Two days before its highly-anticipated public debut, Disneyland tonight celebrated the grand opening of Cars Land in a spectacle-packed ceremony. After a few rocking’ songs from a Rust-Eze branded band, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs took the stage to emphasize the importance of this final step in the 5-year Disney California Adventure improvement project.
After turning the microphone over to “Cars” creator John Lasseter, a series of celebrity voice talents from the film franchise were introduced, ending with Mater himself, Larry the Cable Guy, who reminded everyone that the marvels of the real-life Radiator Springs wouldn’t be complete without the film’s biggest two stars. The duo rolled down the street, then Lasseter and Staggs jointy “jump started” the neon lights across the Cars Land main road with fireworks bursting overhead. And all in attendance were ready to party, dancing with the Radiator Springs Rockers, sampling food throughout the new land, and riding the rides.
Video: Highlights of Cars Land grand opening ceremony and party
Video: of the Rust-Eze band performing several “Cars”-related songs before the grand opening
Video: Full Cars Land grand opening ceremony including “Cars” voice actors
Technically, while this ceremony marked the official grand opening of Cars Land, it won’t actually open to the public until the morning of Friday, June 15, with the entire Disney California Adventure park reserved for media and invited guests today, June 14.
The full grand opening ceremony, including several live songs performed by the Rust-Eze band, lasted around 40 minutes. Prior to the celebration, celebrities arrived via a red carpet that stretched from the new Carthay Circle all the way to the entrance of Cars Land and we’ll be sharing plenty of interviews from there soon.
In the meantime, here are a few photos summarizing the grand opening event, including John Lasseter’s take on what Bob Iger and Tom Staggs might look like if they were “Cars” characters:
Cars Land is the culmination of five years of ongoing construction and renovations at the Disneyland Resort in an effort to improve Disney California Adventure, a theme park that was never fully embraced or appreciated by visitors and fans since its opening. The project began with the opening of Toy Story Midway Mania in 2007, followed by the park’s addition of World of Color, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Silly Symphony Swings, Goofy’s Sky School, and other enhancements in the years that followed, leading up to today’s completion.
After years of winding through Disney California Adventure construction walls, the theme park is once again complete, after a renovation that cost roughly the same as the cost to build the park initially, around $1 billion. And the grand opening of Cars Land caps it off with the most excitement of it all, as Radiator Springs Racers receives some of the highest fan praise of any new Disney attraction in recent history.
Cars Land and the rest of the reinvented Disney California Adventure officially open to the public on the morning of June 15, 2012.
More photos from the Cars Land grand opening celebration: