Let's get right down to it, is Disney's California Adventure's Cars Land amazing?
I am loving the current theme park trend of total immersion, and Disney does a stunning job plunging guests into the Cars movie's Radiator Springs.
You can't help but point and say things like,
"Hey there's Stanley's statue,"
or, "Wow, it's Fillmore's."
The detail is incredible.
You can see it all by day,
but you also have to see it at night.
It is beautiful in all of its neon, fluorescent glory.
Each night they have a lighting ceremony where they play Sh-Boom as each building lights up one by one. Sadly, we missed the ceremony, but it's now another good excuse to return.
Radiator Springs Racers
It was our favorite attraction at California Adventure, and ranks as one of our absolute favorite Disney Park attractions to date.
The attraction is like a ten times better version of Epcot's Test Track. The monument valley scenery is so beautiful, you forget that it's completely manufactured. The animatronics are top notch, the story is fun, and the race around the track is just the right amount of thrilling.
We rode it three times, sacrificing a few things that we never got to do. The conversations went like this,
"The Ferris wheel has a 30 minute wait. We could do that, or....we could do Radiator Springs Racers again."
As instructed by almost every Disneyland guest advice giver, we headed to Radiator Springs Racers as soon as we entered the park at rope drop. Of course so did everyone else.
Still, it was the best way to guarantee a ride on this popular attraction.
The wait wasn't that long, and I had fun noticing all of the fellow Disney bounders in line (for those not in the know, Disney bounding is dressing up in an outfit that represents a Disney character, attraction, or theme. It can range from wearing completely normal clothes, to dressing up in an almost costume). I particularly liked a boy who was dressed as a newsie. I wish I was able to get a better picture of him.
The attraction was so much fun,
The second time we got into the single rider line. It was shorter, and we didn't care if we ended up in separate cars.
One of the interesting things about Disneyland, as opposed to Disney World, is that because it's smaller, you tend to see the same people again.That person sitting next to you on Soarin', will be sitting next to you at dinner, or the precocious little girl standing in line with you, will be in line in front of you, acting as the bathroom police the next day. This little girl was Alexis. Alexis was a seasoned Disneyland visitor. Somewhat of an ambassador if you will. While in line, we had a chat.
Alexis: I see your pin. Happy first visit to Disneyland.
Me: Thank you.
Alexis: I like your outfit. You look like Minnie Mouse.
Me: Wow, thanks! That's what I was going for. I like your shirt.
Alexis: Thanks. My Mom Mom made it for me.
Thank you Alexis for recognizing my Disney bounding outfit, you made my visit extra special.
Someone else who made my visit extra special, Captain Jack. Someone dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow was waiting in line for racers. I tried several times to snap a sneaky picture, but each time he moved just as I clicked the button. Finally, when he was on the other side of the railing, I mustered up the courage to ask for a photo. In perfect character, he was happy to oblige, and he gave me one of his gold doubloons.
I was overjoyed. It was a great, unexpected souvenir. It would have only been better if he was in my car. You know you would have to buy that ride photo.
Instead of Captain Jack, I ended up in a car full of teenage boys who I assumed had never ridden racers, because the entire time they yelled,
"Oh snap, oh snap, OH SNAP!" It was hilarious.
Everyone suggests riding racers during the day, and riding it at least once at night, so we decided to make it our last attraction before making our way to World of Color. We once again lined up in the single rider queue, but this time the line ended up being longer than we expected. We had special viewing tickets for World of Color, and we had to be in the viewing area no later than 8:45 pm. The line was slow moving, and we started making an exit plan, because there was no way we could ride the ride and make our World of Color reservation.
Just as we were getting ready to turn around to find our way out of the line, it happened. Someone walking on the other side of the railing asked,
"Are you just two people together?"
"Yes," we replied.
"Here," said the man handing us two slips of paper, "jump over the rail." Quick as a blink, he was gone. We looked down and found ourselves holding two fast passes. The man ran off before we could even register what happened, so if you are out there, thank you mysterious hit-and-run fast passer, we are deeply grateful for your kind offering.
We climbed the railing, joined the fast pass line, experienced the ride by night (yes, it's worth it), and hoofed it to World of Color, arriving exactly at 8:45 pm.
Tow Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
The other attraction in Cars Land. There are a lot of people who hate on Tow Mater's Junkyard Jamboree, and although I don't recommend waiting if the wait time is over 30 minutes, it is a fun time.
As a kid and teen, I spent countless summer days at Clementon Amusement Park in New Jersey. My favorite ride at Clementon was the whip, so I was ecstatic to find that Tow Mater's was a well themed version of my childhood favorite.
While Tow Mater sings square dancing songs, your tractor "dances" around the track. Hate all you want, but as you watch fellow riders whip around, they are all smiles. I loved this attraction. I would have gone on it again if we had more time, and I'm probably one of the few guests who is looking forward to the alien claw version of this ride coming to the new Toy Story Land in Orlando.
Though we enjoyed the entire California Adventure Park, we probably spent the most time in Cars Land, riding racers, and gawking at all of the beautiful, outstanding theming. It is definitely amazing.