On Location at Disney California Adventure


The Cars Land Opening Ceremony on June 13 drew thousands of media, as well as celebrities that included Larry the Cable Guy and Randy Newman. // © Deanna Ting 2012

If you’ve ever seen “Cars” or “Cars 2” you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into each film as soon as you set foot onto Cars Land at Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, CA. From the Radiator Springs Town Hall and Flo’s V8 Café to the thrilling Radiator Springs Racers and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree attractions, the detail you find wherever you go is simply uncanny.

I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at Cars Land the day of its grand opening, June 13, and the next day, June 14, while it was open only to media and select guests. From what I can tell you, the new 12-acre area was well worth the more than five-year wait. Here’s a quick guide to some of Cars Land’s best attractions and rides:


At the end of Radiator Springs Racers, your car races against another in an exciting drive filled with thrilling banks and curves. // © Deanna Ting 2012

Radiator Springs Racers

This is the star attraction of Cars Land and it lives up to the hype. The largest attraction by acreage at Disneyland Resort, it combines clever storytelling techniques with a heart-pumping race to the finish in colorful automobiles—each of which seats six—that tour Ornament Valley on a scenic road trip, followed by a drag race on the track. The winner of each race is randomly chosen so it’s exciting to see how it all pans out.

I don’t want to spoil the ride for you or your clients. but I’d definitely recommend taking a spin on the ride at night, when the lights shine onto the hand-painted, hand-carved façade of Ornament Valley and the rest of the park glows. 

There’s a height restriction of 40 inches on this ride and while the speeds of the vehicles do pick up toward the end, it’s a smooth and scenic ride throughout.


The baby tractors from this ride twist you around. // © Deanna Ting 2012

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

It doesn’t look like there’s a lot of kick to it but this ride, which features 22 individual baby tractors in training, has a bit more than you’d expect. Think “Mad Tea Cups” gone country, with original songs by Larry the Cable Guy (the voice of Mater from “Cars”) playing in the background.

The entrance to Luigi’s Flying Tires attraction. It’s not uncommon to see characters from “Cars” parked—and moving—throughout the area. // © Deanna Ting 2012

Luigi’s Flying Tires

The best way to describe this ride is like being on a giant, life-size air hockey arena. Guests sit atop inflatable tires that float across the floor. If you lean in a certain direction, the tire will also start to move toward there as well. There are also plenty of fun, oversize Italian-flag-inspired beach balls and plenty of Italian racing memorabilia to keep you occupied.

Flo’s V8 Café and the Cozy Cone Motel

If you love old-fashioned dishes and rotisserie roasted classics, you have to stop by this classic café in the heart of Cars Land. The Cozy Cone Motel, aptly named for its car safety cone-inspired architecture, serves up all kinds of “cone”-themed foods, from ice cream cones to chilli “cone” queso.

Shopping at Cars Land

There are three shops in Cars Land—Radiator Springs Curios, Sarge’s Surplus Hut and Ramone’s House of Body Art—and each is home to special merchandise your clients can only purchase here at Cars Land. Popular souvenirs include hats shaped like a tire from Luigi’s Casa Della Tires and a cars-themed rendition of the classic Mickey ears hat.

Simply put, whether or not your clients are fans of “Cars” or “Cars 2,” I have a feeling they’ll want to stick around a while in Cars Land. As for me, I’m hoping to take one more spin on Radiator Springs Racers before I leave.

Cars Land and the Grand Reopening of Disney California Adventure will open to the public officially on June 15.

Disney Travel Agents