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.”
“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.