Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Designing a Desert Landscape in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on July 20th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


Cars Land has been open for just over a month now and many of our you have commented on our beautiful landscaping. It’s almost its own attraction! Our landscape architects really outdid themselves as they researched and designed just the right planting palette to add beauty and detail to Radiator Springs. And of course they also were concerned with providing appropriate trees to provide shade and comfort for our guests.

What you probably aren’t aware of is the amount of research that went into designing a desert-looking landscape for the middle of Anaheim and the numbers of trees, shrubs, plants and cactus that were used in the making of Cars Land.

Check out the video below, where two of our talented landscape architects, Russell Larsen and Jennifer Mok, talk about the beautiful plants in Cars Land!

Read more about Cars Land in the posts below:

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Creating the Sounds of Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land

posted on June 11th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


Each ride vehicle on Radiator Springs Racers is a moving mini-theater that delivers a show to our guests as they travel through the attraction. And – as with any theatrical experience – dialogue, music and sound effects play a key role in telling our story.

This is where Joe Herrington, Principal Media Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, comes in. Joe is the Imagineer we called on to help us design, record, edit and install a compelling audio track for our attraction. He started making recordings of car engine sounds and other sound effects more than a year ago and he has been onsite with us full-time since early March, riding the attraction over and over as he sweetens and perfects the audio experience.

Joe has ridden Radiator Springs Racers in rainstorms, the middle of the night, on weekends – any time he can get access to the attraction to get it just right. There’s no one more dedicated to his craft, and we’re lucky to have him. Click on the video and get just a little taste of what I’m talking about as Joe explains what he’s been up to.

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney California Adventure park on Facebook, and follow @Disneyland on Twitter for the latest on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtags #CarsLand, #BuenaVistaStreet, #MadTParty and #JustGotHappier.

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Cars Land Concept Team Gets Its Kicks on Route 66 Research Trip

posted on June 1st, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


“Get your kicks on Route 66” is more than just a refrain to a popular song – it’s what we did when the concept team for Cars Land traveled this fabled road in 2008, during the early design stages of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. We followed in the same footsteps that John Lasseter and the Pixar team took during the development of “Cars.” In fact, we were led by the same expert guide – Michael Wallis. You know him as the voice of Sheriff in the “Cars” movies, but he’s also a well-known writer, historian and author of Route 66: The Mother Road.

Our team grew to love and respect the people, the sights, the kitsch, the charm, the warmth and the heritage of Route 66. So much so that we’ve taken a couple of smaller trips since then just to stay in touch. In this video, you’ll see some of the people and places we came across while Emily O’Brien, Principal Interior Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Greg Wilzbach, Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, give you a little more insight about the trip.

Soon, we’ll be able to share our version of Route 66 with the world when Cars Land opens June 15. We think it reflects the spirit and charm of the people and places of the real Route 66 that we found so inspiring, and we can’t wait to show it off!

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @Disneyland on Twitter for the latest on the expansion of Disney California Adventure park. While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtags #CarsLand, #BuenaVistaStreet and #JustGotHappier.

Read more about Cars Land in the posts below:

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Inside Ramone’s House of Body Art at Cars Land with Auto Designer Chip Foose

posted on May 9th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


In the “Cars” movies, Ramone’s House of Body Art is home to a great car artist – the one and only Ramone. So when it came to providing inspiration and styling inside Ramone’s shops at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure park, we turned to the best in the business – Chip Foose.

Chip was the perfect choice in many ways. Chip not only styled Ramone’s various paint schemes for the “Cars” movies, but as owner of Foose Design in Huntington Beach, Calif., he’s world renowned for his designs of customized cars, paint and wheels. Every time we’ve needed an expert to help us out with car colors, wheel designs and other specialized designs, we’ve turned to Chip. He’s spent so much time with us that we consider him an honorary Cars Land team member!

Our guests will be able to experience Ramone’s House of Body Art in two places inside the land – downtown Radiator Springs where it’s a merchandise shop, and inside Radiator Springs Racers where we go to get our paint job freshened up as we head for the big race. Chip and his talented team of pinstripers – Dennis Ricklefs, Brad King and Jeff Styles – have been on site with us recently, adding the finishing touches to both of these locations. It has been so much fun to watch them transform the spaces into something Ramone would be truly proud of. Take a look at this video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Of course, we want our guests to feel that it was really Ramone who added all these special touches to our land. Now you know it was really my good friend Chip Foose who was behind it all!

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First Look: Cars Land Attraction Marquees at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on April 23rd, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


I’ve already told you about the neon signs and merchandise location signs we’ve installed at Cars Land, but I’m back today to show you the marquees that have been installed at each of our three attractions. What I love about these marquees is that they are so varied from each other while perfectly capturing the essence of the attraction they represent. From Luigi’s exuberant hand-painted window sign for Luigi’s Flying Tires, to Mater’s unique take on how he’s adapted his home to host Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, to the archway that guests will pass under to enter Radiator Springs Racers, our Walt Disney Imagineering graphics team has outdone itself!

