Grand Opening: Carsland, Buena Vista Street and More


We took the monorail into Disneyland near the Disneyland Hotel – it was quick, only a few people there waiting, and absolutely no one in our monorail car. We passed over the entrance to both theme parks and it was clear by the neon yellow tape on the ground that the line to get into California Adventure took over the entire esplanade! It actually started near the entrance to Disneyland. But – there was a very small trickle of folks walking into Disneyland.

When we were let off in Tomorrowland from the monorail, there were no waits for the attractions in the area…we grabbed FASTPASSES (not needed) for Space Mountain to come back later, went to visit Merida (about 20 minute wait) and then had breakfast. We also went over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (15 min) and Indiana Jones (25 min) – I had to leave to go do some interviews…

When I entered California Adventure – it was very clear that most everyone was swiftly moving towards Carsland. The entire Buena Vista Street seemed in a trance to move in one direction. I watched for a bit – then walked around HollywoodLand to do my interviews.

There was a merchandise location for exclusive merchandise. I decided to grab some flyers and see how organized things were. The wait time for purchasing merchandise was already over 2 hours long. You get a number, sit in a large room, and once you are called, you head over to one of the 4 rooms to look before you buy. Then you wait to purchase in another line at the end. Wow…I just don’t have that kind of time. 🙂

I finished my work, then headed to Carsland because I had to see how the place was doing – I felt like it was a part of me at this point. WOW!

Disney does do one thing better than anyone – crowd control. There was no shortage of staff today. Several Cast Members were lined up in the middle of Route 66 just to keep the “traffic” flowing. Can anyone do this better?

Here were the wait times at 1:00pm today:

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree was over an hour.
Luigi’s Flying Tires was already at 120 minutes and growing.
Radiator Springs Racers was … ready for this … over 240 minutes!!! Single rider was already over an hour. Fastpasses were gone in the first hour they told me! FIRST HOUR!

The merchandise shops: Radiator Springs Curio’s, Sarge’s Surplus, and Ramone’s Body Art all had lines outside and you had to wait to get in. (flashbacks of the World of Harry Potter came to mind)

The Cozy Cone Motel had lines way out to Route 66 and they also only let so many people in at a time. And I was right – Flo’s V8 Cafe also was full and seating was already at capacity. Folks made a spot for themselves in courtyards, on the rocks, and even on the pavement in some places.

The exit/entrance to the Pacific Wharf area was already BLOCKED with the overflow line from Radiator Springs Racers. It actually stretches past the Pacific Wharf area to the beginning of Paradise Pier…and then turns.

BUT – again, this is all done in Disney-style and they are happy, excited, and definitely keeping folks in good moods. I wonder if they will end up staying open later tonight just to handle the over capacity of lines??

I don’t want to discount Disneyland – because that is such a great park! I am really impressed. The nostalgia is enough to put a smile on your face. And the most exciting thing today so far was watching the Mountain Climbers back on the Matterhorn!

The disappointing part is that they made an announcement after people waited already 2 hours in line that the Matterhorn Bobsleds MAY not open today after all. Sad, but I think they couldn’t find the ON switch this morning. Not one bobsled has sped down that mountain as of this blog post (1:21 p.m. Pacific Time). I am willing to check it out later and wait in line for it – because it’s our favorite ride, too!

Oh – and if I could just get my hands on some of that collectible stuff the media received – today it was all about Buena Vista Street and they each got a small Railcar with cookies shaped like Mickey Heads inside…plus so many other cool things. I am so jealous.

Until tonight – this has been a fantastic journey and I hope y’all had as much fun as I did!

Carsland – Media Day Notes

Today started at 4:30am (6:30am at home) and a quick shower, change of clothes and I was on my way to find where I needed to go.

I checked in for my schedule and my first interview was at 6:25am. It was interesting to walk through California Adventure when it was still being ‘hosed down’ from the night before. Disney Cast Members were performing their ‘magic’ to get the park in tip-top shape for it’s unveiling tomorrow morning. I arrived in Carsland and WOW – television, radio, and all kinds of bloggers and other media were on hand with their professional equipment, lights, cameras, and ACTION!

Everything was open already for the media except for Radiator Springs Racers. That would open at 8:00am. Every 2 hours starting at 7:00am they were letting in various guests with colored wristbands. I had exclusive access with my Media Badge and it was great.

My family had the first time slot and were admitted in Carsland and California Adventure between 7:00am and 9:00am. This meant they could ride all 3 attractions during those 2 hours only. Then the next color would be allowed in. Most were family of media, then Cast Member guests, celebrities (lots of them) and radio and television and Disney Contest Winners!

When a group gained admittance – they RAN to Radiator Springs Racers first! You know it’s going to be a popular attraction!!! Grab that fastpass FIRST! Then go wait in line for your first ride and hope to ride it later at night for your second time!

I spent the rest of my day doing interviews, but I had a two-hour break conveniently from 7am to 9am! I rode all 3 attractions with my family and we had a BLAST! My son did NOT want to get off of Radiator Springs Racers! It is THAT COOL! (Can you tell from all the posts I’ve made that this is the attraction to ride!)

