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Postcard from Cars Land, Disneyland

Kate Rae takes her Mater-obsessed nephew to a real-life Radiator Springs.

By Kate Rae
Postcard from Cars Land, Disneyland

Postcard from Cars Land, Disneyland

Postcard from Cars Land, Disneyland

My three-year-old son Leonardo is my date for the grand opening of the new Cars Land at Disneyland. This is a kid who sleeps on Lightning McQueen sheets, wearing McQueen jammies, holding a red car in each chubby dimpled hand. From the moment we saw the Welcome to Cars Land sign, our minds were blown. Disney has recreated the fictional town of Radiator Springs — all of it, from the vinyl booths of Flo’s V8 Café to Luigi’s Casa Della Tires.

Tip: Estimated wait times can be long — so bring plenty of snacks, hats and sunblock. Go first thing in the morning and head straight for the ride.

A version of this article appeared in our September 2012 issue with the headline “Cars Land, Disneyland,” p. 28.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Disney.

The best... themed food

At Cozy Cones, drinks and food are all served in take-home-able orange traffic cones.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Disney.

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The best... souvenirs

Mater's Teeth — a set of fake plastic buck teeth — and Luigi's Flying Tires hat.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Disney.

The best... ride for little ones

Luigi's Flying Tires will have them hovering over air vents in a large tire, trying to catch enormous bouncing beach balls.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Disney.

The best... treat for you

After a day at the parks, check out the spa services at the Mandara Spa at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of iStockphoto.

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What to do

The pièce de résistance of Cars Land is Radiator Springs Racers. If you’ve watched the movie 4,000 times with your kids, this ride is your payoff. After getting strapped into your car, you’re taken through a leisurely, character-rich journey (Leo screamed their names like a teen at a boy band concert) through the park; it’s like stepping into the film itself. Then it’s part two: Doc asks if you’re ready to race, and you’re off on a wild race alongside another car. It’s a scream-worthy ride through the incredible hand-painted rocks of Ornament Valley.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Disney.

Did you know...

Cars Land sprawls across California Adventure Park, which, with Disneyland Park and Downtown Disney, makes up the Disneyland Resort. The Adventure Park includes Buena Vista Street — a sweet imagining of how L.A would have looked to Walt Disney when he arrived in the 1920s.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Disney.

For more kid-friendly trip ideas...

Deputy editor Leah Rumack chills at Azul Beach Hotel, a boutique all-inclusive resort that puts its smallest guests first.

Postcard from Cars Land, DisneylandPhoto courtesy of Azul Beach Hotel.
This article was originally published on Aug 02, 2012

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