A guide to Cars Land

Cars Land is now open at Disney California Adventure, and crowds are flocking to Radiator Springs!  I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening, so I got to see all the attractions, stores and restaurants that visitors can enjoy in the newest addition to the Disneyland Resort.

Disney has really outdone itself in recreating the world of Cars.  With the majestic mountains in the background down to the beat-up signs and neon lights on the buildings, it is really easy to immerse yourself and imagine that you've entered Radiator Springs.

Cars Land is situated between A Bug's Land and Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure. Once you enter Radiator Springs, you will find yourself walking on Route 66, with all the Cars Land attractions, shops and restaurants on either side of you.  Here's a bird's eye view of the layout:

Cars Land has 3 main attractions (locations are indicated by the yellow dots on the map above)

1) Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
This ride reminds me of the Mad Hatter Teacups in Fantasyland, except it's the cow-like tractors who are spinning round and round.  Visitors sit in trailers pulled by the tractors and spin around while Mater sings and square dance music plays.  Little kids love this ride!

2) Luigi's Flying Tires
Like bumper cars, with a twist.  Visitors sit in huge inflatable tires that hover a few inches off the ground, thanks to blasts of air that shoot from holes in the ground.  You can make the tire move by leaning back, forth and sideways.  To make things more fun, there are red, white and blue beach balls you can bump into, or throw around (if you can manage to pick one up -- they are huge!).

3) Radiator Springs Racers
This is Cars Land's E-Ticket attraction, and it's so cool, it really deserves a post of its own.  It's based on the Test Track ride at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center, but themed to Cars Land.  Visitors board a racecar and take a leisurely drive through Ornament Valley, then enter a dark-ride portion where they see animatronic characters from the Cars movies.  Then the cars split into 2 side-by-side tracks, and the last portion of the ride is a thrilling race to the finish, with lots of banks, bends and bumps.  It's a definite must-do!

Cars Land has 3 places to eat (locations are indicated by the green dots on the map)

1)  Cozy Cone Motel
 Sally's motel has transformed into a food court with cone-themed fast food such as Chili Cone Queso, Route Beer Floats, PopCone (pop corn!) and Churro Bites, all serve in a cone.  I tried the Chili Cone Queso, and it is marvelous.  You get red chili served in a cone-shaped tortilla, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and corn chips.  There's also a chili verde version which is even better -- it's topped with Mexican Queso Fresco. 

2)  Flo's V8 Cafe
 This is Cars Land's sit-down diner, serving diner classics like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, pork loin, and more.  Their single-serve fruit pies are sooooo good -- they're called ugly crust pies but they taste anything but ugly.  Even if you don't want to eat there, it's worth a quick stop just to look at the decor. The front of the cafe looks like an old-fashioned gas station (where all the Cars characters pull up to refuel), the inside looks like a vintage diner, and the terrace opens up to lovely views of the Radiator Springs Racers ride.

3)  Fillmore's Taste In
Fillmore's Taste In is more of a snack bar, serving healthy snacks like fresh fruit (watermelon slices, cups with sliced apples, pineapple spears), water and juice.  True to Fillmore's nature, the place looks like a 60's hippie hut, complete with tie-dyed canvas and wind chimes.  Even the cast members who work here are wearing groovy tie-dyed aprons and flash peace signs!

Cars Land has 3 places to shop (locations are indicated by the blue dots on the map).  All 3 stores have tons of Cars-themed merchandise -- shirts, hats, pins, keychains and more.

1) Radiator Springs Curios
This is the store run by Lizzie, the widow of Radiator Springs founder Stanley.

2) Ramone's House of Body Art

3) Sarge's Surplus Hut
My boys loved this store because all the cast members there had pins to trade, and there were lots of Cars-themed pins for sale!

There are so many new things to see and do at Cars Land, you'll need at least half a day to soak it all in -- and if you will be visiting the Disneyland Resort this summer, when everyone wants to be the first to see Cars Land, you'll want to add an extra day.  On the first day, the Radiator Springs Racers wait time reached 6 hours, and it will probably be at least 1 hr all summer long!

Check out my summer 2013 post featuring more tips on enjoying your time at Cars Land!

Disclosure:  The Disneyland Resort provided media privileges, park admission for my family and accomodations for the duration of the Cars Land opening event. Other costs, including transportation,meals and extra days at the Disneyland Resort, were incurred at my expense. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.


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