Annette Arreola, Jeff Scharping, Fabian Rodriguez
It was a half decade in the making, and now it is ready to zoom. Disney fans can enjoy the newly renovated Cars Land, which just opened. Annette Arreola reports from Disney California Adventure Park for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 15, 2012.
The first "it's been a long time" is, of course, due to the five-year renovations the theme park has just undergone. Five years is basically 1/11th of the time Disneyland has been open, so you can appreciate that the redo was a major in every way. We'd say that "Cars" fans and Disney fans and theme parks fans all had to wear their patient hats, in fact. That can be pretty dang hard, too.
The second "it's a long time" applies to the fact that it has been a long time since a full land has opened at the Anaheim parks. Cars Land isn't simply a ride but a sprawling, extensively detailed world with multiple rides, attractions, and restaurants.
In short, it is Radiator Springs, from the Pixar films, and it is backed by the amazing Ornament Valley. By the way, the rocks and depth of Ornament Valley are jaw-dropping -- yeah, we went for hyperbole -- in pictures but more so in person. There is a moment you feel as if you might be in the Southwest.
Bravo, Imagineers and Pixar wizards. Bravo.
And inside Ornament Valley and Radiator Springs? Rides like Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Flying Tires and the Radiator Springs Racers, which take zoomers all through the Valley. There are also a few shops and restaurants, like the meticulously designed and realized Cozy Cone Motel (picture several giant orange pylons serving ice cream and treats).
Buena Vista Street also debuted at the same time as Cars Land; the thoroughfare, anchored by the Carthay Circle Theatre, is a re-imagining of the front of the park. It is fashioned after 1923, the year Walt Disney arrived in Los Angeles.
Visitors were happy to wait in line for hours in order to be among the first to see the new changes.
"It can just come to life," says visitor Jasmine Cunningham who was first in line Friday morning. "It's just incredible."
"It's a whole atmosphere," according to visitor Steve Geist. "It's everybody. It's a big energy. Everybody's excited."
The Disney Parks blog offers some tips for guests regarding both Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.