Opening of Cars Land completes Disneyland's $1 billion makeover

By Michelle Baran
Cars Land RadiatorSpringsANAHEIM, Calif. — With the media preview of the 12-acre Cars Land at the Disneyland Resort's Disney California Adventure on Wednesday, the Southern California theme park ends a five-year, $1 billion overhaul that executives hope will help transform the resort into a multi-day, family destination.

The plan to expand Disney California Adventure was announced in 2007 and culminates on Friday with the public opening of Cars Land, a replication of the scenes and characters from the Pixar movie “Cars.”

Cars Land features three new rides: Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. The three new dining venues are Flo’s V8 Cafe, Cozy Cone Motel and Fillmore’s Taste-In. (View Michelle's preview of the Radiator Springs Racers ride below.) 

Additionally, grand reopening ceremonies revealed the new Buena Vista Street, the entrance area of Disney California Adventure that is meant to take guests back to 1920s Los Angeles.

Buena Vista Street’s landmark building is Carthay Circle Theatre, modeled after the cinema where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937.

Carthay Circle Theatre houses Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, which serves Southern California cuisine.

There is also the Red Car Trolley, based on Los Angeles’ historic Pacific Electric Red Car Line. The trolley transports guests from Buena Vista Street down Hollywood Boulevard to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride.

Since it was announced in 2007, the Disney California Adventure renovation has produced the opening of ToyStory Mania! in 2008, the nighttime water show “World of Color” in 2010 and The Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in 2011.

Randy Garfield, executive vice president of Disney’s worldwide sales and travel operations, said it is too soon to report whether park goers are already extending their stay at the Disneyland Resort as a result of Disney’s $1 billion investment in Disney California Adventure.

As for whether the grand reopening of Disney California Adventure marks the end of larger expansion projects at the Disneyland Resort, Garfield was mum.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter@mbtravelweekly. 
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