As Disneyland races toward the finish line on the Cars Land expansion of Disney California Adventure, this weekend select annual passholders had the opportunity to preview the new rides, shops, and restaurants with almost overwhelmingly positive results. The new land along with the park’s Buena Vista Street don’t officially open until Friday, June 15, 2012, but early reviews are making fans even more eager to see what Disney’s Imagineers have created.
For these previews, Disneyland has offered an unprecedented method of soft opening its new areas. Rather than simply opening portions unannounced, access has been offered to annual passholders and D23 members who have been willing to pay $50 – $500 per ticket for varying levels of experiences. It seems to be Disneyland’s way of letting only those who are most excited in first, as they’re willing to pay extra to ride the rides and shop the shops just a few days before grand opening.
And the reports across social media platforms and web sites have proved to be building plenty of hype for the Disney California Adventure expansion. Radiator Springs Racers is often being referred to as one of the best “E-ticket” attractions Disney has built in a long time, while its surrounding mountain ranges and scenery have proved to be highlights. In fact, few negatives can be found in early reports, though they are present.
Disneyland has allowed those attending previews to shoot all the amateur photos and video they want throughout the new areas and a quick search online will already reveal looks at even the most well-kept secrets. But with the grand opening media event just a few days away, beginning on the evening of Wednesday, June 13, 2012, we are refraining from sharing any spoiler-rich details here. I’ll personally be there for all the opening festivities, offering a look around Cars Land and Buena Vista Street as well as access to the ceremonies and rededication of the park.
In the meantime, we offer a completely spoiler-free report from a contributor (wishing to remain anonymous) who in the last few days spent time inside both new areas:
My friends and I entered through the Pacific Wharf side of Cars Land. For me, walking through the rock archway and seeing the mountains had a bigger WOW factor then entering onto the main street of Radiator Springs. You really forget that you are in Anaheim, especially when you see the cars whizzing by and the waterfall in the distance.
Radiator Springs Racers is Disney California Adventure’s “Indiana Jones Adventure.” There’s so much going on around you that it will take quite a few trips to take it all in. The animatronics are pretty spectacular. I felt like i was in the movie! Big goosebumps! I do think Racers is a tad bit better at night when you are racing on the outside portion of the track. Seeing All the lights fly by you makes it feel like you are going faster than really are.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a hoot! I love hearing Mater recite the safety spiel in Spanish. The songs he sings are also great. (A CD needs to made & sold pronto!) As for the ride, you’re basically getting whipped around in circles. Sounds simple enough, but I thought it was a lot of fun and it was just the right amount of ride-time before I started feeling a tad nauseous. If you have a weak stomach or just ate a Chili Cone Carné it may not be the ride for you.
Luigi’s Flying Tires was alright. I feel they should’ve gotten Gary Sinise on a screen to inform you on how maneuver your ‘tire’. Joking aside, a nice Cast Member gives a quick spiel to the riders on how make your tire go. The line had a 50-minute wait time posted. I liked the ride and liked that they had big beach balls to toss around and had no problem maneuvering my tire. But I couldn’t help but notice more than a few riders looking bewildered or just plain bored. This is a definite hit or miss in my book.
Generally, Cars Land is big, but also feels small. I liked the Cozy Cone Motel food stands and the cone-shaped souvenir drink cup for sale, but there didn’t seem to be enough space allotted for the lines for the each cone’s stand. It will be interesting to see how Disney will manage crowds this summer. The same goes for Flo’s V8 Café. That line will probably be out the door, rightfully so. The food there is great!
It felt a tad surreal eating a breakfast tamale with some French toast and having a wonderful view of the mountain range in Radiator Springs. Kudos to the Imagineers.
We got to walk through Buena Vista Street as well. WOW! What a big difference from a year ago. It’s beautiful. So much charm! The street actors really make it fun too! The walls surrounding it are still up which made for a very short trip on Red Car Trolley. But I’m glad it was open and running for us to ride up and down the street. Great job imagineers!
Cars Land and Buena Vista Street will officially open to guests on June 15, 2012, but follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as well as check back here regularly beginning June 13 for coverage of that night’s Cars Land grand opening, the next day’s official opening of Buena Vista Street, the rededication of Disney California Adventure on the 15th, and plenty of interviews, reviews, and inside looks throughout.