As a mother of two young children who are positively smitten with the Cars movie, it felt a bit surreal to walk into a real-life version of the film's fictional town of Radiator Springs at Disney California Adventure's Cars Land. The magic (or in this case, the ka-chow!) of Disney is in the details. Take a journey through Radiator Springs via this treasure hunt for the interesting Disney details in these Cars Land photos.
There are 1,800 different signs and graphics in Cars Land, including those on this Radiator Springs welcome sign.
In addition to three official eateries in Cars Land, you can grab a quick, healthy snack of fresh fruit and other goodies at the Taste-In.
There is no shortage of Cars Land tchotchkes available for purchase at Cars Land and throughout Disney California Adventure, like these Lightning McQueen and Mater balloons.
Wind your way through Luigi's Casa Della Tires (designed to look like a shoe store for cars) as you wait to board Luigi's Flying Tires.
Luigi's ride keeps giant “tires” floating two inches above the ground with 6,000 air vents. This slow-moving ride is made more magical with the addition of beach balls because, hey, beach balls make everything more fun! (30 inch height requirement)
These appear to be THE souvenir of choice amongst Cars Land goers, Luigi's Flying Tires hats.
Here's an adorable warning to other Radiator Springs' residents to be on the look-out for baby tractors at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree ride.
Thankfully, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree was both MORE exciting and LESS motion-sickness-inducing that I had expected. (32 inch height requirement)
Tow Mater's Junkyard is decorated with darling “junk” like this.
Get a Chile Cone Carne (a cone-shaped bread bowl filled with chile and Frito chips), an ice cream cone, a cone filled with the surprisingly delicious dill pickle-flavored Pop Cone and other “coney” treats at the Cozy Cone Motel.
As a frequenter of roadside diners, I am a fan of Flo's V8 Cafe, with its doo-wop music and Route 66-inspired cuisine.
Comfort food is served up at Flo's V8 Cafe – like this turkey platter served with mashed potatoes and gravy, raspberry jam, peas n' carrots, homemade roll, and a slice of strawberry-rhubarb “ugly” pie for dessert.
Even my ride-phobic 4-year-old can't wait to ride on Radiator Springs Racers, the king attraction at Cars Land. He'll get his chance at the end of summer when I head back to Disneyland, this time with my family. Here's the ride's neon sign all lit up at nighttime. (40 inch height requirement)
Radiator Springs Racers starts out with a leisurely tour of the impressive man-made OrnamentValley, where you drive through the Cadillac Mountain Range and past Radiator Falls.
Then riders are diverted to one of two spots to prep for a big race, Luigi's Casa Della Tires or Ramone's House of Body Art. Both times I rode the racers, my car got spiffed up with a new make-believe paint job at Ramone's (shown above). Vehicles come in eight different colors, so warn kiddos beforehand that they may not be able to sit in a red Lightning McQueen car.
Next, riders zip through the beautiful desert landscape in a race with a different carload of Cars Land visitors. Another twist? You never know who is going to win!
Want to learn more about Cars Land? Check out my story Cars Land Revs Up Disney's California Adventure on the TODAY Show website!
What aspect of Radiator Springs are you or your kids most excited to experience at Cars Land? Let us know in the comments!