Theme parks are made up of sub-sections, generally called lands. Many of these lands are spectacular, some are far from it. In this series, we cover individual lands one post at a time and answer some questions about them. We turn our attention today to one of the more influential theme park lands of the 21st century – Cars Land in California Adventure!
While we won’t be diving incredibly deep into these lands, we’ll provide the basic information about the area and we’ll add in some of our opinions. We’ll also use these posts to talk about theme both throughout the land and within the park. All of the posts will use the same questions. Let us know in the comments if there are questions that we should add!
So far in this series we’ve covered:
- Disney California Adventure: Grizzly Peak and Buena Vista Street
- Disneyland: Mickey’s (old) Toontown, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country
- Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland and Tomorrowland
- Epcot: Future World West
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sunset Boulevard and Toy Story Land
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Asia, Africa and Pandora – World of Avatar
- Tokyo DisneySea: Mysterious Island, Mediterranean Harbor and Arabian Coast
- Tokyo Disneyland: World Bazaar and Westernland
Cars Land is one of the first hyper specific IP lands in any theme park so let’s look at how its aged and the influence it still has!
What is your short(ish) review of Cars Land?
Cars Land remains one of the crown jewels of modern Imagineering. This ‘stepping into the movies’ based land crafted a perfect balance of beauty, charm and humor. I prefer the theme park land much more than the movie it’s based on!
What’s in the land?
- Radiator Springs Racers – The land’s E-ticket attraction is one of California Adventure’s best, combining scenic views, a dark ride and a thrill all into one. Don’t miss it but maybe check out the single rider line.
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – A flat ride that whips guests around and is impossible not to smile on.
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters – Another charming ride that’s trackless but is not worth much of a wait.
- Flo’s V8 Cafe – A Cars play on a classic American diner that you might find on Route 66. The fried chicken is good!
- Cozy Cone Motel – Home to all things cones, these counter-service and snack stands offer some great treats.
- Fillmore’s Taste-In – A really dressed up snack stand with fruit and other options.
- Ramone’s House of Body Art – The land’s biggest shop carries a number of Cars related merchandise.
- Sarge’s Surplus Hut – More merchandise in here but the winner is Sarge’s Quonset home facade.
- Radiator Springs Curios – A shop that is open some of the time! Probably the smallest of all of Cars Land’s shops.
- Mater & Lightning McQueen Meet & Greets – Meeting Mater is a joy, and I’m saying that as someone who doesn’t like character meets or Mater that much. These are especially great during Halloween!
What is Cars Land’s backstory and theme?
Watch the movie.
Only sort of kidding. Cars Land is a replica of Radiator Springs, the fictional town in Cars. Guests enter the area on race day, where the inhabitants have invited cars throughout the world to take part in a race. A lot of tractors showed up for Mater and a bunch of cousins showed up for Luigi. The whole land tells the story of that day but it also let’s you set foot in a near replica of a beloved film.
What is your favorite part of the land? What’s the most memorable aspect of it?
One of my favorite parts and certainly the most memorable aspects of the land is Radiator Springs Racers. It’s a beautiful attraction that remains the park’s most popular a decade after opening. Setting it against the Cadillac Mountains, integrating the characters seamlessly and ending in a race is next level ride building.
I’ll also shout out the neon and décor in Cars Land. California Adventure is short on places to just sit and enjoy the scenery, it’s also short on spaces with cool lighting at night. Cars Land scratches both of those itches. To soak all of that in, get to the area just before sunset and watch the neon turn on in a sweet, romantic moment. How could a land this grand feel intimate and full of character? They pull it off very well here. Shout out to the Halloween and Christmas decorations, as well!
Are there parts of Cars Land that you don’t like?
Not really! The food has improved at Flo’s, in my opinion. Luigi’s isn’t great but it’s a fine use of a small space!
How does the land coincide and transition with the rest of the park? Does Cars Land make the park better or worse?
Whatever harsh transitions Cars Land holds is due to California Adventure being a mishmash of products that don’t really fit into the park’s theme anymore. For its part, Radiator Springs looks like it fits into the area with the mountains in the background and the Route 66 of it all. The back path to Pacific Wharf (or San Fransokyo) is especially enchanting with the rockwork. The transition from Avengers Campus kind of sucks but that’s because Avengers Campus… sucks.
Cars Land definitely makes California Adventure better. It was a huge piece in revamping the park after it’s initial flop. What has come in the last 5 years to DCA makes Cars Land look even better.
Where would you rank the land in relation to the others in the park?
While I do love Grizzly Peak, Cars Land is the easy number one here!
What do you think of Cars Land? Do you like our Land Exit Surveys? Would you add anything? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Interested in a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Planning Guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Land Exit Survey