Since it’s now official that Cars Land and Buena Vista Street are now open, I can now post my review online. I’ll try not to give away the entire experience because I know a lot of you haven’t had to chance to explore Cars Land yet, but here’s more of a general view of the new land. I’ve also been sort of quiet about my experiences in Cars Land, prior to the opening, because there is so much that the company did not want to reveal, so I could not either. I got to experience Cars Land twice prior to any of the CM or AP previews. Once was back in March, when I was selected to test out Luigi’s Flying Tires. With about a dozen other CMs, we rode Luigi’s over and over and over, for about 4 hours. Even though we didn’t get to see the other parts of the land, it was fun to be in a new land that remained a secret from the public. The second time was a few weeks ago, prior to working Grad Night. My leads surprised us and took us on Radiator Springs Racers, as they were offering CMs to experience it for the first time. This was the first time many of us got to walk the streets of Radiator Springs and as we all walked onstage; we were all in awe of how majestic the rockwork and the neon signs were. Not knowing the complete details and the attraction was still in “dress rehearsal” mode, we all rode it and were all amazed of the show work and the thrill of the high speed race. What was the take home part for me was the new style of the Audio-Animatronics, as the Imagineers brought the cars of the film to life! Then after last week during the Cast Member previews, I finally had the chance to walk around the land and explore the town of Radiator Springs. My sister and I decided to ride Luigi’s first. It was her first time riding this attraction after me telling her all about it for weeks, and it was the first time I got to see the queue (it was an empty room during the testing). She enjoyed it a lot and can’t wait to ride it again. Then we rode Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, which was the only attraction I had not experienced yet. There was a short line as we watched the others ride it while waiting in the queue. I agree with many that this attraction will be a “sleeper” attraction that many will hopefully not look over. Regarding the food of Cars Land, we only had enough time to try to the churro bites from the Cozy Cone. We were lucky to get a fresh batch of freshly cooked churros. There was enough churro bites to share with another person, but too much for one. Also, the chocolate dipping sauce made it interesting, but we could do without it. While waiting in line at the Cozy Cone, we saw Lighting McQueen and Mater both come out for their meet and greets. It was neat to see actual cars drive around the streets of Cars Land (makes sense…) and it definitely added a lot of atmosphere to the area. And for the Cars Land stores, I enjoyed walking around, perusing the new merchandise for the land. They were a lot smaller than I thought they would be, but each had their own unique merchandise for each store. And with only a few minutes left for the CM Preview, we quickly went and walked around Buena Vista Street. Even though I was a little upset that none of the stores were open, just seeing this new way that the park is going to immerse guests into this new theme was awesome. A little over 5 years ago, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger presented a 5 year vision. In this statement, he presented his goals for both parks in Anaheim and the future of the company. Now after 5 years of construction, we made it! Now at Disneyland Park, we have new attractions (Star Tours: The Adventures Continue), classic attractions that were refurbished (ie: Matterhorn, Captain EO and more) and new restaurants and stores. In Disney California Adventure though, we’ve seen the largest change-over, giving the park a complete new identity. 5 years ago, DCA really didn’t have an identity and guests were wondering what adventure in California are they looking for? Now, with the new entrance of Buena Vista Street, guests will be taken back to Los Angeles of the 1920s and experience what it was like to step into an exciting city, just like Walt did. Also, with new attractions such as Toy Story Midway Mania, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Radiator Springs Racers, this park now has a “complete” feel to it. Back in the 1950s as Walt was building his dream theme park, he had the idea of submerging his guests into a magical place where they were to be transported from their daily life to a place where they can experience various environments by building his lands. He would often use his set designers from the studios to help design his new lands. This brings to the quote from one of the Imagineers when designing Cars Land. He said that in a film, you can control what the audience sees by placing certain things in the frame, but in a real life-environment, the guest has a 360 degree view of the area. Having this idea, the Imagineers had to bring the culture and energy of Radiator Springs to life. At Disney, we call this aspect the “show”. Show can be the way the attraction and/or land is decorated and portrayed, to having a clean area, or how the merchandise is neatly folded and stacked for guests’ shopping. This is why Disney puts a lot of effort into the décor and the way their “lands” are presented because they want their guests to leave their daily lives and to be transported to a magical place, like the small town on Route 66 feel of Radiator Springs or the vintage but modern twist of Buena Vista Street. I can’t wait to see the reactions of guests the first time they race around Ornament Valley or the first time they see Buena Vista Street at night. As Walt said, “Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
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