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‘Topping Out’ – An Expansion Milestone at Disney California Adventure Park

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Director of Public Relations, Walt Disney Publishing

Topping Out Ceremony

I witnessed a milestone in the multi-year expansion of Disney California Adventure park today. I joined some media and watched the “topping out” ceremony for the Cars Land mountain range’s tallest peak. At 125 feet, it’s the most visible part of the new 12-acre Cars Land, which is scheduled to open in 2012.

At the base of this mountain range will be the entrance to Radiator Springs Racers, the E-ticket thrill ride which will headline Cars Land along with other attractions, food and merchandise shops all based on the Disney-Pixar blockbuster, “Cars.”

Aerial Map of Cars Land

“Topping out” is a traditional construction event among construction workers and engineers that takes place when the highest piece of steel is installed on the frame of a building. Today, we were privileged to observe this ceremony, which marked a major milestone in the construction of this new and exciting land.

As part of the tradition, the final beam is painted white and signed by the ironworkers, steel design engineer and construction management. Several key people were on hand to explain the significance of this milestone, including Vice President of Disney California Adventure park, Mary Niven, Walt Disney Imagineer Kathy Mangum, and Walt Disney Imagineer Jim Kearns.

Mary Niven described the event as a huge milestone for Disney California Adventure park. “Literally and metaphorically, we’ve reached the other side of the mountain,” she said.

And there’s more exciting news about Disney California Adventure. World of Color, the nighttime spectacular which opened this past June, has now been seen by more than 1 million guests! And for those of you who have been in the park recently, you’ve seen Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure rising along the parade route. When Little Mermaid opens in 2011, along with Goofy’s Sky School and some brand new restaurants, we will have completed our work in the Paradise Pier section of the park. Whew – time flies!

Check back on the Blog later today to see video from today’s “topping-out” ceremony and time-lapse footage that shows the mountain range coming to life!

UPDATE: Here’s the video from today’s ceremony. Please join me in congratulating all of the workers on the Cars Land project, including the ironworkers, steel design engineers and the entire project team.


  • Kathy Mangum lets us know that this will be the biggest constructed mountain in America, and at 125 feet, it’s gonna be huge!

    But wouldn’t Expedition Everest still be taller, at a little under 200 feet?

  • You can now see this growing mountain range from Katella Avenue as you drive towards the park. It’s HUGE!

  • Wow!!!! Gave me chills….Thank you for sharing and a big congratulations to the team.
    We were over from Australia last year and I am on a savings goal to get us there in 2012. My son is a car fanatic so he will absolutely love Cars Land. As I’m sure we all will :)

  • It’s exciting to see everything taking shape. Thank you for sharing the process and the tradition with us! I can’t wait to experience Cars Land!

  • I don’t know the heights of the various Disney mountains around the world…is this the tallest? What is the order of mountain heights in order, from tallest to shortest?

  • Heather…you must have the best job in the world! Meet-ups, Topping-outs? A dream come true. I’m sure there is a lot of responsibility that comes with such a big job but it looks like the rewards are worth it! Thanks!

  • Congratulations to the construction team and WDI for reaching the milestone! This is going to look absolutely incredible when it’s covered with beautiful shared of red rock work. I still can’t believe it’s 125ft tall, that’s going to be very cool towering over Carsland, specifically Radiator Springs Racers.

    Thanks for keeping us informed!

  • Can’t wait to check this new section of the park!!

  • Mary from Santa Barbara, CA

    Way to go all the Cars Land Project Workers…from this little bit of video that you are sharing I can tell this is going to be an amazing addition to the California Adventure’s Park….Keep sharing updates, I love seeing the progress in what all of you are doing to make this place as magical and fun as all the rest of the rides at all the parks with Walt Disney Co.


  • wow!!! amazing!! congrats to all the disney construction team!!! Luv it!!! :)

  • Awesome!
    I am really looking forward to Cars Land!
    Its going to be really cool to get to walk and explore the town of Radiator Springs from the movie!

  • Awesome! Can’t wait until its done.

  • Very Cool! Can’t wait for the opening!!

  • I am glad that the top of the mountain is in place… The brings the opening of Cars Land that much closer! 2012!!!!

  • WOW! That was amazing, exciting and humbling to watch! Thank you for sharing!

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