I have a confession to make: I am a Disney-nerd. There, I said it. Although that is not much of a confession if you know me. Heck, even if you don’t know me your first clue should have been my constant postings about the progress of Cars Land before it opened! Anyway, now that the truth is out I have no problem telling you that I love to visit Cars Land. It is the only place on the planet that combines my fascination with Disney innovation, art, and attention to detail with my love of cars.
I mentioned detail because that is one of my favorite things about Cars Land and the Disney/Pixar philosophy. They can take something as fantastical about a world made up of talking cars but add a sense of real authenticity through details. If you ever visit Cars Land for the first time you will have to look at everything twice. What at first glance seems like a pillar for a building is actually a giant piston. What looks like a rock formation is actually a massive hood ornament. It is amazing how many little “car-ism” details the Disney imagineers slipped into everything. I notice something new every time I go.
Having said that, you can imagine that when I heard that the entire Cars Land area was decorated for the holidays I grabbed my camera and headed out to Anaheim to check it all out for myself. Believe me when I tell you the imagineers went all out! I thought it was so cool that I wanted to share it with you guys. Even if you are not a Disney fan I suspect that if you love cars you will really appreciate the little details put into the decorations.
As you can by clicking the thumbnail above, the first thing that was changed was the “Welcome” sign. The now snow capped “Cars Land” text now features Radiator Springs holiday scenes within each letter, complete with “Santa Cars” being lead by a team of reindeer snowmobiles. Of course, no Radiator Springs sign would be complete with out a car pun hence the “Seasons Speedings” salutation. If you think this is cool it only get’s better from here.
Right next to the Cars Land welcome sign is a genuine “SnowCar” complete with a cone for a nose! The line to take a picture with this guy was almost as long as a line for one of the rides!
One of the first rides guests come across in Cars Land is “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree” a ride that takes guests for a “square dance” with baby tractors. For Christmas the imagineers adorned the ride’s sign with a giant Santa hat and garland around the wheels.
Just next to the entrance of the ride is the first of several “CARSmas” trees in Cars Land. Mater’s Carsmas tree is made up of old tires, starting with big truck and tractor tires at the bottom all the way up to small trailer tires and a spark plug as the tree topper.
A little further down guests will come across Sarge’s Surplus Hut which as been adorned with a Christmas light set up inspired by a 4th of July fireworks display. This place really stands out as it seems to have more Christmas lights on it than any other place in Cars Land.
A few paces further and guests will arrive at the Cozy Cone Motel. Here, everything (even the food) is cone themed, so it is only natural that their CARSmas tree is made completely of orange traffic cones! Minus the garland and the lights, everything on this tree is all cones! Even the ornaments!
Up next is Flo’s V8 Cafe. Besides the “Radiator Springs Racers” ride, Flo’s is probably the most visited place in Cars Land. Flo’s is decorated with garland, lights, and air filter holly! Nice touch isn’t it?
If guests glance up as they stroll down Route 66 they will notice white wall tire holiday wreaths flanked by more air filter holly and welded wrench snowflakes. I wonder what sizes they used?
Passing by the Radiator Springs “Curios” shop guests will find a CARSmas tree made up of various Route 66 signs. Part of the fun here is trying to find your state!
Luigi’s Casa De La Tires, which is also the home of the “Flying Tires” ride comes up next and Guests can see Luigi’s “leaning tower of tires” adored with Christmas lights with a star at the top.
Finally, just before hanging a right to visit the Radiator Springs Racers ride, guests will come upon Radiator Springs Town Hall featuring a bronze statue of the town’s founder Stanley the Steam Car. For the holidays Stanley has been given the “SantaCar” treatment with a Santa hat and a sack full of toys.
Next to Stanley is the largest Carsmas tree in Cars Land (also my favorite). This Carsmas tree is decorated with hundreds of genuine authentic vintage hubcaps.
Anyone who loves classic cars could literally spend an hour looking through all the hub caps, hunting for vintage logos from American OEM’s. I know this because I almost did the same thing!
That’s it for my little tour through holiday time at Cars Land but trust me when I say pictures do not do it justice. You really have to see it all for yourself to appreciate what the imagineers did. There are also a few surprises that I left out on purpose (Hint: Pay extra close attention to the music). If you are in the so cal area or if you plan on taking a trip out here I highly recommend paying a visit to Disney’s California Adventure and checking out Cars Land. It will be well worth it!