It's one of the most immersive themed environments ever created.
Radiator Springs Curios
There were people walking around with cool backpacks that dispensed carbonated lemonade. Spears and I both had some, it was really good!
Ok, I know we saw the "Here It Is" sign earlier in the report, but, well, HERE IT IS! Welcome to Radiator Springs Racers, the showpiece E-Ticket ride of Cars Land.
It's really here! It's open! Can you believe it?
The queue is well done. There are separate single rider, fastpass, and standby lines that all function smoothly. The line itself reminds me of Big Thunder Railroad - you're mostly outdoors, surrounded by the ride, and you get glimpses of the upcoming ride experience as you work your way through the line.
There are signs posted all throughout the queue to keep you entertained.
There are also lots of neat little theming details.
The whole land is such an amazing tribute to Route 66.
There are cacti surrounding the unique little buildings that the queue wraps through.
A view from the standby line.
One of the buildings in line has old glass bottles built into it.
In true Disney fashion there are lots of little details everywhere you look.
The line gives some great views of the surrounding rock formations as well.
We're almost there!
The cars drive by you at one part of the line, giving you a taste of things to come.
Through that gate is where they check your harnesses before sending you off on your journey.
A look back at some of the queue.
We made it! Here's the loading station.
And here's a shot of the waterfall from on the ride.
Inside the show building you encounter many of the characters from the film.
Spears gives this ride a huge thumbs up! She would have given it two thumbs up if her other thumb wasn't so busy publishing live photo updates for everyone ;)
There I am in the middle getting an awesome POV for TPR! Spears is in back on the left enjoying the air time. And our host Mike is over on the right. Have you watched this POV yet? If not, you need to! It's amazing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxvnTuKYn9Y
A sign you pass as you exit the ride.
You also get a great view of the cars racing by as you exit the ride.
A photo as we were exiting.
Another shot as we were exiting the ride.
Over by the patio of Flo's Cafe you get some expansive views of all the rockwork.
Stanley, the founder of Radiator Springs.
We still had one more ride to check out, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. On the way there, Spears couldn't help but start dancing again.
This is Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. It's the first ride you encounter as you enter Cars Land.
Control panel enthusiasts rejoice!
The ride is like a classic whip ride with a twist. Rather than just whipping around in an oval, your vehicle travels around a few circles.
The music they play during the ride is hilarious! And the ride is great. If you like whip rides, you'll probably like this even more. It's just crazy enough to be fun without being too intense for families to enjoy.
After Cars Land closed for the evening we made our way to the media center.
It was located off stage, so we weren't allowed to take photos on the way there.
But once we got inside I had to take a few photos because it was really neat!
They actually built mini models of all the new additions to DCA.
Disney really thinks of everything when they throw an event!
I just wanted to give everyone a quick look at the behind the scenes details because someone put a lot of time and effort into this, even though most people would never see it. Most amusement parks would never bother, but Disney did!
After leaving the media center we took one last stroll through Cars Land.
The land is truly majestic, and really comes to life at night.
I wish the party could have gone on longer, but unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Bye bye Cars Land! You lived up to the hype, and are a perfect addition to DCA. Thanks for checking out this trip report everyone, and be sure to check back soon for part 2!
Last edited by ILoveRides on Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:57 am.
Great update, looks like a lot of fun. I wish all parks did open bars for media events! I can't wait to get to DLR to check out all the new stuff. I've always wanted to get on Test Track so I'm looking forward to at least getting a similar experience on RSR.
The rock work has got to be one of the most impressive things I've seen built any where(well, in line with some of the stuff I've seen at DisneySea in photos). That alone makes me want to check out the land.
Thanks to you & Brittney for all the work on the update, and for keeping us all updated via Twitter over the past couple days! For those of us unable to be there in person, it's the next best thing and is hugely appreciated!!!
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