Attraction Marquee for Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land, Opening June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park Attraction Marquee for Luigi's Flying Tires in Cars Land, Opening June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park Attraction Marquee for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Cars Land, Opening June 15 at Disney California Adventure Park

Our team continues to be thrilled daily with the finishing touches that are being put in place at Cars Land. We can’t wait for you to come and see it all for yourselves!

Check out these posts for more of the latest Cars Land news:

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Neon Signs to Light Up the Night at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure Park

posted on March 9th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


The finishing touches just keep coming to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park. And, by “finishing touches,” I mean large neon signs!

When you travel the real Route 66, you see great, classic neon signs in the towns along the road — and our Route 66 will be no exception. Watch this video and see our two primary graphics designers explain how their research led to the final product.

We’re really focused on getting all of our neon installed right now and, as you can see, we’ve got some beautiful pieces in place already. I can’t wait to see them all lit up and animated, just as they appear in the “Cars” movies. Enjoy!

For more updates on Cars Land, check out the posts below:

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Making Mountains in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 15th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


Some people think that mountains are formed by plate tectonics, a process that usually takes millions of years. When it came to building Ornament Valley – the mountain range that serves as the backdrop to Radiator Springs in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park – we just didn’t have that kind of time! So, we did what comes naturally to us at Disney and we hired the best rockwork artisans in the business.

Led by Zsolt Hormay, our rockwork art director, this incredible team of artisans from around the world have spent approximately two years growing, sculpting and painting our mountain. It’s been fascinating to watch it grow.

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to this talented team of folks as the mountain nears completion. Click on this video and take a look at Zsolt explaining the process and what it takes to speed up Mother Nature. I think you’ll agree that our finished product is spectacular!

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Signs of Things to Come at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on January 13th, 2012 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


'Here It Is!' Sign at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park 'You Want It? We Got It!' Sign at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

“Here It Is!” and “You Want It? We Got It!” are just a few of the not-so-understated signs that are starting to appear at Cars Land. Specifically, these exuberant signs adorn Lizzie’s store, Radiator Springs Curios. This charming shop may be small but you sure won’t be able to miss it when you walk down our Route 66 this summer at Disney California Adventure park!

Signs are literally popping up all around Cars Land and there are a lot more that are still to come. We’re working fast and furious (as you will see when you watch the video below) to bring Cars Land to life. This sign for Ramone’s will eventually be topped with neon so what you see here is our sign painter working his magic.

Speaking of neon – there’s a lot more of that to come. Stay tuned for more details about that in a future Disney Parks Blog post!

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John Lasseter Tests Luigi’s Flying Tires at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on December 26th, 2011 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


When I talk about Cars Land, people often ask me which of our three new attractions is my favorite. That is an impossible question to answer! I love them all and for different reasons. Recently we began ride testing Luigi’s Flying Tires and it is promising to be a fantastic experience. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world.

The vehicles have been made to look like oversized Fettuccini brand tires – the same tires Luigi proudly displays in his shop, Luigi’s Casa della Tires. Once guests are seated inside their tires, Luigi will direct Guido to turn on the air compressor. With that command, air will be pumped up through openings in the floor of the tire yard and the vehicles will begin to float and fly. With Luigi’s Flying Tires, the guest is really in control of the vehicle. By shifting your weight around, you can control the direction of your travel. And if that’s not enough fun, you can always turn a lever and make your tire spin!

John Lasseter recently stopped by to visit with the team and to take a tire for a flight and, as you can see in our video, he has quickly become one of our best flyers. The Imagineer is who is riding with John and giving flying directions is Mike Kilbert, our lead ride engineer and designer for the attraction. Also, John’s son Bennett and Ben’s girlfriend Holly were there and got a chance to try their hand at it – they’re pretty good for a couple of novices! I think you can tell by John’s reaction that he thinks we’ve got a winner on our hands. I couldn’t agree more!

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Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree Begins Ride Testing at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on December 21st, 2011 by Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering


With all the changes taking place at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park, one of the developments that we all look forward to is ride testing. It’s really fun seeing our ride engineers fire up the mechanical systems for the first time – it’s such a huge milestone!

One of our attractions that is just now entering daily ride testing is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree where baby tractors twirl and swing around, pulling trailers behind them (that’s where we get to sit). When completed, the tractors will appear to be dancing to songs that Mater is singing – they just can’t help themselves!

In addition to starting the ride testing, we’ve been making some other big changes to this area with the installation of our marquee and a huge new set piece – Mater’s Junkyard Jukebox. Take a look and see all the great work that’s being done in Mater’s junkyard. (Please note that the music you hear in the video is for the video only and will not be part of the fun songs you’ll hear Mater singing. More on these fun songs later!)

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