Most of my interviews are taped, but I did several today that were LIVE. The live interviews are hard to plan for because they are sometimes short between commercial breaks, songs, or other contest information. The recorded ones allow some planning and turn out to be longer. They are fun and I had a great time doing them! My next post I will continue to review all the stuff to do in Carsland…stay tuned…

Carsland – Food & Shops

Fillmore’s Taste-In

I took some time to check out the detail of Carsland and WOW – you really are transported right into the movie…

Walking down the street:

On the left, you will find Fillmore’s Taste-In – here you can pick up snacks, fresh fruit, drinks, mister bottles, and more. There are a few kiosks and it’s help yourself. I see some shady benches here as well.

Across from Fillmore, is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. Let’s move down Route 66…

Sarge’s Surplus Hut

On the right you will find Sarge’s Surplus Hut – here you will find the largest section of “Cars-themed” souvenirs for kids and adults. There is so much to see here, your head literally spins. I’m joking when I say I think the price for everything is like $19.95 plus tax, but it really is. If you purchase more than $40 worth of merchandise, there are special pin sets you can get for an additional $18.95.

Across diagonally from Sarge, you will find the Cozy Cone Motel. Here, everything is themed with cones and you see 5 cones in the back which all have their different items to sell to eat and drink.

Churros Cone

Cone #1 – Churro Bites w/chocolate sauce – my son didn’t really like these, they were a bit on the hard side and the chocolate wasn’t so easy to dip in. Here you can get drinks in the souvenir CONE cup also!

Ice Cream Cones

Cone #2 – Ice cream – not so popular in the morning, but it became popular quickly. The cones looked small to me, but it’s Disney and ice cream, so why not! Here you can get a Route Beer Float!

Cone Queso

Cone #3 – Chili Cone Queso and Chicken Verde…plus drinks. This cone had the LONGEST lines and it moves REALLY slow. But – I know why…I tried the Chicken Verde and you will need a drink to go along with it…spicy! Very tasty chicken in the green salsa verde sauce with some cheese on top. It’s awesome. And you eat the CONE! It’s made of bread. Same goes for the Chili and the chili comes vegetarian too!

Cone-Coctions

Cone #4 – Pretzel Bites w/Cheesy sauce – these are BIG bites of pretzel, and they are crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. This cone NEVER had a line!

Popcone


Cone #5 – POPCORN and drinks. Right now there are only 2 flavors offered: nacho and dill…but I was really waiting on BACON…Disney said the other flavors weren’t perfected yet, but will be coming soon.

Across from the Cozy Cone Motel is another restaurant: Flo’s V8 Cafe. Here you walk in for counter-service food and it’s very diner-like! The menu looks amazing and I didn’t really try too much, but I heard amazing comments about the Apple-Cheddar pie! Yes, apple + cheddar cheese. I noticed that Disney didn’t put too many seats out for the Cone or Flo’s eateries…and I hate to see what happens when the lines are long, tables and filled, and everyone gets hungry…these are the ONLY 3 locations to grab some grub!
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Carsland Premiere Party

I began with my family at Disneyland to watch the newest parade, “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” and it was great!

I had to leave them to go to the Carsland Media Premiere Event – I started by waiting near the new Carthay Circle area…the crowd was so thick and I watched as several celebrities walked down the red carpet at the premiere. We were then ushered into the main drag of Carsland…watched a few performances by the band, singing all kinds of Route 66 hits. Next up was Bob Iger, Tom Staggs, and John Lasseter (whom I actually ran right into later at the party) plus a WHOLE BUNCH of surprise guests.

In fact – every voice from the Cars and Cars 2 movie were there – except Owen Wilson. There were rumors that he was ill tonight, but others said he has a fear of crowds. The amazing part was I met Cheech Marin and Brad Paisley. I have no photos because I was respectful of their privacy since they were with family and friends. Brad Paisley was carrying his son with him.

Walking down Route 66 in Carsland is definitely an experience in itself! Totally makes you feel like you just entered the movie Cars. Since we were there at night, the neon was on and music was playing. I have been to a few other Disney Premiere Parties and this was like the rest of them – tons of food and drink everywhere. I looked everywhere for the bacon popcorn, but all that was served tonight was nacho cheese and dill flavored popcorn. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I took some fun video of the food displays – they are pretty detailed and fun. I rode all three attractions – Radiator Springs Racers TWICE. I had to – it was that much fun! The first time I walked right on. The 2nd ride I waited an hour. But it was worth it.

SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
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Carsland Media Event, Part 2 – The Agenda

I checked in for my credentials and WOW – they gave me a ton of stuff. I have my Media lanyard for all the events and my family receives some exclusive wristbands for entrance to specific functions.

Tonight we are invited to a special Grand Opening at 8:00 p.m. of Carsland. Everything kicks off at 8:20 p.m. and we have access to everything in Carsland as it lights up in Neon! Rumor has it that Good Morning America and several other media outlets will be filming tonight along with all day tomorrow.

The Premiere Party will start shortly after the big LIGHT UP EVENT…then it’s open for us until 11:30 p.m. Meanwhile, my family has their own special viewing locations for the NEW Mickey’s Soundsational Parade along with Fantasmic! I can join them if I want, but we won’t be together at Carsland.

Tomorrow – my interviews begin early – about 6 a.m. … could be a bit earlier though too, not sure yet until I meet with my Disney rep tonight.

My family has access into Carsland tomorrow morning between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and can ride all 3 attractions until 9 a.m.. They can stay in Carsland all day, but to even things out – there are timed wristbands for each group to ride the attractions. I will be hanging out at the radio and tv booths conducting interviews.

Then in the evening we have a special showing of World of Color for everyone. It should be a fun evening. I’ll be doing my best to take some photos and video of everything I see and do!

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