Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Disneyland 2014: Cars Land

Cars Land was easily one of my top 3 favorite things about Disneyland...possibly even in the #1 slot. Therefore...I took about 1.2 million photos of the place and I still feel like I didn't come close to taking enough or really capturing what it's like to be there. 

 photo IMG_6065_zps5a1260e1.jpgAs I said before, Cars Land is one of the main reasons we chose to go to Disneyland over Disney World for the boys' first Disney park experience.  After seeing Cars Land, I now know that decision was absolutely solid.

I think whether you are a Cars fan or not (and to be clear...we definitely are), you can appreciate Cars Land just because it is a prime example of what Disney does best...a completely immersive, detailed experience. Everything about Cars Land is exquisitely planned out and executed. And from the time you round the corner and turn onto Route 66, you are literally IN Radiator Springs. Right inside the movie. It's completely fun and amazing, and that's why it's so wonderful. I should just leave it at that and let the photos speak for themselves, but I have a feeling I'll say some more...

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On our first morning in California Adventure park (the second day of our trip), we headed straight to Cars Land after the "rope drop." A huge line formed immediately for Radiator Springs Racers, so after briefly taking in the atmosphere, we decided to ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree ride.

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We all but walked on this ride a total of three times during our two days in this park. The boys loved it and the adults thought it was fun too. It whips you around while you listen to Mater tell jokes and pick songs to play during your ride. The line is filled with Mater's Tall Tales memorabilia, which the boys easily recognized.

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Here's the front of one of those crazy tractors.

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After the ride, we started wandering down the main street...Route 66. We came upon the Cozy Cone motel where we met Lighting McQueen first and then Mater a little bit later.

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I really wish I had taken the time to take even more photos of all the details...they are infinite and really make Cars Land what it is.

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The cones of the motel are actually food service counters...snacks like churros, ice cream, and cone sandwiches.

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Lizzie's Radiator Springs Curios is one of the several retail shops in Cars Land. I was actually really impressed with all of the merchandise in the stores. I could have bought 5 t-shirts for each person in our family if I thought we needed them...there were that many that I liked.

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Everything in Radiator Springs was exactly where you'd expect it to be if you've seen the Cars movie. It looks exactly the same, which is why you feel like you've stepped into the movie.

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The next ride we did was Luigi's Flying Tires. The line starts right inside Luigi's Casa Della Tires...

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Here we are inside...with no one else in line. We walked right on this one too.

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But we only rode it once. Although it was fun, this hover-style ride just didn't inspire a second turn.

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Here's Mimi and Casey and Ethan running into each other. When the tires got moving, it was pretty fun to glide around. But there's no steering...you have to make it move by leaning. Even if you get the hang of it, it's still kind of difficult and not very thrilling. I'm glad we rode it once. But just take a look at the tire topiaries in the line. And the collection of hub caps on the fence.

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This ride, lit up at night with those lights strung across the whole thing, is actually beautiful.

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We had to pay our respects to Stanley. Logan was protesting this photo.

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I loved this mural and I wish I'd taken the time to get a better shot of it. But I was being called into line for Radiator Springs Racers where the rest of my family was waiting for me.

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The rocks and cliffs of Radiator Springs are insanely realistic looking. And beautiful. The cactus are all real...at least all the ones I saw were.

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This is the Radiator Spring that inspired Stanley to start the town...and this little piece of town history is my favorite gem in the line of Radiator Springs Racers...and there are many.

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Lots of little signs and information about the history of Radiator Springs.

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And then there's the ride itself. This was one of my favorite moments of the ride. We are riding in our car past the bridge and waterfall from the movie with the corresponding music playing. It was like sight-seeing with a soundtrack.

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These are just a few shots of the outside portion of the ride. The inside was actually my favorite, but I didn't take any photos. I was just too busy enjoying it...and we rode it twice. Probably my favorite ride of all between both of the parks at Disneyland.

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It's just absolutely fantastic how breathtaking they've made this landscape.

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This is the view when you exit the ride and head back into Radiator Springs.

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We had already met Lighting earlier in the day but the boys got to wave at him as he passed us on the street on the way to a break.

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We stopped to have our photo taken by one of the Photo Pass photographers.

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And then we ate at Flo's V8 Cafe for lunch. It was so fun to eat at the gas pumps and to "fill up" our tanks at Flo's. We all loved it. And not just because of the awesome atmosphere...the food was good too. Sliced turkey, corn, green beans and rolls. Macaroni and cheese for the boys. Yum.

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Sarge's Surplus Hut was another retail space. The boys each bought a replica car from the Radiator Springs Racers ride from here with their souvenir money.

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Filmore's place was a colorful snack and drink spot.

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On our second day in California Adventure (day 4 of our trip), I took the boys back into Cars Land by myself while Casey and my mom saved us spots nearby for the Pixar Play Parade. I didn't take my camera with me on this trip, so I only had my phone to catch this shot of DJ and his dance party in the middle of the street. The boys were thrilled that they got to see him.

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Later on that second day, after dinner, we ventured back into Cars Land to ride Radiator Springs Racers for a second time. It was fun to see Radiator Springs in the late afternoon as the sun was moving lower. The last time we'd been there in the morning.

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We waited in line a little longer the second time, but we knew it was worth it. The boys actually were experts at waiting in line at this point in the trip. And the adults had figured out a few tricks to make it more pleasant for all of us...the most important was to keep the boys separated by one of us. If they stood together, they fought. Every time. If they were separated, they chatted and had a great time.

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When we got off the ride, the neon lights of Radiator Springs had been turned on...just as we'd hoped!

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The sun had not completely gone down yet, but the lights were already impressive.

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I remember Sally's reaction to the lights being fixed in the Cars movie, and now I understand...they are truly amazing.

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Too bad I didn't have a tripod to work with for these shots. And it's not easy to expose for the neon and the surrounding areas at the same time. So, my photos don't really capture what Radiator Springs looks like at night. But just know that it's stunning.

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We stayed after dark for quite a while...shopping, taking photos, and taking it all in. It was fun to see fewer and fewer people around as everyone left the park for the night. We stayed after official closing time. I don't feel like I have to say a lot about the remaining photos...they pretty much speak for themselves. 

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